August 20, 2019

DPR Construction’s New Sacramento Office Pushes the Envelope in Sustainable Design

Office Incorporates Material Never Before Used in Sacramento for a Building’s Structure

In an area famed for its fertile farmland, a new type of green initiative has been taking root as DPR Construction puts the finishing touches on its innovative new office space at 1801 J Street in Sacramento. When DPR opens a new office, it aims to forge a new path for sustainability, creating “living labs” to show what is possible in green and healthy workplace design. In Sacramento, DPR is manifesting that by incorporating a material never before used for a building’s structure in the city: mass timber with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. A renewable resource, mass timber can be an integral part of a low-carbon development; for this project, it was vital to DPR meeting its goals for sustainable design, as well as achieving LEED® Platinum and WELLTM certification standards.

For its new Sacramento home, DPR purchased an existing property for re-use, adapting it to be net-zero energy. Photo courtesy of Marshall Andrews

In a move that itself demonstrates the “reduce, reuse and recycle” mantra of conservation, DPR purchased an existing property for re-use, utilizing a design by SmithGroup to transform it into DPR’s new Sacramento home. The existing 28,833-sq.-ft. midtown property’s two buildings are targeting Zero Energy Certification (ZNE) from the International Living Future Institute. To achieve ZNE, the office will offset its energy use via on-site photovoltaic solar energy generation and ban the use of any combustibles, relying on electrical energy alone. Key to DPR’s ability to meet sustainable design goals for this project was the incorporation of mass timber construction with cross-laminated timber panels made up of pressed, dried timber boards stacked at right angles and glued together with non-toxic adhesive—a material not previously used in this manner in Sacramento.

Mass timber products are engineered for loads similar in strength to structural materials like concrete and steel, but they allow crews to build tall, with a lighter, natural, low-carbon and high-quality material. This effort sheds light on the possibilities for the region’s aging building stock, and it showcases how incorporating wood in an exciting, sustainable manner can benefit commercial projects.

Wood Elements Deliver Strength, Resiliency While Reducing Carbon Footprint

From a structural perspective, CLT and mass timber elements provide high-strength, resilient systems capable of long spans and significant wind and seismic force resistance. At the time of design review, Sacramento building codes did not yet recognize these systems for use as lateral force-resisting elements, so design teams reached beyond existing codes to demonstrate equivalent or superior performance with CLT. They made use of the many years of research and testing conducted by organizations such as WoodWorks, FP Innovations, ANSI/APA and Structurlam to navigate code, design and construction issues. It is also the first multi-story shear wall application of CLT in the State of California.

Mass timber elements provide high-strength, resilient systems capable of long spans and significant wind and seismic force resistance. Photo courtesy of Marshall Andrews

From a sustainability perspective, mass timber offers even more benefit. Because of its use in this structure, the embodied carbon is estimated to be lower by 170 metric tons than comparable structures using traditional materials. Further, it is estimated that US & Canadian forests grow enough wood for this project in only 12 seconds, highlighting the current availability of wood product. And it’s not just the timber; the building utilizes mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to reduce energy use vs. baseline by 45%, with 424 photovoltaic panels for an annual production of 265,178 kWh/year. In the sunny Central Valley, this is projected to yield 107% of onsite energy needs annually. A 9.8 kWh battery backup system is included for added resiliency during system outages and to serve as a community hub in the event of natural disaster.

Exposed Timber Provides Unique Connection to Nature

Exposed timber also provided DPR with the opportunity to create a high-end, modern office environment that showcases not only its skill but also its environmental stewardship. Wood elements also accomplish something other building materials cannot—they have the unique ability to connect people to the natural environment. This unique combination of attributes provided advantages not offered by other building systems. The challenge was to make full use of these benefits in a manner most compatible with the existing concrete and masonry structure. It is here that CLT framing became the clear choice.

Overall, the building reduces energy use by 45% and is projected to yield 107% of onsite energy needs annually. Photo courtesy of Marshall Andrews

Mass timber also means the application of interior finish materials is unnecessary, helping to limit the amount of toxic materials present. Exposed wood also brings nature into the space by creating a tactile experience and a healthy indoor air quality. The sense of biophilia, the connections humans subconsciously seek with the rest of life, is reinforced by Solatubes® on the roof to diffuse light and bring in anti-glare, natural light, operable windows that highlight the local microclimate’s Delta Breeze, and material finishes with familiar patterns and textures, such as wood, stone, hexagons, bubbles and wool. The second story terrace engages with the community in the “City of Trees” that is Sacramento, and can be accessed through a new communicating stair from Level 1 to Level 2. The stair uses a CLT landing and old growth Douglas Fir treads and risers.

The unusual application of mass timber in this project pushed the boundaries of what is possible with the material and challenged the entire design and consultant teams. When considering the massing, the perception of the structure in three dimensions, the design concept called for the placement of a distinct pavilion atop the historic building to help define the exterior shape. The use of mass timber as a way to distinguish the pavilion addition from the rest of the existing building created a recognizable stark contrast consistent with the design scheme.

Exposed wood also brings nature into the space by creating a tactile experience and a healthy indoor air quality. Photo courtesy of Marshall Andrews

A Continued Commitment to Sustainable Design

DPR has long been committed to green building and sustainable design, and this project further demonstrates this. Originally constructed in 1940 and renovated in 1993, this adaptive re-use will house the DPR office, with open office seating areas, an active/addressable seating plan, meeting rooms, break rooms, open collaborative areas, focus areas, a training room, lounge spaces and other special use spaces. This design allows DPR to provide leasing opportunities on the ground level, a move that will not only activate J Street but will also connect DPR to the community at large. While the west building is a two-story structure that received extensive interior and exterior improvements, the single-story east building received a full second story addition constructed entirely of mass timber.

As an active member of the US Green Building Council since 1999, DPR has constructed green/LEED™-certified projects for various customers across the nation. In 2003, DPR completed construction of its 52,300-sq.-ft., high-performance office building in Sacramento, a ground-up facility that was designated the first privately owned LEED™ project in the Central Valley.

August 13, 2019

UNC Healthcare Embraces Innovation at Panther Creek

Nestled at the edge of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, an area famed for innovation, the popular suburban community of Cary consistently ranks among the nation’s most desirable places for active families. It is here that UNC Healthcare Panther Creek is embracing prefabrication to bring its new ambulatory surgery center online more quickly, addressing the growing community’s need for greater access to healthcare. By using a robust virtual design and construction program along with the use of prefabricated plumbing, electrical, and conduit materials, as well as tilt-up walls, DPR Construction is able to deliver the project one to two months quicker than if using traditional methods.

A robust virtual design and construction program coupled with prefabricated materials helps deliver UNC Healthcare’s new ambulatory surgery center more quickly than traditional methods. Photo courtesy of Mindy Hetman

“The real story here goes deeper than the prefabrication itself. It was really about the modeling and coordination efforts done before we even stepped foot onsite,” says Superintendent Daniel Wrenn. “All penetrations, all hangers and embeds were already in place before we poured any slabs or decks. The day after we poured the deck, we were able to start the rough-in—in-wall and overhead. Normally, you’ve got weeks of layout and putting up your hangers before you can put the first piece of material up. Instead, our approach saved a lot of time.”

Modeling was instrumental in streamlining production of prefabricated materials off site, so when it came time to put the materials in place there was no question of placement or tie-ins. DPR crews were able to virtually tilt in the wall panels ahead of time, before fabrication, allowing them to identify any imperfections or misalignments in the embeds ahead of time. Additionally, laser scanning allowed for verification of embed placement on site. If embeds were even a couple of inches off, the information could be relayed to the project team and the trade partner for quick adjustment, eliminating schedule risks. Catching potential misalignments ahead of time creates significant time and money savings versus dealing with errors later in the field.

Modeling was instrumental in streamlining production of prefabricated materials off site so that when it came time to put the materials in place there was no question of placement or tie-ins. Photo courtesy of Mindy Hetman

Modeling was also used to map out plumbing, electrical and conduit locations before these materials were fabricated. Copper pipes and fittings used in construction were tagged for specific locations for shut-off valves—all based on the modeling. Hard pipe is typically stick built in the field, with electricians bending pipe on site after boxes are roughed in. At Panther Creek, hard pipe was built off site according to the model. Electricians also traditionally install one stick of conduit at a time, but the modeling, coordination, and prefab efforts here allowed racks of 12 conduits to be installed at once. Fabrication work being done in the shop rather than on site cut down significantly on labor, accelerated the schedule, and reduced exposure to safety risks. “Prefab has been around for years,” said Project Manager Cameron Martin. “But these are new methods of employing it.”

Fabrication work being done in the shop rather than on site cut down significantly on labor, accelerated the schedule, and reduced exposure to safety risks. Photo courtesy of Mindy Hetman

Says Wrenn, “You couldn’t have done the prefabrication like our trades did without the modeling and bringing all the trades into the process. The trades used the Trimble system before the actual concrete was poured on any of the decks, and they were able to do the in-wall rough-in before the walls were studded.” Relationships with appropriate trade partners, such as plumbing contractor Environmental Air Systems and electrical contractor Cooper Electric, also helped in DPR’s success at Panther Creek.

Working under a tight schedule, DPR leveraged its relationships with important trade partners and brought its expertise in BIM modeling and coordination to the table to help deliver an excellent facility with cost efficiency and improved safety ever at the fore. The 96,700-sq.-ft. tilt-up medical office building, which includes a new ambulatory surgery center, imaging suites, pharmacy, and multiple medical clinics is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

August 7, 2019

At two European events, DPR leads the way on hot topics

While DPR Construction has project work under way in several European markets – Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland – DPR’s professionals took center stage in Dublin and Paris as part of two global thought leadership events, both focused on the future of project delivery.

“As much as we’re trying to showcase what DPR can do in our European target geographies, many of the topics we discussed apply throughout the world,” said DPR’s Europe Lead Damian Farr. “Wherever a customer works with DPR in the world, we want them to know our approach is aligned and focused on delivering great results.”

A session takes place at the IGLC Conference in Dublin.
Attendees heard from thought leaders in a variety of settings at the IGLC conference. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Lean Without Borders

At the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) Annual Conference in Dublin, DPR was hard to miss, with several speakers, paper submissions and attendees from around the globe.

“It really showcased that DPR’s depth of Lean knowledge knows no borders,” said Chris Dierks, one of DPR’s Lean leaders. “Customers everywhere are looking to bring projects online faster and that requires letting go of a lot of long-held ways of working. At IGLC, we really helped show how a customer can take advantage of emerging delivery methods, and coupling those with a Lean mindset.”

DPR's Atul Khanzode presents at IGLC.
DPR's Atul Khanzode presents at IGLC. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

That approach was kicked off by DPR’s Atul Khanzode, Dean Reed and Leonardo Rischmoller, who presented the Simple Framework for Integrated Project Delivery. Concurrently, DPR’s Paz Arroyo teamed with Annett Schöttle, a Lean expert from German consultancy Refine Projects AG, for a workshop on Choosing by Advantages.

Teams also led sessions focused on their abstract topics. Anthony Munoz, Jean Laurent and Dierks presented DPR’s Team Health Assessment, a tool that used to better identify and provide measurement to otherwise unquantifiable indices of a project’s performance.

“Traditional measures of Lean Construction can sometimes fail to represent or provide insightful commentary to the lengths they measure,” Dierks said. “The satisfaction of every member of the team can greatly affect outcomes and true Lean project success requires taking this into account, otherwise, there will be erosion of the benefits of Lean approaches. Diving deep into understanding the health of the team is critical to the success of any project; that's why we feel so strongly about doing an Assessment each month to figure out what do we need to improve and how can we support each other better in making that happen throughout the next month.”

DPR's Paz Arroyo and Lean expert Annett Schöttle present at IGLC.
DPR's Paz Arroyo and Lean expert Annett Schöttle led a workshop on Choosing by Advantages. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Calling “caca” in Paris

While the IGLC conference focused on the processes of construction, BuiltWorlds’ Summit Paris looked closely at the tools themselves changing the construction landscape. Of course, DPR had quite a bit to say about how technology is affecting construction.

Peter Schneider, from DPR’s Amsterdam team, shared some provocative opinions on a panel that addressed the slow adoption of technology in our industry.

“We have to address the tension that exists between the desire to increase productivity and efficiency and what customers are really willing to invest in to disrupt the industry,” Schneider said. “As much as contractors are in a ‘space race’ to differentiate themselves with the newest things, we have to find common goals or else existing ways of working won’t change.”

Schneider also suggested that our industry is too quick to implement a new piece of technology when more testing is needed.

“If our industry doesn’t take the time to set expectations when projects test products under development, it’s likely that those tools become burdens. If that happens too many times, the brand around “technology” goes down. When we launch a tool without an integrated training and education platform, we’re setting it up to fail. From there, what needs to happen for it to recover?” He noted.

DPR's Damian Farr leads a discussion at BuiltWorlds.
DPR's Damian Farr offered some "real talk" at the BuiltWorld Paris conference. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Meanwhile, DPR’s Farr sat on a panel that expressed similar themes while projecting the future state of construction.

“There’s certainly a trend of contractors bringing design expertise in-house to improve control of their own processes and architects aiming to bring in construction talent,” Farr said. “In reality, those folks will enhance integrated delivery but it’s unlikely this approach will replace the role of the other partner.”

Similarly, there is a narrative that contractors will become more and more vertically integrated, essentially becoming a one-stop shop for all facets of project delivery. Farr is skeptical.

“Customers are always going to want to maintain some competition, at least until true integration and real trust is the norm. They know it benefits their price,” Farr said. “Each project is different enough to be considered more than widgets that can be screwed together, and we are analyzing where significant elements of our core market work is consistent enough, across all projects for us to procure and produce those pieces in an integrated manner and even where a customer has insisted upon some form of market testing.”

August 1, 2019

Builders at our Core: Chad Urroz

Self-Perform Concrete Superintendent Chad Urroz points to hard work, integrity and dependability as the basis for DPR's success. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

For Chad Urroz, a self-perform concrete superintendent based in Southern California, the recipe for DPR’s continued success calls for two main ingredients: hard work and a solid reputation. “DPR can’t do it without the folks in the field… we really owe it all the guys out there making it happen day in and day out. That’s where the hard work gets done,” says Urroz. This hard work is mixed in with integrity and dependability to create a reputation for quality that continues to be recognized in the industry and has helped make DPR one of the top 10 general contractors in the nation.

Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?

Urroz: I’ve been a superintendent for SPW Concrete with DPR since January of 2018. I started in concrete in 1998. My uncle and his neighbor were in the concrete business, so I started doing side jobs with them, and the rest is history. I like concrete because it doesn’t go away. There’s gratification that comes from knowing what you build will be there for a long time.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to build/type of project to work on?

Urroz: I would say projects that are unique. I couldn’t imagine myself doing the same old, same old every day. I like doing a variety of projects, getting to change every nine months or so. Like this job, it’s more of a steel structure overall, but we’re doing the foundations, concrete slabs and floors throughout. One of the buildings has concrete walls and elevator cores. It’s always a little different from job to job.

Urroz finds fulfillment in creating structures that will stand the test of time. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s the most technical thing you’ve worked on?

Urroz: We did a client’s corporate headquarters, a nice architectural project, in Pasadena. It was a cast-in-place building for one of DPR’s long-time clients. Since it was their corporate headquarters, it was really a showroom for them, with high-end finishes and architectural details. I was really impressed at the level of trust DPR had in me to be a lead on such an important job. They just said, “Take this and run with it.” So I did.

Q: What do you love about construction/your job?

Urroz: It’s the fulfillment I get from showing up to a dirt lot and then walking away having built a structure that you know is going to be there for a long time. I can drive through downtown LA and point out several projects that I got off the ground. There’s fulfillment in it that I don’t think many people get.

Reputation is very important to Urroz, and he works hard to gain the respect of everyone he works with. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Urroz: The culture here is so different from anywhere I’ve been. People get treated so well here. Believe it or not, that actually took a lot of getting used to.

Q: Over the course of your career, what is the most important thing you have learned?

Urroz: The first thing that comes to my mind is patience. It takes a lot of patience to do what we do, but you also have to be pretty quick on your feet to solve problems. If a pump breaks down and you have 20 guys on deck trying to pour and finish concrete, you have to come up with a solution quickly to figure out how to salvage that pour. You make a call and stand by it. I’m responsible for anywhere from 25 to 100 guys. You can’t command the respect of 100 guys; you have to earn it. That’s another thing I’ve learned. You have to earn respect from everyone you work with.

Urroz says collaboration and quick problem-solving skills help him overcome the challenges that inevitably come his way. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Urroz: The biggest challenges are always schedule and budget. We always strive to meet the customer’s schedule. There are unseen things that can delay a job, so you have to get really creative to make up any lost time. To come up with a solution, we run a bunch of schedules—different scenarios, different plays. There’s a lot of collaboration with our full-time schedulers, who are really good at what they do.

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Urroz: Your reputation is everything. You have to have integrity. It’s the only way to build a good reputation. I’ve been in this industry for 21 years. I went through all the recessions without a single day off work. My reputation is what got me there.

Says Urroz, “DPR can’t do it without the guys in the field. That's where the hard work gets done." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

My son, Seth, is an apprentice carpenter at DPR. I never knew I wanted him to follow in my footsteps, but I was pretty proud when he did. One of our business leaders brought his three-year-old grandson out here a month ago on a really quiet Friday. Just to see that little guy—he was so excited—it reminded me of taking my son to work with me when he was about that age. Those kids love that stuff.

With the younger generation, everybody needs to figure out that in your career, reputation is everything. Dependability, honesty, reliability, hard work—everything is wrapped up in that one thing. All that goes into reputation.

July 17, 2019

New Workday Headquarters Opens in Pleasanton, California

Fast-growing enterprise software company Workday, Inc. celebrated the completion of its new 410,000-sq.-ft., corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, California this spring. Leaders from the City of Pleasanton, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Workday, and the DPR-led project team were among those who gathered for the May 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of the innovative, transit-friendly project that has been hailed as a state-of-the-art building.

The new Workday headquarters in Pleasanton, California.
The new Workday HQ connects employees to the community. Photo courtesy of Workday

Located just steps from the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, the architecturally striking, six-story structure ranks as the tallest office building in Pleasanton. It will house some 2,200 Workday employees by August, mostly from the company’s product and technology team. A focal point of Workday’s 10-building Pleasanton campus, it also houses a new 16,000-sq.-ft. Workday Customer Center slated to open later this summer.

Workday leadership and community members cut the ribbon for the building.
Local officials joined Workday leadership and the project team to cut the ribbon. Photo courtesy of Workday

Local Partnerships Aid Development

From the outset, Workday was committed to creating a transit-oriented development that would attract potential employees from around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland. The company forged strong ties with BART and the City of Pleasanton to develop a project that benefited both the local community and Workday employees.

A green space walkway, featuring native California plants, connects the BART station with the new headquarters building. Similar pathways connect the headquarters building with existing buildings on the company’s Pleasanton campus.

Workday Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri hailed the “strong partnerships” between Workday and the City of Pleasanton and BART during an address at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’ve created a place that is an extension of our culture and brand, one that is built for continued innovation and one that reflects how our employees want to work and build products for the future,” he said.

“Workday had a very specific vision for this project and we worked to ensure we were aligned throughout the project,” said DPR’s Karri Sieler, a senior project manager. “It was a great example of how the things we build – and how we meet expectations for a project – are core to our customers’ businesses.”

One interior area of the new Workday HQ.
A variety of interior environments are designed to support employees. Photo courtesy of Workday

Core Values on Display

Designed by Gensler Architects, the new headquarters building draws inspiration from Workday’s core values of innovation, and fun in support of the company’s number one asset -- its employees. It provides an ideal environment for software development with plenty of open spaces, entire walls made of whiteboards, new high-tech tools like video walls and digital whiteboards, and four great rooms that provide comfortable spaces for large groups to gather.

Numerous other amenities support the fun, collaborative environment, including:

  • An open-air amphitheater with seating for 1,500 people along with a large grassy area suitable for outdoor games;
  • A “Data Diner” café complete with a 12,000-pound pizza oven and an “XpressO” coffee bar;
  • Two spacious second floor balconies that allow employees to enjoy fresh air while they work;
  • Wellness rooms with treadmills, amenity rooms for therapeutic services, showers and lockers;
  • Large game rooms on each floor;
  • Two dog runs where employees of the pet-friendly company can bring their dogs to run around and play throughout the day.

The building incorporates a highly sustainable design that is targeting LEED® Platinum certification. Among the green features: a large 865-kw solar array that provides up to one-third of the building’s electricity, an innovative onsite greywater recycling system designed to save up to 720,000 gallons of water each year, and a “cool roof” to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Interior of the new Workday HQ
DPR self perform work crews performed a signficant portion of the project, including concrete visible throughout the project. Photo courtesy of Workday

DPR Sets Self-Perform Concrete Record

Constructed as a fully cast-in-place concrete structure, Workday tapped DPR’s self-perform concrete skills early in the building of its new headquarters. To support the 3-ft-thick concrete core walls that rise seven stories to the roof, the DPR team needed to build a thick mat foundation – leading to DPR’s largest self-performed concrete pour in company history. Over the course of 12 hours in May 2017, workers poured 4,800 cubic yards of concrete, which was reinforced with 1.2 million pounds of rebar.

The team poured as many as 500 cubic yards of concrete per hour – ultimately pouring enough concrete to fill one-and-a-half Olympic size swimming pools, or 3.7 million 2-liter bottles of soda.

Self-performing that structural concrete portion of the job enabled DPR to set the tone and pace for the job, and to keep a firm handle on quality control.

From planning and partnering to construction completion, the end result is a building that has garnered accolades on several fronts, including from Workday Co-President and CFO Robynne Sisco. “We’re extremely grateful to the City of Pleasanton and BART for their partnership,” she commented. “It’s because of their partnership in addition to our work with the building’s general contractor, DPR Construction, the architect and designer, Gensler, and literally hundreds of additional vendors that we’ve been able to make our beautiful new headquarters a reality.”

July 8, 2019

Transforming Desert Landscape into the Health Future Center

Coming together under the Arizona sun, DPR Construction joined Arizona State University (ASU), leaders from Mayo Clinic and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of ASU’s Health Future Center (HFC). With completion scheduled for October 2020, this greenfield project represents another step towards the future of healthcare in Phoenix.

Groundbreaking
DPR Construction joined Arizona State University, leaders from Mayo Clinic and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking.

A Clear Vision of Future Care

HFC will be a 150,000-square-foot, three-story ground up medical learning facility adjacent to the Mayo Clinic. The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technology including a med-tech innovation accelerator, biomedical engineering and informatics research labs, and an education zone. In addition, it will provide a new, innovative nursing program model where students are taught to treat patients through a whole health model. Based on the strength of a decade-long relationship with ASU, DPR was chosen to kick off the development and construction of the first building on this new breakthrough campus.

HFC will be the blending point between Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care, a team brought together with the goal of transforming medical education and health care in the U.S.

The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technology including a med-tech innovation accelerator, biomedical engineering and informatics research labs, and an education zone.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside two industry leaders, such as Mayo and ASU, and deliver a world-class research facility that will transform the medical education field and improve the lives of future generations is what I am most excited about for myself and for DPR,” said DPR’s Casey Helburg, who serves as project manager.

The Power of Preconstruction

Determined to deliver ASU’s vision for the new medical facility, DPR’s preconstruction team collaborated with the design team to better deliver accurate estimates of each program type (user group of the space) and its components (value of materials) during early design stages. This level of precision accurately identifies where the budget is being allocated at any given stage of design—providing real-time information and the opportunity to make key decisions for the project earlier.

“Normally our program estimate is by program space, but our estimator, Shashi Sriram, developed an estimate down to the room space. Basically, she could sort the estimate by over 400 rooms, which is such a granular level of information at programming, but was extremely useful information,” said Cassie Robertson, who serves as the project’s preconstruction manager. “When the project partners were making early program adjustments it was easy to measure out the changes at a higher level which was the first time we were able to do that.”

HFC will be a 150,000-square-foot, three-story ground up medical learning facility adjacent to the Mayo Clinic.

Robertson and Sriram communicated in real time with ASU about the interior build-out cost, MEP cost and total tenant improvement cost before the start of schematic design. These benefits allowed ASU to collaborate efficiently with the design and construction team to iterate multiple estimating scenarios in a matter of one to three days.

Creating a Vision Together

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the Mayor of Phoenix, Vice Mayor and the CEO of Mayo Clinic shared their personal stories to set the stage for what the HFC really means to the City of Phoenix and the impact it will have on the biomedical industry.

“We think that the two of us together can be the corpus or the center or the anchor of what could evolve to be something that hasn't yet developed in this country and hasn't yet developed anywhere in the world, and that is the broadest focused health futures place,” said ASU President, Michael Crow.

The Desert Ridge area is north of where most Valley construction activity is taking place. The greenfield plot, however, will serve as a focal point for future development.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside two industry leaders, such as Mayo and ASU, and deliver a world-class research facility that will transform the medical education field and improve the lives of future generations is what I am most excited about for myself and for DPR,” said DPR’s Casey Helburg, who serves as project manager.

June 28, 2019

Builders at our Core: Fedor Carrillo

For Drywall Foreman Fedor Carrillo, a job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right and exceeds customer expectations. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

“Fedor Carrillo was one of first people in DPR’s Raleigh-Durham location. He really helped build that office,” says DPR Superintendent Bruce Worcester. “He’s very demanding because he wants things done the right way. He’s excellent quality control on a project.” Worcester underscores a significant benefit that DPR’s self-perform workforce delivers: better quality control on DPR’s projects. To Carrillo, a drywall foreman, a job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right and exceeds customer expectations. In this way, he embodies DPR’s drive to be a truly great builder.

Q: How did you come to work at DPR?

Carrillo: I started at DPR in November of 2007. I had been working for another construction company and had just finished a project when a friend told me DPR was looking for people. I started here as a carpenter, and after a couple years they gave me the opportunity to become a foreman and gave me a lot of training to move into that.

Before that, in 1999, I had to leave El Salvador because it was dangerous. The government was unstable. I lost my family and was on my own at 13, stocking soda on shelves to earn money, then driving a truck and a city bus. When I came to America, I worked hard to become successful here, and I felt so thankful to have a company like DPR see my hard work and give me more opportunity. I try to let younger people see that if you work hard and do the right thing, it will open doors. I try to set a standard for the younger people.

Q: What is the most challenging thing you’ve work on?

Carrillo: Right now, we’re finishing up a day care center located inside a client’s campus—we renovated one of the buildings for the employees. The building was occupied while we worked, so that was the big challenge, but we tried to disrupt them as little as possible. We put up temporary walls to separate us from their employees during the day. Many times, we worked at night so the noise wouldn’t bother them. We did a lot of pre-task planning and communicating with the customer here.

Carrillo makes the most of every learning opportunity offered at DPR, and he passes on his knowledge by training others. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What do you love about your job?

Carrillo: I love this company. It’s not like any other one I’ve worked with. Every day I learn something. When I don’t understand something, my bosses help me and give me training. People are willing to be patient and go through everything with you—new technology, iPads, types of drawings. And when I understand it, I train others because it’s important to me that everyone does things right.

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Carrillo: DPR trusted me with responsibility and let me rise to the challenge. They had confidence in me, and that made me feel like I could do the job. The responsibilities they gave me built my confidence in myself. It made me want to learn more and do a good job, always learning more, becoming better, and taking on more responsibility.

Carrillo attributes his success to the view that "it's not just about building a better building; it's about building myself to be better." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned over the course of your career?

Carrillo: To do a good job and to do the right thing. DPR helps me feel successful because it’s not just about building a better building; it’s about building myself to be better. I’ve been able to advance because they trust me to do the right thing.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Carrillo: For me, the most challenging thing at first was that I felt like my English wasn’t very good. I wasn’t confident communicating with people. But DPR helped me with that. They gave me training, and there has never been a problem with my work.

Carrillo knows that you have to make the most of every opportunity you are given, and he has worked hard to be successful. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Carrillo: DPR is a good company. My son even works for DPR, in an apprenticeship program here in North Carolina. DPR is about trust and opportunity. They give you opportunities to grow, but you have to make the most of them. I tell young people all the time: You have to work hard so you can use the opportunities to be successful.

Says Carrillo, "I feel so thankful to have a company like DPR see my hard work and give me more opportunity." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Fedor Carrillo makes the most of the trust DPR places in him, to always work in the best interest of the project, the customer and DPR—empowering him to be a great builder. Says Worcester, “We’re here to build good people, not just good buildings. Fedor has always met each challenge and advanced. It’s enriching for us to see that success.” It’s not just about experience and skill sets; it’s about zeal and drive. Great people make great things happen.

June 16, 2019

Uncovering the Diverse Spectrum of Fatherhood

"Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." – Pam Brown

The DPR family is growing! As employees become fathers/father figures throughout the years, we watch as our friends take on new roles that transform who they are. This year for Father’s Day, we are celebrating the first-time dads of DPR. We reached out to employees who have entered fatherhood over the past year and asked, “What kind of father/father figure do you want to be?”

The responses show the uniqueness and heart of our employees, who help us change the world not only through the buildings we build, but the people we grow.

June 13, 2019

Builders at our Core: Andres Martinez

Assistant Superintendent Andres Martinez points to improved quality and schedule as benefits SPW crews bring to each project. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

The world’s largest medical complex sits just west of Texas State Highway 288, in south-central Houston. It is a two-square-mile district teeming with life, housing more than 60 medical institutions employing upwards of 106,000 people. Amid this densely occupied healthcare hive, Self-Perform Work (SPW) Assistant Superintendent Andres Martinez is putting to use one of the most valuable benefits SPW brings to each project: the ability to better control project schedules.

Hospital construction projects are inherently complex, with challenges amplified by occupied structures that continue to function during construction. Andres's commitent to planning, with robust communication both internally between trades and externally with customers, helps make his projects successful.

Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?

Martinez: I’m an assistant superintendent for SPW drywall. I started as a carpenter three years ago, when a previous boss asked me to come to DPR to work with him. After about six months, I became a foreman. A year after that, they gave me the opportunity to train to be an assistant superintendent, and I’m still here! It’s a big challenge, but I’ve learned a lot.

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Martinez: I’ve gotten to do a lot of new things because we get a lot of opportunities. If you want to learn something new, DPR gives you the chance. I always ask for training so I can do something more for the company, and for myself and my family. I have a wife and two kids, with one more on the way in two months! In the future, I hope to become a superintendent. There are always opportunities to learn more and more.

The culture of learning and improvement have helped Andres Martinez succeed in his career at DPR. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: Over the course of your career, what is the most important thing you have learned?

Martinez: Learning how to work on computers. Before I came to DPR, I never worked much with them. Here I get to learn different building software that makes our work so much easier. That’s what I like.

Q: What’s the most technical part of the job you’re working on now?

Martinez: Right now, we’re doing a tenant improvement project at a hospital tower. We’re re-doing floors seven through ten on the east side of the tower, which is phase one. It’s a bit different for me because it’s a remodel. The work itself is the same, but we’re really working with the occupants to make sure we don’t disrupt them or the hospital. We’re doing ceilings, doors, restrooms, nurses’ stations—we’re building in sections and being really careful to accommodate the work and schedules of the employees and the patients.

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge?

Martinez: Scheduling is the biggest challenge, but we’ll put in as much work as we need to get it done on time. We work nights if we need to. We communicate with each other and with the customer to make it work. It’s important to make a good plan of who needs to go in and when because the space is a bit tight and won’t accommodate everyone at the same time. That’s the toughest part.

Andres Martinez employs open and robust communication to ensure his projects run smoothly. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What do you love about construction/your job?

Martinez: Pretty much everything. I love what I do. I’m learning every day—always learning something different. I started in the field and now I’m working more in planning, working on the computer. But to be honest, I really like all the people here. I love DPR, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going somewhere else.

Q: What are you most proud of?

Martinez: I feel proud every time we finish a job! That’s when I feel excited to move on to the next project. It’s a feeling of accomplishment. When we finish, we relax and say, “Ahh… we’re done!” And SPW brings more quality to every job, so that makes me proud.

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Martinez: I think experience is the most important thing. It’s important to work a bit in the field so you know what you’re talking about. Also, listen to people’s concerns and help resolve them. Respect the people and take care of them.

Martinez has embraced the use of building software and other tech tools available at DPR to ensure project success. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Martinez: Work in the field as much as you can. You can do a lot on the computer and it makes building a lot easier, but if you know nothing about the field you don’t have the whole picture. And learn as much as you can about all the trades and everything that goes into building.

When Martinez says goodbye to his family in the morning, he takes pride in knowing he is part of an organization that helps create opportunities not only for him, but for the community around him. He is proud to be part of an organization that enables him to grow as a builder as he continues to build great things for his community.

May 29, 2019

Rebuilding for a Better Future

Through the buildings we create, the people we grow and the communities we serve, DPR has a real opportunity to transform our world. We strive to be integral and indispensable, and we are fortunate to have motivated employees who like to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and put their core building skills to use throughout the year.

Last month, DPR offices across the country joined with partner Rebuilding Together to take part in the non-profit’s National Rebuilding Month. Volunteers included all-female groups, admin employees, craft workers and students who worked together to repair and ultimately transform spaces to better serve their communities.

SHEBUILDS showcases the ability of women in construction and design industries to assist and empower other women, even from their own backyard.

#WomenWhoBuild in San Francisco

DPR’s Women Who Build in the Bay Area participated in the third annual SHEBUILDS event in San Francisco. SHEBUILDS showcases the ability of women in construction and design industries to assist and empower other women, even from their own backyard.

Several women from IBEW Union Local 6 and the local carpenters union brought their apprentices and students to the site, where they joined around 40 DPR employees. Together, the all-female group completed a full day of hands-on-work and repairs at the Oakes Children’s Center, a non-profit school in the city’s Outer Mission/Bernal Heights district. The organization serves over 200 students who require an alternative, resource-intensive learning environment.

Together, the all-female group completed a full day of hands-on-work and repairs at the Oakes Children’s Center, a non-profit school in the city’s Outer Mission/Bernal Heights district. The organization serves over 200 students who require an alternative, resource-intensive learning environment.

“The newly painted spaces are bright, clean and so incredibly welcoming,” said Annie Crowder, director of Oakes Children’s Center. “The redwood bench/planter boxes are amazing, and I was especially struck by the way the carpenters patiently taught their apprentices and students how to construct the benches.”

With a goal of making the space safer and more inviting, work ranged from painting and beautifying the outdoor space, to electrical and lighting work. All levels of experience were welcome, and everyone played a role.

“The energy was amazing with all these women,” DPR Community Initiative Coordinator Rena Crittendon commented. “There was a lot of enthusiasm to get in there and get to work, and for people to stay as long as they did [nine or even 11-hour workdays] and keep going was really neat.”

“The energy was amazing with all these women,” DPR Community Initiative Coordinator Rena Crittendon commented. “There was a lot of enthusiasm to get in there and get to work, and for people to stay as long as they did [nine or even 11-hour workdays] and keep going was really neat.”

After a day to be proud of, Crowder added, “Overall, I could not have imaged a better day with more dedicated, strong, compassionate women who literally transformed our campus in a matter of hours. We are so very grateful for SHEBUILDS, DPR and all the wonderful volunteers for their service!”

Saying “Thank you” in Houston

A few hours away in Houston, volunteers thanked a military vet for his service by renovating his and his wife’s home.

Jeff Griffin, DPR’s self-perform lead for the Houston office and cochair of DPR’s Rebuilding Together initiative in the region, brought together craft and jobsite workers, project managers, project engineers, admin employees and others for an effort involving an estimated 240-plus volunteer hours over the course of two days.

A few hours away in Houston, volunteers thanked a military vet for his service by renovating his and his wife’s home.
"The before and after pictures are incredible," Griffin commented.

“In general, our people like to get out there and swing a hammer, dig a hole, paint, spread mulch, or whatever,” Griffin commented. “Everybody was excited about helping out and making the house look beautiful again. The before and after pictures are incredible.”

Rebuilding Throughout the Year in San Diego

Volunteers keep the momentum of National Rebuilding Month moving in San Diego. In May, DPR’s Preconstruction Team worked with Rebuilding Together to repair the house of a resident who has battled cancer for several years. Volunteers repaired drywall and flooring, painted, fixed a broken shower and performed other miscellaneous work to improve the safety and livability of the house.

We strive to be integral and indispensable, and we are fortunate to have motivated employees who like to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and put their core building skills to use throughout the year.

Sarah Williams, who heads DPR’s San Diego community initiative group, said hands-on projects generate a lot of interest and enthusiasm.

“Being a construction company, this is where we most like to use our skills, and people tend to get pretty excited about these opportunities,” Williams said. “There is just so much need, and it’s good to be able to find areas where we can really help out using our core skillsets.”

Community events help employees live out DPR's enjoyment core value.

The Sharp Santee MOB project team is looking forward to June, not only for the summer sun, but for the volunteer opportunities. At least 20 members of the project team, including DPR, the architect and design-build subcontractors, have planned to make repairs to a family home. Scope includes painting, electrical work, and landscaping repairs to make the home more habitable for a family in need.

With pride in her team, Williams estimates both projects combined will tally at least 400 volunteer hours.