Field Review: BIM-Enabled Sequence Swap

Self-perform work achieved greater control over quality and schedule on UHS Temecula. (Photo by David Cox)
Self-perform work achieved greater control over quality and schedule on UHS Temecula. (Photo by David Cox)

One of several SPW improvements, switching the order of trade work results in savings for integrated hospital project

By self-performing a high level of drywall, framing and concrete work for the new Universal Health Services (UHS) Temecula Valley Hospital, DPR’s Self-Perform Work (SPW) group achieved greater control over quality and schedule. Trades and subcontractors came on board early for the lean project and performed upfront planning. One major process improvement came when the SPW team decided to switch the order of work sequences, generating savings for the integrated team overall.

DPR Drywall’s Steve Helland explained, “The key for this job to be so efficient and productive was all the upfront work. By having drywall on board in the very beginning, we were able to plan the whole sequence, schedule-wise,” he said.

Usually, teams frame walls first and then mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) is installed later. Extensive cost analysis, however, led to the decision to install plumbing before framing.

Project Executive Ed Straub recalled, “Before we started doing any framing, we uncovered that it would be more cost-effective if we allowed the plumber to go through and run all of the cast iron pipes throughout the building, when only the bottom and top track were built.”


For the interior framing, DPR SPW took on the engineering of the stud framing with partner Ficcadenti Waggoner and Castle Structural Engineers, and provided highly detailed building information modeling (BIM), which enabled the trade sequence swap.
Separate 2D spool sheets (smaller, printed views of specific parts of an entire floor plan) were pulled from the model. From this, the plumber was able to identify stud locations on the bottom track of the building.

Straub said, “Thanks to spool sheets from 3D modeling, we knew exactly where the studs were going to go, so plumbers could run all the vertical pipe and install risers before framing.”

The plumbing/framing sequence swap not only sped up the process but resulted in overall project savings. Although the cost increased for drywall and framing, the project saved an estimated $200,000 in plumbing that went to the entire team’s profit pool, as part of the integrated agreement in which participating firms share both project risk and reward.
In addition, the team saved approximately $100,000 in material costs due to the accuracy of the highly detailed BIM.


SPW also increased labor productivity in the field.

By reviewing video studies of their work and making suggestions for improvement, field crews were able to increase labor productivity in drywall and framing operations by an estimated 37 percent.

Workers collectively brainstormed productivity issues and solutions, using the lean process of “swarming.” This resulted in smaller batching of workers in defined areas. Taping productivity times improved by an estimated 20 percent.

Read the full case study here.

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