June 7, 2012

My Morning Commute: DPR BIM Engineer’s Ride to Work

Get an inside peek at my morning commute. I travel from my home in San Francisco to the construction job site in Palo Alto on my bike with the help of CalTrain.

Public Transit isn't so bad, give it a try.

Enjoy the scenic ride. 

June 6, 2012

DPR and Digital Realty Present at 21CDCS

Dallas was abuzz with talk of data centers at the 21st Century Data Center Symposium (21CDCS), presented by Integrated Design Group. Trends covered in the full-day data center conference included: modular data center designs, leveraging intelligence from internet superstars, and energy efficient/green data center design. DPR's Advanced Technology Core Market Group Leader Mark Thompson teamed up with Digital Realty Vice President of Development Services Steve Kundich at 21CDCS to give a presentation called, "Scalable Containerized and Prefabricated: Modular Component Solutions."

In their presentation, they discussed what's involved in developing a modular strategy for data centers. Although modular is a tool, it is not magic. While owners are looking for ways to lower cost and increase efficiency by coming up with better ways to design and deploy data centers, teams still need to have core competencies to successfully deliver modular data centers. 

One consideration to keep in mind is that modular is sometimes cheaper but not always. Reports indicate that cost is the same to 20% lower (as compared to traditional). Opportunities to save include:

  • Subs completing the design early and making decisions early
  • Speculation, which involves performing the design and procurement of modular fabrication before customer commitment. Although the speculation trend stopped after 2005 and involves uncertainty, it is still an option.

Schedule performance can be achieved by: 

  • Getting the site secured/entitled
  • Having standardized/repeatable designs
  • Working with high performing vendors
  • Making decisions with no changes

Something to remember is that modular is evolving. It's a piece of the puzzle. Steve and Mark advise that if you are thinking about using it, ask yourself: how will modular help achieve goals? Will it? Can you get early procurement? Early procurement will help with schedule, as will a high performing team.

Steve and Mark suggest to use lean techniques and think of your team as a production system--with or without modular. Throw modular in and it gets even better.

June 4, 2012

IPD/BIM as Facility Management Tools

DPR's Andrew Arnold, PhD, contributed an article called "Integrating Facility Management and Operations into IPD/BIM Projects" to the Healthcare Building Ideas Blog. 

While IPD and BIM can cut down on project schedules and save costs during construction, owners also care about costs associated with the life-cycle of a building - such as maintenance and operations - after it has been built. Use of IPD and BIM can be integrated from strictly construction tools to facility management tools by providing visualization for maintenance access; cataloging and locating rooms, spaces, furniture and equipment; and locating MEP products and systems.

June 3, 2012

You Say You Want a Revolution?

In The Registry's article titled "Building a Scientific Revolution," the story explores the unique design of DPR's new stem cell lab, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. It opened in 2010 at the University of San Francisco.

Built in a design/build venture, the new stem cell lab building has a snake-like, curved shape with rooftop gardens. Crews had to wear rock-climbing gear just to combat the steep site above Golden Gate Park on the Parnassus Campus. The building's distinct shape also required the team to provide varying foundation depths. Despite challenges, working with lean construction techniques allowed the team to finish on time and on budget.

May 31, 2012

ENR CA Reports: Green Ambition of UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

ENR California reported on DPR's 878,000-sq-ft UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay project. With outdoor gardens, terraces and lots of glass to let in sunlight, the team has an ambitious goal of achieving a LEED Gold rating, which is rare for a hospital.

On schedule for completion in 2015, UCSF's 289-bed Medical Center at Mission Bay includes three hospitals: the 183-bed Benioff Children's Hospital; a 36-bed women's specialty hospital; and a 70-bed cancer hospital. A 200,000-sq-ft medical office building, 36,000-sq-ft utility plant, helipad, parking garage and support services will also be included in this project.

To learn more about this fascinating work, read ENR California's article here.

May 17, 2012

Clif Bar & Company’s Headquarters - LEED Platinum

Completed in 2010 by DPR and ZGF Architects, the Clif Bar & Company's Headquarters in Emeryville has just received LEED Platinum certification.

The facility comprises 115,000 square feet of office space. The cutting-edge facility also includes an employee cafe, onsite childcare facility, theater, fitness room, yoga room, massage rooms, and bike storage.

Green features include a solar array-fitted rooftop, which provides the bulk of the building's power. The solar thermal panels also generate 70% of the heat needed to heat water. The headquarters also includes four atrium gardens that provide sunlight and rain to the plants and garden greenery. Read more about the project here.

May 16, 2012

MOBs - The Next Generation?

As a follow up to his "Small Hospitals, Big Technology" post on April 17, DPR's Gerry Dewulf discusses the concept of "Super MOBs" in his most recent submission to Healthcare Building Ideas' blog.

By adding imaging space, a small lab and a few procedure rooms to a hoteling MOB where doctors can see patients a day or two per week, we create the next generation facility--ideal for bedroom communities surrounding sprawling metropolitan areas.

For the concept to work, it takes a solid balance sheet, top-notch staff and the right volumes of service and patients.

May 14, 2012

ENR Ranking - DPR is 24 out of 400 Top Contractors

Moving up 9 steps from last year, DPR was ranked the 24th contractor out of 400 of the top companies by Engineering News-Record (ENR).

Last year, DPR was ranked 33rd, so this leap to 24th is an exciting advancement. We ranked 2nd in the Telecommunications sector category.

Total revenue for the top 400 firms increased almost 9% from the year before. Domestic contracting revenue for the Top 400 rose 5.9% in 2011, to $220.49 billion, while international contracting revenue jumped 20.3%, to $61.65 billion.

Congratulations to all of the firms! See the complete list here.

April 25, 2012

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Team Honored with Fiatech CETI Award

The Fiatech Celebration of Engineering and Technology Innovation(CETI) Awards recently honored the individuals and companies that have conducted new and emerging technology implementations as well as to individuals who have made significant strides in advancing innovation in research and development in the design, engineering and construction industry. The UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay team won the Scenario-Based Project Planning category for the 878,000-gross-square-foot project, which is serving as an example of applying integrated project delivery processes, tools, and technologies on a public sector project.

The new medical center, scheduled to open in 2015, will include a children's hospital, a cancer hospital, a women's specialty hospital, a rooftop helipad, an outpatient building, and a central plant. The team includes UCSF Medical Center, DPR Construction, Stantec, and key trades. The team began working together nearly 18 months prior to construction start and was able to reduce construction costs by more than $100 million without reducing scope through the integrated virtual design and construction process.

Some of the innovative practices used include:

  • Co-location (The Big Room)

More than 100 people from 19 companies were co-located to enhance collaboration and minimize delays in decision-making.

  • Cluster teams: Nine cluster teams, with representatives from designers, subcontractors, the owner, and the general contractor on each team, focus on driving costs down and streamlining information flow and decision making.
  • Pull and ICE sessions: Pull schedule meetings establish optimal sequences and durations. Integrated concurrent engineering (ICE) sessions solve multi-disciplinary issues quickly with all affected stakeholders approaching an issue and choosing the optimal solution.
  • Access to information: ProjectWise, a server-based document management system, is being used to allow for real-time access to the latest drawings and models.
  • Last planner: During construction, last planners for each of the different scopes discuss and agree to one- and three-week look ahead plans.
  • Target value design: An integrated effort set achievable cost targets per trade to reduce costs while maintaining cost, schedule, and quality.
  • Virtual design or Building Information Modeling (BIM) and construction: Highly detailed models to validate design, user requirements, and constructability resulted in a cost-savings of $15 million and higher schedule reliability and field productivity. 

  • Coordination before permitting: This ensured constructability input from subcontractors was included in permit drawings.

This is the fifth consecutive year that one of DPR’s projects has won a FIATECH CETI award, beginning with Camino Medical Group Mountain View campus in 2008 followed by Sutter Health Eden Medical Center, University of California, Santa Cruz Porter B College for real-time supply chain management, and last year in this same category for Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland Patient Care Pavilion in Oakland, CA.

April 16, 2012

Small Hospital, Big Technology

Big hospitals don't always mean better technology. In his latest blog post called "Small Hospitals, Big Technology" for Healthcare Building Ideas' blog, DPR's Gerry DeWulf explores how small hospitals in rural or suburban areas are now utilizing the same technology found in large or urban hospitals.

This technology can include "smart" ORs, electronic medical records and state-of-the-art medical equipment. Read up on small hospitals and how a flexible hospital can grow and adapt with its community.