Eve R. Forward
DPR's Roving Reporter

Eve R. Forward

Eve R. Forward is DPR Construction's roving reporter. Born in 1990 in Redwood City, Eve lives and breathes DPR...Literally.

Posts: 178
Location: Redwood City, California
Favorite core value: Ever Forward, naturally! I was named after this core value.
Hometown: I was born in Redwood City, but now I live all over the country.
Best part of the job: Asking the hard-hitting questions that need answers.
Posts In: Communities, Construction Technologies, Commercial, Data Centers and Mission Critical, Healthcare, Higher Education, Life Sciences, Making Milestones, News, If These Walls Could Talk


March 23, 2020

The Power of Prefab

Prefabricated panels manufactured by DBC are installed on a jobsite. Photo courtesy of Chip Allen Photography

The construction industry is developing new methods and improving productivity in response to customer needs, technological advances and labor-related challenges. Prefabrication is at the forefront of this evolution, delivering high-quality projects with lower costs and accelerated schedules.

For some, the term ‘prefabricated’ may spark memories of manufactured housing from the last century. But the prefabricated components used in construction today blend seamlessly into completed buildings and contribute to an efficient workflow.

“Concepts like DfMA—design for manufacture and assembly—and DIMC—designing for industrialized methods of construction—are on the rise,” said DPR’s Ray Boff.

According to Buildoffsite, DfMA, in its simplest terms, is “the application of factory (or factory like) conditions to construction projects” and almost always includes prefabricated components. Parts of the structure are manufactured offsite in a controlled environment. These pieces are then delivered to the jobsite and hoisted into place for assembly.

“DIMC evaluates how available building components can be programmatically arranged and procured in the most efficient ways to provide cost and schedule certainty, along with improved design and construction quality,” said Boff. “Both concepts support concurrent engineering methodology.

Prefabricated components used in construction today blend seamlessly into completed buildings and contribute to an efficient workflow. Photo courtesy of Chip Allen Photography

Custom Prefab

But what about creativity? Does building with prefabricated components restrict customization in design? Not at DPR.

“Each project is a blank canvas,” said DPR’s Bryan McCaffrey. “Through the use of virtual design and construction, and the data-rich model produced through the VDC process, we have the ability to digitally fabricate custom components.”

DPR works with Digital Building Components (DBC), located in Phoenix, AZ, to digitally fabricate precise-to-spec building assemblies directly from the building information model (BIM), including load-bearing panelized structures, fully finished panelized exterior walls and panelized interior walls with electrical and plumbing already roughed in.

The key to integrating prefabrication is to include it from the beginning of the design process. DPR collaborates with customers, architects and engineers to determine if prefabrication makes sense and how best to include it. This helps ensure that the project will run smoothly. It also avoids the challenges arising from inserting prefab into an existing design.

Prefab requires fewer workers, provides a safer work environment, and offers consistency. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Key Benefits

Incorporating prefab into a project’s design can yield the following advantages:

  • Higher Quality: Digitally fabricating components in a factory-controlled environment improves quality control. Machines create precision products directly from the model and deliver components that fit as expected in the field.
  • Cost Certainty: Materials are batched, and waste is reduced or eliminated. Factory-based labor offers greater predictability that results in higher productivity, safer working environments and cost advantages. According to Buildoffsite, site labor costs about 2.2 times as much as factory labor and factory productivity is about double that on jobsites.
  • Accelerated Schedules: Panels are manufactured in parallel with work done in the field. This leads to earlier project completion. Weather doesn’t affect factory production and thus becomes less of a factor.
  • Improved Labor Resources: A recent survey by AGC found that “80% of contractors report difficulty finding qualified craft workers.” Prefab requires fewer workers, provides a safer work environment, and offers consistency - making jobs in the prefab sector among the most attractive in the construction labor force. Controlled environments also allow for cross-training in specific tasks, which helps in labor balancing, skills enhancement and workforce improvement across the board.
  • Sustainability: According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), “About 40% of solid waste in the United States derives from construction and demolition.” Prefab batches production and takes place in a controlled environment, substantially reducing or eliminating waste. It also reduces the number of vehicles traveling to and from the jobsite, thereby reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and their associated emissions.
  • Other job-specific advantages may exist: Jobsite constraints are becoming more common. Prefabrication minimizes the number of workers required on-site. According to Sam Huckaby of Vantage, having fewer people on the jobsite was a significant benefit of using prefab. “We were a constrained site from a parking and access perspective, so the more work we were able to do offsite, the better, especially when something is wrapping the entire building…”
Building 1 on the Vantage McLaren Santa Clara data center site was DPR’s first use of pre-finished EIFS panels from DBC. Photo courtesy of Daniel Peak Photography

Prefab in Action

The 175,000-sq.-ft. Building 1 on the Vantage McLaren Santa Clara data center site was DPR’s first use of pre-finished EIFS panels from Digital Building Components. The digitally fabricated exterior panels allowed the team to enclose the building nearly 12 weeks earlier than if it had been stick-built.

In a series of higher education projects in California, DPR also provided prefabricated steel panels in place of wood framing, without increasing the owner’s cost. According to the owner, the projects realized the following benefits by including prefab:

  • Efficiency of construction
  • Improved schedule
  • A stronger, better product for the same cost.

Ultimately, the power of prefab is in the value to the customer and project. Digital prefabrication employs advanced technology to improve quality, lower costs and speed up the schedule, while leveling out the labor. Improved modeling capabilities that streamline the connection between design and construction place prefabrication at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming construction.

March 19, 2020

If These Walls Could Talk… They'd Say MEP Can Affect OpEx

Construction costs a lot, but so does keeping a building running for 50 years… or longer! Upgrading systems later is also costly and disruptive to building tenants or owners. There are more tools than ever to address these issues, though.

By bringing experts in mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) construction to the table throughout a project – from design stages to execution in the field – customers can ensure their new facilities operate optimally, ideally supporting a lower total cost of ownership.

In the latest installment of “If These Walls Could Talk…,” DPR Construction MEP professionals describe how they collaborate with project partners and customers to deliver the best possible outcomes on every project.

March 11, 2020

At NIH project, prefabrication delivers quality on schedule

DPR marked a major milestone on a project underway for the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. The Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL) Cell Processing Modular Facility, which will be used by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to deliver cutting-edge cancer treatment, is the first large-scale, fully prefabricated and modular multi-module cGMP manufacturing facility of its kind ever built in the United States.

DPR workers finalize installation of a modular unit at the NIH project.
DPR workers finalize installation of a modular unit at the NIH project. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

In early December, ten prefabricated modules began arriving on the NIH campus, the final stop on their journey from subcontractor Germfree’s Ormond Beach, Florida manufacturing facility. The modules, which span an average 14 x 40 feet each, include a cell processing suite, cleanroom lab space, a cold storage room, office and work spaces and more.

As the modules arrived on site and over the next couple of weeks, construction crews undertook an extremely complex rigging procedure to move the modules into place. It involved a carefully choreographed sequence of rigging and hoisting the 40,000- to 50,000-pound modules some 35 to 40 feet into the air, over the structural steel exterior building envelope and through the open roof to set them in place on their foundations.

Magnifying the challenge, the entire operation took place a mere 40 feet from two adjacent, fully operational medical and research buildings. Vibration monitoring required close coordination with users in adjacent buildings to ensure that sensitive activities were not affected. “The logistics of planning the rigging was extremely complex,” commented DPR Project Executive Jeff Vertucci. He noted that the decision to construct the building’s exterior structural steel frame prior to installing the modules – essentially building the structure from the outside in – helped the team keep to schedule even as elements of the project changed. It is just one example of the solution-oriented approach adopted by the DPR-led design-build team working in concert with Germfree, architect Perkins & Will, and owner/end user, NIH and NCI.

The DPR team prepares a modular unit to be hoisted into the NIH structure.
DPR worked with its design-build team to develop a complex rigging plan that helped ensure project schedule. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

“We were already well into design and planning when we collaborated with our customer to recalibrate the scope for NIH, while also retaining a schedule that met their needs,” Vertucci said. “By enclosing the building and getting structural steel erected before the modules showed up, then reworking a rigging plan to drop the modules in through the roof, it made the rigging much more challenging but allowed us to save at least three months versus a traditional approach.”

That solution worked so well that NIH has asked DPR to re-sequence another job they are currently building on campus, the six-module CCDTM project, using the same approach, according to Vertucci. This DTM Modular Facility is using the same Germfree components as the TIL Facility.

Groundbreaking Technology

As DPR’s seventh project either underway or completed on the NIH campus, the TIL facility is a groundbreaking project in the world of cancer treatment. DPR Project Manager Ignacio Diaz said the facility’s lifesaving mission has provided the design and construction team extra motivation to work collaboratively and overcome an array of challenges in order to get the project up and running as quickly as possible.

“This is one of those jobs that did not need much outside influence to motivate people,” Diaz commented. “Cancer is such a common thing; virtually everybody is touched by it. The fact that we are building this facility that really impacts almost everybody is powerful. It gives us more incentive to finish fast so the end users, the researchers, can get to doing what they do – curing cancer, or at least helping to do so.”

A worker welds at the NIH project
A worker welds at the NIH project. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

Leveraging Expertise to Move Project Forward

With a footprint spanning approximately 6,000 sq. ft., the TIL Cell Processing Modular Facility is supported by an auger pile foundation drilled as deep as 30 feet. The structure has three levels: a bottom floor “crawl space” that follows the existing site slope, containing gas piping that includes the supplies of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) to the facility; a first floor comprising the 10 prefabricated modules; and a mechanical floor above. The mechanical level contains the building’s HVAC system, including two air handling units and two exhaust fans, electrical conduit for building controls and power systems, IT infrastructure and more.

Since being awarded the project in October 2017, DPR has leveraged its design management capabilities, its technical construction skills and its off-site construction management expertise to help keep the project moving forward while contending with underground utility rerouting, logistical challenges and tight site access, among other things. When the owner needed to make extensive programming changes to reconfigure the facility’s planned workflow during the design phase, DPR worked to re-sequence the project’s construction processes in order to make up some of the lost time.

Construction formally kicked off on the TIL Facility jobsite in August 2018, just two months after the off-site module prefabrication work was getting underway at Germfree’s Florida manufacturing plant.

An aerial view of the NIH project shows a modular unit in place inside the building.
From above, it's easy to see how the modular units piece together inside the structure. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

Modular Construction Delivers Quality Benefits

Off-site construction has provided significant quality and quality control benefits, according to Vertucci. Both the modules and the majority of the building systems were prefabricated off-site.

“I think ultimately NIH & NCI will end up with a phenomenally high-quality, state-of-the-art project when this is completed,” Vertucci commented. “Building this in a controlled environment in a warehouse manufacturing facility, by Germfree technicians who do this work all the time, makes the quality of what they are getting excellent.”

Adding to the quality control benefits, DPR is self-performing significant portions of the work with its own crews, including all exterior framing, sheeting, vapor barriers, doors, masonry and various other items.

Push Towards Completion

Following the arrival and installation of the 10 modules in December, the TIL project team will continue to make steady progress on the project during 2020. The project team also has an integrated commissioning plan which allows the owner’s Commissioning Qualification and Validation (CQV) agent to start with commissioning of systems as early as March 2020. This further allows for more time to work through the NIH document reviews that come with the cGMP facility requirements.

DPR is slated to complete all construction in Q2 2020 and have the CQV portion complete by Q3 2020, for turnover of the facility.

DPR is also handling all scientific equipment procurement on the project for the owner, a turnkey approach to project delivery that adds additional value for the client. This integrated approach ensures that DPR’s scientific equipment team will hand over a project with the necessary components needed for the research program the space is being used for.

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 (DBC). 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 DBC 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

DBC uses VDC for model coordination. But uniquely, DBC takes the information gathered from the building’s design model to perform digital fabrication. The recenter project team engaged DBC early in the design process to help optimize the design for its digital fabrication software. On DBC’s 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. The result is zero waste of material, labor and trucking excess scrap.

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. DPR also self-performed the concrete and drywall scopes of the building. A variety of trades were able to put their work in place sooner as the result of the accelerated structural schedule.

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

Importantly, this approach helped expedite the work while maintaining quality, safety and cost. There were zero safety incidents, and the 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.

February 20, 2020

DPR builds state-of-the-art academic building in Mesa, AZ

Arizona State University and City of Mesa leadership turn the ceremonial first shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking of the new ASU at Mesa City Center. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

DPR Construction celebrated the start of construction for Arizona State University at Mesa City Center, the $73.5 million academic building on the university’s new campus set just east of Phoenix. Located downtown in the City of Mesa’s growing innovation district, the three-story building will be home to the ASU Creative Futures Laboratory and serve more than 750 students and faculty.

The 117,795-sq.-ft. facility will house programs that train students to work with emerging technologies including augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D design. The space is expected to enable students to hone their digital expertise and prepare for jobs within the region’s growing technology sector.

“We’re excited to continue our relationship working on world-class facilities with ASU, especially in this location in the downtown Mesa. We’ve witnessed the tremendous growth and energy that has developed in downtown Phoenix after the projects we’ve worked on with them and are looking forward to the same in downtown Mesa,” said DPR project manager Austin King.

The facility will house a 2,800-sq.-ft. enhanced immersion studio where users can create augmented realities and map virtual spaces onto physical environments. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2021.

Rendering of planned ASU facility in Mesa. Photo courtesy of Holly Street Studio and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

January 31, 2020

If These Walls Could Talk... They'd Share MEP Stories

Buildings are, in some ways, like our bodies:

  • The skeletal system is like the structural elements of a building, supporting all that goes inside.
  • Our skin provides a protective barrier from the elements, protecting what’s inside, just as a building’s curtainwall does. Of course, our bodies rely on systems of veins, arteries, nerves and more to handle critical functions. A building does, as well; the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems are the “guts” of a building.

Just like our bodies’ systems, MEP systems are extremely intricate. Technical expertise is required to keep them in optimal health once up-and-running. Unlike the human body, buildings don’t have the benefit of nature to install every inch of the systems automatically and precisely. It takes MEP professionals engaging at every stage of the project to make sure that the systems that power, cool, heat and provide water for buildings and installed correctly and work as expected. They’re not cardiologists and neurologists… or are they, in a sense?

The work MEP professionals do is vital and most building occupants never see what goes into it because much of their work is shielded by the walls, floors and ceilings of a building. But, if these walls could talk, they’d share a lot of stories of how MEP pros made great things happen.

In this series, DPR Construction shines a light on the work of MEP professionals, from how they get involved to make sure designs come to life to how their work can help support lower operating expenses for facility owners.

In this first installment, we look at how MEP pros are among the unsung heroes of any construction project.

January 17, 2020

Trends Affecting Customer Outcomes in 2020

Pressures customers face are changing as their industries evolve. At the same time, construction is employing new technology and delivery methods to address these challenges, all while delivering value for customers.

In that context, some of DPR Construction's core market experts tried to answer this key question for the year ahead: “What’s one thing that will change customer outcomes in 2020?”

John Arcello says that, in 2020, we're putting the data back in data center construction.
Photo courtesy of David Hardman

"Putting data back in data center construction. Customer-specific data analytics, business improvement metrics and collaborative platforms will improve project delivery for our customers, bringing them online faster, no matter where they’re deploying new facilities." - John Arcello

Andrea Weisheimer thinks VDC and Prefabrication will affect the commercial market.
Photo courtesy of David Hardman

"VDC and Prefabrication. Robust VDC programs will let us show tenants and developers spaces sooner, provide synchronized visual schedules so they can see visual plans as we build and help enable virtual quality control programs. VDC and will also enable quality prefabrication that helps guarantee schedule, addressing a key pressure for customers throughout the sector, from offices to hospitality facilities." - Andrea Weisheimer

Hamilton Espinosa thinks contractors will adjust their delivery to help provide value for customers facing thin margins.
Photo courtesy of David Hardman

"Optimizing construction as healthcare providers face reduced operating margins. Reimbursement rates are decreasing and as a result healthcare systems are forced to operate at razor thin operating margins. At the same time, spending on technology is almost equal to normal capital expenditures. Through early design collaboration, lean delivery and prefabrication, we can increase efficiency, maximize value and make sure providers are getting the most ROI both in construction and facility operations." - Hamilton Espinosa

Tracy de Leuw believes design management will be a key factor in 2020.
Photo courtesy of David Hardman

"Collaborative design/build delivery with a focus on design management. With public money/fixed budgets adding pressures to institutions more than ever, owners require cost and schedule certainty. Through the DPR design academy and the use of programmatic estimating and Modelogix, we will show how design management can ensure certainty when all of the moving parts of a project work together." - Tracy de Leuw

Scott Strom sees new ways to lower costs of cleanrooms.
Photo courtesy of David Hardman

"Driving down the cost of cleanrooms in new ways. There are practical modular solutions that address both functional requirements inside of the room along with structural support requirements outside of it. Additionally, design management, minimizing air changes per square foot of manufacturing area and exploring less expensive – yet durable/cleanable – surface materials will provide new ways of delivering these spaces." - Scott Strom

November 21, 2019

DPR Leads Volunteer Team to Help Habitat for Humanity Expand Program Capacity


November 11, 2019

Honoring the Veterans in Our Lives

“Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” – Michel de Montaigne

Veterans walk among us and work alongside us, and we’re often unaware of the contributions they made to protect our nation and ensure our safety. We might not know that the nurse taking our vital signs learned his trade as an Army combat medic; or that the project engineer on our jobsite was part of a Navy construction battalion.

These stories aren’t always shared, so we asked DPR employees to tell us a bit about the veterans in their lives. The response was overwhelming and inspiring. So, on this Veterans Day, we’d like to take a moment to honor the extraordinary men and women who answered the call to service.

November 1, 2019

Employee Volunteers Renovate 100-year-old House for Girls Rock CLT

Girls Rock CLT is a nonprofit dedicated to helping young girls and gender diverse youth express themselves through music and film. Photo courtesy of Kelly Finley

This post was updated March 4, 2020.

From aesthetic upgrades to complete landscape and fencing replacements, DPR employees work yearlong to build possibilities for the under-resourced. As a partner to local nonprofits serving economically underserved communities, DPR performs facility improvements to enable its partners to maximize their impact through increased capacity, promoting a greater sense of pride in their spaces, and increased safety and access.

One such effort was the renovation of a 100-year-old house for Girls Rock CLT, a nonprofit dedicated to helping young girls and gender diverse youth express themselves through music and film. Employees from the Charlotte, NC, office relied on strong relationships with DPR’s industry and community partners to see this project in the NoDa neighborhood through.

DPR built a concert stage for program participants to jam out on. Photo courtesy of Kelly Finley

The plan was to build an ADA ramp off the front porch, but as enthusiasm for the project grew, so did the renovation scope. Ultimately, DPR volunteers and local trade partners completed a number of tasks to make the home ADA compliant, and sealed the ceilings to keep occupants safe. DPR also built a concert stage for program participants to jam out on. In sum, efforts encompassed donations like interior paint, furniture, HVAC upgrades, home security, kitchen appliances, concrete and stone. As a result, Girls Rock CLT has a bigger and better place to accommodate all its programs and unique space needs.

“When working with a smaller organization like Girls Rock, you’re helping them get on their feet, and you’re truly changing their world,” said Camille Farkas, who helped coordinate the effort. “Every little bit counts, and it means so much. DPR helped renovate and provide a critical space need that allows Girls Rock to have a safe space to put on music camps and provide for under-resourced youth. Ultimately we were able to get the momentum going within their organization.”

During an Open House event, DPR hosted a “Women in Construction” tent where youth could learn about careers in construction, construction safety, decorate vests and hard hats and finally, design a mural on the side of the house.

In 2019 alone, more than 350 DPR volunteers from across the U.S. completed 21 facility renovation projects for nonprofit partners, providing more than $1 million in pro bono facility construction projects.