Amanda Sawit

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June 18, 2020

EVA Air’s North American Headquarters completes its landing in El Segundo

The campus encompasses two 5-story buildings totaling 150,000 sq. ft. wrapping around a 5-story above ground parking structure. Photo courtesy of EVA Air

International airline EVA Airways Corporation has a new office campus in El Segundo, California, which reached final completion in May. As one of the larger design-build projects in the region, the campus encompasses two 5-story buildings totaling 150,000 sq. ft. wrapping around a 5-story above ground parking structure. It all sits atop a once vacant site, completing an area in the business-friendly city that has seen major redevelopment in the last decade.

“This is a project for a good group of end-users, providing them with a new North American headquarters and the ability to create more dynamic working environments for many other local businesses,” said Brent Bunting, who serves as the project executive.

As the general contractor, DPR Construction leveraged self-perform work (SPW) and 3D modeling expertise to maintain a high level of collaboration between EVA Air and its design partners, as well as keeping the project on schedule and within budget. Collaboration allowed for smooth sailing on a tight site footprint, ensuring deliveries, cranes erecting portions of the work, excavations, concrete pump trucks and more to keep the project flowing.

Each “condo” includes its own private balcony or patio, and with a variety of materials and exterior articulation, the building skin design is different from any other project DPR has built in the region. Photo courtesy of EVA Air

Creating Space for All

The campus goes beyond a typical office park, featuring “office condos” available for sale to small businesses that may otherwise not be able to own their own space. DPR worked in collaboration with kmd Architects, EVA Air, Messori Development and CBRE to bring this focus on designing for multi-tenant functionality to life, giving rise to the building’s unique exterior and circulation. Each “condo” includes its own private balcony or patio, and with a variety of materials and exterior articulation, the building skin design is different from any other project DPR has built in the region.

DPR’s team navigated through a few unique circumstances that included custom weathered metal finishes, complex window and door design, and incorporating a variety of materials on the exterior like plaster and a rainscreen system with weathered metal and phenolic panels. Additionally, the parking structure’s 2nd and 5th floors are connected to the office buildings’ 2nd and 4th floors via four skybridges that improve accessibility for occupants. The connectivity between the structures added to the challenges with the site and skin coordination.

Additionally, the parking structure’s 2nd and 5th floors are connected to the office buildings’ 2nd and 4th floors via four skybridges. Photo courtesy of EVA Air

Flexibility though SPW and Virtual Modeling Expertise

Leveraging DPR’s sizable SPW team on the concrete parking structure helped minimize the impact of several weeks of unprecedented rain for the region, with onsite craftsmen working to prep for, clean up and mitigate the effects of the weather. SPW teams also performed other specialty and smaller scopes of work, such as miscellaneous carpentry, fire stopping and lobby ceilings, in addition to providing valuable design input throughout the preconstruction phase.

When a major design decision needed to be made, DPR worked closely with EVA Air to evaluate costs and weigh the benefits of each decision. An example of this was the decision between a cast-in-place concrete structure versus a structural steel structure. A concrete structure can provide a shorter overall height of building due to the depth of beams in a steel structure, and concrete can provide an attractive ceiling finish if left exposed. However, a concrete structure will require additional columns and walls within the footprint that steel structures can avoid with longer allowable spans. Ultimately, the openness of the spaces was a definable project feature for EVA Air, and so the decision to proceed with steel was ultimately made. DPR’s ability to demonstrate the end conditions through 3D modeling was essential to the ultimate decision to adjust the design, while simultaneously mitigating what would be major impacts to the design schedule.

As a result, DPR was able to collaborate with its design-build partners to work in constructability and value analysis into the design to ensure the project moved forward expeditiously.

February 25, 2020

Houston's recenter hits VDC, prefab and self-perform trifecta

A rendering of the recenter rehabilitation and housing complex in Houston, Texas. Photo courtesy of Brave Architecture

A Texas project is the latest example of the value and efficiency delivered when Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is paired with digital prefabrication.

A rehabilitation facility located in Houston, Texas, recenter provides non-medical detox, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and housing services to those recovering from addiction. Through its “Hope, Healing, Home” approach, recenter provides a variety of programs focused on helping individuals find a path toward lifelong, productive sobriety.

recenter is also a hybrid project, employing structural steel for levels one and two, while levels three through five are made up of a structural metal stud wall and floor joist system. Forgoing a traditional approach using conventional steel and concrete, the top floors are comprised of 30,000 sq. ft. of load-bearing, digitally fabricated cold-formed steel structures manufactured by Digital Building Components. This method of layering levels of steel podium with additional floors of prefabricated walls has not been used previously on a DPR Construction site in the region.

As the builder, DPR leveraged its self-perform work (SPW) expertise and partnership with Digital Building Components to recover a month’s worth of weather delays to the project schedule.

Digitally fabricated panel structures were used for levels three through five, forgoing a conventional approach. The structural panels were fabricated by Digital Building Components. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Digital fabrication, powered by VDC

Digital Building Components uses VDC for model coordination. But uniquely, Digital Building Components takes the information gathered from the building’s design model to perform digital fabrication. The recenter project team engaged Digital Building Components early in the design process to help optimize the design for its digital fabrication software. On the production line, the software sends everything to the production machines to do the bulk of the work. There is a roll former that bends, cuts and engraves the “kit instructions” on each piece, robotic welders then connect studs with precision, and screw bridges that attach sheathing.

Leveraging the power of prefabrication and self-perform work

DPR worked with Brave Architecture and The Mathis Group, Inc., to bring recenter to life. The project scope consists of a new five-story 50,573-sq.-ft. mixed-use building complete with a dining room, meeting room, lounge, offices and 62 individual residential units. Outdoor amenities include terraces, porches and a garden roof deck.

DPR’s project superintendent, Brandon Liming, was impressed by the speed of installation. “We were able to dramatically increase production rates to even meet our initial ‘aggressive’ theoretical expectations.”

Liming attributes this success to vigorous preplanning. “Having preparation milestones was the key to success. At every stage, we knew the responsibilities of each crew member—from when the trailer arrived onsite to its departure.”

Working in small groups of two and three, DPR’s eight-person SPW installation team completed the work in 13 days, building on average 2,300 sq. ft. each day—four times faster than conventional building methods and well ahead of DPR’s already rigorous projected schedule of 17 days. A variety of trades were able to put their work in place sooner as the result of the accelerated structural schedule. DPR also self-performed the concrete and drywall scopes of the building.

DPR’s design and owner partners were also impressed with the rapid pace of construction, even though recenter had originally been designed using conventional steel. While the initial decision to pursue prefabrication was driven by scheduling considerations, the project’s overall budget also came in at the same cost as conventional steel.

“By the end of the project they were really surprised and impressed by the total benefits the system provided. They were also now more aware of how the system works so they could design the next one with that approach in mind,” said Dave Kloubec, Texas-based lead for DBC.

Using a digital fabrication and site assembly approach condensed what would have taken up to 60 workers onsite to construct in 3.5 months into mere weeks with only eight workers. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Delivering results

recenter had zero safety incidents, and the project’s reduced schedule helped reduce risk exposure. Not only did the recenter project team top the daily install average from previous projects, it condensed what would have taken up to 60 workers onsite to construct in 3.5 months into mere weeks with only eight workers. Additionally, leveraging SPW and digital prefabrication helped solve local trade resource deficiencies and avoided trade stacking on an already complicated site with tight access.