Across DPR Blog

January 20, 2015

A Bird’s Eye View: Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Data Collection

On more than 15 DPR projects nationwide, project teams are reaping the benefits of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or "drones").

Teams are using this technology for data collection. UAVs fly across project jobsites and take up to thousands of pictures. The pictures are then stitched into a large mosaic image, which project teams can use as a map to communicate and collaborate.

Pictured above: The team building the Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice and Simulation at the University of San Diego uses their images and video to communicate project updates.

Learn more here: Experience a "Day in the Life" of DPR project teams that use UAVs.

Want to learn even more about UAVs in general? Here's a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) about the phenomenon.

January 13, 2015

Technology Pushing Greater Service (at Lower Cost) for Life of Building

In an in-depth Q&A with DPR's Atul Khanzode, he shares the insight gained through his decade of virtual design and construction (VDC) and lean experience on complex projects. Khanzode leads DPR’s strategic VDC technology initiatives.

"It’s not so much about the specific technologies we’re using, but more about how we are applying those technologies to enhance the delivery process for our customers," he says. 

Khanzode also touches on major challenges facing the industry, what's popular in construction technology and how it's changing the construction industry. 

"The use of tested technologies is playing a key role in adding reliability to the process, allowing us to better predict project outcomes for our customers," he says.


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) are helpful in data collection so teams can track construction progress (just one example of a construction technology trend)

January 6, 2015

How Team’s Technical Expertise Helped Gulfstream Project Soar

With BIM and lean techniques being especially helpful for equipment and schedule coordination, DPR Hardin built a 430,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing space for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. 

Gulfstream develops and manufactures the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. However, it wasn't DPR Hardin’s deep aerospace experience that ultimately won the job; it was solid technical expertise, which offers clear parallels to aerospace manufacturing.

How did collaboration with the owner, a unique foundation and a complex web of infrastructure systems factor into the equation? 

Read the full story here to learn more (including why it was described as "one of coolest, most challenging and satisfying jobs most of the team has ever built").


Photo by David Robinson Photography

January 2, 2015

Which 3 Healthcare Trend Predictions Are Ringing True Today?

Published 2 years ago, DPR's "Future of Healthcare" study identified the most significant, long-term trends in healthcare and its impact on facilities. The study was a yearlong effort to interview and survey more than 40 executives and leaders in healthcare and the architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) industries.

Some of the findings included:

  • Prediction #1: Renovation and adaptive reuse will increase;
  • Prediction #2: Outpatient services will continue to be the focal point for growth; and
  • Prediction #3: Technology/data intensity will be crucial. 

DPR is now seeing these trends manifested in the healthcare projects it’s working on, particularly those that are coming to its Special Services Group (SSG)

SSG is DPR’s team of builders who focus on quicker and smaller-scale projects. Of DPR's 7,500 completed smaller-scale projects (valued in the $5 million or less range), about 20% were in the healthcare sector. 

Read more about healthcare trends here in the latest issue of the DPR Review newsletter. 

An example of adaptive reuse, Texas Children’s Outpatient Therapy and Specialty Care Clinics were constructed in 17,500 sq. ft. of an existing suburban strip mall in Houston. (Photo by Jud Haggard Photography)

December 23, 2014

DPR Sponsors, Helps Organize Record-Setting Turning Wheels for Kids Bike Build

Turning Wheels for Kids, a Bay Area nonprofit that puts bikes in the hands of disadvantaged youth, recently celebrated two major milestones: the 10th anniversary of its “bike build” event, and its largest one to date. More than 1,000 volunteers turned out December 6 at the San Jose Convention Center – South Hall to build approximately 2,700 bikes for local youngsters.

Photo courtesy Philip Bartkowski.

DPR has been involved with Turning Wheels for Kids from its inception and served as title sponsor and organizer of this year’s annual bike build day. In addition to the San Jose bike build, the group sponsored a second event in Pleasanton, where an additional 400 bikes were assembled and distributed. DPR’s Phil Bartkowski, who helped organize this year’s event, said the day was highly rewarding for all involved.

“This is a great team-building event and something that is amazing to see in person,” he commented. “You can’t have a true appreciation for what it involves until you’ve been there and seen all of these boxes turn into bright and shiny bikes at the end of the day. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of.”

More than 55 DPR employees volunteered  to build bikes. They also presented Turning Wheels For Kids with a grant for $60,000 from The DPR Foundation. Photo courtesy Philip Bartkowski.

Major Preplanning Required

While the volunteer teams resembled a well-oiled machine in motion on bike build day, preplanning for the event was extensive and began several months ahead. Many hours of volunteer time went into setting up and purchasing the bikes, determining how many bikes would go to each of the  charitable groups requesting them (which in turn distribute the bikes to children), and coordinating the logistics and details of bike build day.

On the day prior to the big event, DPR volunteers helped prepare the convention center’s South Hall. They laid tape on the floor and organized the three-football-field-long expanse of floor space to accommodate some 75 teams and a total of 1,000 volunteers. Some were experienced bike builders, while others came ready to learn through video demonstration and hands-on training. Each and every bike that was assembled was required to pass a thorough safety and quality control inspection station staffed by 50 to 60 people, before the bike was deemed fit for release.

Photo courtesy Philip Bartkowski.

Sense of Common Purpose

Bartkowski said the sense of common purpose shared by volunteers and the opportunity for team building were major benefits of the day. But the biggest reward? The chance to see the reaction of the 20 or so children who came to the event not only to receive their bikes, but also to participate in building them as well.

“Seeing the smiles on their faces was just one of those priceless, feel good moments of the whole event,” he commented. “Everybody was working so hard, sweating just to get the bikes done, and it was great to actually see some of the fruit of their labor of what this is all about.”

Photo courtesy Philip Bartkowski.

December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays from DPR Construction!

'Twas weeks before the new year and a video we did make (click the image below to check it out)...


From all of us at DPR, we wish you a happy holiday season!

December 17, 2014

ENR Picks Net-Zero Energy Office as Project of the Year

“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:

  1. Overcoming challenges and teamwork
  2. Safety
  3. Innovation & contribution to the industry/community
  4. Construction quality & craftsmanship
  5. 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

DPR Sponsors Milagro Center’s ‘Haircuts for the Holidays’

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

DPR Makes Huge Impact in San Gabriel Valley with Foothill Unity Center Renovation Project

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 planni​ng 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

What Gets Measured Gets Done

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. 

Learn about what DPR’s Management Committee recommended for the industry to benchmark energy usage. 

(Hint: It's a metric called energy use intensity.)