The term for “Advanced Integrated Practice,” or AIP, is not yet found in books or magazines.  Nor has it been taught in university level classes prior to 2013.  It is a new term with a process to address current design and construction challenges within our industry.

Luckily, I was part of the writing and research team that coined the AIP moniker in 2010 while working under the aegis of the Alliance for Construction Excellence, an educational outreach program and a part of the Del E. Webb School of Construction, School of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment, and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. The enterprise is intended to become a beacon for the industry by providing a copyright-free framework that could be used by firms engaging in public and private construction projects.

It’s much more than an ersatz form of Integrated Project Delivery:  It is more comprehensive, and unlike IPD, it is not copyrighted.  Basically, it is designed to be more of a blueprint for the future of the construction industry.

Or, as online dictionary Wikipedia has recently defined AIP, it is “an important change in the design and construction process that brings together all the collaborative and integrative methods that are leading the way to improved productivity within the industry, by utilization of an interactive, comprehensive, project-wide delivery methods and practices”


How Did We Get Here?

The design and construction industry has always been on the cutting edge of technology and AIP is another in a long line of innovations that can make new projects stronger, while being built faster and cheaper.

Over millennia, the construction industry had “master builders” to design and construct the buildings people used throughout their day-to-day life, in which there was one true vision for the owner for that building or structure.  This was especially true starting around the time of Egyptian king Imhotep in 2630 B.C., but it also continued through the Roman Empire and medieval periods and even through the Renaissance period and continued until the early to mid-1800s and is known as — let’s say it together — design-build.

During the past 130 years and due to the Miller Act of 1935, though, changes to the construction process resulted in “siloed” design and construction teams that begat increased project risk, lower owner value-added systems and components.  Another side-effect was lower construction productivity with lack of communication between owner and teams.  The teams generally developed adversarial project experiences and conflicts arose between the owners, constructor and designer, mostly due to an increasing number of Request for Information (RFIs) and change orders.  This was a result of unforeseen or unknown scope challenges on the project, either in the bidding or construction phases.  The teams had to address these challenges of course, with most projects being built with escalating budgets and/or schedules that sometimes reduced quality and scope.

This project delivery method called design-bid-build (DBB) has turned out to be problematic for the reasons given.  Using this approach, the constructor was often contacted late and did not have time to affect the outcome of the project.  Most often, these demands resulted in project teams not meeting the owner’s vision and goals for the project.

Sometime during the mid-1980s to 1990, construction manager-at-risk, or CMAR, was developed in response to the private and public owner’s need to use alternative and relationship contracting strategies, addressing project cost in the form of a guaranteed maximum price, preconstruction services, qualification of teams, and predictable performance results during the design and construction phases.  At the start of 2000, public owners and private owners alike witnessed defined processes and contracting strategies and “Primer on Project Delivery” was created jointly by the AIA and the AGC, for use by teams and owners.  This allowed both private and public owners to take advantage of enhanced delivery methods for the tried and true design-build or design-bid-build operational methods.  But, the construction industry was still not where it needed to be.

Over the past decade, significant use of the collaborative and innovative processes to address renewed and newly proven concepts for the construction industry have been initiated.  Most of these methods use collaborative software, technology tools and integration methods for vertical projects within the built-environment.  Industries, such as oil and gas or microelectronics, applied similar processes within their companies by using “vertical integration” as a method to incorporate some or all of the specialized technology to bring improvements to their business. The construction industry is no different.  There is now a move to bring integrative and innovative methods into construction to improve productivity.  Several have come into play in recent years, Incorporating Building Information Modeling (BIM), Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) and LEAN.  As far as new operational processes, one type that has come into being is identified as Integrated Project Delivery.”


Evolution Leads To “Integrated Project Delivery”

Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD, was coined by AIA and is a copyrighted or trademarked term.  The definition was developed just as building information modeling came into the construction industry. The IPD definition was first established and was stated by the AIA National/AIA California Council, in the “Integrated Project Delivery:  A Guide where it says, “It is understood that integrated project delivery and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are different concepts – the first is a process and the second a tool.  Certainly integrated projects are done without BIM and BIM is used in non-integrated processes.  However, the full potential benefits of both IPD and BIM are achieved only when they are used together.”

IPD required a definition, because it encompasses a range of project delivery methods that have been described by various terms, including “relational contracts,” “LEAN Construction,” “project alliancing,” and so on. The AIA/AIA California Council in the 2007 Guide give the following definition: