Built Environment Leaders Team Up to Educate Importance of Integrated Project Delivery

Major engineering, architectural, and construction firms offer unique summer internship program

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) team of Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc., Cannon Design, and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. wrapped up the second annual collaborative Integrated Skill Development internship program based on the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model. Students from California Polytechnic State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Oregon State University participated in this year’s internship.

A rising trend in the AEC community, IPD is defined as a methodology to reduce project delivery times, improve productivity and redistribute risk to mutual responsibility. The industry-leading program uses IPD as a backdrop to offer its participants an overview of, and insight into, the roles of project team members in the building design and construction industry, and promotes learning from the strengths and perspectives of different professions to build a better team. With an emphasis on educating the future of the industry on the mutual benefits of an IPD approach, the internship program allows students to rotate throughout multiple offices in multiple disciplines in a single summer. The experience is one that provides future engineers, architects, and general contractors the opportunity to better grasp the concept of project delivery as a whole, and an educational foundation that will lead to more successful integration on the industry’s future projects.

The program is the brainchild of Simin Naaseh, SE, president and CEO of Forell/Elsesser, who piloted the program last year. “Students will mimic what they learn in silo-based programs in schools, until they learn differently," says Naaseh. "The ISD program provides an opportunity for the interns to develop a broad and multi-disciplinary knowledge of the design/construction process. They can then be ambassadors of IPD in their respective schools. They will also be willing and knowledgeable participants in IPD in their future careers.”

The interns from Forell/Elsesser, Cannon Design, and McCarthy each spent four weeks at all participating firms. Prior to the interns coming on board, firm leaders discussed the skills needed in potential candidates, as well as the possible responsibilities that would be assigned in each office. A rotation schedule for the interns was created, as well as a shared calendar of events and lectures planned for each office.

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