The “High Performance by Integrative Design” film by RMI includes examples of how design teams collaborate in new ways to integrate high-performance design elements, such as daylighting, energy efficiency and renewable energy, for optimal performance. Viewers experience charrette discussions and see the design process unfold on projects such as the Empire State Building retrofit, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Phipps Conservancy in Pittsburgh, the Desert Living Center in Las Vegas, Willow School in New Jersey and Chicago Botanic Gardens.
Typical Design & Construction Process
Conventional planning, design, building, and operations processes often fail to recognize that buildings are part of larger, complex systems. As a result, solving for one problem may create other problems elsewhere in the system.1
Integrative Design & Construction Process
Collaboration leads to innovation
An integrated design process (IDP) involves a holistic approach to high performance building design and construction. It relies upon every member of the project team sharing a vision of sustainability, and working collaboratively to implement sustainability goals. This process enables the team to optimize systems, reduce operating and maintenance costs and minimize the need for incremental capital. IDP has been shown to produce more significant results than investing in capital equipment upgrades at later stages.2
As discussed in a previous post, the integrated process requires more time and collaboration during the early conceptual and design phases than conventional practices. Time must be spent building the team, setting goals, and doing analysis before any decisions are made or implemented. This upfront investment of time, however, reduces the time it takes to produce construction documents. Because the goals have been thoroughly explored and woven throughout the process, projects can be executed more thoughtfully, take advantage of building system synergies, and better meet the needs of their occupants or communities, and ultimately save money, too.3
Considerations and Advantages of an Integrative Design Process:
- ID&CP processes and strategies can be implemented to varying degrees depending upon the complexity of a project and an owner’s project goals.
- A project team must be carefully assembled very early on in the process to ensure success.
- All key participants must subscribe to the collaborative effort of establishment clear goals.
- All project stakeholders must be involved and remain involved in the project, and must communicate openly and frequently.
- Key participants must employ appropriate technology to foster collaborative design and construction.
Similar to the Construction Management at Risk approach to project delivery, the owner can benefit from the following IPD advantages:
- Owner receives early cost estimating input, sometimes as early as conceptual design.
- The owner can take advantage of special services such as:
- Feasibility studies
- Value engineering
- Life cycle costs
- Identification of long-lead items and their pre-purchase
- Significant time can be saved because the design effort is emphasized and completed earlier in the process, and because construction can begin before the design is fully complete.
- Architectural and engineering fees can be reduced by the early involvement of the specialty contractors.
- Construction costs are minimized by incorporating constructability reviews into the process, and by the designers incorporating materials, methods, and systems that the team knows are more cost effective.
- Operating costs can be reduced by providing opportunities to greatly affect long-term energy and resource use through design.
- Capital costs can be reduced, thanks to clearer and better coordinated construction documents, which should minimize the incidence of change orders that impact both cost and time.
- Misunderstanding between the parties is minimized when the IPD Team works together during the planning stages of the project.
- The owner’s risk is minimized as the IPD Team approach tends to focus on early identification of potential conflicts and issues through the utilization of modeling tools. This early identification results in timely problem solving and resolution of issues through the use of models, as opposed to problem solving in the field and constructed environments.
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