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Integrated Design

Process Guide
By Alex Zimmerman, A.Sc.T.

The intent of this guide is to explain the numerous advantages of "We need to use a new
the Integrated Design Process (IDP); to provide enough information collaborative integrated design
to start applying it to your design projects; and, to help you find process that can create new
additional useful sources of IDP tools and information. approaches and tools, and
beautiful environments that
After reading this article you will: can restore social, economic,
 Understand what IDP is and how it is different from traditional and environmental vitality to
approaches; our communities."
— Bob Berkebile, BNIM, Kansas
 Understand the benefits of IDP and why it is critical for achieving
City, one of the world’s most
sustainable design; respected green architects
 Understand how to generally structure an IDP process;
 Understand who needs to be involved, when and why;
 Understand key success factors to apply IDP; and
 Be able to find additional tools and resources to apply IDP.
Integr ated Design Process Guide

IDP—What is it?  Inclusive—everyone, from the owner to  Iterative—to allow for new information
the operator, has something critical to to inform or refine previous decisions.
Integrated Design Process (IDP) was used contribute to the design and everyone
in the early 1990s, by Canada’s C-20001  Non-traditional expertise—on the
must be heard.
program and IDEAS Challenge2 team, as needed, or brought in at
competition to describe a more holistic  Collaborative so that the architect is not non-traditional times to contribute
approach to building design. This design simply the form-giver, but more the to the process.
process has been shown to produce more leader of a broader team collaboration
Sustainability is one of the most important
significant results than did investment in with additional active roles earlier in
issues facing human society today. The
capital equipment3. There is now no single the process.
challenges as they relate to buildings are
“right” definition for IDP. Rather, IDP  Holistic or systemic thinking with the complex and the solutions are not simple.
describes a different, intentional way of intent of producing something where Framing the challenge in terms of
approaching sustainable building and the whole is greater than the sum of motivation and means is one way of
community design that offers a much the parts, and which may even be clarifying our thinking. Motivation
higher likelihood of success than any more economic. proceeds from a source or ground, towards
other approach. a goal. The means require some tools and a
 Whole-building budget setting—allows
There are an increasing number of direction to apply them. The tetrad in
financial trade-offs, so money is spent
practitioners of IDP. Each has a different, Figure 1 illustrates these ideas.
where it is most beneficial when a
and valid, perspective on how to do it, holistic solution is found.
based on their experiences and practices.
Most would agree that there are common
elements to every definition.
Why IDP—Getting to What is Important
 Goal-driven with the primary goal D I RE CT I O N
being sustainability, but with explicit (compass)
subsidiary goals, objectives and targets
set as a means to get there.

 Facilitated by someone whose primary

role is not to produce the building

design or parts of it, but to be

accountable for the process of design. GRO U N D GO AL
(source of (vision)
 Structured to deal with issues and motivating force)
decisions in the right order, to avoid
locking in bad performance by making
non-reversible decisions with
incomplete input or information.

 Clear decision-making for a clearly I N S T RUM E N T

(means for transformations required
understood methodology for making
to move towards goal)
decisions and resolving critical conflicts.
tetrad idea by Pamela Mang
Figure 1 – Goals and Direction of IDP

NRCan’s C-2000 program supporting advanced, energy-efficient commercial building design.
IDEAS Challenge design competition for multi-unit residential buildings, CMHC.
Ibid, C-2000 program

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Inte gr ate d De s ign Pr ocess Guide

Motivation and demolition account for a significant The Natural Step principles are the “system
share of the problem—about 30 per cent conditions”8 that society must embrace to
The Ground: Sustainability of the energy use and 38 per cent of the be sustainable.
Imperative greenhouse gases in Canada.5 Buildings are
In the sustainable society, nature is not
the source of about 40 per cent of all subject to the systematic increase of:
A host of ecological impacts resulting from
waste6 worldwide. As building designers, we
human activity, have produced ecosystems 1. concentrations of substances
have both an opportunity and a
degradation that directly threatens our extracted from the Earth's crust
responsibility to do something about it.
society. In the words of the UN’s
2. concentrations of substances
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,
produced by society
competed in 2005: The Goal: A Sustainable
3. degradation by physical means
We are spending Earth’s natural capital, Society
putting such strain on the natural 4. in that society, people are not subject
A sustainable human society has been
functions of Earth that the ability of to conditions that systematically
imagined in many ways. One of these is
the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future undermine their capacity to meet
generations can no longer be taken the definition of sustainable development their needs.
for granted. in the Bruntland Report, Our Common
Future (1987) as “development that meets Together, the Bruntland definition and The
At the same time, the assessment shows Natural Step Framework system conditions
the needs of the present without
that the future really is in our hands. provide the sustainable development goal
compromising the ability of future
We can reverse the degradation of
generations to meet their own needs.” that buildings must strive to reach.
many ecosystem services over the next
50 years, but the changes in policy and While the Bruntland definition provides a Other decision-making tools for
practice required are substantial and high-level vision, more is needed to apply sustainable community development
not currently underway.4 the concept. Basic principles for social and include “Smart Growth” and the “One
This is a report worth taking the time to ecological sustainability, based on physics, Planet Living” frameworks.9
read to understand the scope and scale of have been articulated by the science
the global challenge. Closer to home, community and are captured in a
building design, construction, operation framework known as The Natural Step.7

UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005,
Based on direct energy numbers from Energy Use Data Handbook, 1990 and 1995 to 2001 June 2003, NRCan and an estimate of the fraction
of energy uses from other sub-sectors that are attributable to buildings
Lenssen and Roodman, 1995, Worldwatch Paper 124: A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are Transforming Construction,
Worldwatch Institute – numbers for Canada not available
9 and http:///

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Integr ated Design Process Guide

Opportunities for Change
The Direction: Green Buildings and the Design S equence
Rating Systems
Beyond Bruntland and The Natural Step, a
strategy for achieving sustainability goals is
still needed. We can develop strategies by C o s t to C h a n g e
imagining future success and then take the
actions needed to get there.

In the building industry, much preparatory

P o te n tia l S y n e rg ie s &
strategy work has been done by the various
S a v in g s
green building rating systems and energy
and environmental assessment methods.
These systems categorize and detail the Programming Schematic Design Construction Occupancy
impacts, actions and indicators required at Design Development

a building level. LEED® Canada,10 Green

Figure 2 – BC Hydro, IEA Task 23 and others
Globes, Go Green and other rating systems
give us the compass we need as we steer
towards sustainability, and as they are Benefits of Integrated IDP provides the biggest payoff at the
refined over time, they will become more beginning of the development curve. The
effective. And, as we work to refine our
Design IDP kickoff session should bring together
building practices, our buildings will also Protecting the world is a necessary and everyone who can make a difference,
become more sustainable. laudable goal, but there other much more contributing in a structured way, in
immediate benefits to making use of IDP response to the program and in support
The Instrument: Integrated on your projects. of the sustainability goals. Although this
Design Process as a Tool: might seem like a blinding flash of the
Better Designs/Better Buildings obvious, most projects don’t structure their
Even with rating systems and energy design
development and design processes to
tools spelling out the actions needed to Everyone wants to build better buildings
actually take advantage of the Integrated
proceed, it is still not always clear where to more efficiently at less cost, particularly the
Design Process.
start and what tools to use. IDP is one of client. Intuitively, we know that the
the best tools we have to help define the greatest opportunity for making changes to
most appropriate design path. It provides a design at the least cost happens early on.
the means to apply the design strategies This is illustrated by a curve that looks
and move society towards sustainability, something like Figure 2, where the
one project at a time. opportunity to make changes decreases
significantly and the costs to change design
concepts increase dramatically as the
processes advance.


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Material BUILDINGS Solid

and Water

Environment as warehouse of resources . . . and a sink for wastes

Figure 3 – Standard Process—Buildings as Transformers of Resources into Wastes Credit: Rodney McDonald

Institutional Policy to perform energy studies and it is about to

launch a program to promote IDP. “The key to our success
Governments, utilities and many clients
want you to use IDP. Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas with these projects is what
in Ontario jointly offer a Design Assistance architects and engineers call
Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) the Integrated Design Process”
Program13 that provides a fixed incentive
Commercial Building Incentive Program
for design activities that improve your MEC website,
(CBIP)11 is expressly designed to provide
building’s energy and environmental
monetary assistance to owners and design
performance. Enbridge also has a New
teams to enable them to spend the time to
Building Construction Program that Green Buildings BC, a program that
implement integrated design on your
provides incentives for adding some provided tools and resources to help B.C.
projects. This program grew out of
efficiency measures. education and health care agencies build
experience that NRCan had in the 1990s
with C-2000, a demonstration program. Mountain Equipment Co-op, which has green buildings, recognizes the value of
The experience was that some additional built some of the most progressive green IDP in its Guide to Value Analysis and the
design expertise was needed, but that most buildings in Canada, seeks to improve Integrated Design Process.15
building performance gains came from a performance with each new store and Clients who do not explicitly ask you to
change in the process, and the most requires its design teams to utilize IDP. use IDP likely would do so if they knew
successful projects employed the IDP. It was key to achieving the impressive the value that IDP and green design could
performance these buildings have add to their projects.
Several utilities have programs that support
demonstrated to date (LEED Gold, MEC
IDP. BC Hydro has its High Performance
Winnipeg, C2000, MEC Montréal)14.
Building Program12 that provides co-funding

14, About Us, Sustainability, Green Building Program

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Integr ated Design Process Guide

Sustainability In the 2005–2006 season (the fifth), three-day sustainable design conference in
Sustainable Design for Canadian Buildings, Sheperdstown, W.Va., in 2006, with one
Green buildings are characterized by
SDCB 205, RAIC’s cross-country, day devoted to process, in which IDP
performance improvements in a wide range
continuing education course, was entitled features prominently.
of areas, such as reduced site disturbance,
“Green to Green: Opportunities for more
minimal non-renewable resource The implication is clear—if you don’t
Energy-Efficient Building Retrofits.” It
consumption, minimal emissions to water become competent at IDP, you will be left
focused on integrated design. Similar or
and air, and maximal quality of the indoor behind your competitors.
related courses on sustainable design will
environment, as well as providing building
likely continue to be offered.
flexibility and adaptability, generally at no Personally Rewarding
or minimal cost increase. Competitive Advantage One of the unanticipated benefits that I
Conventional design processes are generally have witnessed in integrated design
An advantage of using IDP for design
incapable of delivering all of these goals at processes is that it is just plain fun. IDP
firms is reputation. Once competent at
once. Integrated design has a history of sessions are generally challenging, creative
IDP, architects will be able to deliver better
being able to do so. and personally rewarding. By setting
projects more consistently than their
“stretch goals” and finding novel ways to
competitors. As a design professional, it
Your Association Suppor ts IDP will enhance your reputation, which will
reach them, creativity is unleashed in ways
that conventional design rarely allows for.
In a 2003 study16 carried out for several not only bring more business, but higher-
I have seen battle-weary professionals
architectural associations, including RAIC end business. An enhanced reputation also
become enthusiastic at what they can do
and OAA, one of the key findings on makes recruiting and retaining new talent
in this context. People rediscover why they
sustainable design in Canada17 was: easier. Most of the leading-edge
joined the profession in the first place.
architectural and engineering consultancies
Integrated Design Process (IDP) is
that have gained a reputation for delivering
essential for effective management of
the sustainable design process to ensure sustainability using the IDP do very little
that efficient coordination is maintained recruiting. The best and the brightest seek “Integration is more than just
and that overall project and design them out. having all the designers around
costs are minimized. Several sustainable a single table.”
The future of building design is found in
design evaluation and assessment
IDP. A recent search of the American – CANMET Energy Technology
systems require the use of IDP due to
Institute of Architects website for “IDP” Centre, Buildings Group website
the benefits derived from working in
a collaborative setting at the outset of turned up 481 hits. AIA’s Design and
the project. Environment committees sponsored a

By McGill Business Consulting Group
Succeeding by Design, A Perspective on Strengthening the Profession of Architecture in Ontario and Canada, November 2003,
McGill Business Consulting Group

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How is IDP Different? Remember, because you started this process These goals and targets need to be clearly
really early on, you get to ask these questions. articulated, written down and kept front
There is no single element of integrated In some cases, the best answer for your and centre as the design progresses. They
design that is revolutionary. Rather it is the client might not result in a new building serve as reference points as the detailed design
sum total of all of the elements and what project this time, but the added value to develops or if conflict arises between goals.
the team does with them that differentiates your client by doing the right thing
IDP from conventional design. IDP differs enhances the relationship, your reputation Facilitated
in intention and emphasis from and will likely result in repeat business.
conventional design. The primary role of the facilitator is not to
From there the team moves on to specific produce the building design or parts of it,
Let’s look at the objectives in more detail. environmental goals. These can be derived but to be accountable for the process of
I’ll follow these with an example of how from rating system categories, but they integrated design. This is of course the key
some of these come together in practice. should include fixed targets for: to good facilitation of any kind. The
facilitator allows the team participants the
Goal-driven  Reduced site impacts;
mental space to do what they do best—
The big-picture goal is incorporating  Reduced off-site impacts, such as in this case green design. The degree of
sustainability into the project, but it is stormwater runoff, greenhouse gases or process intervention or direction will
necessary to set explicit subsidiary goals, other emissions; depend on the skill of the group, with an
objectives and targets as a means of inexperienced group typically needing
 Reduced energy and water more direction than a practiced group.
breaking the goal into manageable pieces.
These are best framed in performance; not Can you, as design architect, act as
prescriptive, terms and will then form the  Improved indoor environmental quality facilitator? First, a facilitator requires
basis for strategies to achieve them. and thermal comfort, contributing to certain communication abilities and
human health; attitudes for exploring ideas with the team
These goals are set with the entire project
team involved and must include the client.  Increased construction waste diversion and draw out ideas. Therefore, although
The idea is to get commitment, not and recycling, material reuse and the lead design architect can act as the
compliance, from everyone involved. recycled content; facilitator, it is generally not a good idea, as
People support what they help create. you are wearing two hats—and probably
 Improved durability, longevity and neither very comfortably. Why make the
The first goal is a review of the project maintainability. process more difficult than it needs to be?
brief against the list of client needs. Is this
IDP, because of its inclusionary nature, is The facilitator can be someone else in the
the best location from an environmental
also a useful way to develop goals for social lead architect’s office or it can be someone
point of view? Is a new building actually
values, although there is little consensus in brought in from the outside, who
required or would a major renovation be
the building industry generally on how to specializes in green building facilitation.
more appropriate?
deal with social issues at a project level, unless The key is the difference in primary roles.
they are an explicit part of the program.

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Integr ated Design Process Guide

Structured tenders closed. In the end, there were brought in as needed. Energy modellers are
negligible cost savings and the operating also important in showing the energy costs
There is a generally recognized order to
cost was also higher for the tenants. Had related to particular design scenarios
dealing with design and sustainability
IDP been employed, the owner would have compared to others.
issues in IDP. The reason that we need to
understood that the system was optimized
deal with issues and decisions in the right Non-traditional exper tise
for the lowest total cost.
order is to avoid locking in bad performance
by making non-reversible decisions with Technical aspects of the design may require
incomplete input or information. expertise that the core team does not
“IDP is everyone, every issue, possess. A daylighting modeller can
For instance, mechanical engineers may early on” quantify daylight contribution that can
come up with very sophisticated air lead to changes in switching design. An
conditioning designs to deal with cooling – Bill Reed, Integrative Design
appraiser can calculate improved
loads, but if those cooling loads are three Collaborative
development residuals resulting from green
times what they need to be, due to huge design. A site ecologist can be included for
amounts of unshaded, low-performance constructed wetland design.
glazing in the wrong orientation, the
improvement in energy performance will Inclusive
be marginal and the cost will be higher. Everyone, from the owner to the operator, “It is not possible to do creative,
By contrast, if architects quantitatively has something critical to contribute to the progressive sustainable design
understand at the concept phase the improved function or performance of the without a strong, like-minded,
impact of that glazing on performance design and everyone must be heard. integrated design team.”
and cost, they are in a better position to Having said that, there are about two
come up with alternatives. – Peter Busby, Busby, Perkins
dozen actors involved in the design and + Wills
Also, in most IDP, the design time is construction of every building, from
distributed differently. More time is spent gleam-in-the-eye through to operations,
upfront, but because the quality and and it sometimes is just not practical to
Other non-buildings-related expertise may
completeness of decisions taken are better, have everyone in the room at all times on
be helpful. For example, one successful
less time is required later, especially by the every issue.
recent green building project designed for
engineers on the design team, to re-design In addition to the usual design team, the an inner city brought in a university
and to correct for mistaken assumptions. core team that needs to be engaged at all student working on a thesis about social
For example, on one conventionally times should include, at a minimum, the interactions in the city’s core, which helped
designed project I am aware of, the owner building owner or owner’s agent, the respond to the organization’s intention to
switched glass types during construction, design facilitator, a cost consultant, an have the building support local community
based on an offer from the contractor, in energy simulator and, if the procurement life. Another example of new expertise
the belief that the new glass would save process allows it, a general contractor or helping the design team to explore
money. Unfortunately the cheaper glass contract manager. Representatives of user alternative design issues is demonstrated by
also had lower thermal performance in groups and the facility managers are critical the Seville Theatre Redevelopment Project:
both heating and cooling seasons, which to improved design and should also be Integrated Design Process.
necessitated re-design and upsizing of the invited. Other specialists in particular
mechanical systems at a premium after technologies or relevant issues can be

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Collaborative synergies. When this is done right, you get This is not the best way to get the least
something where the whole is greater than cost building overall. As Amory Lovins has
One of the principal differences of the
the sum of the parts, and it may even be pointed out, “Optimizing components in
process is that the architect is not simply
cheaper. The example at the end of this isolation tends to pessimize the whole
the form-giver, but an active participant in
section illustrates a common way this system—and hence the bottom line”.18
exploring alternative ideas within a broader
is achieved.
team of experts who play active roles earlier A green building design based on holistic
in the process. thinking will not likely cost more overall,
but the costs may be distributed differently
“Optimizing components in than costs based on a traditional design
“Everyone is a co-learner in isolation tends to pessimize approach. Costs get transferred from some
the process” the whole system—and hence components to others. Budgeting must be
the bottom line.You can done in a way that allows the movement of
– Bill Reed, SEFC IDP Workshop, actually make a system less money to where it does the most good
April 2006
efficient, simply by not properly when a holistic solution is found. This
linking up those components. If flexibility should also extend to the
they’re not designed to work determination of the professional’s fee
In particular, there is joint problem-solving
with one another, they’ll tend structure, which will be discussed later.
and joint decision-making rather than team
to work against one another.”
members simply taking their assignments Iterative
away to work on and bringing them back – Hawken, A. Lovins, H. Lovins,
to be re-integrated. It has been proposed by Natural Capitalism The traditional phases of the building
some that IDP could be equally called design process, pre-design, schematic
integrated decision-making. design and development, don’t disappear in
IDP. What does change however is how the
Holistic or systemic thinking Whole-building budget setting work gets done in each phase and how
team moves from one phase to the next.
The old Zen saying that everything is As design professionals, we are pretty good
The IEA Task 23 guideline document19
connected to everything else is never truer at knowing what our piece of the design
describes these intermediate workflows as
than when designing for sustainability. “should” cost. We carry these rules of
“iterative loops,” shown in Figure 4.
The goal is to optimize the building’s thumb around but they are usually not
performance by considering all of the based on whole building optimization. The team repeatedly reviews and refines
building components and subsystems They also tend to be the basis for value- ideas to resolve problems at whatever scale
together and their interactions, to achieve engineering individual components. is appropriate, at each phase of design. A
key aspect is to allow new information to
inform or refine previous decisions.

Natural Capitalism, Hawken, A. Lovins, H. Lovins, 1999, Little, Brown & Company
“Integrated Design Process — A Guideline for Sustainable and Solar-Optimised Design,” 2003, International Energy Agency, Task 23, Optimization of
Solar Energy use in Large Buildings, Subtask B, Design Process Guidelines

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Integr ated Design Process Guide

heating is not required to maintain cold

Specialists Input
weather comfort or the window properties
are able to reduce overheating in summer?
Iteration Now you have gained back at least an extra
six inches of leasable space around the
building perimeter, saved energy costs and
have more satisfied occupants. These
Tasks Results measures can increase the client’s rate
of return—again paying for the
Iteration improvements in envelope performance.

Any one of these improvements, if looked

© sol idar, Dr. G Löhnert
Influences at in isolation, would not be considered
affordable. Savings like this will not be
Figure 4 – Iterative Loop
realized unless there is an integrated process
where the mechanical and structural
It is also important to follow through Typically, high-performance glazing costs
engineers, energy modeller and likely the
on the iterations in the IDP process by more than standard glazing that satisfies
cost consultant and property management,
explicitly identifying subsequent IDP tasks the Code requirements, and so it is rarely
are all sitting down very early on with the
and group meetings, interwoven with the specified. What happens if that high-
architect and talking about building
overall project schedule. If this is not done performance, solar-control glazing reduces
envelope and its impacts on other systems.
upfront, it is too easy for the design team to the air-conditioning load enough that the
Without the dialogue at an early stage, no
revert to familiar, business-as-usual, linear mechanical system duct size can be reduced
system will be supportive of any other
design processes after the excitement and significantly? Now the structural beams can
system and the synergies won’t be captured.
energy of the initial kickoff charrette begins be reduced in depth, and floor-to-floor
to wane. An explicit IDP process schedule height can be reduced. Mechanical, These are some examples of synergies, but
is a key tool to managing the IDP process. structural and cladding costs have come nearly every project will reveal other
down—perhaps enough to pay for the opportunities. Improvements like this are
An Example of Oppor tunity high-performance glazing. If the building more affordable if done together than if
for Synergies—“Tunnelling is tall enough, perhaps an extra floor done separately. Amory Lovins of the
Through the Cost Barrier” can be added while still fitting under Rocky Mountain Institute, first identified
height restrictions. this possibility which he calls “Tunnelling
How do these elements come together
on a project? We often hear talk about Through the Cost Barrier,” as shown in
What happens if the better glazing and
“capturing synergies” with integrated Figure 5.
insulation improve wall and window thermal
design but what do we really mean? Let’s properties enough that perimeter radiant
look at a common example.

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What does an IDP

Capturing Synergies with Integrated Design
process look like?
Cost-effectiveness Limit Synergy! At the beginning of this article, it was
pointed out that there are a number of
different practitioners of IDP, each with a
different perspective on how to carry it

out. A number of people and organizations


have identified the steps involved in

applying IDP to a design. It may be useful
Incremental to summarize three different approaches.
Options Links are provided to explore the details of
Net Total each of these.
-$ Cost Reduced
The 3 are

1. The approach by Nils Larsson of

“Tunnelling through the Cost Barrier” A. Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute
International Initiative for Sustainable
Built Environment (iiSBE).
Figure 5 – Tunnelling Through the Cost Barrier
2. The Integrative Design Collaborative20
Nils Larsson, iiSBE Approach approach by Bill Reed.
Figure 6 is a graphical representation of the applied iiSBE process. 3. The process definition developed at
national workshop held in Toronto
in 2001.21

In addition, IEA Task 23 has published quite

a detailed guideline and accompanying
software22 that are also useful tools. The
Task 23 web link is

Design Process
courtesy of Nils Larsson, iiSBE
Figure 6 — Graphic Showing the IDP Process

Managing the Integrative Design Process; PDF of Presentation Graphics - PowerPoint images from the Workshop,
The Integrated Design Process: Report on a National Workshop held in Toronto in October 2001, search the documents section of the database of, for Integrated Design
ibid , IEA Task 23
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 11
Integr ated Design Process Guide

The IDP Overview23 details the steps for PREDESIGN 1 – STAGING THE CONSTRUCTION AND
each of the elements in the illustration. PROJECT (The Foundation) OPERATIONS – REALIZING
This approach begins by defining the work THE OBJECTIVES
 Client involvement in the design
that needs to be done before the team is
decision process  Follow Through in Construction
assembled and the first major workshop is
held. A kickoff workshop is the first all-  Team Selection
inclusive, collaborative decision-making  Commissioning
 Design Problem Setting
meeting and major performance targets
 Maintenance and Monitoring
are set then. Subsequent workshops will  Identifying Base Conditions
depend on the scale and scope of the The link to the Integrative Design
project, with larger and more complex PREDESIGN 2 – MANAGEMENT Collaborative website is
projects requiring more workshops to deal MAPPING AND GOALS
with the issues. The Foundation Dialogue As you can see, there are similarities with
The next phase is the first of the iterative  Includes all participants—including the diagram and process laid out by the
loops. Developing the concept design main decision maker other descriptions. A presentation of this
requires the interactive consideration process is available on the Integrative
of structure, envelope, lighting and  Charrette Design Design Collaborative website, which adds
mechanical systems. Once these are  Alignment of Expectations and Core detail for each of these elements.
determined, more consideration is given to Purposes The approach proposed at the Toronto
materials and how to properly convey these
Addressing the Mindset IDP workshop25 has similarities to the
decisions in contract documents. Quality 
other two approaches. Figures 7 and 8
assurance activities throughout the
 Goal Setting of Environmental Metrics illustrate the process in a more linear
construction phase and into operations are
and Benchmarks fashion. The key elements, including early
critical to ensure that what is designed
Creating a Project Specific Systems client involvement in decision-making,
actually gets built. 

Map and Schedule careful team selection, kick-off meetings,

The iiSBE link is goal setting and iterative design loops, are
DESIGN PROCESS – SYSTEM all there. This approach does not detail the
Bill Reed, Integrative OPTIMIZATION need for follow-through in construction
phase, but it has become recognized as a
Design Collaborative  Schematic Design
Approach  Contractor or Cost Estimator
Bill Reed of the Integrative Design
Collaborative24 identifies the basic IDP  Design Development
elements as:

IDP Overview

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Inte gr ate d De s ign Pr ocess Guide


C lient Decision
IDP Flow Chart Meeting/Charrette
Pr A key feature of all IDP is the kickoff meeting
on IDP U sers
Phase 1 or charrette. This launch is crucial for:
Incorp orate IDP iti  getting the project off to a good start
C omp osition on
into Procuremen t Ph
as  getting agreement on goals
Int roduce
T eam  team building
& E xp lain Process
C lient Assem b ly
Relationship  getting the big issues and concerns
to Process out in the open early on to avoid
Dem onstrat io n K ick off/Launch
Very re-design later.
of T eam Building M eeting
In C om p et encies IDP R eview / C larificat io n
Re cre A key objective for the charrette team
so as
lut ing is to come to a common vision or
/ T eam understanding of what it is trying to
Cl C ontext/ Preceden t s
ar Prob lem
ity R eview C lient G oals/ Prog ram accomplish. This is such a truism that its
Definit ion
importance tends to get overlooked. All
great teams in any endeavour have a
common vision of the goal. A good
Figure 7 – Toronto IDP Workshop Approach – Phase 1 charrette will establish that common vision
and will unleash the creativity inherent in
all teams and focus their efforts on
reaching it.

Visioning :
C onsider w ide
rang e of IDP Flow Chart
W hole T eam C reativity T o ols
Phase 2
Feedb ack on Visioning s
from as
Exp ansive, e
C om munity of Int erest
C reative,
Desig n T eam “Homew ork ” for
Visioning O p t ions B ett er Definition

T est Ag ainst
C om munit y of Desig n C ycle M eeting s
Int erest
Re cre
so as O ng oing
lut ing
ion offline
/ w ork Desig n C ycle M eeting s

Figure 8 – Toronto IDP Workshop Approach – Phase 1

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 13

Integr ated Design Process Guide

The scope of the charette will vary, but it time differently and most likely produce Clients also need to be prepared to share at
should be facilitated and carefully planned. designs that are different than what they least some of the potential risks when they
You don’t need to invent how to do this. have been used to seeing. demand extremely high performance or
There is an excellent resource that was technologies that do not have a long track
IDP should be a net time saver but upfront
developed expressly for IDP charrettes: record. In these cases the client should not
time will take longer and late stages will
A Handbook for Planning and Conducting expect the designers or contractors to
take less. Specified equipment and systems
Charrettes for High Performance Buildings, assume the risk and expect the building to
are likely to be different, and the most
free from the U.S. Department of Energy cost the same as a regular building with
successful projects are those the client
website.26 This handbook provides lower risk. This is not a common IDP
understands and shares potential risks
everything from the rationale, how to get situation, but it has happened.
arising from new approaches.
started, how to plan and develop the
charrette, how to conduct it and what the The client needs to make it clear who the
follow-up and next steps should be. It also decision-maker(s) are and commit to We cannot solve our problems
provides checklists, sample agendas, reports having decision-makers present at all the with the same kind of thinking
and every other sample document you key meetings. we used when we created them.
might need.
The client has to change the way the team – Albert Einstein
Another free resource is the Sustainable gets paid. IDP is not commodity-based
Community Planning and Development design, by which I mean, design where the
Design Charrette Planning Guide, available team gets paid by the pound (or a Mindset
from Canada Mortgage and Housing percentage of building cost, which
Corporation.27 amounts to the same thing). This form of The importance of the right mindset or
compensation assumes that all design is attitude for all team members is hard to
pretty much the same, with the effort exaggerate. Some key attributes of the
What Else is Needed for required mindset are as follows:
expended being directly related to building
Successful IDP? cost. Instead, the team should be
 Commitment to the process and
compensated for brains, not stuff.
Earlier, some of the elements that ownership for your part in it.
characterize IDP were presented, but it is If compensation is not changed, working
 Thinking in whole system terms to
also worthwhile considering a few harder or smarter only to see your fee
optimize the project as a whole, not
overarching factors that need to be present reduced, limits the enthusiasm and
value-engineer individual components.
for a successful integrated design process. creativity of even the most dedicated
professional. There are several ways of  Willingness to measure, benchmark
Client Buy-in changing compensation. One approach and quantify performance.
The client has to be fully aware of how that some IDP practitioners have found to
 Active listening and openness to
IDP is better and has to be fully be successful is to negotiate a separate fee
learning from other team member.
committed to it. for the early, creative phase, where the
effort involved is relatively independent of  Asking the right questions, in an open-
This commitment includes an understanding project size. The later phases, which allow ended way, that will lead to new
that while the potential rewards from to complete the design and drawings, are answers, rather than arriving with
pursuing integrated design are great, the more closely related to project size and the preconceived answers.
process will distribute the design teams fees can be more properly linked to size.
 Awareness and respect for team roles and
dynamics, valuing all contributions.

A Handbook for Planning and Conducting Charrettes for High Performance Projects, 2003, U.S. Department of Energy,

14 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Inte gr ate d De s ign Pr ocess Guide

Goal Setting In green building terms, the goals should Objections to IDP
be set at a whole building level, such as a
Critical to success are clear and measurable It is worth discussing some of the standard
LEED Gold standard, but also for specific
goals based on a shared understanding objections that are raised to the Integrated
performance attributes that make sense for
and vision of what is to be achieved. Not Design Process. The objections usually are
a project. Some real-world examples of
every goal need be a BHAG (Big Hairy phrased as the following:
goals that have been set (and met) on
Audacious Goal) but they should be
Canadian green building projects include: “We’ve always done IDP” – That may be
SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable,
Realistic, Time-bounded.  60 per cent better energy performance true, and if so, keep doing it. Usually the
than MNECB – EMS Fleet Centre, people who say this, however, have
Cambridge, ON remarkably few green buildings to show
as evidence.
“If you don't know where you  95 per cent diversion of construction
are going, any road will take waste from landfill – Vancouver Island “If you want me to do something
you there.” Technology Park different, that implies I’ve been doing it
wrong all these years” – Well no, it
– Lewis Carroll  Zero discharge of sewage waste water – doesn’t. This is the 21st century, with an
MEC Winnipeg Store entirely new situation for human society,
 50 per cent of all materials supplied and new problems and demands for the
President Kennedy’s “man on the moon” from within 800 km – BC Cancer profession to respond to. Think of IDP as
speech in the early 1960s is often cited Research Institute a new tool to add to the toolbox to address
as an example, for good reason. It was this new situation.
 75 per cent of the new building
inspirational because it had all the right “The client won’t pay for it” – Possibly
constructed from materials from the old
characteristics. It was specific and measurable not, especially the first time when the value
building on site – MEC Winnipeg Store
(put a man on the moon and bring him has not been demonstrated to the client, but
back safely) and time-bounded (by the end  Elimination of mechanical air-conditioning that’s exactly what is the intent of NRCan’s
of the decade). No one was completely sure system, while retaining occupant Commercial Building Incentive Program.
at the beginning whether it was achievable comfort – Liu Centre, Vancouver
or realistic, but as a stretch goal that was
not too far ahead of what was thought
possible, it created its own momentum.
Goals like these are motivational.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 15

Integr ated Design Process Guide

“It affects the schedule and budget” – It “It means a loss of creative control as an
may do, but the benefits should more than architect” – Not from what I have
outweigh the impacts. Experienced teams observed. After all, what generates more
are finding that the time spent is merely creativity—a blank sheet of paper or fitting
shifted from the latter stages of the design the program to a tricky site? An integrated
process to the earlier stages. Design costs design process often generates more
may or may not be greater. It depends on creative ideas and solutions. A good
how well the team manages the project and analogy is that the architect goes from
captures inherent synergies. It is not as if being a soloist to being the conductor. In
traditional projects always come in on time any performance the conductor is always
and under budget. The BC Cancer Agency’s visible, and wears a different suit and often
new laboratory in Vancouver, a LEED Gold his name is in the spotlight.
building, was designed with an IDP process
and came in on time, and $10 million
under the $100 million budget.

16 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Inte gr ate d De s ign Pr ocess Guide

Additional IDP SBIS IDP Documents Green Buildings BC, search under Guide to Value Analysis and the Integrated
Resources Documents section of database for Green Design Process
Canada Mortgage and Housing Integrated Design:
Corporation buildings/resources_guide/2.0_general_
1. IDP Overview, Nils Larsson, Executive
Healthy Highrise – a design guide to resources.html
Director, iiSBE
innovation in multi-unit residential Greater Vancouver Regional District
buildings 2. The Integrated Design Process: Report
“Why Build Green – LEED BC on a National Workshop held in
“Roadmap” Workshop Summary”
hehi/index.cfm Toronto in October 2001
Page with further links:
Sustainable Community Planning and IEA Task 23 Documents
Development Design Charrette Planning IDP Guidelines and other supporting
Guide. documents Whole Building Design Guide:
Full document can be ordered online at U.S. Department Of Energy:
A Handbook for Planning and Conducting
Natural Resources Canada Charrettes for High-Performance Projects BC Hydro
Buildings Group, Integrated Design Paying for it: Design Assistance
Process Page: performance/pdfs/charrette_handbook/ 33425rep.pdf facilities1005.html
High Performance Commercial
Buildings Group, C2000/IDP Case study Buildings: A Technology Roadmap Paid subscription service: articles on green
Publications: design and IDP: Green Topics, Process roadmaps.html
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Paying for IDP: Commercial Buildings Sustainable Design for Canadian Buildings
Incentive Program (SDCB) courses – 2006 series is titled “Green to Green: Opportunities for more
assistance/new-buildings/index.cfm Energy Efficient Building Retrofits” and
was focused on integrated design

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 17

Integr ated Design Process Guide

1. What are 6 of the 10 common 4. What is the role of the 7. What is one of the key
elements of most integrated design facilitator in IDP? objectives of the kick-off charrette?
processes that differentiate IDP
from traditional design? 5. What other expertise is critical 8. What are the three key success
to include on the core IDP team? factors in an Integrated Design
2. What are buildings’ contribution Process?
to primary energy consumption and 6. Although there is not a
greenhouse gas production in Canada? common definition of all the 9. How would you structure an
process steps in an IDP process, IDP for your next project? Who
3. List at least three benefits to what are three of the key process would participate? How could
employing an integrated design steps from your perspective? the meetings be facilitated to
process. encourage everyone’s participation?

18 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation