New research testifies to IPD project success in Canada, Erik Poirier

New Research Testifies to IPD Project Success in Canada

According to the new report Investigating Factors Leading to IPD Project Success in Canada, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is an increasingly popular relational and collaborative approach to project delivery that focuses on maximizing project outcomes and generating value for an asset owner and its end-users. While IPD has been applied to hundreds of projects across North America and internationally, only 60 Canadian IPD projects  have been initiated in Canada, mainly in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario.

This article series will look at three large projects of IPD implementation in Canada to understand how and why IPD was implemented, if it was successful, and the reasons that led to this success or lack thereof. The projects are:

  • Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Services Campus, Barrie, Ontario
  • Canada Games Aquatic Centre, Kamloops, British Columbia
  • Thelma Chalifoux/Soraya Hafez Schools, Edmonton, Alberta


First documented cases of IPD in Canada

The case studies presented in this study are among the first documented cases of IPD implementation in the Canadian context.

One thing to note is that all three projects were publicly funded. They generated value for their communities and taxpayers in a context and in an industry that has traditionally not been overly successful in doing so.

The report was co-authored by Prof. Erik Poirier, PhD and Ahmad Arar, M.Sc., PhD Candidate from Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Montreal, Canada. The research team further consisted of a team from the University of British Columbia including Sheryl Straub-French, PhD, Professor, Puyan Zadeh, PhD, Adjunct Professor, and Devarsh Bhonde, MTech, PhD Candidate. Lastly, IPDA assisted in an advisory capacity.

The research project replicated the methodology used to develop the 2016 report titled: “Motivation and Means: How and Why IPD and Lean Lead to Success,” produced by a joint research team under the direction of Professor Renee Cheng at the University of Minnesota and commissioned by the Integrated Project Delivery Alliance (IPDA) and the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) (Cheng & Johnson, 2016). The aim was to further the body of knowledge on IPD using a consistent set of indicators (also known as markers).


High levels of performance across all indicators

Overall, the three projects demonstrated high levels of performance across all indicators. As such, they were consistently delivered on time and within budget. Moreover, several additional items, termed Wishlist items, were delivered on all three projects. Finally, all three projects paid out their full ICL, meaning that all project signatories received their full profit.

From a scheduling perspective, all three projects were delivered within the targeted timeframes, with projects being delivered ahead of schedule while facing challenging situations that could significantly disrupt project timelines. Finally, according to project participants, all three projects were successful in delivering high value and quality to the owners and end-users.

New research testifies to IPD project success in Canada

Image: Tobias Schmucker via Unsplash


Canadian building industry acknowledges IPD as the way forward

The three case studies are only an example, albeit telling, of the potential of IPD in Canada, as acknowledged by many in the Canadian built asset industry, as a significantly improved way forward over traditional project delivery.

This research project emphasized that IPD should become a more widely used and adopted project delivery approach for public bodies in Canada. Challenges remain, though, to make this happen. As such, more research is needed to support IPD’s progression in Canada.


Future research

The study highlighted how IPD can contribute to project success and provided detailed accounts of the processes used to implement it. While this in-depth analysis demonstrated how the various components of the IPD system work together to create a highly conducive environment for project success, it also served to denote and identify certain aspects that can still be optimized to further improve implementation of IPD within the Canadian built asset industry.

As such suggested future research areas include, among others:

IPD adoption and implementation process
Perform in-depth investigations of the overall IPD adoption and implementation process through case-studies to provide more detailed accounts and further understanding for the various mechanisms to be deployed to support this process.

IPD in publicly funded projects
Investigate regulatory and procurement barriers that hinder the use of IPD in publicly funded projects across Canada.
Challenges faced in privately funded projects.

Contract development and implementation process
Evaluate the implementation of different forms of agreement, including the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC 30), and to what extents these agreements meet expectations and what challenges are faced in their development.

Target Value
Perform a broad, cross-case analysis of target value delivery implementation to uncover the challenges, document best practices, highlight avenues for improvement and develop innovative solutions, tools and practices, to facilitate its implementation.

Ensuring team alignment throughout the project
Developing strategies to enable and support alignment of project team members throughout the project, including site personnel and external contract parties.

Collaborative BIM implementation for IPD
Investigate approaches to maximise the benefits of BIM through structured practices in the context of IPD, using industry standards such as ISO 19650.

Procurement practices
Identifying approaches to procure integrated teams in the most effective way.


Upcoming articles

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles looking at the first documented IPD case studies in Canada more closely.

To read more about the research background, methodology, and comparative analysis, download the full Research Report.

Feature image: Martin Adams via Unsplash

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Erik is a professor in the Department of Construction Engineering at the École de Technologie Supérieure and co-director of the Groupe de recherche en intégration en développement durable en environnement bâti (GRIDD). He specializes in the integration and optimization of information flows within value chains in the built asset industry. Erik serves as Vice-Chair of the Quebec BIM Group, is a member of the Board of Directors of buildingSMART Canada and is the Mirror Committee Director of the Standards Council of Canada for ISO Technical Committee 59 - Technical Committee 13 (ISO TC59-SC13). He holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Construction Engineering from École de Technologie Supérieure and a B.Sc. in Architecture from Université Laval. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia.

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