September 3, 2015

Celebrate Labor Day Safely

Safety is a value at DPR Construction. Whether it’s on the job or at home with family and friends, we want you to celebrate safely and thought we'd share a few safety reminders as you head into the holiday weekend:

  • Grill Safely: Keep the grill out in the open. Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals are ignited. For gas grills, check your propane lines for leaks and don't leave propane on too long before starting.
  • Beach Safely: Keep alert for local weather conditions and check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted, especially concerning riptides.
  • Sun Safely: Reapply sunscreen often and remember to drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. If someone shows signs of heatstroke, quickly cool the body by applying wet cloths or towels to the skin or by misting with water. If someone quits sweating, call 911 immediately.
  • Swim Safely: If celebrating at a community pool, be sure to make note of the pool’s actual address. This information can save valuable minutes during an emergency call to 911.

Let's not forget what Labor Day is all about...celebrating the workforce. 

According to the United States Department of Labor, "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

This holiday weekend, we celebrate our family of employees—all 3,000 of them. 

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one. Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.

September 1, 2015

Panels Fly at Modular MonteCedro Project

In one of the most modular projects DPR has ever worked on, the project team hoisted more than 4,500 prefabricated light gauge structural frame (LGSF) panels into place at the MonteCedro senior-living community this past February.

However, this prefabricated design wasn’t always the plan.

A change to building code requirements called for quick thinking on DPR’s part to come up with a non-combustible alternative to the wood-frame structure that was originally planned. 

Although there were traditional options available, the team ultimately suggested the LGSF system due to its ability to prefabricate a large portion of the project. This decision saved an estimated $4 million and shaved four months off the schedule.

“Watching panels flying into place with such speed compared to stick framing was amazing,” said Steve Helland of DPR. “We erected an average of 44 panels each day while other construction activities were ongoing."

Get the full story here

Photo Credit: Steve Helland

August 28, 2015

Do Core Values Affect Company Performance? Research Says Yes

Companies with unique core values outperform their industry peers.

That’s one of the conclusions Karsten Jonsen, Charles Galunic, John Weeks and Tania Braga made in their research paper published in April, titled “Evaluating espoused values: Does articulating values pay off?”

The researchers looked at Fortune 100 companies from 2005 to 2008 to determine whether their corporate values differed from other companies in the same industry and whether it had any correlation with the financial performance of those companies.

The researchers found that many of these companies listed the same values—32 in all. But when companies differentiated themselves by adopting uncommon values, it had a positive effect on their performance. In other words, companies that sought to create a unique culture within their industry outperformed their peers.

One of DPR’s four core values is uniqueness. We define it as “seeking to be different from and more progressive than all other construction companies." 

DPR's purpose and core values are a starting point that help clearly define who we are and what we stand for as a company. In a recent survey, 100% of DPR employees said they “know, understand and support” our core values:

  • Integrity
  • Enjoyment
  • Uniqueness
  • Ever Forward

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one. Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.

August 25, 2015

Southern California’s Dave Seastrom Talks Trends

“Our job is to advise our customers about potential risks and mitigation factors,” says DPR's Dave Seastrom. “Planning, safety, quality and schedule are not independent activities, but all connected," he continues. "Upfront planning in preconstruction, which includes procurement strategies and construction sequencing to address changing market conditions, allows us to provide creative solutions and deliver projects that meet our customers’ needs.”

With 33 years of industry experience, Seastrom currently serves as regional manager of DPR's Southern California region. He grew up fascinated with his father’s industrial engineering work and went on to earn a degree from USC in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction. However, it was not the calculations or engineering design he was passionate about, but the actual implementation. 

Since joining DPR in 2004, he has seen exponential improvement in the construction industry. 

“Even after all these years, I still marvel at the progress project teams make on a job in a day, one week, or a month,” says Seastrom.

Learn more about Seastrom and the evolution of the industry here


August 21, 2015

330 Third Street South Residences Topping Out in St. Petersburg, Florida

In late July, the DPR project team at 330 Third Street South Residences in St. Petersburg, Florida, celebrated with a traditional topping out ceremony. The ceremony marks the occassion where the team puts the final beam in place, signifying the end of structural steel erection.

More than 400 people—subcontractors, neighbors, local business owners, community leaders, project design partners and owners—joined the DPR team for a lunch celebration, safety presentation, and the ceremonial raising of the beam.

Located on an urban, three-acre site in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the 625,394-sq.-ft., 19-story residential tower will include 17 residential stories and a rooftop with an amenity deck. The rooftop will serve as the amenity level with a sun deck and pool. Other amenities located throughout the tower will include a fitness center, business center, clubroom with exhibition kitchen, and observation deck. A detached five-level parking structure will provide 596 vehicle and 100 bicycle spaces for both residences and patrons.

Completion is scheduled for Spring 2016. 

Nick Nieto (right) and I (left) highlight the project's success

Attendees listen to the safety presentation

Here I am again, signing the beam

Close-up of the topping off beam with happy team members

The beam is ready to head to the top!

The final beam makes its way to the top of the 17th story

Photo Credit: Dave Weathers 

August 18, 2015

DPR Hardin Fulfills Savannah Girl’s Wish with Dream Playhouse Project

This summer, DPR Hardin welcomed the opportunity to put their skills as builders to use in the community, working with Make-a-Wish to build a deluxe playhouse for a deserving youth. Spearheaded by the Savannah, GA project teams, the house was planned over the course of several months and built in a marathon four-day session while the recipient was out of town.

Danielle Newman of DPR Hardin Savannah led the charge in organizing the meticulously planned play house. She spent approximately 40 hours over the last few months ironing out the administrative details of how to make the playhouse a reality, working with Make-A-Wish Savannah. The planning culminated in mid-July, when a team of 10 Savannah-area DPR employees, assisted by several subcontractor employees, came together over four consecutive days to create a dream playhouse in the corner of Rachel’s backyard.

Photo courtesy Andi King

Also contributing were subcontractors Sobman Landscaping, which landscaped around the structure, and Alpha Painting, which contributed both materials and manpower to help paint the structure, along with a handful of other subcontractors from the DPR Hardin Outlet Mall of Savannah and Broughton Street Renovation projects who donated time, money and materials.

Photo courtesy Andi King

More than 100 people, including local news crews, neighbors, friends, family, DPR employees and subcontractors along with representatives from Make-a-Wish Savannah, converged in Rachel’s backyard to witness Rachel’s first look at the new playhouse during the “wish reveal.”

The excited crowd formed a human tunnel shielding the playhouse from Rachel’s view until she passed through to see the finished product: a beautifully finished and inviting two-story playhouse featuring a loft inside and an L-shaped porch on the front, complete with porch swing.

Although all that attention proved a bit overwhelming for Rachel initially, she soon climbed into the pint sized swing to enjoy the view from the front porch of her new domicile. “She was having a ball,” Newman said. “And her older brother Joshua just fell down, face first, when he saw the playhouse – he was wowed. It was pretty cute.”

August 13, 2015

BD+C Giants 300 Report Reveals Trends, Ranks DPR No. 11 Contractor In Nation

Curious about the future of the architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) industry as well as forward-looking trends within various building sectors? Building Design+Construction (BD+C) magazine's 2015 Giants 300 Report, released earlier this month, reveals that and more. According to the comprehensive report, DPR ranked No. 11 on the list of the largest contractors, as part of its ranking of the largest A/E/C firms in the nation overall, based on revenue.

Sector Rankings 
This year, in addition to the No. 11 spot, DPR ranked in the following sectors so far:

  • #7 in healthcare
  • #9 in office
  • #9 in green
  • #13 in BIM
  • #13 in reconstruction
  • #17 in university
  • #27 in multifamily
  • #44 in government 

Other rankings, such as data centers, will be coming soon.

Building and Sector Trends, Insights

  • According to the construction report, the industry can "expect spending for nonresidential construction to rise in 2015 by somewhere in the 6.4–7.7% range." 
  • In an assessment of healthcare, the report revealed that "hospital and medical office construction [is] facing a slow but steady recovery." The report also mentions that "in Florida, where healthcare construction is up 20% from 2010, DPR Construction recently started on the 33,000-sf Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Working with architect HKS, the contractor is renovating existing therapy spaces, upgrading exterior features, and adding an aquatic therapy center."

A Dream + 80 Million Hours
Delivering great projects and great value to clients has led to DPR's consistently strong ranking on the BD+C's Giants 300 report. Living proof that giant dreams can yield spectacular results, DPR was built on the dream of its three founders 25 years ago, and as of today, employees have put in some 80 million work hours total since 1990. Suspending the laws of nature, it would take a single, very tired, person around 9,000 years to do that (if they worked nonstop).

The Self-Perform Work Component
Part of the 80 million hours is self-perform work, which makes up a growing proportion of DPR's total work hours. As a general contractor and builder with its own crews performing trade work, including concrete, drywall and doors, this helps us maintain control over schedule, quality, safety and cost on projects. It also gives the flexibility to explore and adopt innovative ways to work and source materials, delivering better projects and better overall value to clients.

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one. Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.

August 7, 2015

Understanding Cybercrime and Ways to Reduce Risk

Have you used your phone to respond to email or search online in the past few days, hours, or minutes? The answer, for most of us, is a resounding "yes."

As a data center builder, DPR knows the importance of data protection. Last year, DPR and a handful of partners hosted the second bi-annual Data Center Technical Summit (DCTS). The event was geared toward data center end users and the theme was “Managing Your IT Risk: Data Center Innovation in a Rapidly Evolving Industry.”

The keynote speaker was U.S. Navy veteran turned CEO and founder of GovCloud Network, Kevin L. Jackson, who spends his days fighting cybercrime and helping businesses leverage cloud computing.

In a recent article, Jackson stresses the fact that understanding the ins-and-outs of cyber security is more important now than ever before. He says the biggest barrier to the adoption of cloud computing on an enterprise level is a lack of understanding around the advancements made in cloud security in recent years. Jackson offers practical advice about managing both personal and corporate risk online.

Read the Q&A to get the full story.

August 3, 2015

DPR Shines Spotlight on Construction Career Opportunities at Girlstart Toolbox Build Event

When it comes to girls learning about the opportunities available to them in the STEM (science, technology, math and science) careers, there may not be anything quite as impactful as hearing directly from other females already working in those fields.

As a way to share their experience in the field of construction, a half-dozen women from DPR’s Austin office took time out from their workdays July 7 to participate in a Toolbox Build event for 28 fourth and fifth grade girls who were participating in a Girlstart summer camp.

Photo courtesy Sharlym Aquino Gil, Director of Community Relations, Girlstart

Founded in Austin, Texas in 1997, Girlstart is the only community-based informal STEM education nonprofit in the nation specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping girls in STEM through year-round STEM educational programming. Girlstart programs are open to girls in grades K-16. The organization focuses on serving girls of minority backgrounds, who live in low-income or nonurban environment, and/or who are considered at risk academically by the Texas Education Agency.

Angie Weyant, who herself has an engineering degree and had been looking for a way to get involved in a volunteer effort with Girlstart, organized the toolbox build session. She said the summer camp session provided a great way for Austin DPR employees to share the many benefits and paths of construction careers.

“We had a really great cross-section of people who came out to share what we do, including someone from marketing, from preconstruction and a project executive, among others,” she said. Building the individual tookbox kits allowed hands-on interaction with the girls and the opportunity to talk about safety and other construction-related issues, she added.

The girls took home their assembled toolboxes and DPR-logoed safety goggles so they can continue working on their skills at home.

Photo courtesy Sharlym Aquino Gil, Director of Community Relations, Girlstart

“The girls all seemed to have a really good time, and we got to interact with them a lot during the building exercise,” Weyant added.

Girlstart later tweeted about the day, saying, “Thanks @DPR Construction for working with our girls at camp today!” They included a comment from one of the girls who participated, who said: “Now I can work with my dad with my own tool kit!”

All in a day’s work planting the seeds to build the next generation STEM workforce – one girl at a time.

July 30, 2015

18 Years of BIM

The industry has evolved in the last 25 years since DPR was founded. Building information modeling (BIM), however, has been a part of DPR since the early days of the company. As a long-established leader in virtual design and construction (VDC) and BIM, we know that it's not just the technology alone, but the smart use of technology that can help the right project team deliver predictable results and improve project efficiency.

We used an early version of BIM in 1997 on a project in the Bay Area for basic site logistics, visualization and construction sequencing to identify time/space conflicts.

Ten years later, DPR achieved a major breakthrough on Sutter Health’s Camino Medical Group Mountain View campus, which completed in 2007. Camino was the first DPR project to use a combination of BIM, integrated project delivery (IPD) and lean methodology.

On the Camino project, the team's strategic use of BIM on the 250,000-sq.-ft. outpatient medical center resulted in an estimated cost and time savings of at least $9 million and six months over the traditional CM-at-risk approach. Since then, the benefits and services of BIM have continued to evolve.

Now, almost ten years after the start of the Camino project and 18 years since we first started using it, we use BIM on 85% of our projects before work even begins in the field.

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one

Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.