General Services Administration Awards Research Grant to Renée Cheng

Congratulations to Renée Cheng (Architecture) for receiving a research grant from the General Services Administration (GSA). With this grant Cheng, along with University of Washington Professor Carrie Dossick (Construction Management) and Research Scientist Laura Osburn, will identify guidelines for using collaborative practices on high-performance buildings for the federal government.

In this Q&A, Cheng discusses her research and what’s next for this project.

Why is working collaboratively such a key component of creating high-performance green buildings?

“Since very high performing buildings are often breaking new ground in technical, aesthetic, and performance measures, there is a need for designers, engineers, contractors, building facilities managers, and building users to all bring their ideas forward and apply their expertise to the challenges that arise. Integrated and collaborative practices set up the means for those groups to come together in formal and informal ways to work effectively.”

How does this grant fit into your past research on Integrated Project Delivery?

“I’ve been researching on the topic of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) since it was relatively new in the U.S. building industry. From early research projects, I realized that the U.S. government, which was very interested in IPD, would have to meet parameters that prevented many of the specific contract terms we believed were essential to the IPD process. However, I started a parallel research thread on how federal projects could use some of the collaborative and integrated practices without the full IPD contract.”

What does this grant mean for your future research plans?

“The most exciting aspect of this grant is that our past work helped GSA focus on what practices are most effective in supporting teams to create high performing buildings and now they want to see how those lessons might be expanded to other federal agencies. There is also more work to be done on their internal practices, which are generally becoming more data-driven and informed by research such as ours. As a public owner, the GSA’s work is different from the private sector, but they are very aware that the scale of their work makes them a natural leader in the industry.”

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