October 8, 2018

Advancing a Paradigm Shift in Construction at LCI Congress

DPR's Mike Cummings and Banner Health's Aaron Zeligman discuss what will be most important for the end users of the project.
DPR's Mike Cummings and Banner Health's Aaron Zeligman discuss what will be most important for the end users of the project. Photo courtesy of Mindy Gray

How can contractors and their partners collaborate with customers to deliver projects more efficiently? Or change the way all stakeholders approach projects to drive success? Those topics are the core of what DPR and its partners will discuss in six presentations at the 20th annual LCI Congress, the flagship event of the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), Oct. 15-19 in Orlando, Florida.

The paradigm shift is being advanced through a focus on jobsite culture, better alignment with customer expectations and leveraging technology in new ways. By breaking free of traditional workflows, new efficiencies can be realized leading to benefits for all project stakeholders.

Three of DPR's six presentations are discussed below. To learn more, click on the section headlines and view videos detailing the topics.

Matching Methods with Culture

When it comes to safety, we know procedures and protocols won’t prevent incidents unless a strong jobsite culture of caring and risk rejection exists. Similarly, all the tools of Lean, from kaizen to pull planning, will be limited in their effectiveness without the right culture. True commitment to continuous improvement, for instance, requires trust in your teammates and a sense of a shared goal that’s bigger than one’s self.

DPR’s Daniel Berger understood that his customer at HCA Northwest Hospital Medical Center in Margate, Florida wanted the project team to share its Lean goals. He knew, though, that simply executing Lean methods would only take the team so far.

“For the last 10 years, there’s been such a focus when it comes to Lean construction on things like ‘what can we prefab?’ and ‘what can we do more efficiently,’” Berger said. “We’ve lost track of the soft skills and what those can accomplish on the job and how those skills can help build a culture that supports the Lean process.”

At LCI Congress, Berger and DPR’s customer, HCA, will discuss how they worked together to achieve results. The key was creating a team that hold one another accountable and can thrive during the “tough” conversations that take place during any project. They will also discuss how planning took a whole-project approach rather than being individual scope-specific, how productivity and safety performance improved vs. baselines, and how, once the project is completed in 2019, the culture will continue on future projects.

Aligning Lean Approaches with Customers

When DPR’s team in Phoenix completed the first phase of a large hospital project for Banner Health, it achieved zero defects. Why fix what’s not broken for the second phase? The customer shifted its approach to quality by focusing on Distinguishing Features of Work (DFOW) that were closely associated with the end use of the building and patient care, building a Lean program to support them.

“When people think of quality, they think of aesthetics,” said DPR’s Mike Cummings, who is presenting at LCI Congress. “For Banner, it’s the functionality of those things and how they come together and how they will eventually affect their patients.”

As a result, the entire project team shifted its approach to focus on DFOW and saw fantastic results. For example, work on elevator lobbies (a DFOW) included eight RFIs prior to work starting and zero once work was under way. Trade partners saw increased productivity, too. The team originally planned for 53 days of elevator lobby work, but by aligning around DFOW resulted in only 32 days of work—all with zero defects. Similar improvements were achieved across the project because of increased communication and focus on what was important for all stakeholders.

Technology as a Time Machine

The Lean method of a gemba walk involves going out in the field to see the work and collaborating with partners to address a specific issue in production or key performance indicator. But what if the work doesn't exist yet and won’t be for another year? Easy: use a time machine.

“With 4-D, we can now collaborate more efficiently with our partners to deliver predictable results,” said DPR’s Charlie Dunn. “You can deliver much faster, so you can get a drug to market sooner or a hospital to treat patients earlier.”

Essentially, technology has unlocked the ability for partners to virtually walk through a job site far in advance of the work being put into place. Teams can gain a common understanding of the challenges of a dynamic construction environment, viewing it differently than the fixed nature of an assembly line. As a result, stakeholders can test strategies and make mistakes early—and virtually—while avoiding expensive problems that traditionally emerge after crews have mobilized.

At the 2018 LCI Congress, DPR and its partners will show how this is working to improve delivery of a large project in Orlando. Using 4-D eliminates waste throughout the delivery process and illustrates how we’re utilizing innovative technology with exciting visualizations that promise to alter the way we construct in the future.

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

September 2, 2018

Builders at our Core: The Guzman Brothers

Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

In honor of Labor Day, DPR Construction is launching a new blog series, Builders at our Core, dedicated to sharing stories of DPR’s self-perform work teams. These builders are successfully executing complex, technical projects for some of the world’s most progressive and admired companies.

With diverse career paths, we’ll hear from people who got to where they are in very different ways, but have a few key things in common: a passion for continuous learning, growth and building great things.

The Builders at our Core series kicks off with the story of Jesus, Ruben and Isidro Guzman, three brothers who started their careers at DPR as carpenters in Reston, VA. Over the course of nearly a decade, all three have grown and developed their careers at DPR:

  • Jesus, the youngest of the Guzmans, was the first of his brothers to join DPR as a carpenter in 2008 and has since been promoted to general foreman. After hearing about DPR’s unique culture, his brothers came on board as well.
  • Ruben joined DPR as a carpenter in 2009, and went on to become a foreman, general foreman, assistant superintendent and is now a superintendent. He has also worked his way into estimating, and shares estimating duties 50/50 with another teammate in DPR’s Reston office.
  • Isidro, who prior to DPR began his career as a carpenter at age 15, joined DPR in 2010 and has since been promoted to foreman and assistant superintendent.
Guzman brothers
Over the course of nearly a decade, Isidro, Jesus and Ruben Guzman have grown and developed their careers at DPR. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

The Guzmans recently shared their passion, expertise and advice for the next generation of builders with us:

Q: What do you love about construction?
Ruben: It’s never the same; every day is something different. You are never finished learning. You keep yourself busy all the time. I fell into becoming a carpenter, but I found out it was actually what I wanted to do. When I came to DPR, I saw that DPR operates differently than more traditional general contractors. I really liked that, and it was one of the things that drove me to put more effort into what I did.

Isidro: I started in construction when I was young. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college; everybody has a different path. I like everything about construction: putting work together and working around people, as well as managing teams and empowering them to do good work.

Jesus: The big responsibility. Sometimes people don’t see it like that, but I like to have responsibilities and do my work the best that I can.

Guzman brothers
The Guzman brothers enjoy managing teams and empowering them to do good work. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?
Ruben: In my case, it helps me a lot to come from the field, knowing how to build things. You can see the drawings, imagine people building it and know what it takes.

Isidro: It’s important that people have experience on the actual job that they’re doing. If you have experience doing things with your hands, that makes everything easier. It’s important to prepare yourself with trainings, and do as much as you can to be successful.

Jesus: A person needs to be open-minded to learning about all kinds of work, and be able to build good relationships with all the trades.

Guzman brothers
The Guzmans encourage the next generation of builders to never give up and never stop learning. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s your proudest moment at DPR?
Jesus: At the holiday party in 2015, I was one of ten people, including my brother Ruben, recognized for safety. I completed 10,000 work hours without any incidents. People who work at DPR do good work, and DPR takes care of them.

Ruben: It was the first year DPR did these awards in Reston, VA. It makes people proud to be one of the few recognized for the 10,000 incident-free hours.

Isidro: The most important thing when you are a leader is to get better at it. It’s not easy, and it’s a lot of responsibility. You might have 100 people onsite, working around the clock, and you are responsible for the safety of every person. You are responsible for making sure they go home to their families at the end of the day. That’s the reason I am proud of getting the job done on time and without injuries.

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering the field?
Ruben: Never give up. Don’t believe that because you are a laborer or a carpenter, you can’t become a project engineer or superintendent. As long as you have goals, and you study, it’s possible for everybody. If you need a tool to learn, people will always help you at DPR.

Isidro: Don’t be complacent; always try to learn new things. Carpenters, think about being foremen; foremen, think about being general foremen. It’s possible. Think about it, and work hard to get it. There are a ton of possibilities.

August 14, 2018

From Bioreactor to Learning Tool: Project Engineers Gain Hands-On MEP Experience Through Project Tinman

Working together at a confidential life sciences project in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, project engineers Devin Kennedy and Ben Salsman noticed that their customer was disposing of a few old bioreactors. Designed to grow and develop cells to extract proteins that are used to create injectable medicines, bioreactors are an important aspect of life sciences–a piece of equipment that engineers usually learn about out of a book.

Wanting to gain more hands-on MEP experience in DPR’s culture of continuous learning, Kennedy and Salsman decided to turn the discarded 60-liter bioreactor into a learning tool. With a core team of DPR’s technical experts, they brainstormed what they could do, such as adding valves and instruments, building a control panel and developing a sequence of operations. They stepped up to the biggest challenge: making the out-of-service bioreactor fully functional.

To gain more hands-on MEP experience, project engineers turned a discarded 60-liter bioreactor into a learning tool. Photo courtesy of Amy Edwards

A team of 20 project engineers in DPR’s Raleigh-Durham office set out to create a physically self-contained bioreactor on one skid and understand how its components (sensors, valves, pumps, controls, wiring) interacted in a highly controlled, pressurized environment. Through hands-on workdays led by DPR experts focused on mechanical, controls and electrical aspects of the bioreactor, the project engineers gained experience from design through commissioning.

The project engineers stepped up to the biggest challenge: making the out-of-service bioreactor fully functional. Photo courtesy of Amy Edwards

Focusing on the “why,” not just the “what,” the project engineers looked at the bioreactor as a holistic system that helped them connect to DPR’s work. They gained hands-on experience with concepts including controlled automation systems, welding and wiring–all of which reappear in projects across core markets, and all of which project engineers typically don’t get to touch with their own hands.

“Knowing how the bioreactors work, and knowing how to build them through their own experiences only makes our project engineers better team members for our customers,” said David Ross, who leads DPR’s life sciences core market in the Southeast. “On a broader level, Project Tinman helped them better understand our life science customers, as well as the perspectives of trade partners and equipment manufacturers.”

The team gained hands-on experience with concepts including controlled automation systems, welding and wiring–all of which project engineers typically don’t get to touch with their own hands. Photo courtesy of Amy Edwards



What started as an idea between two project engineers has become a learning tool that will help countless more people at DPR become better builders. Photo courtesy of Amy Edwards

August 1, 2018

Celebrating Women Who Build: All-Female Team Creates Positive Change in Community

This spring, about 40 women from DPR and across the industry came together to make much-needed improvements at Project Bayview, a home in San Francisco for women transitioning out of difficult situations, including homelessness, addiction and human trafficking.

As part of Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s second annual SHEBUILDS community project, the team of all-female builders, engineers, craftspeople and community volunteers worked to increase health and safety at Project Bayview, empowering women to become change-makers in their communities.

This spring, an all-female build team came together to make much-needed improvements at Project Bayview, a home in San Francisco for women transitioning out of difficult situations. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Over the course of two build days, the SHEBUILDS team completed a series of improvements to the women’s home, including:

  • Turning an empty, unmaintained backyard area into an outdoor living space, including installing a new raised deck area and landscaping to create a safe, peaceful place for women and their children;
  • Building a platform for the washer and dryer to prevent flooding;
  • Installing a new pot-filler faucet and garbage disposal in the kitchen;
  • Patching holes, drywalling, painting, caulking and organizing throughout the home.

“The great thing was not only did we have skilled carpenters on this project, but also women who just wanted to learn more and wanted to give back,” said DPR’s Renee Powers. “We had an incredibly cohesive team of all-women builders working together to create positive change for other women.”

The team turned an empty, unmaintained backyard area into an outdoor living space, including installing a new raised deck area and landscaping to create a safe, peaceful place for women and their children. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

According to Heather Kusunoki, house manager at Project Bayview, some of the women living at the home joined the team to work on repairs, and were inspired working alongside and learning from the all-women team’s attention to detail and quality. One of these women now aspires to enter the trades after she finishes her program at Project Bayview, breaking a cycle of difficult situations and creating a new one: one of women empowering women to create positive change in their lives and communities.

Check out radio host Peter Finch’s podcast about the SHEBUILDS project, featuring DPR’s Vic Julian and Lea Rewinski here!

The team of all-female builders, engineers, craftspeople and community volunteers worked to increase health and safety at Project Bayview, empowering women to become change-makers in their communities. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

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.

July 5, 2018

Penn State University Celebrates Grand Reopening of Modernized Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building

PSU grand reopening
Penn State University (PSU) recently opened its newly modernized Agricultural Engineering Building, which houses the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE). Photo courtesy of Michael Houtz

Penn State University (PSU) recently opened its newly modernized Agricultural Engineering Building, which houses the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 8, 2018, giving PSU the opportunity to recognize the gifts and donations that made this facility a reality.

Home to some of the nation’s top architectural, engineering and building construction programs, PSU is incorporating Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) on this project, the first time the delivery method will be used on campus. The selection process began in the early summer of 2014, followed by PSU, DPR Construction, EYP Architecture & Engineering and mechanical and electrical subcontractors signing a multi-party IPD contract in 2015.

PSU lab
The Agricultural Engineering Building houses four multi-purpose classrooms, more than 30 comprehensive research and teaching labs, and several conference rooms and collaboration lounges. Photo courtesy of Michael Houtz

The two major components of this 93,500-sq.-ft. project are:

  • The modernization of the existing Charles Klauder building: built in 1938, the historic building needed major upgrades to meet safety and energy standards, as well as building needs.
  • The demolition of a 1960s addition to the building: In its place, the team constructed a new, replacement building, designed to match existing campus architecture.
PSU photo
With an energy efficient, open-concept design, the Agricultural Engineering Building is aiming to achieve LEED Silver certification. Photo courtesy of Michael Houtz

The Agricultural Engineering Building houses four multi-purpose classrooms, more than 30 comprehensive research and teaching labs, and several conference rooms and collaboration lounges. Agricultural engineering, with its diverse range of study, houses not only bio-chemistry laboratories, but machine shops, integrated hydrology-hydraulics laboratories and a new centralized fermentation laboratory.

With an energy efficient, open-concept design, the Agricultural Engineering Building is aiming to achieve LEED Silver certification through sustainable elements including a green roof, water conservation technology, renewable materials and use of natural light.

PSU lab
Agricultural engineering, with its diverse range of study, houses not only bio-chemistry laboratories, but machine shops, integrated hydrology-hydraulics laboratories and a new centralized fermentation laboratory. Photo courtesy of Michael Houtz