The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is often criticized for its fragmented approach to project delivery. Traditional procurement and contracting intentionally serves to isolate designers from contractors to provide checks and balances, but limits opportunities for collaboration. This research presents a structural modeling approach to studying the role of integration in the performance of building construction projects. A sample data set of 204 completed projects was collected to compare cost, schedule, and quality performance under different delivery methods. Integration of project teams was proposed and tested in the form of two latent constructs—team integration and group cohesion—that mediate the link between delivery methods and performance. More integrated teams interacted with more participants from all levels of the building construction process, from designers to specialty trade contractors.
These interactions included design charrettes, joint goal setting, and multidisciplinary building information modeling (BIM) uses. The selected project delivery method had a significant effect on team integration. Delivery methods that involved the builder and specialty trade contractors before schematic design achieved higher levels of integration and were more equipped to control project schedule growth. Cohesive teams were characterized by better chemistry, goal commitment, and timeliness of communication. Project delivery methods that included cost transparency with open-book contracts and qualification-based selection of the builder resulted in more cohesive teams and a lower average project cost growth. Additionally, the owner’s perception of their turnover experience and building system quality was rated higher for cohesive teams. Understanding how delivery decisions influence the integration and development of their project teams will make building owners more aware of how those decisions ultimately affect the project’s performance.