Developing capital project solutions through data to answer real world problems.



The Project Research Division (PRD) examines the functioning of capital projects and project systems and applies the results to help our customers create and use capital assets more efficiently.

What We Do

IPA’s PRD brings a deep understanding of what drives the successful development and delivery of capital projects. Companies who turn to IPA’s research services receive practical insights and actionable recommendations to strengthen capital project business decision making, governance, and project development work processes. 

Key to IPA’s research services is an unparalleled database of actual project results. Companies can rely on IPA’s robust databases of more than 17,000 capital projects collected over 25 years to produce quantifiable results that business and project managers can leverage to improve their organization’s project outcomes and increase shareholder value.

IPA’s research explores the breadth of issues important to capital project systems, including:

  • Best Practices that drive project competitiveness and predictability
  • Costs associated with each element of the supply chain
  • Team and organizational performance
  • Regional differences in project cost, schedule, and safety
  • Risks associated with technological innovation
  • Trends in labor and productivity

Our Approach

IPA possesses a deep understanding of the business conditions, market drivers, and technical and non-technical risks that cause projects to experience significant cost overruns and schedule slip. IPA researchers are also knowledgeable in the work processes, estimating practices, and control capabilities business and project teams use to deliver projects.

Quantitative, Repeatable Results
IPA’s extensive databases serve as the foundation for quantitative and replicable results linking practices to project outcomes so that systematic improvement is possible.

Detailed data on more than 17,000 projects collected since 1987 allows IPA’s Projects Research Division (PRD) to analyze industry and market-specific datasets with an unparalleled level of granularity. The specificity of data across the entire spectrum of project activities enables IPA’s research arm to identify the root causes of failure in capital project development and execution.

Business Intelligence

The breadth of PRD’s research capabilities is extends beyond the capital project development process.  Research using data collected from projects worldwide deliver critical business intelligence that cannot be found anywhere else, including

  • Labor cost and productivity
  • Materials cost and delivery schedules
  • Engineering and procurement contractor cost metrics

With an experienced team of more than 30 research professionals skilled in the analysis of process industry capital projects and organizational effectiveness, plus a cadre of statisticians and cost analysts, companies can expect real-world, implementable research findings in IPA research studies and presentations.




Project Office Costs: The Right Mindset

More people fear flying than driving because, with the media giving much more attention to airline crashes, we tend to overstate the risks of flying and understate the risks of driving. The mind’s availability bias is our tendency to base judgment on information that is readily available or the easiest for us to retrieve. This common decision-making bias is also replicated in the project and business environments in the project industry.  Read more



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Current Studies

Exploration & Production
With the technical and commercial challenges facing the industry, IPA’s detailed up to date databases combined with a knowledgeable staff of researchers and experienced practitioners, can provide quantitative answers to many questions facing the E&P industry.

See the full list of available studies for the Exploration & Production Industry


Hydrocarbon Processing & Transportation
Detailed records from more than 4,000 projects can provide insight into technical developments, changing markets and pricing as well as use of best practices being employed by the industry.

See the full list of available studies for the Hydrocarbon Processing & Transportation Industry


Whether the challenges will be in understanding latest practices to reduce capital costs, or the best approaches for deploying new technology properly into commercial operation, IPA’s databases combined with an experienced research and practitioner staff, can help bring the learnings from the historical records to answer your questions.

See the full list of available studies for the Chemicals Industry


Mining, Minerals, & Metals
With commodity prices down, the need to better align organizations to the reduced capital spend as well as to improve capital effectiveness has lead our clients to IPA for the data and insight that can help them develop strategies to better cope in the current market.

See the full list of available studies for the Mining, Minerals, & Metals Industry


Pharmaceuticals & Biotech
The pharmaceuticals projects database covers the entire project life cycle, from early planning and R&D through commissioning, qualification, and early operation. Detailed records can provide insight into technical developments, changing markets and pricing as well as use of best practices being employed by the industry.

See the full list of available studies for the Pharmaceuticals & Biotech Industry


Food & Consumer Products
Capital effectiveness as well as time to market are critical in this industry. Companies from food and consumer product groups have found IPA’s research useful in developing strategies for reducing time to market and delivering projects that meet key performance standards, including safety, cost, and production.

See the full list of available studies for the Food & Consumer Products Industry


Key Contacts

Mike McFaddenMichael McFadden
Director, Project Research Division

Michael oversees the division that leads and supports IPA’s research inititatives as well as develops the analytical tools that IPA employs in the evaluation of capital projects. Michael has previously served as the Regional Director of North America, with responsibility for the company’s North American operations, as well as Refining Area Manager, overseeing the worldwide business and technical development needs in this sector.


Alex OgilvieAlex Ogilvie
Deputy Director, Project Research Division


Alex's role is to connect client research needs with IPA research capabilities. Building on his experience with project analysis as well as project-based research, Alex works with both colleagues and clients to translate research ideas into executable research studies. Alex also manages various areas of the research portfolio, and works with senior management to shape IPA's long-term research agenda. Prior to his Deputy Director role, Alex has held multiple positions within IPA, including Client Coordinator, Plant-Based Systems Area Manager, and Research Team Leader. During his career he has personally evaluated over 240 projects, developed and managed over 30 benchmarking models, and co-authored 11 IPA conference research studies. 

IPA-Tom-MeadTom Mead
Deputy Director, Project Research Division

Tom’s role is to connect client research needs with IPA research capabilities. Building on his experience conducting research on E&P developments, Tom collaborates with colleagues and clients to translate high-level research ideas into executable research studies. As part of this role, Tom also works with senior management to shape IPA's long term research agenda. Prior to his current role, Tom served as the E&P Research Team Leader and Senior Research Analyst in which he worked with the E&P Business Managers to implement the research objectives, including model development.









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