Scaling New Heights to Build Raving Fans
DPR Completes Second Project for Baker & McKenzie Law Firm, Spreads Goodwill to Neighboring Companies
Performing a 45,000-sq.-ft. tenant improvement within a four-million-sq.-ft. business complex with a daily population of 14,000 people in five months can be a tall order, especially with site logistics and building regulations. However, for DPR, which has completed more than 40 tenant improvement projects, totaling more than $194 million over the last year, the project for law firm Baker & McKenzie was about going above and beyond.
Located on the 10th and 11th floors of 2 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, the five-month project was awarded to DPR on the heels of completing Baker & McKenzie’s 35,000-sq.-ft. Palo Alto office renovation. Already working with the architect, FME Architecture + Design, and construction manager, The Staubach Company, to find a site and develop the budget, DPR had a clear understanding of the customer’s goals and project requirements.
Client: Baker & McKenzie
Architect: FME Architecture + Design
Construction Manager: The Staubach Company
The new San Francisco office included a communication stair between floors, private offices around the perimeter, three conference rooms with advanced audio/visual capabilities, a law library, high-end lobby finishes, and a sophisticated lighting package.
In addition to the limited site and stringent building regulations of Embarcadero Center, the team was faced with several immediate project hurdles, including:
- the availability of only one freight elevator for all trades (even for traveling between the 10th and 11th floors),
- a compact schedule, coupled with the need for finalized stairway designs and finishes,
- the procurement of lighting and furniture, and
- working around the ongoing operations of neighboring companies, particularly those located on the 12th floor.
“One of our top priorities on any project is minimizing disruptions caused by construction,” said Mike Messick of DPR, who served as project manager. It’s also a priority for Boston Properties, the building manager. To maintain a good working environment for residents, Boston Properties asked construction teams to use only one freight elevator in the building. Understanding the need to preserve the environment DPR’s project team quickly devised a solution that worked for everyone.
“I was sent upstairs to literally work with the RBC staff to monitor noise and act as an immediate conduit to the construction team if it got too loud.”
Project Engineer, DPR Construction
“Having only one elevator, particularly with a condensed schedule, posed a productivity challenge,” said Messick. “Workers were waiting up to 20 minutes just to travel between the two floors. We eliminated the issue by cutting the slab for the communication stairway between the floors early and erecting a temporary set of stairs for us and the subs to use until the permanent stair was built.”
Moving on to the stairway itself, DPR worked closely with the architect to identify potential constructibility issues with the design. Knowing that the architect had a short window to produce construction drawings, DPR proactively submitted a few sketches to help find a workable stairway solution and keep the schedule on track.
The team, including the architect and lighting designer, also collaborated on the proposed lighting package to shorten the standard submittal process, resulting in approval to release numerous fixtures early. “The production time on the fixtures was 12 weeks, and the project in its entirety was about 22 weeks,” said Messick. “We all knew that we needed to work together to meet the deadline.”
DPR camaraderie and goodwill also spread to neighboring floors. At Embarcadero Center, noise abatement efforts go into effect at 8 a.m., requiring contractors to perform the bulk of their work during off hours, either early in the morning or late into the evening. For the Baker & McKenzie project, however, an added element was upstairs neighbor RBC Capital Markets, one of the nation’s largest investment banks. Located on the 12th floor, RBC corresponds with clients in the U.S. and internationally, with business starting as early as 4 a.m.
“RBC’s early business hours meant that we had to take an extra step to minimize construction noise even during the early morning hours,” said DPR Project Engineer Matt Casey. “I was sent upstairs to literally work with the RBC staff to monitor noise and act as an immediate conduit to the construction team if it got too loud.” In addition to alleviating noise issues, DPR introduced RBC to another DPR tradition—bagels on Fridays. For the duration of the project, breakfast was delivered to the office compliments of DPR.
Posted on June 8, 2011
Last Updated August 23, 2022