Is the IPD Contract Enough?


Working on an IPD project, one may think that the structure of the contract alone can produce a successful project. But anyone who has worked a project regardless of contract form knows that the contract only provides a framework for success (or failure). It is the team and how each member functions as such that truly makes a project successful. IPD contains elements that motivate the firms engaged in the process via shared risk/reward and zero-litigation clauses, but individual people make the project happen: what keeps them motivated to perform?

A team that works well together  experiences improved motivation. IPD contributes to motivation by allowing individuals to interact more as a team. Daniel Pink’s theory on motivation states that it comes from “mastery, autonomy and purpose.”

How did this play out on the Marlborough Hospital Cancer Pavilion (MHCP) team? Given the novelty of the project  from the contract, to the integrated use of BIM, to state of the art technology within the building, all members had something to learn. Through this shared learning experience we developed a sense of mastery of the contract, the BIM, as well as the technology. Through the framework of IPD, team members communicated with one  another in ways other contracts would have hampered. For example, the Design Team and Subcontractors discussed submittals face-to-face, shortening the time of turn-around.

The fact that everyone is empowered to do what’s right for the project leads to a sense of autonomy, motivating individual members to do what’s right for the project knowing it benefits the whole. Of course one of the biggest motivating factors for team members is the project itself, an Oncology Center. Knowing that we are building a center focused on the treatment of a disease that affects so many of our loved ones gives us a sense of purpose as we work toward the success of the whole project.

Could this happen in other contract forms? I would say not. There may be levels of motivation and cohesion if we chose another contract type but they wouldn’t be as high. Although IPD in itself doesn’t make the project a success, it allows members to back down from exclusionary and protectionist behavior and allows success via empowering individuals to work in the best interest of the project.



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