Project Overview

A DPR-led design-build team turned over a new 86,000-sq.-ft. medical office building (MOB) for Sharp Rees-Stealy (SRS) Medical Group in Santee, CA in late June of 2020, overcoming major permitting delays and pandemic-related design changes to complete the project on schedule.

Featuring an energy efficient design by design-build architect Hanna Gabriel Wells, the three-story tilt-up facility consolidates several of SRS Medical Group’s smaller leased facilities and expands its medical services to eastern San Diego County. The facility offers primary and specialty care as well as lab, pharmacy, radiology, optical, physical therapy and urgent care services.

The MOB incorporates a cutting-edge microgrid technology and harnesses solar panels, a battery storage system, diesel generator and microgrid controller to enhance operational efficiencies. The goal: to keep critical loads on line should power go out in an area where both electricity demand and risk of wildfire continue to rise.

The collaborative design-build team overcame a nearly four-month delay in late 2019 associated with permitting approval from the local utility company. In the face of that setback, DPR worked closely with key trade partners and held multiple pull planning sessions to identify areas for potential schedule savings to get the project back on track.

Important but necessary late-stage design changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic required rework of some portions of the facility, extending the completion schedule for those areas. The overall project completed on schedule and within budget while maintaining a strong safety record throughout.

The Challenges

The large amount of infrastructure work going on in San Diego County has left some local permitting authorities and utility jurisdictions strapped for resources – in some cases, delaying their ability to quickly process plans and issue permits. That was a major hurdle the Sharp Rees-Stealy MOB team encountered well into the construction process. The local gas and electric utility had a significant delay processing and permitting their submitted design plan for shifting overhead power lines below ground. An expected week-long response morphed into four months, temporarily halting work on the project.

The team also encountered several challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A crucial owner-initiated design change to interior layouts occurred late in the project, increasing the amount of physical separation for occupants in an area of the building originally envisioned as an open-air environment.

Additionally, the reality of working during a pandemic brought unique challenges. Despite every precaution and instituting numerous additional jobsite safety protocols, two trades workers tested positive. That led to a work stoppage and terminal clean of the entire building before work could resume, causing additional delays to be overcome as those trades were on the critical path schedule.

The Solutions

Faced with the unexpected utility permitting delay, the DPR project team quickly brainstormed where time could be made up. They collaborated with key trade partners to determine what scopes of work could be overlapped or re-sequenced. The team held multiple pull planning sessions to look for ways to eliminate schedule float – ultimately recovering most if not all of the time.

“We absorbed a delay that required us to restructure a number of critical path activities to get back as close as we could to the contract completion date,” said DPR Project Manager Anthony Munoz. “To be able to recover that says a lot about our commitment to making this a success. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if project partners weren’t working in a collaborative nature.”

DPR took other measures to move the project forward, including providing a temporary generator that helped power the building while owner equipment was being moved in and commissioned. DPR SPW crews benefitted the project, self-performing nearly 15 percent of work put in place including all metal studs and framing, acoustical ceilings, door frames and hardware and various specialty components.

The design-build team devised a strong green solution for the MOB. From the optimization of the building envelope to the thermal wheels on air handling units, energy efficiency of systems was at the core of the plan. The project leveraged the powerful combination of solar panels, a battery storage system, diesel generator, and microgrid controller to enhance operational efficiencies in the facility.


  • DBIA National Design-Build Award (2020)
    Design-Build Institute of America

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