University of Michigan North Quad
Integrated project delivery profile
Owner: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
AE Firm (Executive Architect, Structural Engineer, MEP Engineers): EYP Architecture & Engineering, Albany, N.Y.
Design Architect: Robert A. M. Stern Architects, New York, N.Y.
Geotechnical Engineer: Soil and Materials Engineers, Plymouth, Mich.
Construction Manager: Walbridge, Detroit, Mich.
Steel Fabricator: Art Iron, Toledo, Ohio
Steel Detailer: Universal Detailing, Lansing, Mich.
EYP Architecture & Engineering adopted threads of integrated project delivery (IPD) for a project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Opened for the beginning of the fall 2010 semester, the North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex consists of a $175-million building complex occupying 360,000 sq ft. The North Quad’s seven-story academic and 10-story residential towers connect in a series of classrooms, offices, study centers, and TV studios beneath a plaza between the towers.
The team embraced many elements of IPD to improve communication and the dissemination of information. For example, AutoDesk’s Revit BIM software was used to create a 3-D representation of the structure. In addition to benefiting from automatic column schedule and braced frame generation provided by this software, the Revit model was also imported into Computers & Structures Inc.’s ETABS software for analysis and design by the structural team. Furthermore, the model was provided to the steel detailer as a reference for the SDS/2 steel detailing model, and designs of heavy members were released early to align with mill rolling schedules coordinated with the fabricator.
The threads of IPD for the North Quad project were fueled by the use of BIM, a far clearer medium of communication for design collaboration. Although paper shop drawings were still produced, one concept realized during this project is how model-based exchange of information differs from paper-based. In several instances, requests for information (RFIs) came from the fabricator in the form of 3-D PDFs generated from its detailing software. The team was able to manipulate these images, rotating them in all directions to understand how the connection components came together—a much more robust exchange of information than a written, paper RFI.
The North Quad team concluded that IPD is more than just a unified modeling approach; at its core it is a fundamental step forward in how parties interact and are bound together. While advances in technology that allow even better information exchange between designer and fabricator have emerged in the time since the North Quad project, the core characteristics that enable IPD have not changed significantly.
The essential glue of IPD is trust, and the shared goal of all parties is the project, not the individual welfare of any firm. A true IPD contract binds the three main parties (owner, architect/engineer, and builder) as well as other parties, such as subcontractors, into a single agreement where everyone shares profit and reward for a successful project. Until we can realize such an advanced relationship, capturing threads of IPD will help gradually weave a rich fabric of teamwork and collaboration.