Across DPR Blog

September 22, 2014

Insights on Total Cost of Ownership

How can BIM help reduce operations and maintenance costs? What data yields the biggest results? Why isn't it being captured? What is "total cost of ownership" (TCO) anyway? 

DPR's Director of Consulting Andrew Arnold answers all these questions in a Q&A for the latest edition of the DPR Review. In the article, Andrew explains that the cost of designing and constructing a building is only 10 percent of the cost over the lifecycle of the building. The operation cost, which includes regular service and preventive maintenance for building systems, ongoing repairs, consumables and energy consumption, is 90 percent. This is why owners are realizing the importance of designing for TCO–often, investing a little more up front in a better building will mean savings over the long term.

Andrew highlights the value that building information modeling (BIM) can provide to operations and maintenance teams. When the right BIM data flows easily to operations teams, they can manage a building more efficiently and effectively. 

Read Andrew's entire Q&A here.

September 22, 2014

Supporting Young Women On The Path To College And Professional Careers With Girls Inc.

High school senior Arelly Ocampo from Costa Mesa, Calif., had the opportunity to immerse herself in the DPR culture this summer while working as a Girls Inc. extern in the Newport Beach office. It was an experience that she describes as both positive and “a real eye opener.”

Girls Inc. extern Arelly Ocampo works with a DPR estimator to learn how to read drawings.

“As a senior going off to college next year, I was able to get an idea of what to look for in a college, especially as a civil engineering major,” Ocampo said. “I enjoyed the collaboration all the externs had with each other and the DPR employees and valued how open everyone was to answer any questions I had. I realized that people at DPR have passion and pride in what they do, which is why they love talking about their jobs.”

Ocampo worked directly with DPR’s Melissa King, who said hosting a summer extern from Girls Inc. for the second year turned out to be a win-win for all involved.

“I was so impressed with what she could do, how quickly she could do it and how much initiative she took,” King commented. Ocampo worked with King to develop training materials and plan group meetings. She also attended in-house training classes and project engineer meetings and made numerous jobsite visits.

Ocampo attended a regional project engineer meeting, where she learned how to frame door openings.

On Aug. 11, the last day of Ocampo’s externship, DPR hosted a two-hour resume workshop that brought together all 50 of the Girls Inc. externs at their Youth & Family Center. The goal: to help the girls put their summer externship experiences onto their resumes.

Approximately 10 DPR volunteers participated in the workshop, leading small group sessions. Externs and leaders shared personal stories and gave feedback. Ocampo helped create a facilitator guide for DPR volunteers involved in the resume workshop and developed training slides for the session.

Neiasha Russell, Community Development Coordinator with Girls Inc. of Orange County, commended DPR’s work on the resume workshop, its externship participation and its longtime commitment to the organization.

“The overall response to the resume workshop was the information presented was valuable. The girls really enjoyed the breakout session with the volunteers. This gave them a chance to hear personal stories and ask questions,” she said.

“DPR has had a huge impact on the Girls Inc.’s Externship Program,” Russell added. “I couldn’t ask for a more supportive, vibrant and involved externship site!”

Ocampo attended the annual Girls Inc. Youth Empowerment and Self Sufficiency luncheon (Y.E.S.S) with her DPR hosts.

September 17, 2014

DPR Helping Build Future Industry Workforce Through ACE Mentor Program

Ask a typical high school student what a career in construction looks like, and it’s likely he or she will describe a worker on a jobsite, swinging a hammer. Few will think of the project engineer creating a BIM model, the estimator crunching numbers in a LEED Platinum certified, net zero energy office building, or the project executive collaborating with team members on ways to make their project more efficient.

ACE Mentor students tour the Kaiser Morse jobsite in Sacramento

In an effort to introduce more students to real-world opportunities in the construction industry, DPR employees in San Diego, Sacramento, Tampa and other regions work closely with ACE Mentor. The program brings together architecture, engineering and construction professionals with high school students in a formal extracurricular enrichment program. DPR co-founder Doug Woods also serves on the Leadership Council.

Sparking Students' Interest in College

DPR began participating with ACE Mentor in San Diego in 2004. Since then, the program has grown from three or four high schools to 11 schools currently serving between 180-220 students per year. DPR’s Whitney Dorn served as an ACE mentor team leader for five years and as a member of the San Diego Board since 2009, the last two as fundraising chair.

“There’s a real satisfaction in seeing a light bulb go off for a kid who came in without having any kind of expectation about what we were going to be doing,” Dorn says. “I feel like we’re providing a great service and opening the eyes of students about the industry. Over the years I have felt like ACE was the reason many of them went to or even considered college.”

In Tampa, ACE Mentor students visited DPR's Main Terminal Modernization project at Tampa International Airport.

Dorn points to one particular student, Omar, as an example of the impact the ACE Mentor program can have inspiring young people. Omar signed up for the program in his high school even though his family, struggling to keep a small restaurant afloat, didn’t fully support the idea. Dorn met with Omar’s parents and persuaded them about the value of the program. The end result? Omar went on to become the first in his family to go to college, and as a result is building a promising future for himself in the industry.

In Sacramento, DPR’s Rodman Marquez serves on the ACE board of directors. He has also seen many positive outcomes and says one of the most rewarding aspects is when former students of the program come back to serve as mentors.

Seeing the students gain confidence as a result of the program over the year is another highlight, Marquez says. “It’s pretty rewarding to see a kid in the beginning of the year who is very shy and maybe not communicating well, and then at the end of the year be up onstage giving a presentation about their project to people in the industry.”

Career Development For Mentors Too

 “All different types of people in the industry come together to serve as mentors for the ACE Mentor program,” says Dorn. “It has provided a great way for our younger entry level project engineers who participate to get exposure, meet other people in the industry that are not on projects with them and kind of understand what other roles are in the industry.”

Adds Dorn, “Over the years it’s been so much fun to walk into an owner’s or job meeting and know people there from different companies because I worked with them in ACE. It really brings our industry together for a common purpose.”

September 12, 2014

eBay’s Salt Lake City Data Center: Turning the Dial on Digital Efficiency

eBay Inc. has recently rolled out the world's first mission critical data center using fuel-cell technology as its primary power source, resulting in more available and reliable power with lower environmental impact. The Salt Lake City data center, designed by Winter Street Architects and built by DPR Construction, is highlighted in the latest edition of the DPR Review.

eBay Inc.’s decision to change gears from a more traditional design to the cleaner, greener power solution advanced its vision for a more environmentally sustainable future, according to Dean Nelson, eBay’s vice president of Global Foundation Services.

“By challenging the status quo on how data centers have been designed for the last 30 years, we’ve yielded even bigger returns,” Nelson explained. “In implementing a design like this, we’ve been able to ‘move the needle’ as we measure the increased efficiency of each transaction for our business.”

Read the full story here.

September 3, 2014

Home With a Heart: DPR Begins Habitat for Humanity Project in Memory of Colleague John Kramer

It’s safe to say there is plenty of heart going into a Habitat for Humanity new home construction project that a dozen DPR volunteers began building in Sacramento August 22nd.

The project, which will give a low income, working mother of two a chance for a new start, is being built in the memory of longtime DPR employee John Kramer. Kramer spent more than 14 years with DPR before passing away last September. He had worked alongside all of the Sacramento region employees who turned out to participate in the first day of the John Kramer Memorial Build, a project to which DPR donated $21,000 in Kramer’s honor.

In addition to honoring the memory of Kramer, the Habitat for Humanity project offers DPR a chance to give back to the community and to help Mizan Tsegay, a single working mother of two (including one child with special needs), fulfill her dream of home ownership.

The first official workday drew a broad spectrum of DRR volunteers. Whether skilled in swinging a hammer or not, everyone contributed. That included the future homeowner, who labored alongside the volunteers to help create her new 1,500-sq.-ft., two-story residence.

Over the course of eight hours volunteers prefabricated all of the walls for the residence off-site at Habitat for Humanity’s warehouse. The walls will be trucked in and place on the Oakmont Street site at a future work date once the home’s foundation is in place. DPR has set aside three additional workdays for the project in September and October.

Rodman Marquez is spearheading DPR’s community initiative efforts in the Sacramento region along with Megan Valles, and both participated in the first workday. Marquez said the project is rewarding on many levels.

“There’s a pretty big gratifying feeling you get from taking a sack of raw material and turning it into a wall that will be a home for someone to live in, raise a family in and be a productive member of society,” he commented. “Mizan has a lot of challenges as a single parent with a special needs child. She is very excited to be getting to move out of an apartment and into a home of her own.”

September 2, 2014

Is Guaranteed Building Performance Possible?

Guaranteed building performance has the potential to create more efficient buildings for the benefit of the owner’s bottom line, building occupants and the environment.

That’s the assessment of Steve Selkowitz, who explains the idea in a recent article for the DPR Review. Selkowitz has led Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Department for 20-plus years and has been recognized for his commitment to advancing building performance including winning the 2014 Award of Excellence from Engineering News-Record.

Tighter codes and regulations, rising costs, an increased demand for more employee-friendly workplaces, and commitment to sustainability are bringing discussions around guaranteed performance to the forefront. But the gap between predicted and measured building systems’ performance presents a major challenge.

 “Most people initially like the concept of guaranteed building performance,” Selkowitz said, “but they say, ‘Wait, how can I guarantee what an owner or occupant will do downstream?’ The key is to first define the energy use target, and then execute a design, construct and operate plan that keeps those targets in mind as a myriad of later decisions are made.”

Read the full article, “Is Guaranteed Building Performance Possible?”, in the latest issue of the DPR Review.

August 29, 2014

DPR Leads Record-Breaking Luau and Legends Fundraiser in La Jolla to Raise Money for Cancer Research

Some 25 legends of the surfing world joined an enthusiastic crowd of 450 or so at Scripps Pier in La Jolla recently to spread the spirit of aloha, while also raising significant funds for cancer research.

Members of the local community, representatives of the region’s biopharmaceutical industry, cancer survivors and surfing legends and aficionados were among those who gathered for the 21st annual Luau and Legends Surfing Invitational August 17th. DPR Construction, which has been integral to the planning and execution of the event since its inception, chaired this year’s event, which benefits the prestigious UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

The surfing legends pose with members of the event planning committee

Largely sponsored by top name biopharmaceutical companies including title sponsor Pfizer, this year’s event netted more than $160,000 after expenses. Throughout the past two decades, the unique fundraiser has brought in more than $6 million to support Moores’ cancer research, clinical trials and patient care.

DPR’s Alex Panici along with Jay Leopold (who has been involved with the surfing invitational from its inception) served as 2014 event chairs. More than 20 DPR employees devoted more than 1,060 total volunteer hours to ensure the fundraiser was a resounding success. DPR also sponsored two surf teams, and had no trouble filling the eight spots with eager San Diego office employees who were happy to ride the waves alongside the many surfing legends who turned out to support the event.

Being involved with this particular fundraiser was a personal mission for many, according to Panici.

“In one way or another everybody has been affected by cancer, whether it’s a relative or just somebody you know,” he commented. “This was a great opportunity to be able to contribute toward finding a cure for cancer, and it feels good to be part of it. In addition, it really is an event that allows DPR San Diego to be integral and indispensable for the community.”

Under DPR’s leadership, the 2014 Luau and Legends Surfing Invitational saw some changes designed to generate even greater community interest. A name change from years’ past (when it was called the Luau and Longboards Invitational) reflected the inclusion of all types of surf boards into the competitive aspect of the event. This attracted some younger surfing legends such as world champion Lisa Anderson and renowned surfer Pat O’Connell.

The planning committee also revamped the surf contest format to provide time for “regular” surfers from each of the 18 sponsored teams the opportunity to surf with the celebrity surfer “legends.” Pfizer donated one of its teams to a handful of avid surfers who are also cancer survivors. “It’s a really cool way for them to celebrate their survival,” Panici commented.

In addition to the surf contest the event included a specially prepared Luau feast, entertainment from the band Switchfoot, and silent auctions. 

August 28, 2014

Barry Bonds Takes ALS Challenge at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Site

A bucket, a bit of ice water and a challenge to friends are all that it took for a social awareness campaign to rapidly get the world’s attention and support, including that of former San Francisco Giants baseball star Barry Bonds.

Bonds accepted the challenge at the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay site in San Francisco (set to open February 1, 2015) and gave some of our project team members the honor of dumping ice water on him to help fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Bonds invited San Francisco Giants Manager, Bruce Bochy; Giants President and CEO, Larry Baer; and former 49ers safety and NFL Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott to take on the challenge.

DPR’s Phoenix office also challenged other DPR offices across the country to face the ice bucket challenge and support the ALS Association.

According to the ALS Association, as of Wed., Aug. 27, the association has received $94.3 million in donations compared to $2.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 27). These donations have come from existing donors and 2.1 million new donors.

August 9, 2014

Putting Construction Skills To Work In The Community With Rebuilding Together

What better way to spend a 102 degree Friday than with Rebuilding Together? Seventeen volunteers from DPR Austin's downtown high-rise project donated 92 hours to make an elderly couple's flood-damaged home habitable. Scope included installing a new wheelchair ramp, exterior repairs and painting.

Austin team members take a shade break during a Rebuilding Together volunteer day,

Integral to the Austin community? Absolutely. TV crews were on hand to interview the homeowners about the ongoing flood issue -> Link to KTBC story.

DPR works with Rebuilding Together around the country. More than 2,000 volunteer hours were logged in 2013 with almost that many through just the first half of 2014. Other recent projects have included construction of wheelchair ramps for veterans in Phoenix, and home renovations for seniors in Washington, DC.

DPR's Phoenix office puts their construction muscles to work for Rebuilding Together on many projects, including wheelchair ramps for veterans.

In Washington, DC, DPR helped with major renovations to a low-income resident's home.

July 31, 2014

DPR Hardin Volunteers Support a Green Cause in Atlanta

Demonstrating that volunteerism is often a win-win proposition, some 18 DPR Hardin Construction employees recently participated in a volunteer effort that not only delivered needed improvements to the nonprofit Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) but also built teamwork and shared purpose among all who came to help out.

The Atlanta area volunteers helped spruce up the appearance and organize the stock of the community-based nonprofit organization during the half-day volunteer event July 25. Since opening three years ago, the Center has been dedicated to increasing the Atlanta community’s sustainability through educational outreach and salvaging materials from renovated or demolished buildings. The Center resells the materials to the public and donates a portion to nonprofits and schools.

DPR Hardin became a sponsor of LBC last year and continues to support the organization in various ways. When the need for aesthetic and functional improvements to the facility became apparent, DPR Hardin volunteer coordinator Andi King-Wieczynski saw a unique opportunity for employees looking for a hands-on, skill-based activity that also provided a valuable community service.

“It was a great turnout,” King-Wieczynski commented. “We helped them pull weeds, planted new flowerbeds and just made it more aesthetically pleasing for people to come into the store. We also helped them reorganize their stock so people can find what they need.”

The work was performed under less than optimal circumstances. Temperatures climbed to 95 degrees-plus with high humidity in the non-air-conditioned environment. Still that didn’t deter a larger-than-expected turnout that included everyone from marketing and regional management to preconstruction, safety, jobsite personnel and others.

“It was a good way of getting people together who don’t typically spend a lot of time with each other to work for a good cause,” King-Wieczynski noted. “I think it was a really good team building activity for us.”

King-Wieczynski expects the hands-on volunteer day to become a biannual event, with plans already in the works for the next one.