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Integrated Design Process (IDP)

A multidisciplinary collaboration, which includes key stakeholders and design professionals, from design concept to completion.

Historically, the conventional design and construction process for institutional buildings involved a series of hand-offs from client to architect to builder. This method presents many opportunities for improvement from initial design to project completion. The Integrated Design Process (IDP) breaks down these traditional silos and provides a holistic or “whole building” design approach.

In practice, IDP includes the active, consistent and organized collaboration among client, architect, engineers, builders, specialists and consultants to stimulate discussion and gather insight to optimize results, value, and efficiency, as well as reduce waste, throughout all phases of the project lifecycle. By building upon the early contributions of key project stakeholders, the success of the project is tied to the success of the team as a whole. The team is guided by transparent processes, principles of trust, collaboration, and the open sharing of information; the team shares as a whole in the risk and reward.

Integrated Design Process Benefits

IDP is built on a trust-based collaboration amongst the main parties involved and encourages focus on project outcomes versus individual goals. It promises improved outcomes with the following benefits:

  • Highlighting potential design enhancements early in the process; these are comparatively easier and less expensive to make versus later in the design process when any change would become increasingly challenging, expensive and potentially disruptive.
  • Sharing of project knowledge and collaboration at the onset of the process, strengthening the team’s understanding of the desired outcomes and improving the ability to control costs, quality, and timelines.
  • Greater efficiencies which result in the reduction of waste during construction, and increase in productivity. When the construction team is included in the design phase it allows for the anticipation of and resolution of any design related issues, a stronger pre-construction plan and improved quality and cost control.
  • The IDP’s integrated and collaborative process provides the best opportunity to achieve increasingly aggressive environmental and sustainability goals in the energy and carbon reduction of complex systems. Governing bodies and rating systems such as LEED encourage this approach.


At Parkin, we have long valued an open and collaborative approach with all key stakeholders. Before the IDP was formally acknowledged as a methodology, we employed what we refer to as an Integrated Team Approach (ITA). This is a variation of Integrated Project Delivery with ongoing facilities management as part of the procurement. The David Braley Cardiac, Vascular Stroke Research Institute is an example of where we decided to proceed with ITA, in collaboration with AMEC, Black and McDonald and EllisDon, with great success. The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

The advantages of both the ITA and IDP over traditional project delivery models are that they include risk-sharing, improved control over capital and operations, enhanced sustainability, and long-term, adaptable environments. The ITA included “pain” and “gain” clauses to encourage all of the parties to work in a collaborative manner to streamline the design and construction process, improving the schedule and keeping tight control over expenditure.

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