An IPD approach to construction education

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Jennifer MacDonald
Julie Mills


The construction industry worldwide is moving towards more collaborative working practices, such as integrated project delivery (IPD). The era of the Master Builder has passed; modern construction projects are too complex for one person to understand all aspects.  New specialist disciplines are emerging, with experts engaged at earlier stages of the design process. However, this collaborative approach is not reflected in the current education of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals. Students of the separate disciplines are generally educated in isolation from the others. On graduation, they are then expected to be able to work in integrated teams without prior training in multidisciplinary teamwork. This contributes to the poor levels of trust and inadequate information sharing that plague the industry and prevents it from fully embracing the productivity savings that BIM (building information modelling) and IPD promise. Academics of the AEC disciplines also work in isolation, and the same courses are developed from scratch every time a new academic arrives at an institution. This paper proposes an integrated approach to the teaching of AEC subjects, including a framework to assist academics in adapting their existing curricula, and reports on some initial trials carried out in three Australian Universities.

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