The “Good New Days”

This article is included in the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

When we started DPR 20 years ago, we could never have imagined the company it has grown into today nor the exciting possibilities for the future. It’s easy at times like these to fall into the habit of talking about the “good ol’ days.” However, for us, it’s much more interesting and fun to think about tomorrow, the good new days filled with new challenges and new opportunities to improve our performance and build it better.

The economy, while tough for many, has also forced everyone to figure out new ways to do more with less. The motivation for all project team members—owners, architects, designers, builders, subcontractors—to increase efficiency has never been greater, and the industry is rising to the occasion with the adoption of alternative delivery methods, new processes and emerging technologies.

For example, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has turned to a “best value” selection process for two of its major projects: the 878,000-gross-sq.-ft. UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay and the 640-ft.-long, serpentine-shaped Regeneration Medicine Building (RMB).

For the $1.6 billion medical center, UCSF is using a delivery model based on IPD concepts and an integrated team approach, including the creation of a virtual organization and co-locating 105 people from 19 different companies onsite for more than a year during preconstruction. Although the real story has yet to unfold with the project breaking ground later this year, results to date include:

Reaching a more than $200 million construction cost-savings target;

a fully BIM coordinated set of documents prior to construction bid, which helps reduce the risks of costs and delays for coordination over traditional methods; and
more opportunities for prefabrication and reduction of inefficiencies of coordinating a set of documents after bid.
For the $123 million, highly complex RMB laboratory project—nestled in a sloping hillside—UCSF chose a qualitative best-value, design-build with bridging documents model to successfully realize its project goals. Also incorporating lean, IPD practices, the design-build team performed a detailed analysis early on that shaved $20 million off of the project budget and approximately two years off of the schedule when compared to a traditional design-bid-build process—all while maintaining the original net square footage and design integrity. The project is wrapping up with completion set for September and has already been recognized by the AIA/San Francisco and the Design-Build Institute of America Western Pacific Region for its in-progress results.

While clearly a leader in the public sector, UCSF is not alone in its search for a better way to deliver capital projects. According to Engineering News-Record in its June 7th issue, “last year, more than 100 pieces of state legislation passed to widen authorization for public-sector design-build.”

These are definitely exciting times for our industry as new challenges bring new opportunities. And while we do not have a crystal ball to predict the future, one thing is crystal clear: We are looking forward to the “good new days” and enhancing our performance to continue to deliver breakthrough results.