Messer has recently put to the test a project delivery method called Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), which uses heavy collaboration between owner, designers and builders to cut down on project costs while maximizing efficiency and quality. In its May issue, the Cincinnati Business Courier outlined Messer’s use of IPD and how its use has impacted two of the company’s large health care projects.

Research has revealed fewer than 100 projects nationwide to use IPD since its inception 10 years ago. Messer first used the method on the Simon Family Tower project at Indiana University Health’s Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. The method proved so effective that it was implemented at Messer’s current work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Location T project, a $180-million, 425,000-square-foot addition to the hospital’s Avondale campus. Location T is slated for completion in the summer of 2015.

Traditionally, an owner hires an architect and engineer to design a building, then brings in a general contractor, like Messer, for the construction portion of the project. The general contractor then uses a mixture of its own workers and subcontractors for the work. For the sake of further detail, the project’s initial designs, or “drawings,” are re-drawn by either Messer or a subcontractor.

“Why is somebody redrawing something that was just drawn?” Messer Health Care Vice President Nick Apanius told the Cincinnati Business Courier.

In IPD, owner, architects, engineers and builders are aligned into a single contract, meaning original designs are done with the input of each party involved, including the general contractor and key subcontractors.

IPD requires a few unique elements. First, key participants who generally come into the picture later – namely the general contractor and key subcontractors – are now involved early in the process. This hashes out problems before they present themselves on site. For example, plumbing and electrical subcontractors can lay out and evaluate the location of their lines during the design stage, instead of when a potential conflict between the two locations arises during traditional coordination or even installation.

Next is the joint sharing of risk and reward through a profit/incentive pool. Since all parties are aligned into a single contract, they manage the project jointly and all split the same profit. For example, a subcontractor’s work and input thus affects all parties involved, instead of only fitting into their contract with the general contractor.

IPD is most often used on large-scale projects – generally more than $50 million. If a project’s size requires a significant use of a subcontractor’s time and resources, the extra planning time is a worthwhile investment.

Because each contributor is giving their insight into the original drawings, Apanius said, everyone’s input will be included in the original drawing. “It allows construction to start sooner and run more efficiently,” he said.