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The AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community (PD) promotes the architect’s leadership role in all project delivery methods by assembling and distributing knowledge and best practices for a variety of project delivery methods, e.g. design-build (DB), integrated project deliveries (IPD), and public-private partnerships (P3).

The 3rd Annual AIA Project Delivery Symposium

  • 1.  The 3rd Annual AIA Project Delivery Symposium

    Posted 05-23-2020 10:20 PM
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    A Prelude to Optimizing Efficiency and Resiliency

    As AEC professionals, we know that there is one constant in business today: change.  Identifying risk and managing change are tricky.  Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, change is being fast-tracked in front of our eyes in a way we have never seen before.  This unprecedented time has risks to the environmental, social, and economic fabrics.  How do we navigate through this crisis?  How do we prepare for the challenges in our industry? 

    The magnitude of the pandemic shock is shifting how we live and how we work; creating a new normal to individuals and organizations.  The digital economy was under way before the pandemic.  How technology is revolutionizing the services we render and the projects we deliver is being integrated into the new normal that is still evolving.  Institutions that reinvent themselves can become nimble to adapt to change and be resilient to absorb the shock.

    Many of us are looking for ways to become more efficient and productiveThe AEC community came together on March 9th and 10th to participate in the AIA Project Delivery Symposium.  The purpose was to gain intelligent project delivery insights and foresights, learn how to work better and collectively emerge to achieve optimum results, to drive innovation and shape our shared future.  To prepare for the changes in our profession, collaborating with the industry champions on innovative methodologies and new technologies are the primary reasons why people attend the AIA Project Delivery Symposium.  

    The AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community (PDKC) Advisory Group conducted the 3rd annual Project Delivery Symposium at the American Institute of Architects Headquarters in Washington, DC.  This year, the symposium served both in-person and remote attendees.  Many chose to participate virtually because of the escalating concerns surrounding COVID-19 just about a week before the White House declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. 

    Thanks to technology!  Interactive workshop, keynote presentations, and collaborative panels were all made possible virtually and the symposium was held successfully.  In case you missed the event, here is the summary of the workshop and symposium.

    Integration through Innovation


    The event started with an interactive workshop to explore the emerging practice models.  It provoked an in-depth discussion of how the practice of design and the process of construction are being driven to innovate and change at an unprecedented pace.  Buildings are becoming ever more complex and Owners are seeking greater performance from them.  They are expecting them to be delivered in tighter schedules, at a higher quality level, and at lower costs.  Our industry is responding with more sophisticated digital tools, automated fabrication techniques, modularization of building components, and more experimentation in contractual relationships among Owners, designers, and builders.  These multiple forces are coming to bear on the nature of the design practice, creating new alliances between visioning and making, and upending the traditional business models of our industry. 

    The Role of Effective Teaming in Managing Risk on Federal Projects

    Opening Keynote

    The opening keynote explicated the impact and risks of the Owner's procurement strategies and project delivery decisions across all types of projects and cited a myriad of case studies on best practices and lessons learned from both successful and less successful projects. 

    The Role of Effective Teaming in Managing Risk – the Designers Perspective

    Session #1

    The first panel discussed where the design risks lie in the design-build delivery model and illustrated how building a high-performance team can collectively and collaboratively mitigate risks and maximize value through integrated design and construction strategies and systems development.  This panel emphasized the importance of choosing projects and partners wisely, collaborative behavior, and the ability to build trust.

    Healthcare Project Delivery Strategy 

    Session #2

    The second panel focused on a team driven healthcare project delivery process.  This panel brought together a diverse ecosystem and shared their knowledge and best practices.  They offered their insights into the future of healthcare project delivery and spoke about their 'Project Guiding Principles' and lessons learned from an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method.  The panelists presented PennFIRST Inpatient Pavilion as a case study to highlight the value proposition of innovative tools, including pre-fabrication, to mitigate risks and overcome challenges.

    This segment also presented the value-added services of digital transformation to support energy management and enhance patient care.  Smart Building operation requires infrastructure that work together efficiently so that ORs, ICU's, Emergency Rooms do not fail to function.  Integration of various building systems yields the flexibility and connectivity to support adaptability to technology changes and upgrades.  Improved transparency and collaboration are imperative to boost building reliability. 

    Design Collaboration through Technology 

    Session #3

    The third panel explored topics on design-assist, innovation, and pre-fabrication.  This panel gave insights to how these solutions bolster productivity and help accelerate project schedules.  Using technology in integrated delivery methods can streamline shop documentation, fabrication processes, minimize uncertainty, and increase trust.

    Optimizing Success: Tools & Tactics 

    Session #4

    Another highlight of the event is the presentation on tools and tactics to help architects achieve their goals.  Last November, my committee got a green light from the AIA to partner with Dodge Data Analytics on a research project.  The research outcome was presented for the first time at the symposium.  During this session, the presenter demonstrated an actual case study of a hospital project with program and cost models produced using the Building Catalyst – a tool that dramatically simplifies the pre-construction process while increasing certainty of project outcomes.  The presenter shared how automation is applied to program, design, cost integration in real-time during planning and design.

    Delivering the Future: Transform and Start Making Friends

    Closing Keynote

    The symposium was fast-paced, informative, and fun.  Before we knew it, it was time for the closing keynote.  The speaker stimulated a discussion about the modern project delivery landscape.  One of the dynamics is that Owners expect near perfection and the simplest of projects requires a sophisticated team of professionals fulfilling roles that are evolving.  Modern project delivery demands collaboration and teams with laser focus on the specific measures of project success.


    As the chair, I thank the AIA for the privilege to lead the Project Delivery Knowledge Community.  I am grateful to the prestigious PDKC Advisory Group for their contributions in organizing such an important event.  I thank the program sponsors for their support and the AIA Knowledge Community partners.  Most of all, I am grateful for having all speakers offered peer-to-peer connection, learning, insights, and inspirations.  Their expertise and knowledge on navigating project delivery illuminated methods and resources that add value for our profession to thrive. 


    With COVID-19 setting off uncertainties, the effects of the symposium are proving even more significant as the pursuit of efficiency gives way to the requirement of resilience.  As professionals, we need to prepare for the future by understanding how technology, economics, and new project delivery methods are changing our role in the building industry.

    The pandemic revealed not only vulnerabilities but also opportunities to improve the performance of project delivery.  Adopting technology is being accelerated and now becoming a rule over exception to drive productivity.  Together, let's make our industry more resilient to pandemic shock and black swan event and better able to deliver projects to our clients.


    In these unprecedented times, it is important to pause and reflect upon our role in the society and the world as a whole.  How can we support the industry and the community?  Members of the PDKC Advisory Group have donated time, talent, and resources to help our profession advance project delivery and become more resilient in the future.

    In recent months, our lives have been dominated by COVID-19.  I share the sorrows of those who have lost their loved ones.  My thoughts are with everyone who has been suffering and affected by the pandemic and for those public servants on the front line trying to manage the health crisis response as best as possible. 


    2020 Project Delivery Symposium: Delivering the Future Agenda

    Grace Lin, AIA
    Chair, AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Leadership Group
    Senior Project Manager, CBRE
    Adjunct Professor, Columbia University


    Apply for the Upjohn Research Initiative 2022! 15 to 30 thousand dollar grants for research on this year's theme. Click here to learn more!