September 24, 2015

Eight Strategies for Project Success Using Lean, BIM and IPD

With the increased complexity and variability in the building process, building owners are seeking more predictable results from project delivery methods. Project teams are using lean methodology, integrated project delivery (IPD), and building information modeling (BIM) to contribute to the success of many projects. With a carefully, intentionally designed system, teams can eliminate unknown variables, while meeting cost, schedule, and design quality goals.

Atul Khanzode, leader of DPR’s Construction Technologies Group, recently wrote a white paper titled, “Setting your Project Up for Success Using Lean, BIM, and IPD.” 

In this white paper, Atul outlines eight strategies for facilitating productivity and success in a project. A DPR team recently applied these strategies on a project and was able to cut down construction time by a month and increase their productivity by 22%. 

But wait, what are these eight important strategies? Read this White Paper Watch for a summary or the full white paper to learn more. 

Photo Credit: David Cox

September 16, 2015

Safety Stand-Downs Refresh Employees after the Holidays

After being away from work for vacation or a holiday, it might take some time to regain focus on the job at hand. But in construction, every person is responsible for being alert and creating a safe work environment the minute they step onto the jobsite. That’s why project teams are using safety stand-downs post-holidays to refresh the idea that safety is not only a priority, but a value as well.

This past Memorial Day marked the second holiday safety stand-down for DPR's Mid-Atlantic region. The Tuesday after the holiday, project superintendents, field employees and subcontractors came together to discuss the importance of getting everyone back into work focused on safety, pre-task-plans and looking out for one another. The region’s first stand-down was held following the 4th of July.

As a part of the safety stand-downs, each project is expected to hold an all-hands meeting with all of the subcontractors and DPR staff to discuss safety on the job. The superintendents lead the effort, encouraging the subcontractors to get involved and share stories about safety incidents while on vacation. Everyone on the jobsite is asked to get their heads, minds and hearts focused on the tasks at hand and to hold the highest of standards for safety practices.

Our most recent stand-down was held after Labor Day, as superintendents across the Mid-Atlantic region reminded their crew to always put safety first before resuming work on their jobsites.

It’s clear that the DPR's commitment to safety is paying off on local projects such as the Inova Ashburn Healthplex project, which began construction over a year ago.

To see one of DPR's safety stand-downs, watch this video

September 15, 2015

25 Days In The Community: DPR Spruces Up UMOM Shelter As Part Of Month-long Campaign

For day five of DPR’s 25th anniversary celebration – 25 Days In The Community - two dozen DPR volunteers gathered at one of Arizona’s largest homeless shelters to contribute their time and skills to make needed repairs.

DPR’s Will Mouser organized the workday that provided improvements to UMOM’s main Phoenix campus. The organization provides safe shelter, meals and support services to over 140 homeless families at their main Phoenix campus.

Photo of volunteer stretch-and-flex courtesy Will Mouser

The volunteer day drew from all ranks of DPR Phoenix region employees, ranging from skilled craftsmen to administrative and project-based staff. Along with a handful of UMOM volunteers, DPR staffers worked hands-on performing repairs and upgrades to three buildings in the housing complex. Work included caulking and weatherproofing doors and windows, painting walls, and installing wall base and corner guards, among other things.

“This project is really about giving back and helping these people have a brighter start so they can get back on their feet,” commented Mouser. “The biggest highlight for me was the chance to use our handyman skills in a different capacity. Many of us are dealing with managing multimillion dollar projects, but we don’t actually get to swing the hammer every day. Here we get to see the fruits of our labor immediately.”

Photo of one of the work areas courtesy Will Mouser

The DPR volunteers were joined by a number of young shelter residents who were eager to help out. “They just wanted to help make the facility nicer and give back, and we welcomed them with open arms,” Mouser said.

The Sept. 12 workday is just the latest example of DPR’s ongoing involvement with the 51-year-old UMOM organization. DPR volunteers also participate in a monthly lunch serve on campus, among other projects.

In celebration of DPR’s 25th anniversary, the company is organizing 25 consecutive days of service in our communities between Tuesday, September 8 and Saturday, October 3. Visit the 25 Days In The Community website for all the details.

September 9, 2015

Back to School…Safely

The end of the dog days of summer welcome an annual rite of passage—back to school time—for students coast to coast.

Building on an Active College Campus
For construction companies working in a fluctuating campus environment, the back-to-school season brings a heightened awareness of the importance of safety. Specifically, this means maintaining a stringent, comprehensive safety program to keep the public—as well as workers—safe on and around jobsites. And even as they push to meet critical budget and schedule goals, savvy owners and builders understand that a safe project and a successful project are ultimately interwoven.

The Arizona Center for Law and Society project is just one example of a project currently underway on a busy college campus. DPR is building the $128 million facility on Arizona State University’s downtown campus, a beehive of activity since fall classes recently began. The project is slated for completion by the start of the 2016 fall semester.

Culture of Safety
Over the past 25 years, DPR’s focus on continuous improvement has been directly reflected in a culture of safety. Our safety culture promotes awareness of the need to work continuously and collectively better and more safely—as a company and as an industry. To further that goal, this past May some 6,670 individuals across 79 DPR jobsites and 18 offices nationwide participated in OSHA’s annual National Safety Stand-Down. OSHA’s industrywide safety effort raises awareness about fall protection on construction jobsites.

Integrated, Holistic Approach
An integrated and holistic focus on safety, quality and productivity has long been the cornerstone of DPR’s approach to successful project delivery, whether we are building on a college campus, within an operating hospital or anywhere else. Our record reflects that—in 2014, DPR’s OSHA incident rate was less than one-third the industry average

At DPR, we promote and nurture an Injury-Free Environment (IFE), with the goal of achieving zero incidents on every project.

*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 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 31, 2015

DPR-Spearheaded 2015 Luau and Legends Event Raises Record Funds in San Diego

A lot has changed in the San Diego surfing community since the first Luau and Legends Surfing Invitational fundraiser was held 22 years ago.

Surfing legends have come and gone. New records have been set, and broken. Short boards have come into vogue. And sadly, countless more people in this community and elsewhere have been impacted by the ugly disease that is cancer.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the sense of brotherhood and common purpose that connects the surfing community in San Diego. The generosity of the community was on full display during the weekend of August 9 event at Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Some 600 individuals turned out to set a new record by raising an estimated $400,000 for cancer research, according to DPR project manager and 2015 Luau and Legends event Chair, Larz Lock.

The San Diego office has participated in and supported the Luau and Legends event since its inception. For Lock, who is the sixth DPR chairperson of the event over the last 22 years, this year’s event marked the culmination of more than six months and literally hundreds of hours of planning and organizing, working in concert with numerous other volunteers. In addition to Lock, another dozen or so DPR San Diego employees helped in the planning process this year.

This outstanding team of event chairs, volunteers and surfing legends included DPR's Larz Lock (2015 Event Chair), DPR's Trevor Gammelgard (event volunteer), Guy Takayama (surfing legend), DPR's John Kay (2011 Event Chair), and DPR's Alex Panici (2014 Event Chair). Photo courtesy Todd Barnes.

“It’s a massive effort and really a group effort down here,” Lock said. “There are a lot of people that value this event and understand what it is they’re trying to accomplish with cancer research, and are happy to help.”

While it is clearly not a job for the weak-hearted or anyone who shies away from hard work, the payoff came from knowing the effort put in truly makes a difference.

“To see the level of generosity and kindness that this event produces is absolutely extraordinary; I’m humbled by it,” Lock commented. “This is not a black tie gala event like we’ve all been to countless times. It’s a bunch of surfers getting together, who have all had common peril in their lives. They understand the importance of what they are doing and just want to help.”

There were 21 sponsored teams who competed at this year’s event, including more than 20 legends of surfing, surfing aficionados, representatives of the region’s biopharmaceutical industry who are among the larger event sponsors, cancer survivors, and many others from the community. Just a few of this year’s event highlights included:

Peter Townend (PT), the first IPS world surfing champion, added a new and dynamic element by serving as honorary chairperson, co-emceeing the day with Lock.
There was a tribute to two surfing legends recently lost to cancer: Mike Tabeling and Donald Takayama.
A moving video message was delivered by DPR’s Eric Cusick, who is currently in treatment in his personal battle against cancer.
Enhanced participation by newer surfing short board legends continued the changes put in place at last year’s event.
Live music was provided by Tim Flannery, musician and former San Diego Padres baseball player / San Francisco Giants third base coach.

The record money raised this year adds to more than $6 million collected from the event since its inception, all going to support UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center’s cancer research, clinical trials and patient care.

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 26, 2015

DPR Back to School Drives Support Students in Multiple Florida Communities

Back to school season is a time of excitement and anticipation for students across the U.S., as they head to the stores in droves to purchase new backpacks, binders and myriad other school supplies. The National Retail Federation estimated that collectively, U.S. parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade would shell out $24.9 billion on back to school shopping this year.

For many families, however, back to school is a time of anxiety as they face major challenges purchasing needed school supplies within household budgets that are already stretched razor thin.

To help students in their communities, DPR’s West Palm Beach, Central Florida and Tampa offices recently participated in a series of school supply drives. Collectively, the three offices rallied several dozen DPR employees and nearly 30 owners and subcontractors to help support local economically disadvantaged students. Those offices (along with the DPR Foundation which provided additional funding) contributed nearly $11,000 in supplies as well as many hours of volunteer time to the cause.

Back-to-school backpacks, filled with supplies and ready for their new owners. Photo credit: Mimi Flatley

Tampa, Orlando Offices Pool Resources

Over the summer, the Central Florida group raised funds for 157 school backpacks, while the Tampa office raised enough to purchase 117 school supply sets for local children. More than three dozen employees participated in the drive in Central Florida alone, and 29 subcontractors and owners took part in the drive between the two offices.

The supplies went to support four different charities that in turn supplied the goods to under-resourced children in the two regions. They included Children’s Home Society and Matthew’s Hope in Central Florida, and the USO and ABC in the Tampa region.

After the supplies had all been collected, DPR volunteers gathered in the Maitland office to help stuff the backpacks that had been custom-selected with specific children’s color or character preferences in mind. “It was really cool to see everyone coming together to help,” Matteson commented.

Delivering school supplies to Matthew's Hope, near Orlando, FL. Photo credit: Joslin Matteson

Supporting Milagro Center Students in West Palm Beach

In DPR’s West Palm Beach office, Theresa Kinsloe helped organize DPR’s school supply contribution that supported the Milagro Center, a DPR Foundation-supported community organization. In addition to a financial contribution to the drive, a handful of DPR volunteers turned out to work as “personal shoppers” on Aug. 8 when the supplies were distributed to students at an event in Del Ray Beach.

“The children were each assigned a personal shopper and then escorted through to choose what color backpack they wanted and to get their supplies,” said Kinsloe. “That was pretty empowering for them.” The event that was hosted by the Giving Network also supplied each child with a new pair of shoes, a free haircut and health services including free immunizations offered through the Boca Rotan Regional Hospital.

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