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Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and cove.tool
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and cove.tool

FAQ: Can cove.tool help me with Integrated Project Delivery?, IPD

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

What is Integrated Project Delivery?

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery methodology that requires the early involvement of a project's key stakeholders. The IPD process implements the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) method of collaboration, allowing project team members to continuously collaborate throughout the design lifespan of the project using BIM.

Traditional Project Delivery Methodologies

Currently, four contracting methodologies are widely used in the US construction market.

  • Design-Bid-Build (DBB),

  • Construction Management at Risk (CM@R),

  • Design-Build (DB), and

  • Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).

Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

Source: AIA Network

DBB involves two contracts: one between the Owner and the Architect, and another between the Owner and Contractor. DBB is considered the "traditional" delivery method, being widely accepted and best understood. It follows a linear sequence of work, with the Architect managing design with the design team and engineers, and the Contractors managing the construction process with subcontractors.

Typically, this method is preferred by many owners due to the Owner's ability to retain control of the design, low first cost, and because the procurement laws are well defined. However, DBB delivery often results in frequent cost changes for which the Owner assumes responsibilities. It also limits the input the Contractor can give to a project, which often results in change orders.

Construction Management at Risk (CM@R)

Source: AIA Network

CM@R also involves two contracts similar to DBB, with the exception of a more open line of communication between the Architect and Contractor (in this case, the Construction Manager) during the design process. In this delivery method, the Construction Manager is chosen based on a set of qualifications and fees, and some of the construction risks are shared with the General Contractor. CM@R also allows for transparency of costs, pricing, and procurement process by the Construction Manager to all other parties involved.

CM@R allows the owner to retain control of the design and involves the Contractor starting at the early stage of the project. CM@R delivery also gives the Contractor more flexibility when it comes to pricing the project. However, CM@R still holds the Owner responsible for changes. Further, due to the nature of the two-contract system, the Architect can elect to not accept input from the Construction Manager during design, and Construction Manager is not required to give input to the Architect during the design process.

Design-Build (DB)

Source: AIA Network

DB involves a single contract between the Owner and a team of Design-Build entity or the Architect-Builder team. DB requires a well-defined scope and explicit understanding of the roles of team members starting at the early stages of the project. It also requires a significant level of commitment to an active communication between the Architect and Contractor, and decisions need to be made in a timely manner.

DB allows the Owner to still retain control of the design, but also allows input from the Contractor/Builder throughout the design process. This allows for overlaps and scope gaps to be detected during the pre-construction stage, which minimizes change orders. Direct procurement from trades results in cost benefits since there are no mark-ups on subcontracts or changes. Early detection of potential construction issues results in an improved schedule, which results in further cost benefits.

The DB process pressures the Owner to assume responsibility for changes, overlaps, and gaps in scope. It also requires the Owner to manage quality decisions and to make said decisions early in the project timeline. The DB approach also does not explicitly require that all parties involved (including engineers and subcontractors) be involved throughout all phases of the project.

Integrated Project Delivery

Source: AIA Network

IPD is a "collaborative project delivery approach that utilizes the talents and insights of all project participants through all phases of design and construction" (AIA). Similar to the DB project delivery method, there is only a single contract and point of responsibility between the Owner, Architect, and/or Contractor. In this approach, the Architect and Contractor form a team and are expected to interact and contribute input through all phases of the project.

The IPD approach takes the best of previously mentioned delivery methodologies. It allows the Owner to maintain control of the design while still ensuring that scope gaps, redundancy, and potential risks are investigated and solved during the pre-construction phase. The explicit requirement that all parties involved in the project maintain constant communication also allows for potential savings gained through direct procurement, a leaner schedule, and minimized risks.

The IPD method also takes full advantage of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) technology, which allows teams to simulate building design and construction in parallel with construction scheduling, procurement cost and schedule, and overall accounting of the project. The continuous flow of information from the Contractor and other sub-consultants, such as cost estimators and schedulers, can provide a more holistic understanding of design implications and feasibility.

cove.tool and IPD

The heart of IPD is that all parties involved are "aligned behind objectives that operate in the interest of the project and that are coincident with their own" (Bernstein, 156). cove.tool allows for all parties involved in a project to view and evaluate energy performance and cost implications of design decisions starting at the early design phase. Being able to conduct studies, visualize the project in its immediate context, and assess cost implications at an early stage allows project stakeholders to make and justify decisions with actual data, which can lead to potential cost savings and improved building performance.


Bernstein, Philip G. Architecture | Design | Data: Practice Competency in the Era of Computation. Birkhäuser, 2018.

“Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Family.” AIA Contract Documents,

Pless, Santi, and Paul Torcellini. “Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.” ACEEE, Controlling Capital Costs in High-Performance Office Buildings: A Review of Best Practices for Overcoming Cost Barriers, 2012.

“A Primer on Project Delivery Terms.” American Institute of Architects, A Joint Task Force of AIA and the AGC Joint Committee, Aug. 2018,

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