Field Review: Opportunity Knocks

In an offsite warehouse, DPR’s SPW group prefabricates doors for a hospital project. Photo by Everett Rosette
In an offsite warehouse, DPR’s SPW group prefabricates doors for a hospital project. Photo by Everett Rosette

DPR SPW pilot program to assemble doors offsite improves safety, schedule and quality

In its ongoing pursuit to build things in a better way, DPR has devised a process that opens the door to improved safety, productivity and accuracy.

DPR’s Self Perform Work (SPW) group recently wrapped up a pilot program in which kick plates, hinges and handles were installed on doors at an off-site warehouse. The assembled doors were brought to the jobsite only when it was time to install them. By moving door production to a warehouse where conditions are more controlled than on the jobsite, an SPW crew could work in its own space and on its own time table without affecting—or being affected by—other trades.


SPW teams that assembled doors for pilot-program projects—from the hospital in California with more than 1,000 doors to the small office project with 50 doors—experienced greater control over safety, productivity and accuracy, which meant substantial time and cost savings. It also reduced the amount of storage space needed on the jobsite, as well as traffic on and around the site. Fewer materials, vehicles and people on a jobsite is particularly important if a project involves an existing facility that must remain open during construction or if the site has limited space or is in a high-traffic area.

Typically, doors are assembled and installed in the field and are one of the last things to get done. “It might take 12 working days to completely assemble and install 100 doors in the field,” said Ricky Mayfield, a DPR SPW foreman. “SPW cut that time to less than four days by preparing the doors offsite.” The time-savings were critical on this particular hospital project with its compressed schedule. The original 8-month door installation schedule was reduced to 8 weeks.

Mayfield added that pre-assembling doors resulted in higher quality and fewer changes. Because all the materials were delivered directly to the controlled environment of a warehouse, they were less likely to get damaged than in the field. Crews could also easily work side-by-side, guiding and checking each other’s work. In the field, a crew might be spread out over thousands of square feet on several floors.

Offsite assembly is particularly effective with a “digital jobsite,” where all construction documents are managed digitally. With the most up-to-date drawings available online, an SPW team can quickly see any changes.


Assembling doors offsite has become a new best practice for DPR’s SPW group on large-scale projects and most smaller ones as well.

“The smaller projects involved in the pilot phase were also successful, and SPW plans to continue the practice on small projects when possible,” Mayfield said. “But, because they have a much shorter overall construction schedule, it’s important to have the SPW team involved early on so they have enough time to ship materials to the warehouse.”

Watch the time-lapse video of door preparation and installation.