In-In or No Deal

Posted on June 10, 2013


Many have heard the “win-win or no deal” statement bandied about in negotiation—mutual benefit for both parties or no agreement.

Well, this has nothing to do with that.  The “W” is not missing.  In this case, the full title is:  Integrate-Integrate or No Deal.

The fine gentlemen at Ingersoll Rand were in the office for a lunch-and-learn two weeks ago. Living in Florida, we discussed “Severe Storm Products and Testing”.  I learned plenty and was brought up to speed about recent changes in Florida Building Code (FBC) approvals for door hardware.

Architects learn that when specifying partition assemblies, it is necessary to call out approved assemblies, in other words, a collection of construction components that, together, have successfully performed up to certain standards.  If you need an STC 60, or a two-hour fire resistance rating, it is risky to not specify a wall design that uses components proven to have achieved this minimum threshold.  In some cases, it is not even a choice to pick-and-choose parts to achieve the design goal; assemblies must be used.

And so it goes with door hardware now as well.  As I learned, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) and building codes like the FBC, are relying more on tested assemblies, and less on individual components.  Not only that, but to get approved for use in very restrictive areas like Miami-Dade County (and Florida grows more restrictive with each successive Code update issuance), components will not be allowed outside of a tested assembly.

Yes, that means that if you manufacture a lock set, you must team up (or vertically integrate) to be part of a complete system (door, hinge, etc.) that meets or exceeds the testing standards; your company cannot simply pay for your lock set to get approved on its own—even if it could.

This movement, as Ingersoll Rand related, is to emphasize an assembly is only as good as its weakest link, which will determine the rating for the entire assembly.

Is this not the perfect analog to how capital project procurement is moving across all industries?

Clients want proven solutions.  Clients do not want the headaches of managing separate pieces of a solution and then hoping they all work together (with no responsibility or scope gaps).  In design and construction, the stand-alone firms (architect-only, engineer-only, construction-only) are desperately trying to glue themselves together into a cohesive team (read:  IPD)—because this is what people are buying and certifying everywhere else in life.  We do not buy computer components and put them together.  We do not build our own cars piece-by-piece and hope for the horsepower, safety and reliability as advertised.  Consumers buy integrated solutions.

Clients, especially healthcare clients, should act like the building codes—companies whose sole purpose is to protect public safety—and ban component parts.  Hire only teams that are, like specified assemblies,  1) tested, and 2) proven to work together and perform as designed.  No one wants a mish-mash, patchwork ‘team’, or as a former boss of mine would say “a coalition of independent firms”.  Clients want the best—ideally one company with all disciplines under one management:  one point of responsibility, one transaction, one contract.  Clients want what everyone else is already buying:  a single, battle-tested, integrated team.