DPR Construction Uses Lean Construction and Virtual Building Technology to Improve Productivity by Estimated 20 Percent on 250,000-sq.-ft. Medical Center

June 28, 2006

Camino Medical Group Project Team Shares Benefits and Lessons Learned with Healthcare and Real Estate Industry

How do you build a project with the highest quality while minimizing waste and increasing overall production? By combining the Lean Project Delivery System (LPDS or lean) with three- and four-dimensional (3-D and 4-D) virtual building technologies. DPR Construction, Inc., is currently building a three-story, 250,000-sq.-ft. medical office building for Camino Medical Group (CMG) in Mountain View, Calif. During a recent invitation-only event for more than 75 healthcare and real estate industry professionals, the CMG project team, which included owner affiliate Sutter Health, DPR, Hawley Peterson & Snyder Architects and key subcontractors, reported that the use of lean and 3-D virtual building to coordinate the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems is enhancing productivity by as much as 20 percent.

“Labor typically accounts for 50 percent of costs in construction, so any productivity improvement can have a tremendous impact,” said Dean Reed, Lean/Virtual building coordinator for DPR Construction, Inc., the general contractor for the project. “By coupling learning with action, the DPR team working on the CMG facility is proving that we can deliver measurably more value to our customers through lean and virtual building—even on everyday types of facilities such as medical office buildings.”

The CMG project, which also includes a 420,000-sq.-ft. concrete parking structure, is just past the mid-way point with anticipated completion in March of next year and represents the first time virtual building technologies are being used in conjunction with the LPDS on a large-scale healthcare facility in the U.S. Some of the results reported are as follows:

  • Three-dimensional virtual building models of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems are enabling subcontractors to prefabricate most of the MEP materials for a just-in-time delivery, which has helped the team achieve an estimated 20 percent improvement in productivity in the field during the first portion of the job.
  • The installation of MEP systems in the building’s first six areas, totaling 75,000 sq. ft., was completed without any field issues or clashes.
  • In 12 months, there have been only 233 requests for information (RFIs), 159 of which were “confirming only.”
  • DPR superintendents have spent less than five hours resolving coordination-related issues through construction of the first six quadrants, allowing for more time to plan and manage the project. (Superintendents usually anticipate spending two to three hours a day resolving issues in the field.)

“What we’re doing now is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Reed. “We have a lot more information in the dimensional layout than we are using, and the next step is to really drive what we have learned further into the construction process and the facility’s life beyond the project. This is how we as an industry—owners, architects, subcontractors, general contractors—should be building buildings in the future.”

Derived from Toyota’s lean production management system that transformed the automobile industry, LPDS was conceived by Greg Howell, a Stanford University alumnus, and Glenn Ballard, a U.C. Berkeley faculty member, and provides a progressive, collaborative system for building projects with the highest quality, while minimizing waste and using resources to increase overall production—maximizing value for all project stakeholders. For more information on LPDS, please visit http://www.leanconstruction.org. To download presentation materials from the Camino Medical Group project event on costs/benefits and lessons learned, please visit DPR Construction’s website at http://www.dprinc.com.

About Camino Medical Group
A physician-directed health care provider, Camino Medical Group is dedicated to providing high-quality healthcare to its nearly 200,000 Bay Area patients. Camino Medical Group has 15 sites with more than 220 primary care and specialist physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It is a division of the not-for-profit Palo Alto Medical Foundation, which is a Sutter Health affiliate. Sutter Health is one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit networks of hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care services.

About DPR Construction, Inc.
Consistently ranked as one of the top general contractors in the country by ENR magazine, DPR Construction, Inc. specializes in technically challenging and sustainable projects for the advanced technology, biopharmaceutical, corporate office and healthcare markets. A privately held, employee-owned company, DPR has grown to more than $1 billion in annual revenue since its founding in 1990 and continuously looks for opportunities to advance the construction delivery process through collaboration and the use of technology. The forward-thinking company currently has one of the best safety records of any general contractor in the nation and leads the industry in green and lean construction, as well as virtual building technology. For more information, please visit http://www.dprinc.com.