As put forth by the American Institute of Architecture, integrated project delivery is an idea to bring together all the parties involved; owner and their design team, the general contractor, supplier, and subcontractors at the early design stage so they can collaborate and make decisions collectively to fulfill project objectives. Clearly stating the risk and rewards, liabilities, accounting transparency, compensation, and collective decision-making procedure in the contract makes this approach appealing, and has been applied globally from complex healthcare projects to commercial buildings and infrastructure projects. However, risks associated with goal misalignment, poor communication behaviors, and reduced decision quality, have reduced adoption of IPD due to potential project failure. A new study in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, entitled “Unveiling Embedded Risks in Integrated Project Delivery” explores these potential risks.

Authors Qiuwen Ma, Ph.D.; Shan Li, Ph.D.; and Sai On Cheung, Ph.D., M.ASCE, used the U.S. construction industry to represent the IPD context, in order to ascertain how these risk factors impact project performance, and whether previous/future partnerships have an impact on the risk criticality. Learn more about their research and analysis to provide effective and efficient strategies for risk management in IPD projects in the abstract below, or by reading the full paper in the ASCE Library,


Integrated project delivery (IPD) is an innovative procurement approach through which the client, designer, and contractor work together under one contract as a team. While an integrated team is expected to be able to create extra value for the project, this practice may bring new risks if not all team members are committed. The slow uptake of IPD may possibly be due to the insufficient understanding of the risks involved, especially those hidden risks associated with inappropriate integration practice. This study identifies critical risks in IPD projects and investigates if risk criticality can be alleviated by having previous or future partnership between IPD partners. By collecting the views of construction professionals on the level of criticality of general risks and IPD-specific risks, it is found that (1) most highly critical IPD project risks are borne from multidisciplinary teams of poor integration quality, inaccurate target costs, or unreasonable cost estimates; and (2) having future cooperation intent can significantly alleviate the criticality of certain IPD risks, whereas no effect of previous partnership was found on risk criticality. This study contributes to a growing body of knowledge on IPD by providing insight into the effect of new and general risks on IPD project outcomes in particular and clarifying the role of previous/future partnership in risk management. This study suggests active involvement of client and contractors in the design of IPD and signals future cooperation intent to IPD partners during the project process.

Read the full paper in the ASCE Library: