Field Review: Ramping Up SPW Operational Excellence

DPR SPW crews at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health and Wellness Institute logged nearly 19,000 work hours on the 45,800-sq.-ft. facility. (Photo by Genaro Sanchez)

Self-perform work (SPW) capabilities shine across the sunshine state, leading to 130-percent increase in SPW work hours

In 2014, DPR’s SPW group in Florida logged less than 50,000 work hours across the state. Fast-forward one year, and the group anticipates closing out 2015 with more than double that—115,000 work hours. The reason behind this rapid growth? Hiring, training, and giving crews the right tools to complete projects for the Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach offices.

After the additions of staff in Tampa and Orlando through acquisition in 2013, one of the integration challenges was inserting a self-perform philosophy into the current mode of operation. The staff in the southeast was energized by the opportunity to focus on being a builder, but discipline and training were required to make sure those teams were operating at the highest standards.

“From day one, our initial focus was to hire the right team, and build technical expertise in our crews,” said Charles Wiggins, DPR Florida’s lead self-perform estimator.

Now with more than 70 skilled craft workers throughout the state, DPR’s Florida SPW team has grown by first tapping into the local talent market to hire the right superintendents, foremen, lead carpenters, framers and installers. When hiring the team, prior work experience was high on the list, but equally as important was each new hire’s ability to embrace DPR’s “ever forward” core value.

“We’re here to build things a better way,” Wiggins said. “No one does it quite like DPR, so it was critical for us to hire the right people for the job.”

SPW crews receive additional on-the-job training, safety training, and are encouraged to use the latest technologies available to aid communication and quality control. In the field, foremen are equipped with tablets and laptops, creating a pathway of communication from the field to the office.

On one current SPW Florida project—a 200,000-sq.-ft. hospitality renovation—the team is putting technology to use in modeling framing components with a focus on prefabrication, which is not only improving quality but will shorten the schedule when compared to a traditional framing installation.

As part of the continuing effort, an SPW mentorship program will begin in 2016, aimed at bringing up young talent in the industry and creating future leaders. With new projects breaking ground in the southeast across healthcare, corporate office, and life sciences markets, the coming years continue to bring opportunities for DPR’s self-perform work operations to grow in Florida.