In support of speedier delivery and reduced cost and schedule growth, researchers have released a guide to help building owners maximize team integration under any contracting scenario.

"Even when an owner is constrained by procurement rules, there are opportunities for greater team integration and group cohesion," says Robert M. Leicht, a professor in the architectural engineering department at Pennsylvania State University and the lead author of "Maximizing Success in Integrated Projects: An Owner's Guide."

The recommendations for owners are based on the findings of a related study of 204 buildings that were completed between 2008 and 2014. The study found that, for better outcomes, owners should consider the project delivery strategy when structuring design and construction services, rather than focus exclusively on contracting, such as design-bid-build, design-build, construction management or integrated project delivery (ENR 2/23 p. 9).

For the projects studied, the delivery method was not a statistically significant indicator of success, says Keith R. Molenaar, a professor in the construction engineering and management department of the University of Colorado Boulder and the $375,000 study's principal investigator. "Team integration and group cohesion are better indicators," he says.

The 54-page guide recently was released for free download—at—by the Charles Pankow Foundation. The group is the lead sponsor, with the Construction Industry Institute, of both the guide and the study.

The guide is designed to assist owners in defining project goals, identifying any legal or policy constraints on the delivery process and selecting the appropriate delivery strategy. The guide also includes forms to support a two- to four-hour workshop to help an owner select a delivery strategy. A facilitator is recommended.

For the best outcome, an owner should select a delivery strategy during programming and/or conceptual design. Key stakeholders should be involved, including the facility manager, a user representative, the owner's construction representative, and other design and construction advisers.

The first step is for an owner to define its goals. Next, the owner should review the opportunities and obstacles associated with each decision point: organizational structure, contract payment terms and team assembly options. Finally, the guide recommends that owners identify legal or policy constraints before selecting the most appropriate delivery strategy.

Though the guide is targeted toward owners, it could prove valuable for other stakeholders, says Leicht. "We would love it if building team members would hand it to their owner clients," he adds.