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Integrative planning and building

Potential conflicts can be reduced when specialist planners, builders and architects plan and build hand in hand. Our author Eric Sturm describes how.

Delays, legal disputes and headlines on skyrocketing construction costs not only bother taxpayers, but also planners and builders of major projects: “We want to have more fun building again,” Stephan Hansmann (Landesbetrieb Bundesbau Baden-Württemberg) summed up the approach of integral planning and construction in the “Rethinking collaboration” panel.

Together with Frank Schmid (Staatliches Hochbauamt Ulm), Hansmann presented a first large-scale public-sector project that the Bundesbau (Federal Construction) is integratively planning and realizing as a “multi-party contract model.” For this, builder, architects and specialist planners conclude a joint contract. This “inner circle”, i. e. the project’s key players, jointly defines project goals and identifies risks and optimization potential. Decisions are made together; conflicts are resolved collectively. The remuneration of the parties involved is based on the actual costs incurred. The system additionally offers incentives in the form of profit sharing—if the project progresses optimally. “The goal is a win-win constellation for all parties”, explains Hansmann.

In the event of damage, many stakeholders immediately ask: Who is to blame? But individual offers from “special construction insurers” provide targeted, project-specific insurance solutions, as attorney Michael Halstenberg explained in his presentation, which help to avoid legal disputes and delays in partnership projects.

In such collaborations, deficiencies and risks ideally are significantly reduced through a “partnership on equal terms.” The basis: professional team building, as Dr.-Ing. Carina Schlabach outlined in the panel’s third presentation. Introduced at an early stage, a continuous team-building program and its clear frameworks gives orientation to the participants, is the basis for conflict resolution and creates a working environment that “motivates and satisfies.”

The following discussion emphasized the social and organizational components of integrative planning and building as well, calling for the shared responsibility of all project participants and a change of mentality in people's minds. However, the speakers agreed that this can be achieved. And BIM provides the right technical planning tool for integrative project management.

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