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What if I told you there was a potentially smarter, better, and faster way to build a new library--a process that could maximize innovation and deliver on long-term sustainability goals? Sounds pretty good, right?
What if the same process could possibly decrease the cost of your project? Integrated Building Design is such a process.
As library leaders we have a responsibility to make the most of any building project. For many, it is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have an impact on the library's physical space. It is a singular opportunity to address long-standing concerns and hopes for the future, and it is an amazing chance to solidify the library's place in the community.
Those library leaders who think out of the box during their construction projects (e.g., Darien Library's customer service-focused design or DOK's library concept center in the Netherlands) have been rewarded with increased visibility and, more important, greater viability in their communities. However, this drive for maximum benefit is tempered by our charge to use every dollar wisely. We are beholden to our taxpayers and donors to stretch the dollars they place in our trust as far as we can.
That stewardship of the public and private dollar is resulting in a steep rise in the number of libraries that are looking for long-term performance issues to be addressed through their building projects as well as through operational solutions--consider, for instance, the Chrisney Branch Library, IN, the first net-zero energy building in the United States. Literally every day there is a news story about the grand reopening of a library that has sustainable design features--energy conservation, water conservation, healthy materials used in construction (see Facebook.com/SustainableLibraries).
Libraries have caught on quickly to the "green wave" sweeping the construction industry, not because it is a fad but because it makes sense. It makes sense because a green approach lets you reduce operating costs, which creates savings that last long after the punch list is completed.
Nonetheless, the drive for library innovation and sustainable design adds to the complexity of a project. It puts a lot of pressure on library leaders to verbalize, coordinate, and deliver projects with big impact, especially in this time of economic hardship. Luckily, we are not expected to do this alone. We work in partnership with design professionals, engineering professionals, consultants, construction firms, and tradespeople who translate our vision to the physical form. This is nothing short of a monumental, sometimes miraculous effort for many libraries and a fairly intimidating one for the uninitiated.
Collaboration that optimizes solutions
Integrated Building Design (IBD), also known as Integrative Building Design and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), sounds fairly simple, as it takes one of those things you learned in elementary school and applies it to our grown-up life: when you work together with others, you can accomplish more than you can alone.
I like the IBD definition from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) …