Critical to building an effective integrated project delivery (IPD) team are elements that include compatibility, experience and trust, and these must be at the individual team-member level, not just at the firm level.

While the IPD process can be documented and taught, the best published manuals and guidelines cannot address all the variations in situations, challenges and solutions that will appear in actual project conditions.

An owner must focus on selecting team members who can demonstrate the functional experience and knowledge of the IPD process and possess the attitude and passion for continuous process improvement. Members of an IPD team also must have the ability to seek mutually beneficial outcomes for all project team members and have a heart for serving the project’s best interests first and foremost.

Owners should first evaluate whether they want to select a single, pre-integrated team or choose the various team members individually and “marry” them together. There are many schools of thought on this subject, and all have merit.

Soliciting and selecting a pre-integrated team offers the advantage of employing a team that has worked together previously and already has gelled — one that can bring a collective experience to the project; however, it runs the risk that the owner will not have input into specific team members. Selecting the project architect, engineer, builder and other team members separately gives the owner a better chance to select the best in class for each discipline but increases the risk of incompatibility among team members who may not have worked together before.

There is no single best-always approach to forming an integrated team, other than starting the process by identifying the project’s overarching goals, objectives, constraints and desired outcomes, and letting those factors dictate the most desirable approach.