December 17, 2014
“A beautifully done project that pushed existing technology.”
That’s how one of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) judges described ENR’s Northern California Project of the Year and Best Green Project: DPR’s net-zero energy designed office in San Francisco.
The team with the award at the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Walker)
There were 140 total entries for ENR California’s Best Project Award. Judges evaluated projects on five distinct criteria:
- Overcoming challenges and teamwork
- Innovation & contribution to the industry/community
- Construction quality & craftsmanship
- Function & aesthetic quality of design
Along with DPR as the builder, the design and consulting team included FME Architecture + Design, Integral Group, Paradigm Structural Engineers, Inc., Decker Electric, Anderson, Row & Buckley, Inc. and 58 other essential partners.
In five months, the team researched, designed, permitted and built the highly-efficient, 24,000-sq.-ft. modern workplace with a number of sustainability features, including the LEED Dynamic Plaque. DPR’s office and the U.S. Green Building Council’s headquarters in Washington, DC, are the first two to use the LEED Dynamic Plaque, which is a building performance monitoring and scoring platform.
Watch the videos below, which explain DPR's net-zero energy designed office and its LEED Dynamic Plaque.
December 16, 2014
An eclectic group of approximately 80 people, including more than 40 eager youngsters and their families, members of local police K-9 and SWAT units, students from a local barber academy and DPR volunteers, among others, converged on the Milagro Center in Delray Beach, Fla. December 5 for an evening of haircuts and holiday cheer.
The DPR-sponsored event, Milagro Center’s second annual “Haircuts for the Holidays,” offered free haircuts, food, entertainment and other services for at-risk youth and their families who are part of the South Florida-based organization supported by the DPR Foundation.
Luke Stocking, DPR’s liaison for Milagro Center and a member of its Ambassador Board which helps market and fundraise for the nonprofit, said the event drew a packed crowd and generated plenty of excitement. After the children had the chance to spruce up for the holidays with free haircuts donated by the Florida Barber Academy, they could then get their holiday pictures taken with their families free of charge.
The Delray Beach Police SWAT, K-9 and motorcycle units along with the Delray Beach Fire-Rescue Department offered demonstrations during the four-hour event, part of an effort by local law enforcement and service providers to build community and share holiday cheer with residents. A free catered dinner from a local restaurant, face painting by and live musical entertainment all added extra special touches to the evening.
December 3, 2014
Backed by an army more than 80 volunteers, DPR’s recent Rebuilding Together volunteer day at Foothill Unity Center in Monrovia, CA, made a major impact on a vital community center that serves thousands of needy families in the San Gabriel Valley each year.
A wide range of volunteers, from DPR self-perform craftsmen to administrative personnel, family members and subcontractors and suppliers, all turned out in force for a daylong renovation effort that brought a new shine to a nonprofit’s administrative and warehouse buildings.
Culminating months of planning, the rebuilding day served to functionally and aesthetically improve the center, just in time for its 35th anniversary in January. Founded in 1980, Foothill Unity Center has grown to serve some 4,000 families totaling more than 10,000 individuals across 11 San Gabriel Valley cities in Los Angeles County. The Center is the region’s primary provider of food, case management/crisis help and access to health care resources to a service base that has more than tripled over the last five years.
The Center was overdue for a major facelift when DPR reached out with the offer to help – and the planning began. Major work components that volunteers tackled during the rebuilding workday included:
- installation of repurposed pallet racking from a local DPR project for Kaiser Permanente in the Center’s warehouse to hold food and supplies;
- installation of a new flat-screen TV in the administrative center’s lobby, as well as new appliances and new large bulletin boards;
- subcontractor donated electrical re-wiring, plumbing fixtures, exterior painting of the buildings and new flooring;
- sorting of major donations of shoes, office supplies and toys in the Center’s warehouse by many of the volunteers families.
Betty McWilliams, Foothill Unity Center Director, said the organization was first heartened when DPR offered the project, and then amazed at the work completed and the impact it has had on everyone associated with the Center.
“It has just overwhelmingly increased our staff’s, our volunteers’, our clients’, and even our donors’ morale,” she commented. “Having such a wonderful facelift just does something for your being. It makes you feel like the community cares.”
McWilliams also noted that the positive attitude volunteers brought with them spoke volumes about the company behind it. “We’re used to having a lot of good volunteers here,” she said. “But just the level of volunteerism DPR brought was wonderful. It’s a real community of DPR and their families coming together and helping our community and our group. It was a beautiful match.”
December 2, 2014
Measurement is key to getting things done. This is especially true when it comes to creating smarter, better functioning buildings to bridge the gap between predicted and actual building systems’ performance.
To achieve net-zero certification, for example, organizations such as the International Living Future Institute look at a building’s annual performance to ensure that it produces all of its energy (examples include DPR's Phoenix Regional Office and the Packard Foundation Headquarters).
However, at DPR, we believe that there needs to be an energy measurement for all buildings beyond LEED, not just net-zero buildings. This will help building owners and users compare results to improve building performance.
(Hint: It's a metric called energy use intensity.)
November 20, 2014
From joining in with a group of preschoolers in a giggle-filled potato sack race, to helping guide the children through a maze of other activities including a ping pong toss and face painting, DPR Tampa volunteers spent time recently to help at-risk youngsters enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at the Fall Festival for A Brighter Community (ABC) preschool in Tampa, Fla.
DPR’s participation in the annual festival is illustrative of the region’s new partnership with the preschool, which offers a safe haven and provides support to economically and environmentally at-risk children age 3 to 5 years old.
DPR Tampa employee Amye Bailey is the Tampa office liaison for the organization. “Our focus as volunteers is directly interacting with the children, assisting with building maintenance and providing donations for fundraising activities,” she explained.
In addition to volunteer time, DPR employees contributed pumpkins for each child to participate in a pumpkin drawing event during the festival that featured about 10 activities over the course of the afternoon. They included: the potato sack race, “can knock down” game, ping pong toss, face painting, bean bag toss, pumpkin drawing, apple netting, dancing and the grand finale piñata whacking. “It was a beautiful day and a whole lot of fun for everyone,” Bailey said.
On the horizon, the Tampa office has plans to help the preschool by providing contributions to their holiday tree and donating profits from their annual spring golf tournament.
November 18, 2014
DPR's Phoenix office recently held a Construction Technology Showcase to highlight the latest technology trends in construction. The showcase was held in conjunction with the Phoenix office open house, and was modeled after similar events in other regions.
DPR's technology enthusiasts staffed booths with live demos and models, explaining the technology and possible applications, as well as how we can use it to add value to our customers.
Featured technology included:
- real time laser scanning,
- virtual reality using Oculus Rift headsets,
- 3D printing, and
- BIM 360 Glue.
Technology isn't just a magic bullet. It's not the technology alone, rather it's the skilled application of that technology and technical expertise of the builder using it that provides predictable results.
From L to R: DPR Engineers Jiun Chiang, Jose Diosdado Garcia, Andres Sanchez Hernandez, Chidambaram Somu, Andy Marks, Casey Helburg, and Brent Elliott.
Photos Courtesy of Chidambaram Somu
What's the most interesting construction technology you've seen or used lately?
November 4, 2014
Want to learn how DPR is maximizing efficiency while improving safety and accuracy?
One way is through a pilot program that the Self-Perform Work (SPW) group recently completed. Outlined in an article–"Opportunity Knocks"–in the latest DPR Review newsletter, the SPW group's method of prefabricating and assembling doors offsite is saving time and resources.
Photo by Everett Rosette
While normally assembled at the jobsite, moving door production to a warehouse provides a more controlled environment. The crew then takes the fully assembled doors to the jobsite for installation. This has proven to be helpful in projects both large and small.
On one project, the group's use of this method reduced the installation schedule from 8 months to 8 weeks!
Due to its success, this door assembling pilot program has now morphed into a new best practice.
October 30, 2014
Demonstrating their creativity, teamwork, competitive nature and penchant for fun, hundreds of Bay Area school children, contractors, architects and engineers descended on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Oct. 11 for Leap’s 31st Annual Sandcastle contest. Leap works with Bay Area public schools to provide arts education programs.
DPR participated on two of the 30 teams in this year’s competition. The contest joins A/E/C professionals with students from throughout the region to raise significant money – more than $300,000 this year alone.
The theme for 2014, “Food, Glorious Food,” inspired an array of unique creations that transformed a wide stretch of beachfront for the day.
Brad Griffith, project engineer for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital project, spearheaded the efforts of the DPR team that included volunteers from Stantec and around 50 fourth graders from Central Elementary School in Belmont, Calif. Planning for their project began several weeks ahead with visits to the school. Their creative vision: a pizza sitting next to a spilled beverage.
“We took the opportunity to tie in what we’re doing throughout this (sandcastle build) process and relating it to how we as architect, engineers and contractors build and design on a daily basis,” Griffith said. “The ultimate goal was just to get them excited about learning. Tying their school curriculum and construction and the sand castle build all together was huge.”
Brittany Gilroy and Andrea Walker helped lead the second team, which partnered with Gensler and Ulloa Elementary School for the twelfth year in a row. Planning began three weeks prior, when Gensler and DPR representatives began weekly visits to the school. They led the students in brainstorming and sketching their ideas and developed a model to follow on competition day. Their creation: a “wiener” dog in a hot dog bun, being walked by bottles of ketchup and mustard.
About 15 students and a dozen volunteers from DPR and Gensler teamed for the big day, and the excitement in the air was palpable. “When the buzzer first sounded, the children were really excited,” Gilroy said. “It was great to see everyone kind of dive in.”
Teamwork was the essential ingredient to pull it together, according to Walker. “At one point we had a chain of children in the sand passing water from the ocean. It took a lot of teamwork, and really got everyone involved.”
October 28, 2014
Having the opportunity to put your professional skills to work helping others is one of the many perks of working for DPR. Being recognized by a major business organization for the impact you’re making, well that’s just icing on the cake.
DPR’s Melissa King was honored by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Orange County (NAWBO-OC) on Oct. 16 at their annual Remarkable Women Awards Gala. King was nominated by Girls Inc., a DPR Foundation-supported organization, where she serves in a leadership role for Women for Girls (a Girls Inc. support organization), and as a hands-on volunteer since 2011.
Melissa King, from DPR's So Cal office, shown here with her mother Jeanne Bargman, volunteers with Girls Inc. more than 100 hours annually and has arranged cash and service contributions to the organization of nearly $300,000 since 2011.
Girls Inc. nominated King for the honor, citing her increasing personal involvement as well as her ability to bring DPR’s resources – financial, volunteers and industry relationships – to make an even greater impact.
“Melissa is ensuring that 5,000 girls in our community become strong, smart and bold,” said Orleda Azevedo, Director of Volunteer Services for Girls Inc., in the nomination form. “Melissa is a true role model not only for girls but for our staff and volunteers as well.”