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As the American Institute of Architects endorses a concept known as Integrated Project Delivery, architects especially are re-evaluating their roles and how the chain works.
Through IPD, key participants such as builders, contractors, suppliers and architects begin working together from the conceptualization of a project through completion. It is a vertically integrated project team that would also design a life-cycle vision. The key participants are bound together as equals, according to AIA, with a shared financial risk and reward based on the project's outcome.
"Building suppliers become more critical," said Jeffrey Murray, a design principal and director with IDC Architects, an international architectural firm. "The value that suppliers provide on the research side is critical. We're not scientists. We bring a different perspective as architects. How do we get suppliers involved early? Oftentimes, it's difficult. There is a lack of loyalty when it comes to bid time."
So Supplier A theoretically could provide a critical role during the research phase but then lose out on the project to Supplier B during the bidding process. That risk is daunting.
Still, Murray said there is a benefit for a given supplier getting involved early and may bode well for it during the bidding process.
"If they understand the project [and the issues], they have an advantage," he said.
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