Two years ago, as I was doing some online research for a data center project, I discovered the concept of integrated project delivery. After reading about it for a few minutes, I was thrilled – and was finally able to attach a philosophy and name to the way I like to work.

In essence, integrated project delivery brings all impacted parties to the table at the same time. It’s a process that was created by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) about a decade ago to improve building design, fabrication and construction; it can also be applied to data center design and network architecture planning.

On the surface, everyone likes the concept of integrated project delivery, and agree that projects should be approached in this way. But following this approach is a lot of work: It requires documentation, attention to detail, lots of face-to-face discussion and abundant amounts of communication.

 

What is Integrated Project Delivery?

Instead of working in silos – waiting for one party to complete their part of the project so the next party can come in and complete theirs – the client, architect, builder and other contractors, consultants and partners work together from start to finish to design and deliver the project – whether the “project” is a new facility, a data center redesign or an upgraded network.

The project team agrees to share risks, responsibilities and rewards – it succeeds or fails together. Communication and cooperation reign supreme, and each party provides input on the project design, schedule, scope, budget and overall process.

 

How Does Integrated Project Delivery Work?

At a regular team meeting, let’s say that the architect shares an update: The location for a door leading into the data center needs to be changed. The data center partner, who is present – thanks to the integrated project delivery process – gets to hear this information first hand and shares the impact that moving the door will have on the configuration of the racks inside – which could negatively impact cooling. The team is able to work together on a solution that accommodates the new door location while maintaining density and cooling requirements.

Discussions about how this change will impact the budget and schedule occur with all parties present, and the revisions are completed and approved by the owner or owner-representative in two days. Because all teams were present and able to work together to find a solution, the changes are made early on and the schedule and budget aren’t impacted.

People invested in integrated project delivery understand the revenue component of a project, but revenue isn’t what drives the project. They’re aware of budgets and financial implications, but the first priority is to get the project done on time and done right. Oftentimes, this also leads to a reduction in waste (whether material waste or wasted time and effort), improved interoperability and higher levels of productivity.

 

Benefits of Integrated Project Delivery

Here are a few reasons to consider integrated project delivery for your next data center or LAN project:

  • Everyone is working together toward one shared goal: the end result. Each team member is responsible not only to the owner, but also to everyone else on the team.
  • It can save time. Instead of each contractor using the maximum amount of time allowed per their contract to perform their portion of the project, team members can work together simultaneously and quickly.
  • Problems can be solved early on, with many different solutions presented. Instead of attempting to find the answer to a problem on your own, there are several other team members sitting at the table who are just as invested in finding a workable resolution as you are.

Belden supports the integrated project delivery method, taking every opportunity to work closely with project team members to make sure the end result is a data center that is delivered according to the budget, timeline and expectations set forth.

Putting our heads together with architects, consultants and other industry experts helps us design data centers that reduce costs, maximize space, maintain uptime and are simple to maintain. Learn more here.