Tag Archives: Green

IPD and BIM, apples and oranges

Press Release: July 12, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (July 12, 2011) – Confused about integrated project delivery (IPD) and building information modeling (BIM)? As little three letter acronyms and similar concepts, it is easy to use the terms interchangeably or believe one necessitates the other, but this isn’t the case!

As a technology that is built to promote collaboration, and one that requires collaboration to reap the full benefits of its capabilities, BIM works well with the concept of IPD. While IPD can be seen as a guiding philosophy, BIM is an enabling technology. A recent article in The Zweig Letter, ZweigWhite’s weekly management publication, explains some of the differences.

 “It’s really an apples and oranges thing. Integrated project delivery is a process that encompasses contracts and relationships and incentives – a whole variety of things – whereas BIM is simply a technology,” Jonathan Cohen, vice president of Brookwood Group, told TZL. Cohen is also the author of Integrated Project Delivery: Six Case Studies, a work that profiles six completed buildings – varying in size, scale, and geographical location— that were completed using IPD “in as pure a form as possible.”           

“(BIM) is useful in supporting IPD, but no amount of BIM gives you IPD. And it’s possible to do IPD without BIM,” Cohen said.

In its purest form, IPD encompasses an entire project delivery system that is dependent on close and early collaboration between the many stakeholders on a project – from designers to construction companies to utility contractors, and everyone else with a role to play. Perhaps most importantly, it requires an owner who is sold on the value of IPD.

“We feel that lean (construction principles) and IPD – thinking and working as a collaborative team – go hand in hand in driving the delivery system. We definitely feel that BIM is a powerful tool that seamlessly integrates into the process of working collaboratively or tying to eliminate waste,” says Adam Jelen, vice president and district manager for Gilbane Building Company in Providence, R.I., one of the industry’s largest family-owned real estate development and construction firms.

Although he’s seen and documented the benefits of IPD, Cohen doesn’t believe it will make broad and sweeping changes in the industry. “I don’t think it’s going to replace all other forms of project delivery. It’s very suitable for certain types of projects and certain types of clients. And not so suitable for others,” he said.

Owners of one-off projects or projects that fall out of their core business may feel more comfortable with a more traditional delivery method. In fact, the comfort that comes from doing things the way they’ve always been done is one of the bigger factors working against IPD.

“To be able to do this right, people have to be able to put their guard down and people have to trust each other. You have to knock down those barriers. You have to work collaboratively. But I think the reluctance comes from the trust piece,” Jelen says.

BIM has garnered a lot of attention in recent months as the U.S. Air Force, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the General Services Administration all announced BIM requirements will be included in their contracts.

“Just using BIM doesn’t really advance you towards IPD, in and of itself. They want BIM models as a deliverable, instead of drawings. And that’s fine,” Cohen said.

For more information on The Zweig Letter visit www.zweigwhite.com/trends/thezweigletter

Press Contact:
Christina Zweig

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Risky Environment for Environmentally Friendly Construction

Press Release: June 6, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (June 6, 2011) — Construction forensics could help divide the genuine from the bogus when it comes to green and sustainable design, a report from the May 31 issue of The Zweig Letter finds. 

“In green design, the combination of unproven materials and methods, coupled with grandiose, unsubstantiated claims of performance, make for an environment full of risk for the sustainable design professional,” says Bruce Bergman, the principal architect with KPA Associates, Inc. who also provides witness testimony and forensic architecture services.

Brian Hill, editor and publisher of AEC Forensics and a forensic technician with KPA, told ZweigWhite’s weekly management publication that testing components and assemblies to the point of failure provides understanding regarding the limitations of those materials. “The old adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ still very much applies to the built environment,” Hill says.

Litigation often establishes standards, but to date there has not been enough green building litigation to set precedent. Of the nationally publicized lawsuits that KPA is aware of, most claims have not been related to building performance.

Forensic consultant Edward Martinet, president of LiMa Solutions, tells TZL, “This is a market that is fraught with ‘experts’ who aren’t really experts. The more I get into it, the more I realize there are still a lot of cowboys out there, who never designed anything, and whose credentials are questionable,” he says.

The big picture reflects that when you’re pushing the innovation envelope, problems are inevitable. Martinet feels the lawsuits related to green design will center on whether the buildings are meeting established performance criteria. “Those will be ‘expert’ battles; it’s really going to be splitting hairs. There will be some black and white, but in green building, there is a big, fat, gray zone… and it will be a long, ugly, expensive fight,” he says. “But we’ll all be a lot smarter in two or three years.”

For more information visit www.zweigwhite.com

Press Contact:
Christina Zweig

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Design Professionals Grow Leery Of “Green” Promises

Press Release: March 2, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (March 2, 2011) — Legal claims over sustainability promises vs. performance of certified green buildings are beginning to mount—and so are warnings to A/E/P and environmental consulting firms, The Zweig Letter reported in its Feb. 28 issue.

In February, insurance broker and risk management firm Ames & Gough issued warning urging design professionals to consider carefully the contractual language regarding “standard of care” and “scope of services” in addressing projects that pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification.

One of the most critical provisions in any contract for professional design services relates to the standard of care under which the design professional will be required to render its services. In the absence of contract language to the contrary, a design professional will be held to a common law standard of care commensurate with that of other professionals providing the same services to a geographically similar community.

“However,” Manhattan-based construction and real estate attorney Stephen Del Percio told The Zweig Letter, ZweigWhite’s weekly management journal that caters to the design industry, “on a green building project, an owner may seek to hire a design firm specifically because of its sustainable design expertise. Accordingly, it may attempt to hold the design professional to a higher standard of care than that which prevails in the industry. The standard of care has shifted.”

“In the spectrum of liability,” Del Percio continued, “legal challenges to green construction are making people more careful in what they’re promising.”

 Contractual wording that stipulates attaining certain levels of LEED certification and guarantees of specific percentages of energy reduction “can be affected by owner and contractor decisions, or otherwise beyond a design professional’s control,” said Dan Knise, CEO of Ames & Gough.

Performance-based language such as “this design will achieve a LEED Gold rating” or “will reduce operating costs by 50%” in a standard of care provision may be problematic if the insurer believes that the design professional has provided the owner with the equivalent of a warranty or guarantee.

Said Del Percio, since professional liability policies generally exclude coverage for claims arising out of the breach of a warranty or guarantee, owners and design professionals should review language in their construction agreements for provisions that could potentially be construed by an insurer as the equivalent of a warranty or guarantee.


Twice named to the Inc. 500 list of best firms, ZweigWhite is the nation’s leader in enhancing business performance for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. The ZweigWhite team consists of experts in strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, human resources management, finance, marketing, market research, project management and project delivery methods who collectively produce a comprehensive suite of products and services, including advisory, consulting, newsletters, controlled-circulation magazines, industry reports, executive training, business conferences and more covering virtually every aspect of firm management. The firm is headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with additional offices in, Chicago, IL, Durham, NC, and Natick, MA. ZweigWhite is owned by investors Eli Global, BIA Digital Partners and MZ Ventures, with management including Mark Zweig and Ed Friedrichs. For more information, visit www.zweigwhite.com or call (479) 582-5700.


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