This post explores the nature of collaboration on current project teams and the benefits  of organizing teams as Collaboratively Integrated Partner Organizations (CIPOs). 


Standards, Templates, and Workflows (STWs) are not a new invention. In their modern form, they were developed during the Scientific Revolution, which some say started with the 1543 publication of Copernicus’s new astronomical theory showing that the earth revolves around the sun. In simple terms, the scientific method used STWs to ensure that  consistent means of measurement, testing, and experimentation were clearly defined and available to all parties—regardless of the specific object of inquiry.  A theory, equation, or algorithm derived from scientific experimentation was considered valid if it clearly represented and predicted a measurable experience in the real world. Equally important was the fact that an, an experiment was considered successful when predictive data was validated not only by the initial investigator, but also by all future investigators who performed the same experiment. All scientists had to be aware of and follow the STWs that were developed within their discipline(s). This ensured that their results could be compared with the results of other scientists and laboratories from all over the world. In this way, modern science has made incredible progress.  

Consider, no orchestra or band could play a coherent musical piece if they did not agree on the basic STWs that organize musical notation and execution. As discussed in “Modularity”, the more we study multiple disciplines, the more we discover underlying modules and STWs that provide the basis for the development of effective systems. Building is unique in its lack of consensus on STWs in regard to notation, building elements, data sharing, and many other processes.   

In individual companies, STWs exist to some degree. Most companies have loosely held standards that are followed in different ways by different teams. The gains in efficiency and quality have been real, but these gains have not come close to being optimized. New challenges emerge when we begin to share and communicate inter-company. Even if both companies are highly organized and efficient, the odds that their respective STWs align to enable seamless collaboration is effectively zero. Therefore, they need to spend significant time and effort to align their communications authorizations and content sharing protocols. 

Overall, the industry still remains defined by siloed approaches. . 

In contrast, the Collaboratively Integrated Partner Organization (CIPO) enables collaboration and data sharing among partners. The companies in CIPOs will contractually commit to work together and utilize an agreed upon set of STWs for every building project. A CIPO represents a group of companies that agree on the following points: 

  1. They want to keep their own corporate identity. 
  1. They want building to be more affordable, less frustrating, and less time-consuming, and they want to focus on solving the most pressing problems of the built environment (sustainability, energy, etc.). 
  1. They recognize that in today’s environment a lot of time is wasted doing the same type of repetitive decision-making. 
  1. They recognize that many aspects of a building can and should be standardized. 
  1. They recognize that building will continue to develop in each of its four incarnations (or Orders) Boutique, Iconic, Optimized, and Hybrid. But they see the growth of Optimized and Hybrid to be the most significant opportunity. 

The building industry has resisted many forms of innovation which have been successfully adopted by multiple industries such as aviation, electronics, and manufacturing.  BuildUSA believes that Collaboratively Integrated Partner Organizations (CIPOs) with substantial reach, resources, and diversity of skill sets will be better positioned to capitalize on future consulting engagements, projects, and investment opportunities in the next decade.  

 The main goals of CIPOs are: 

  1. To improve the quality and efficiency of project processes in the building world.  
  1. To position themselves as leaders in the building marketplace. 
  1. To provide a building experience that can be described as, 

“High Quality,”“High Performing” buildings with “Shorter Delivery” times and “Lower Costs.” 

And that this building experience can be delivered while still maintaining or increasing  

company profit margins. 

The STWs that tie a CIPO group together ensure group success while still allowing sufficient room for individual and organizational creative freedom. This freedom is an important ingredient for helping people stay engaged, excited, and passionate about their work.   

BuildUSA-Chicago (BUSA-C) will be the first CIPO (focused on the Midwest market and shown in brown in the geographic markets map) and will establish its competitive advantage by initially focusing on a small set of Optimized Buildings for healthcare facilities. Although BuildUSA-Chicago will be the first proof of concept for CIPO, the BuildUSA business plan envisions a growing network of CIPOs throughout different geographic regions. These CIPO groups will understand the value of Optimized building and choose to make it an integral part of their services. 

In partnership with the growing CIPO network, the BuildUSA brand and technology platform will evolve into a unique set of service and product offerings that will dramatically improve building.