Integrated Design Process: what is it and what are its advantages?
An integrated Design Process is the method that allows you to manage projects in an integrated and collaborative way obtaining an optimal performance. Discover the benefits
Quality, functionality, safety, energy efficiency, sustainability… the number of requirements to be met in the design of new construction works is always increasing!
In order to face the challenges of modern construction, it is therefore necessary to develop an effective and functional construction process, which takes into account the interaction between the different factors involved.
The Integrated Design Process responds perfectly to this need by establishing itself as an integrated approach to design, supported by the cooperation between the different professionals involved.
Let’s discover together what the potential of this method is and how the BIM methodology can support integrated project management.
What is the Integrated Design Process
The Integrated Design Process (IDP) is an interdisciplinary design approach based on the collaboration of the parties involved in the process of designing, building and managing a work.
This method is mainly used in the field of green building as it significantly improves the chances of success of high-performance building projects.
Indeed, the active participation of all stakeholders allows to seek optimal, innovative and sustainable solutions, in relation to the entire life cycle of the building.
But in reality the IDP is an extremely flexible approach, so it can be applied effectively in any context, and to any type of project or decision-making process.
Of course, the specific phases and strategies to be adopted will be directly related to the design intent, which not only differs between projects, but also changes continuously with the evolution of the sector.
What are the differences between IDPs and conventional design processes
Traditional design processes have a linear structure that follows an orderly sequence of steps, in which the following operating modes are provided:
- the design disciplines (architecture, structures, systems, etc.) are considered separately, as isolated systems;
- the different figures involved intervene only when necessary and decisions are made by a limited number of stakeholders;
- little time is spent on planning and design activities, with negative repercussions on subsequent phases;
- the optimization possibilities are reduced;
- the process ends with the construction phase of the work.
The Integrated Design Process is in stark contrast to the criteria described above for a number of reasons listed below:
- it rejects linear planning and design processes that can lead to inefficient solutions, and adopts an iterative system that considers the continuous interactions between different sectors;
- it emphasizes the connections between the various disciplines and improves communication between professionals and stakeholders throughout the duration of the project;
- decisions are taken jointly by all participants in the process;
- provides for a greater investment in terms of time and energy in the initial design phase, for better coordination of the subsequent phases;
- increases optimization and minimizes the risks of delays and changes during construction and cost overruns;
- the process continues even after the construction phase of the work, for a more efficient Facility Management.
How to implement an IDP process
To correctly implement an Integrated Design Process, it is advisable to:
- define in advance the objectives to be achieved, in order to avoid changes in future design phases;
- form a multidisciplinary work team, able to seek integrated strategies aimed at improving the overall performance of the project (for example, including construction operators in the design process ensures that their skills are shared, while including end users ensures that their needs are fully met);
- organize charrettes, i.e. workshops (intended as intense periods of planning or design activities) which should be conducted by an experienced facilitator and should include all interested parties (owners, professionals, contractors, etc.). The charrettes offer the opportunity to unify the project team and collect the contribution of all participants, working towards a common goal. In addition, they are essential to develop optimal solutions to design problems and establish time sequences for the completion of the project;
- use modeling and collaboration tools and software to support and strengthen project integration. Among the tools that facilitate efficient decision-making and combine perfectly with the IDP, a key role is taken up by the BIM methodology. Let’s figure out why.
How BIM supports the Integrated Design Process
The BIM methodology is one of the most important support factors for a successful integrated design.
The use of BIM in the IDP, allows indeed to integrate the information coming from the participants in the project relating to the different disciplines, which traditionally operate in distinct phases of the construction process.
In addition to ensuring efficient collaboration between the figures involved (client, designers, builders, end users, maintenance technicians, etc.), the BIM methodology also makes it possible to:
- integrate in a single model the information useful at each stage of the design (architectural, structural, plant engineering, energy, management, etc.);
- consider all the dimensions associated with the project (time, costs, maintenance, sustainability, etc.) and adequately develop all the related processes;
- go beyond the planning and design phase, to manage the entire life cycle of the building;
- ensure high process control through appropriate coordination and validation checks.
To ensure the success of your IDP, try the BIM Coordination software that allows you to facilitate communication with other stakeholders, optimize workflows and improve the overall quality of the project. With a single online and integrated solution you can share data and information, perform clash detection and code checking and coordinate all the activities of your project.
What are the benefits of IDP?
A truly integrated design process helps us to:
- identify conflicts in the preliminary phase of the process, and reduce unforeseen events in the advanced phase of design or during the execution of the work;
- improve collaboration and communication between professionals and stakeholders;
- reduce implementation times and costs;
- ensure greater control of the process;
- increase the chances of achieving the intended objectives;
- increase the efficiency of the construction phase;
- ensuring the correspondence between the project phase and the final result;
- improve the overall quality of the project and obtain optimal performance;
- facilitate the management and maintenance phase of the work.