New and innovative business models are being developed to better interface the technology areas of engineering, detailing, project management and procurement to lower both steel supply chain risks, cost and delivery times for all stakeholders.

As Design and Construct providers assume an increased share of the market and with increasing pressure on all parts of the supply chain to become more efficient and cost effective, collaboration and teaming have become critically important.
In the context of the steel supply chain, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) refers to the collaborative efforts of all project participants being optimised by closely linking design, steel detailing, construction management and commissioning activities.

IPD is as much a management function as a technical one, dependent on close consultation within project teams, whether on commercial or resource developments. IPD takes in project developers, regional managers, project directors, project controllers, logistics managers, procurement personnel, architects, engineers and detailers in collaborative process integration.

As Design and Construct providers assume an increased share of the market and with increasing pressure on all parts of the supply chain to become more efficient and cost effective, collaboration and teaming have become critically important.
Peter Key – National Technical Development Manager,
Australian Steel Institute

The benefits emerging from such collaboration include fewer requests for information (RFIs), variation claims and delays, vastly improved document management and approval processes and better WHS and environmental solutions, including visualisations for training, inductions, construction sequencing and project scope to anticipate potential site hazards.

This can translate to 10-15 percent cost savings through improved design processes, reduced reviews, fewer rework changes, improved project controls and almost no overruns for any trade.

Dr Peter Key, National Technical Development Manager, Australian Steel Institute.

Whilst not the whole story, modern software facilitates the IPD process by utilising 3D models sharing information to provide the most efficient project outcomes.

For example, the advantage of all parties working from the one 3D model allows architectural and engineering drawings to be updated quicker and more accurately, conflicts to be identified and corrected, and all structural connections to be reviewed and detailed in the model whilst still maintaining one point of responsibility for the total steel package.


Architects mainly engage with the benefits of IPD via Building Information Management (BIM) packages allowing more design alternatives to be investigated through better leveraging models and engaging with the person who knows best about the manufacture of the end-product.

This helps to facilitate better designed buildings with less financial risk and reduced waste, which ultimately benefits the client, the building’s inhabitants, the community and the environment.

The consolidation and streamlining of the overall process has meant the architect’s emphasis is shifting more to focusing on the design intent and managing the overall process, and less on documenting detail, best attended to further along the steel supply chain.


Engineers receive huge benefits to their programs through IPD and the use of BIM, as they no longer need to convert 3D BIM models into 2D drawings to communicate their design intent to the detailers, as this all happens electronically and in 3D.

They no longer need to spend tens of hours reviewing hundreds of printed-out 2D shop drawings as this now all occurs within 3D models and with automatic clash detection. And there are no longer requirements for multiple revision clouds and long winded explanations in revision boxes to keep track of issues.

The 3D models can also contain attributes for improved compliance checking. Visually, steel members that have been approved may come up in a different on-screen colour to those that aren’t, which can then be quickly identified, issues addressed and approved for fabrication.


One of the advantages of the IPD process is its flexibility that allows direct liaison between detail modellers and designer disciplines while designs are still able to be adapted as and when issues are exposed ‘in real time’. Altering the 3D model is far easier than making the changes after detailing is complete.

The RFI process is the bane of project managers in construction, particularly when the pressure is on critical path items like hold down bolts or other early works items. With IPD there may still be questions, but the answers can be practically immediate.

IPD is at its most powerful in the Design and Construct sector. The model that steel detailers develop is referred to as the Integrated Construction Model (ICM). Being able to create the ICM in conjunction with the final stages of design development allows for a very fluid and immediate information flow between stakeholders.

Having this communication with the design consultants minimises the doubt and delay that detailers have had to endure with the traditional process.


The IPD way provides value in implementation of project controls as an enormous amount of engineered data can easily be applied to an established set of unit rates that can be used for all progress reporting of engineering, shop detailing, tendering, procurement, expediting, accounts payable, client monthly claims and construction status.

Standard reports can be generated using one main database for all types of documentation, including scopes of work for tendering, procurement and delivery advice, quality control, RFIs, scheduling updates, work packages for fabrication, installation, commissioning and maintenance activities.

Everything is stored, managed and reported in a single cohesive system that provides disciplined platforms for accurate reporting whilst slashing data entry by up to 90 percent.

All materials are tracked from drawings right through to use onsite. Every nut, bolt and washer is tracked and accounted for.

Commissioning, maintenance and asset management activities can be effectively managed and controlled from the 3D model and central database.

Vendors’ claims and tax invoices can be accurately verified and approved via progress reports and a central database to expedite payment. Project production activities can commence either on-time or ahead of schedule to improve shareholder commercial returns.


Taking advantage of design available implementation guidance based on established standard also facilitates better project information flow.

With the recent publication of AS/NZS 5131 – Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection’, the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has developed the new ‘National Structural Steelwork Specification’ (NSSS) and Standard Drawing Notes.

With implementation of the NSSS or the similar NATSPEC specifications (which are being updated for AS/NZS 5131), the Australian steelwork supply chain has an incredible opportunity to extend the advantages of IPD with a standardised format for project specifications which will result in transparent, consistent and understandable project specific requirements available throughout the procurement chain for structural steelwork.

Download your free copy from The ASI strongly encourages all stakeholders to be part of the solution.■

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