Working in harmony

Why isn’t there more integration as a whole in our industry?



In June, I attended the NFPA Conference and Expo in Boston, and had some great conversations. It looks like the fire and life safety industry is strong, moving forward quickly, and taking note of the recent building trends and events going on around us.


One thing I took note of was the lack of synergy between the fire industry and other industries that our engineers are involved in. A professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and I were discussing the lack of controls manufacturers, elevator companies, and HVAC product manufacturers on the trade show floor.


Why, in this age of tough economic times, would these firms not want to capitalize on some of the biggest challenges to the fire and life safety industry? Why wouldn’t they want to learn about the newest codes and standards under discussion, and chime in where they could? I think that both the conference attendees and the manufacturers could have certainly benefitted by not only learning from each other, but learning about where each other’s systems overlap and synergy can occur.


That brings me to a similar idea based on a few conversations I’ve had recently. Why isn’t there more integration as a whole in our industry? Why don’t more firms—both manufacturers and engineering design firms—bring in their ideas at the most basic level of a building project?


We recently conducted an audience poll online and learned that integrated project delivery, or IPD, hasn’t quite taken off with our readers. According to AIA, "integrated project delivery leverages early contributions of knowledge and expertise through the utilization of new technologies, allowing all team members to better realize their highest potentials while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle." We cover integrated projects often in this publication; a current example is the article on merging HVAC and lighting controls.


So, get out there and show off what you have and what you can do. Figure out where your product or design or idea integrates with others. Become the engineering firm that crosses over multiple disciplines and offers solutions to clients. Write an article for us, telling us what you’re doing. I’d love to hear about your integration projects. E-mail me at arozgus(at)


Here are your responses to a recent poll question:


Q: Are your clients structuring new projects as integrated project delivery (IPD) with a single contract and a single design platform?


I have no familiarity with IPD/don’t know what it is


Not at all


Only occasionally, but much more than 1 year ago


Yes, an integrated project team, but multiple contracts


Yes, most are now IPDs


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