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: 181
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: Construction Technologies, Commercial, Data Centers and Mission Critical, Healthcare, Higher Education, Life Sciences, Making Milestones, Safety, Sustainability, If These Walls Could Talk

March 27, 2019

Design-Build Yields Great Results on New Jersey Project

DPR Construction recently completed a series of complex electrical and power monitoring upgrades on Merck’s Kenilworth, New Jersey campus that will help ensure scientific work there will go on without interruption for years to come. The work, which included upgrading five existing primary substations and associated feeder systems, along with the demolition of three substations in their entirety, showcased how DPR’s MEP expertise and approach to planning can lead to exceptional results and the kinds of predictable results customers rely on.

“This location is the world corporate headquarters for Merck, with active research and development labs and critical data center operations. Any impact to this campus could have major implications,” said Michael Abbatiello, Director of Engineering for Merck.

A new indoor electrical substation.
One of the new substations DPR installed on the campus. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

Getting Out of Tight Spaces

The Merck EM1/EM2 Substation and Feeder Replacement Project was a three-year project performed under a design-build contract in conjunction with a teaming agreement with Forest Electric, the electrical subcontractor. The project upgraded 40-year-old systems that were no longer as reliable as a global corporate headquarters and mission critical lab required. Executed without interrupting work on the active campus, DPR relocated one 26 kV substation into an existing structure while prefabricating and building another new 5 kV substation across campus. Both existing substations were demolished and the 26kV and 5kV cables feeding the campus’s eight major buildings were replaced. Additional work included the replacement of electrical equipment at two outdated 5kV substations, the demolition of an existing decommissioned substation, and a brand new 5kV substation to feed the main corporate administrations building on campus.

“This was a very complex project with a high risk of injury to people and disruption to Merck’s operations,” said Abbatiello. “Planning and communication between site operations and the project team was critical. This project outperformed others in this regard and it was a major contributor to its success. The overall execution and performance on this project was outstanding.”

Much of this technical work, however, needed to be coordinated with various campus stakeholders to ensure switching service from old to new infrastructure did not affect research and development of life saving medications. Additionally, much work required access to systems through manholes, which required confined space permits and heightened safety supervision. To alleviate this safety hazard, crews employed remote control cable cutters.

Complex electrical systems in the lab.
Work required managing technical, but high-risk work in tight spaces. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

“The remote control cable cutter was a practical and safe tool for cutting wires,” said DPR’s Brandon Bell. “The wireless remote communicates with the tool via a mutually exclusive connection, and a lineman can arm the cutter and move away from the area to perform the work safely.”

Winning Safety Performance

Indeed, safety was paramount throughout the project, with DPR’s team aligning with Merck’s existing safety culture. One key factor: customer involvement. Aided by the design-build approach, the entire team took safety to be its job, with the customer leading the way.

“It just goes to show how important owner and stakeholder involvement in safety is,” Bell said. “When we combine our own approach to safety with an owner that shares our safety value, it strongly reinforces our culture.”

The results speak for themselves: by March 2019, the project had amassed more than 200,000 worker-hours and one recordable incident. Merck recognized DPR for its efforts with one of its regional safety awards, highlighting its excellent safety practices.

Outdoor electrical systems.
Work on the campus took place in both complex indoor environments and outdoor areas where the elements presented a different set of challenges. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

Collaboration in Action

Ultimately, the use of a design-build contract in conjunction with a teaming agreement took what could have been just a successful project and turned it into an outperformer all around. The job was finished on schedule and under budget, aided by a collaborative approach that made delivery as seamless as possible.

“There were several instances where we had to deviate from the initial plan, such as moving away from fully prefabricated conduit racks because they wouldn’t work logistically,” Bell said. “In those instances, the integrated team was able to tackle the challenge together with no negative bearing to cost or schedule.”

In addition to safety, cost and schedule results, the high level of collaboration had a positive influence in building rapport with other project partners, as well.

“It was, easily, one of the best project experiences with subcontractors in several trades,” Bell said. “We were also able to train a variety of subs and partners in Lean techniques and associated systems, which means we can take the same approach to future work.”

February 12, 2019

Integrated Approach Leverages Technology for Customers

An ever-increasing stock of technology tools holds promise in the construction industry. It’s tempting to use the latest and greatest “shiny object” immediately, but it takes a strategic approach to get the best results. Leveraging these assets to improve efficiency requires an intentional approach that implements the right technologies on the right projects to maximize predictable outcomes, transparency and bottom-line value.

This value-driven approach led DPR Construction to pilot and then fully implement a new technology integration manager role in each of its five business regions over the last three years. Something akin to curators of emerging technology, these professionals help project teams select and integrate the various applications and technologies for their projects, from preconstruction to closeout.

“DPR is known in the industry for experimenting with and leveraging a lot of technology,” said DPR’s Krupesh Kakkente, whose role includes tech integration nationally. “We realized there is a consequence to innovating without knowing where the value lies.”

To address this, DPR’s integration managers, a troupe of experienced, crossed trained employees, get involved as early as the RFP stage to dive deep into exploring what the customer is truly looking for. Based on this analysis, a tailored solution is devised to deploy the right technologies. The number one objective? “Align our project team’s expectations with the customer’s expectations,” said Kakkente. “DPR’s team of integration managers possess a ‘big picture’ perspective on what different project stakeholders bring to the table and the processes and standards that drive their work.”

An owner discusses the project with the construction team.
Listening to customer needs is a vital first step to properly deploying job site technology.

Start to Finish: Integration in Action

Starting with the earliest planning meetings, a DPR integration manager is at the table to understand what the customer needs and expects, while also taking in to account the project team’s experience and preferences when it comes to working with various applications. Those details inform recommendations for specific applications and technologies that will best deliver value. The goal is to support the full duration of a project and can include document hosting applications to design decision tracking and RFI tracking applications, to name just a few.

After guiding the initial selections, the integration manager works with project teams to ensure team members are up to speed on best practices and procedures at each stage, providing training whenever needed.

“We introduce them to all the apps and connect all the processes together so that they can use them efficiently on jobsites,” Kakkente said. “The overriding goal is transparency and using leading indicators to drive success; that is the real value for the customer.”

A group of people learn about VR technology.
Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies get a lot of attention, but how it will be used on a project is a key question to ask.

Measuring Success – Best Practice Adoption

DPR measures what percentage of the applications and processes used on DPR projects are best practice standards. Those best practices include technologies that have delivered significant returns in terms of adding efficiency to the construction process and increasing predictable outcomes for customers. Currently, DPR’s teams are adopting best practice programs at an average rate of 86 percent on projects companywide, according to Kakkente.

Why 86% best practice adoption rather than 100%? It leaves room for innovation. DPR’s overarching focus on bringing the highest degree of predictability, reliability and efficiency to owners’ projects is balanced with the understanding that innovation also has a significant role to play in a project’s success. Testing and implementing new technologies and approaches are part of the process of continually improving project schedules, cost, value, and quality for customers.

December 5, 2018

Builders at our Core: Marc Agulla

Marc Agulla on his Orlando, FL job site.
The work of DPR self-perform drywall crews caught Mark Agulla's interest, and he created an opportunity for himself to join DPR as an apprentice, specifically learning about hanging and framing. Today, he has a goal of becoming a superintendent. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Marc Agulla first connected with DPR in 2015 working in the trades with a subcontractor at a Central Florida DPR project. The work of DPR self-perform drywall crews caught his interest and, through conversations with DPR staff, he created an opportunity for himself to join DPR as an apprentice, specifically learning about hanging and framing. Today, he’s not only leading drywall crews for a large portion of work on The KPMG Learning, Development and Innovation Center in Orlando, he’s set a longer-term goal of becoming a superintendent.

Agulla recently discussed his career path, how DPR recognizes hard work with opportunities and how the trades have helped him grow.

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

Agulla: Right now, I lead a drywall crew on the “hotel” portion of the KPMG project, the place where employees will stay during training. It’s pretty amazing how I got here. I was working on a DPR job in a different trade, but I always wanted to frame and hang. I got to know DPR’s team and, after quite a bit of insistence on my part, DPR gave me an opportunity to come in as an apprentice. At that point, the team grabbed a hold of me and took it upon themselves to mentor me. I was placed at a large job site and mentored by the superintendents and foremen there. They had a class where I learned to read drawings, to know the Underwriters Laboratories types, the codes and similar topics. The framing and hanging I learned hands on. So many people took me under their wings. Now, I’m in a bit of a leadership position where I can guide and instruct the craft and utilize all I’ve been taught from DPR.

DPR's Marc Agulla examines his work area.
DPR's Marc Agulla committed himself to learning and has quickly risen through the ranks of DPR self-perform crews. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s your favorite thing about construction work?

Agulla: I enjoy the end result more than anything else. I really like that when you first come in, there’s nothing, but you can picture the end product in your mind. You watch the process and then, to see it come to fruition, is gratifying.

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

Agulla: The stage of the game we’re at on the KPMG project has prefab bathroom units. We’re getting ready to set the pods in place and all the trades have to work together because everything has to be perfect to be able to just put these in place. We all know how this will affect the customer and its end users.

DPR's Marc Agulla chats with his crew
DPR's Marc Gulla says communication skills have been key to his success in the field. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

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

Agulla: You need to be able to multitask. Also, communication skills are key, especially listening. Listening and being open to advice from everyone and anyone is something I’ve really learned at DPR. I didn’t always have a construction background. I’ve managed people before, but it’s a different kind of management in construction. We’re a team. My mentors are great, but the craft guys who are installing, the laborers… you can learn anything from anyone on the job site if you listen. I don’t pretend to know everything.

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

Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re a laborer and you choose to apply yourself, DPR will give you these opportunities to go as far as you are willing to go. If you put the work in, DPR will help you get there. They want to help. It’s just a matter of applying yourself. Stay focused, study and work hard and you can have it all. Ultimately, my goal is foreman, then superintendent. That’s my hope and dream and, with time and hard work, I know those are realistic goals.

Q: How is working with DPR’s self perform workers different than other work you’ve done?

You know, I got married since I’ve been with the company. Today, we’re getting ready to have a baby and what’s different at DPR is that it’s like a family. Everyone is so loving and supportive, from the office to out here in the field. I’ve worked at other places and done other things and never had people that truly cared about your spouse or your child the way they do here. Stuff like that to me is important. DPR puts value on that. You see it in the way people genuinely care and in things like the lengths we go to for safety every day. I love that about DPR.

Marc Agulla in his job site trailer
DPR's Marc Agulla loves his work, but also the culture DPR has throughout its company. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

November 12, 2018

Leading the Sustainability Discussion at Greenbuild 2018

The stage setup for Greenbuild plenary sessions.
Greenbuild brings together thought leaders to advance the sustainability discussion in the built environment. Photo courtesy of Jay Weisberger

The conversation about sustainability is evolving. We’re on the cusp of some exciting things that could have long-term benefits for communities everywhere; construction has an opportunity to play a leading role in making these things a reality.

DPR Construction sustainability leaders are gearing up for Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Nov. 14-16, in Chicago. Here are a few of the things we’re excited to talk about this year, especially with partners who want to align construction delivery with their organizations’ wellness and sustainability goals.

The intersection of wellness and green in buildings

From the start, LEED® has recognized contributions to healthier indoor environmental quality. Guidelines for the WELL Building Standard™ take things a step further, aiming to create spaces that proactively help occupants be healthier. Combining these two rating systems is now delivering value that pencils out.

DPR Construction's Washington, DC regional office.
DPR's Washington, DC office shows the intersection of green building methods with employee health. Photo courtesy of ©Judy Davis / Hoachlander Davis Photography

Additionally, recently published books like Rex Miller’s Healthy Workplace Nudge are connecting the dots between workplaces and healthcare costs. Miller notes the rise in chronic diseases in the United States is increasing healthcare cost to a point where they will be unsustainable for businesses, with projections that companies will pay $25,000 for health insurance per employee each year as soon as 2025. At the same time, companies spend nearly $700 per employee annually on wellness programs that do not deliver results. Instead, we should imagine an environment where decisions are made based on employee health and well-being instead of upfront cap ex costs.

DPR’s new office in Reston, Virginia—a significant renovation of the common type of office park building found in every major U.S. market—shows how. The team found ways to marry LEED and WELL approaches and track for Net Zero Energy certification. The new space “nudges” occupants toward healthier behaviors through things like making it easier to find a healthy snack than junk food and an in-office workout room for employees to consider with their busy schedules. It accomplishes this without compromising building energy and water performance targets. The WELL Certified Gold and LEED Platinum space will pay for itself over the life of the lease through on-site energy generation, water savings and resulting lease negotiations due to the increased appraisal value of the building and long-term net savings to the landlord from the green retrofit.

PV panels atop DPR's office in Reston, Virginia
DPR's D.C. office features a rooftop photovoltaic array. Photo courtesy of ©Judy Davis / Hoachlander Davis Photography

Real world Net Zero applications for private development

In Reston, DPR’s Net Zero certification will be enabled by rooftop photovoltaics, which have also reached a point where the costs of the equipment and installation are offset by the cost savings from on-site energy generation or reduced lease rates for usage. Potentially, communities can now start to look at rooftop spaces and build a more robust PV infrastructure to generate more power and, ultimately, inoculate building owners from energy cost fluctuation. Think about the rooftop of a convention center or sports arena: huge spaces we could put to work. If we make a similar commitment to rainwater collection to what we believe we can do with PV, we could help alleviate drought problems, too.

Social equity through a construction lens

Sandoval-renteria in a group discussion on his job site.
DPR's Alberto Sandoval-Renteria recommends entering the trades as early as possible to start learning and build a career, even without a college degree. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

More and more, we’re discussing social equity when we get together to discuss sustainability. It might seem like a construction firm wouldn’t have a lot to say on this subject. Instead, we believe construction is uniquely positioned to be a major contributor to a more equitable society.

For starters, construction is among the few industries hiring people without a college degree and putting many of those folks on fulfilling career tracks. This is true not only in the trades but also for our office management staff. The majority of DPR’s superintendent and craft leadership do not have degrees and came up through the trades. With a labor shortage across our industry, construction can be an attractive career for anyone who doesn’t want – or simply cannot afford – the financial burdens of attending college. Making well-paying careers attainable for more people would be a significant step toward bridging the wage gap. We’re seeing some tech companies create these opportunities for white collar workers; construction can set the tone in the blue collar workforce.

Moreover, construction also hires a significant number of local small businesses, many of which are certified minority-, woman- or veteran-owned emerging small businesses. Much as we try to source regional materials for greener projects, the more we can use our projects to help these small, local businesses grow, the more we guarantee the health of local economies. As DPR strives to be integral and indispensable to the communities where we operate, our ability to include local partners in our projects is a significant focus.

We’re past the time of simply talking about making greener buildings. Now, when we go to Greenbuild, we focus on our ability to truly create sustainable communities.

November 7, 2018

Builders at our Core: Alberto Sandoval-Renteria

Alberto Sandoval-Renteria on his job site
Alberto Sandoval-Renteria has gone from building toys as a child to building large scale projects for DPR. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Alberto Sandoval-Renteria joined DPR Construction in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014, but he knew he wanted to be a builder since he was six years old. His passion for carpentry started when he was first introduced to woodworking on his family’s ranch in Mexico, and he saw the joy his hard work brought to the people around him.

He brings that same enthusiasm to his work as a carpenter foreman every day. Sandoval-Renteria is also one of five siblings, whom he credits for teaching him leadership and consensus-building skills.

Sandoval-Renteria recently discussed how he got started in the trades, how work at DPR has influenced his life at home and his advice for people looking to work in the trades.

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

Sandoval-Renteria: I’m a carpenter foreman for our self-perform doors division. When I started, I was considering going to art school, but I lived close to the union hall and I stopped in and asked if they were hiring. They told me to come back the next week as they were staffing up. When I did, they sent me out to a project.

I came to DPR the same way. I just happened to call a friend of mine who used to work here and asked if DPR was hiring. He called back five minutes later and, next thing I knew, I came over as a carpenter and a year later I became a foreman.

Q: You used to build toys as a child. Have you always been building?

Sandoval-Renteria: The place I grew up was pretty poor, so if you wanted a toy or something, you had to build it. When I was a kid, I made my own toy top and little things like toy cars. The funny thing is that it takes a few hours to build a toy and then you play with it for 15 minutes. For me, the fun part was building it.

My grandpa used to be a bricklayer, so I could always help him. Depending on how skilled you were, you were either carrying things for him or helping him put things it in place. I figured out that it was better to learn things and work than to carry stuff.

Sandoval-Renteria on site talking with a coworker.
Sandoval-Renteria credits DPR training with building his communications skills. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

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

Sandoval-Renteria: I love doing aluminum frames because everything has to be cut, and there are a lot of mitered corners. Fast-paced work is the most fun. You have to “go go go” and make sure you’re doing it to the right quality and appearance at the same time. It’s fun when you first see the schedule and think it doesn’t look possible, but when the work is done, it’s on time and looks amazing.

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

Sandoval-Renteria: The doors for a customer focused on audio technologies, which needed to meet a certain FCC rating to limit sound. It was very technical, and we had to do everything little by little, taking the time to make sure everything was just right. When we were done, our work exceeded the rating the customer was looking for.

Sandoval-renteria in a group discussion on his job site.
DPR's Alberto Sandoval-Renteria recommends entering the trades as early as possible to start learning and build a career, even without a college degree. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Sandoval-Renteria: DPR puts a lot of effort into growing and training people, asking us what we need and where we want to go. My people skills have really grown, especially from the Crucial Conversations course. That’s been a big help at work, but at home, too. My girlfriend tells me all the time how working at DPR has changed who I am! I think a lot of that has come from DPR trainings and learning how to express myself.

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

Sandoval-Renteria: People in high school who want to pursue this career should get into it as soon as they can. Instead of going to college and accruing debt, you basically make that amount and put it into your pocket. I was 19 when I started. Everyone I have met who started right after high school, they’re all very happy.

Sandoval-Renteria on his job site.
Sandoval-Renteria credits hard work and a bit of luck for the career he enjoys. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

October 2, 2018

Builders at our Core: David Lopez

David Lopez pictured on a DPR jobsite.
David Lopez came to a Project Engineer career track by starting in the trades. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

In 2010, David Lopez started his career at DPR in Phoenix, AZ as an apprentice, working as a laborer and operating an elevator for seven months. One day, he helped with layout and discovered his passion. He started reading plans and working on layout in the field full-time.

After honing his expertise in layout and continuously learning from mentors on his team, Lopez became a BIM engineer in 2015 and is now in training to become a project engineer. He mentors other DPR teammates in layout and is passionate about giving back to the community and sharing his knowledge, empowering others to grow in their careers, just as he has.

Lopez recently reflected on how he got to where he is today, sharing a few of his proudest moments over the course of his nontraditional career path:

Q: What do you love most about construction?

Lopez: What I love most is the end-result. I’m proud of what we build. To this day, I take my kids and drive around to show them what buildings I’ve been a part of. I take pride in delivering a high-quality product to our owners.

Q: Your career path is nontraditional—what made you pursue your career as a project engineer?

Lopez: My motivation has always been that DPR gives you the opportunity to do what you really want to do. Why not give my family a better future? If I could become a project engineer, why not do it, if I have all the tools and support?

David Lopez sits in a jobsite trailer with a VDC tool.
Lopez has combined his knowledge of work in the field with skills that are an asset in the jobsite trailer. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s your proudest moment at DPR?

Lopez: When I graduated as a journeyman from the carpenters’ union, I was given the Golden Hammer award, meaning I was the best student out of the 2012 class. When I was an apprentice at DPR, I was already laying out, which was part of the final exam’s scope of work. One of the reasons they picked me was because DPR had already developed me into a journeyman; DPR had already given me all the tools and knowledge I needed to grow.

Q: What’s the most complex or technically challenging thing you’ve ever worked on?

Lopez: The project I’m currently on is Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix (BUMCP). It’s one of the biggest projects DPR has ever worked on in Arizona. Completing spool sheets and creating the model for BUMCP was both one of the biggest accomplishments and greatest challenges I’ve had here at DPR.

My field experience helped me tremendously as I modeled every single floor, including every opening and penetration in the emergency department expansion and new patient tower. It made it easier for me to comprehend what’s going to be built out there in the field, and from there I developed my skills further.

David Lopez on site helping another craft worker.
Lopez enjoys mentoring other members of the team. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of builders?

Lopez: In my mentoring classes, I tell people that school isn’t for everyone. If you want to go the construction craft route, there is the possibility of growing, and I’m the perfect proof of it. I’m doing it because I want to, because I had the motivation. Without my mentors at DPR, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

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

Lopez: Always share your knowledge. Never hold back. The more we teach people, the more we grow our industry, and the more we teach our DPR teams knowledge within the field, the better we will be. I wouldn’t have been able to become a BIM engineer or a project engineer without the support of my teammates, who always mentored and taught me. If someone wants to learn, don’t deny that opportunity. That’s how I got here.

David Lopez laughing on his job site.
Lopez enjoys his work from the field to the office. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

September 28, 2018

Collaborating with Customers to Pilot Innovations that Drive Value

Innovation isn't synonymous with technology. Innovation at DPR Construction can be anything that creates new ways of working more efficiently and delivers value to our customers and projects. Achieving that often takes collaboration with key stakeholders from owners, trade partners, end-users and project team members.

“It seems like for most people innovation has become synonymous with apps and devices, but we believe it’s more about changing how we work,” said DPR’s Tim Gaylord. “We want to focus on how we can do more for customers and be more efficient, whether it’s using technology or simply Lean thinking. Either way, it takes customers and project teams who are willing to try things on their projects and seeing what delivers value.”

That’s exactly what’s underway in Leesburg, VA, where DPR is expanding Inova Loudoun Hospital and using the site as a proving ground for a new way to monitor recent concrete pours with embedded devices.

These devices are embedded into concrete to deliver key measurements.
A DPR team member shows one of the devices that are under pilot.

Traditionally, concrete cylinder samples need to be tested off-site to determine strength. Separate core tests measure moisture content. Doing so involves taking several samples, sending them to a testing facility and waiting for the results. The project team saw an opportunity to see if there’s a more efficient method to measure these aspects in real time.

“We’re embedding sensors into our concrete pours,” explained DPR’s Louay Ghaziri. “The sensors will provide us with strength and moisture content readings that we normally test. We will compare those numbers to what traditional testing returns to see if similar results make this a more efficient solution moving forward.”

DPR’s crews are working in tandem with architecture partner HDR’s research arm. The idea is that, if the readings are reliable, the sensors will cancel out the need to send samples in for testing, therefore saving time, while also helping determine project sequencing and eliminating rework.

A sensor installed prior to concrete pouring.
The sensors are attached to rebar prior to concrete pours.

“On our project, this could make a big difference when it comes to putting in flooring,” Ghaziri said. “At that stage, it’s vital to know exactly how much moisture is in the concrete. Anything that can bring certainty to schedule on a complex project gives the customer more peace of mind.”

A DPR site in Sacramento will also pilot the sensors soon; testing in different climates helps establish the effectiveness of the tool.

It’s the latest example of DPR finding appropriate places to try new methods. Some have taken off; one solution for managing jobsite progress photos has saved hours of time for DPR and its project partners. The solution was first piloted on jobsites in Arizona, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Washington, DC region. Today, it’s used on more than 100 DPR projects because of feedback from architects and owners that showed it was delivering value.

DPR and its design partners use jobsite progress photos for a variety of reports and verification needs. Customers also like current photos for their own purposes including keeping stakeholders or employees/end-users up to speed on progress. Occasionally, they’re needed to help troubleshoot an issue. No matter the stakeholder, finding photos for their specific uses was a cumbersome process, often taking skilled people off their "normal" job for hours.

Visualization showing the digital model compared to progress.
DPR is using software that allows quick ways to compare progress versus a digital model.

“The old methods meant a project team ended up with thousands of pictures in a shared folder with titles like ‘IMG_541’ and no real context,” Gaylord said.

Stakeholders always disliked how a simple report could turn into a day-long process. DPR team members, as well as its trade, design and customer partners all reported a much better, faster experience when DPR implemented a process and software that integrated existing digital site plans with automatic curation of photos.

“Now, we drop a pin in a room, take a 360-degree photo and all the curation legwork is done for us,” Gaylord said.

The result is more time spent building and collaborating with much less time trying to find "that one photo."

DPR looks for things that deliver value in the form of cost savings, schedule certainty or simply better customer service. While technology can be part of the solution, the true innovation usually ends up ticking one of those boxes.

“If it’s just a shiny object, customers aren’t going to be interested,” Gaylord said. “They want to know, with good reason, what’s in it for them. So, we combine being curious about emerging solutions with an environment where we can test things out and see what works, not only for us, but for the customer and project.”

September 17, 2018

University of Georgia Unveils Sanford Stadium’s West End Zone Enhancements

Just in time for college football season, The University of Georgia (UGA) formally unveiled its enhancements to the west end zone of Sanford Stadium, the tenth largest college football stadium in the country.

Led by DPR’s Lauren Snedeker, the project team embraced the challenges of renovating the stands, locker room, recruit club, plaza and concourse area of UGA’s beloved Bulldogs, all while over 94,000 curious fans flooded the stadium during last season’s six home games. Through careful planning every week, the team demobilized the entire jobsite prior to each game day.

The $63 million project, funded primarily by donor support, creates a new game-day experience for current and future student-athletes, as well as fans. The 120,000 sq. ft. of new and updated space includes:

  • A 10,500-sq.-ft. hospitality lounge for hosting prospective student-athletes and their guests on game days. The lounge is the first of its kind at Sanford Stadium for the Georgia football program.
  • New locker room, including fully equipped locker and shower facilities, as well as additional storage space for sports medicine, equipment and coaches’ locker rooms.
  • New plaza replacing all existing entrances in the stadium’s west end.
  • Expanded and enhanced concession and restroom facilities as well as a new video board that is 33 percent larger than the previous one.

“This extension, renovation, and expansion project has made Sanford Stadium, already one of the finest college football environments, even better,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “It is one more step that the University of Georgia is taking to reach new heights of excellence across all our athletic programs.”

President Jere W. Morehead addresses the audience during the dedication ceremony for the project. Photo courtesy of Andrew Davis Tucker
UGA officials, DPR team members and HOK wait in anticipation for the cutting of the ribbon at the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Andrew Davis Tucker
The new locker room includes fully equipped locker and shower facilities, as well as additional storage space for sports medicine, equipment and coaches' locker rooms. Photo courtesy of Skyler Herring
The $63 million project creates a new game-day experience for current and future student-athletes. Photo courtesy of Skyler Herring

September 12, 2018

Cutting the Ribbon on Two New Central Arizona College Facilities

Central Arizona College (CAC) recently opened two new, ground-up facilities that DPR Construction delivered on its Signal Peak Campus in Coolidge, AZ: the Mel A. Everingham Student Union and a Science Building. CAC President Dr. Jackie Elliott, CAC Governing Board members, staff, students and the local community joined to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony as the new school year kicked off.

The new Student Union promises to be a new campus landmark and a destination for all students, enhancing the student experience with a modern campus hub. Architekton designed the 40,600-sq.-ft. facility to mirror the surrounding mountainous landscape with an undulating, angular roofline that provides a soaring open feel to the interior public space. The Student Union houses a full-service kitchen and cafeteria, a bookstore, student lounge, meeting rooms and the campus public safety office. An 8,900-sq.-ft outdoor seating and landscape area provides space for students to relax between classes and includes AV infrastructure to convert into an outdoor amphitheater to host large events, such as graduation.

The exterior view of the new Central Arizona College Student Union.
The new CAC Student Union's design takes cues from the surrounding landscape. Photo courtesy of Gregg Mastorakos

Just north of the new Student Union, the new two-story, 32,250-sq.-ft. Science Building offers students and faculty a Maker Space/STEM classroom with 3D printers and robotics, teaching labs, wet and dry labs, prep room and faculty offices.

“The efficient and functional learning space of the science building is designed to draw and engage students in a 21st Century educational atmosphere,” said Daniel Childers of Architekton. The building’s design offers nods to the surrounding desert with an outdoor garden and a water feature running through the building with roof drainage.

A dining area inside the new CAC Student Union
The new CAC Student Union enhances the student experience with a modern space for eating, studying and socializing. Photo courtesy of Gregg Mastorakos

It was critical for DPR to deliver both buildings in time for the start of a new school year. To help ensure the schedule was met, DPR used Digital Building Components, a Phoenix-based custom fabrication facility that uses robotic technology to precisely roll aluminum studs and build framing components. The CAC Science Building had all exterior panels fabricated at Digital Building Components and delivered sequentially for immediate installation at the project site, reducing the exterior skin installation time from four weeks down to a day and a half.

A science classroom at CAC featuring lab tables and fume hoods.
CAC students can take advantage of top notch facilities in the new science building. Photo courtesy of Gregg Mastorakos

July 23, 2018

Tilt-Up Panels Enable Speed-to-Market at Digital Realty’s Ground-Up Data Center

In Ashburn, Virginia, Digital Realty’s (DLR) latest data center is rising from the ground up with tilt-up wall panels. Scheduled for completion in December 2018, the 230,000-sq.-ft. hyperscale data center is leveraging the cost and time savings of using tilt-up construction, a method in which large slabs of concrete are poured directly at the jobsite, then raised into position to form the building’s exterior walls.

DPR team
Speed-to-market is a critical factor for DLR, as the need for data centers designed to deliver services and content to support the world’s largest cloud platforms continues to grow. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

Speed-to-market is a critical factor for DLR, as the need for data centers designed to deliver services and content to support the world’s largest cloud platforms continues to grow. With its customer’s needs in mind, the team chose tilt-up panels to eliminate the traditional limits of the size of panels that could be transported to the site. Since larger panels were poured onsite, less panels were needed to complete the structure, further speeding up the process. The tilt-up panels also allowed for early scope release of certain trades, specifically the plumbing and structural steel subcontractors, who installed plumbing risers and steel connections before the tilt-up panels were lifted, saving time down the road.

Tilt up wall panels
Scheduled for completion in December 2018, the 230,000-sq.-ft. hyperscale data center is leveraging the cost and time savings of using tilt-up construction. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

After pouring concrete walls around the building’s perimeter, the team began lifting the walls into place this summer. The process takes approximately 45 minutes per two-story panel, with the team installing between eight to ten panels per day. It will take 105 panels and 2,000 cubic yards of concrete to complete the perimeter of the data center.

Once complete, the data center will also include the build-out of a 6MW data center hall and will ultimately host 36MW of power.