Thursday, September 24, 2009

e-Discovery Resources

In our recent webinar on PIM and e-Discovery, entitled Capturing decisions as they're being made: facilitating e-discovery, I promised to provide links to several information resources that I have found useful on the topic of e-Discovery. Please note that some of these resources require you to register to access the materials, but registration is free at the time of this posting. Here they are:

The Sedona Conference is a nonprofit, “research and educational institute dedicated to the advancement of law and policy in the areas of antitrust law, complex litigation and intellectual property rights.” Their Working Group Series are some of the most readable, authoritative resources on the rapidly evolving area of e-Discovery and many other areas at the intersection of law and technology.

Their Jumpstart Outline is a great warm-up on the topic of e-Discovery; it will either reassure you that you have a handle on your record retention and discovery process, or, more likely, scare the hell out of you and motivate you to invest some time and effort. The outline is a sample of the type of questions your organization is likely to receive in the early stages of the discovery process. I suspect it would be intimidating, if you are not properly prepared in advance.

Other useful resources from The Sedona Conference include:

The Federal Judicial Center is where judges go to learn about this stuff, so it is also a very definitive source. The have many papers and other resources re: e-discovery. In particular, the pocket guide to e-Discovery is very readable and useful.

The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) graphic shown in the webinar was developed by EDRM which “develops guidelines and standards for e-discovery consumers and providers.”

The websites of dedicated e-Discovery solution providers are also filled with case studies and whitepapers that you may find useful.

And, of course, there is always…

Coming in late October, 2009.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IPD Essentials: Model-based design

State-of-the-art use of building information modeling (BIM) today encompasses creating a design intent model (e.g. Revit Architecture), a structural analysis model (e.g. Tekla), an energy performance model (e.g. IES), a constructability and quantity take off model (e.g. Vico), a space program model (e.g. Trelligence), a facilities management model (e.g. Archibus), a coordination model (e.g. Navsiworks), and more.

IPD project teams need to embrace the reality and the associated challenges of managing multiple purpose-built building information models (BIMs).

(As a quick aside, the “the great debate” of April 2003, hosted and moderated by LaiserinLetter editor Jerry Laiserin, speculated on the future role of BIM. Wind the clock forward and the vision of a federated project model has prevailed over the alternate concept of a single building model. It is fascinating to observe that while Bentley was promoting the correct vision in 2003, it has been Autodesk that has promoted the most commercially successful product.)

So much has already been written about the now-proven advantages of using BIM that I do not want to regurgitate them here. Suffice to say that BIM and its close relative, virtual design and construction (VDC), are both essential ingredients to achieving integrated project delivery (IPD). In fact, certain IPD contracts actually dictate that the project team must use BIM.

Instead, I want to offer you a different perspective. Adopting BIM is not just about training your staff on how to use a particular BIM system. Rather it is about transforming your firm’s best practices from being drafting- and document-centric to implementing new and still-to-be-refined model-based design processes. What exactly does this entail ? I think as an industry we are all still working out the full meaning of that question, but there are some key lessons that have already been learned that offer great guidance:

  • BIM is not synonymous with IPD – it is only one of 5 Essential Ingredients.
  • Two different approaches – either ‘sharing the model’ or ‘exchanging model views’ – are currently being used each with a different set of pros and cons.
  • The letter “I” is the most powerful part of BIM - should this information be locked into a proprietary file format ?
  • In the world of a federated project model it is important to focus on the purpose-driven exchange of project information between different purpose-built BIMs.
  • Virtual building models allow early prototyping and simulation as additional inputs to the design process.
  • Integrated project delivery remains a function of people, process and tools.
  • Model-based design is not just about geometry, but about arriving at a common understanding of the intersection of disciplines, the interaction of building fabric and systems and the involvement of everyone on the project team.

You are invited to join our conversation as we continue to explore these ideas in future posts on this Newforma Blog and on PIM in the UK, our sister blog authored by Tim Bates.

Monday, September 14, 2009

IPD Essentials: Multi-Partner Agreements

At the 2007 AIA Convention, Jim Bedrick of Webcor Builders, and Tony Rinella, then of Anshen+Allen, delivered what I still consider to be a breakthrough conference session on “Innovative Project Delivery Models.” Together they presented an overview and comparison of the different delivery models being used successfully in other countries such as P3 (public-private partnerships), PFI (private finance initiative), performance contracting and project alliances.

This session was an acknowledgement of the problems and waste in the US construction industry being reported by NIST and a response to the combined voice of building owners who were no longer willing to accept and pay for the litigation, cost over-runs and time delays that result from traditional project delivery practices. Read more on this in our blog entry about how traditional project delivery models have failed, below.

Our extremely fragmented industry has, to my amazement, rallied with a surprisingly unified response with 22 leading industry organizations, (including heavyweights such as AGC, CURT, ASC, ABC, LCI, etc) all endorsing ConsensusDOCS 300 as a new form of IPD contract. Separately, the AIA has published two new forms of IPD agreement – the “IPD Transitional Agreements” and the “Single Purpose Entity (SPE) Agreement.”

From our meetings with Newforma customers, we are also observing a new trend to establish Master Agreements between companies who desire to work together on multiple future projects. The Master Agreement captures all of the terms and conditions, agreed to in advance by both parties, that define a ‘trusted partner’ relationship. The idea being that a short, supplemental agreement can quickly and easily be prepared as necessary to document any other project-specific requirements on a case-by-case basis. Also, based on these Master Agreements, improved IPD work processes can be defined and implemented well in advance of the initiation of a particular project.

What do all these new forms of contractual relationship have in common? Principles include shared risk, shared profit, no disputes, collective obligations, greatly increased collaboration, fast (sometimes unanimous) decision making and everyone being incentivized to attain the design goals of the project. Experience to date (as was shared at the recent IPD Conference) strongly suggests that these principles motivate high performance by project teams, result in a higher quality end-product and generate increased profit for every stakeholder.

Please note, however, that there may also be some potential perils in accepting certain of the contractual liabilities that are contained in these new forms of contract. You should consult your own insurer and legal advisor about how these new agreements intersect with professional liability insurance (regarding negligence) and legal precedent (such as the limited liability of contractors established by the 1918 Spearin Doctrine). An analysis of this intersection by Schinnerer & Company is available here.

Having shared that necessary professional caveat with you, let me now also share my personal view – that Pablo Picasso probably got it right when he said “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” Shocking as it may at first seem, I strongly suspect that it will only be after we let go of legacy concepts like professional indemnity from negligence (in the case of architects and engineers) and limited liability (in the case of contractors) that IPD contracts will fully evolve. Look for future innovation both from Schinnerer (who reportedly is working on a new IPD multi-party policy) and from other insurers (who may offer project insurance to compete).

The bottom line on this topic: accepting greater exposure to risk, and stepping up to be fully accountable for project success as part of a trusted IPD team, can lead to increased reward.

Stand by for our next blog entry in this ongoing discussion, “The 5 essentials of IPD.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Cost of the Status Quo: Traditional project delivery models have failed

The status quo of adversarial contractual relationships, E&OE (errors and omissions exempt) plans and specifications, claims for extras and issue resolution via construction lawyers is captured perfectly by the now infamous ‘change order boat’ image.

But these outmoded practices are slowly being replaced and will (in time) disappear. Little wonder that the use of design-build contracts as grown to more than 40% of non-residential design and construction in the US (up from just as reported by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). This reflects the willingness of a design-build firm to take full responsibility as prime contractor for a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) and a guaranteed delivery date along with the risk of significant penalties for late delivery.

Why ? Because owners are no longer willing to accept the finger pointing, risk avoidance, project delays, cost over-runs and litigation involved in traditional forms of project delivery. Witness the industry whitepapers published by CURT (The Construction Users Roundtable) as well as the results of the FMI/CMAA Annual Survey of Owners.

As a result our industry is finally seeking new and better ways to deliver high quality building and infrastructure projects, on time and within budget, more predictably and more profitably.

Leading firms are experimenting with integrated project delivery (IPD) methods defined by the AIA in their publication called “Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide” as: “A project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction”.

For more about IPD as an emerging mainstream project delivery model, also read our blog entry below called IPD: 5 Essentials for Success.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

IPD: 5 Essentials for Success

Newforma helped sponsor last week’s inaugural IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) Conference hosted by Stagnito Media in Boston, attended by about 80 AEC professionals from 24 states.

The aim of IPD is, of course, to change the status quo! An IPD project team strives to meet seven important goals:

  • Deliver high quality projects on time and within budget.
  • Reduce errors and omissions
  • Invest in better team collaboration.
  • Manage more complex projects requirements (e.g. LEED certification).
  • Remove the “litigation phase” of a project.
  • Redefine traditional (i.e. adversarial) behavior.
  • Greatly improve the predictability and profitability of the project delivery process.

Leading up to this event I was privileged to be asked by Brad Horst, CIO of EYP, to join his panel of industry experts to share any observations distilled from the one-day agenda of presentations and informal discussion. Highlights for me were the project case studies by building owners such as Digby Christian of Sutter Health, John Moebes of Crate&Barrel, and Erin Rae Hoffer of Autodesk, who, together with members of their project execution teams, shared challenges and successes from their early implementation of IPD projects.

What I concluded from listening to the keynotes, attending various breakout sessions and engaging in conversation with numerous other participants is that there are (at least) five essential ingredients that must co-exist to ensure the success of an IPD project:

1. Enter into new forms of contractual relationships such as AIA Docs, AGC Consensus 300, IFOA (Integrated Form of Agreement as used by Sutter Health), etc.

2. Use model-based design that employs multiple special-purpose BIMs.

3. Manage documentation, capture decisions, agree on workflows and streamline processes based upon best practices.

4. Focus on more effective communication, team collaboration and information-sharing with full team visibility. (In short, provide transparency).

5. Build a different project team culture based upon a “trust but verify” relationship model motivated by shared risk with shared reward.

It is our intention of elaborate on each of these 5 essential ingredients for IPD success. Watch for future postings!