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DPR Construction prescribes team approach to remedy health care challenges

Communication barriers, a tight schedule and budget, and highly complex technical designs are just a few of the challenges that general contractors face when building state-of-the-art health care facilities. When applied to a project the size and scale of the Palomar Medical Center, these challenges become exponentially more difficult. To tackle these difficult obstacles, DPR Construction implemented a high-performance team approach that requires the support of every individual on the project team to solve problems and make decisions to successfully complete projects.

“At any scale and on every project, construction requires an immense amount of coordination, planning and communication in order to achieve success because it involves so many different people from different companies, often with competing agendas,” said DPR San Diego Regional Manager Jay Leopold. “On larger projects such as the Palomar Medical Center West, where over 750 people are on site from 75 different companies, these challenges are daunting at best and require a tremendous commitment to leadership for the troops out on the front lines.”

With the high-performance team model, DPR project members work with the owners, architects and engineers, as well as subcontractors and government agencies such as the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), to find timely and nontraditional solutions to problems that could lead to delays and impact the budget. They do this by merging the diverse interests of the various parties into one clear common focus, creating in effect a virtual company -- one that shares a common mission, common core values, common interests and even a “board of directors” consisting of senior management from each of the primary stakeholder organizations.

“Today, there is a lot of talk in the industry about integrated project delivery, but what we do with the high-performance model is focus on creating an environment where there is transparent dialogue with no fear of conflict,” said Lou Bainbridge of Lou Bainbridge Consulting LLC, which specializes in building high-performing teams in the construction industry both nationally and internationally. “One of the results is there is a high level of trust in each other’s intentions and what typically goes unspoken on the jobsite gets said early on to drive improvement.”

Projects including the Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center at UCSD’s Thorton Hospital and Palomar Medical Center West, one of the state’s largest sites under construction in Escondido, currently use the high-performance team approach to formulate strategies about potential obstacles.

Despite challenges typical of most projects – that often set a project back months – the 130,000-square-foot Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center is currently ahead of schedule and under budget.

“By pooling everyone’s knowledge together similar to a board of director’s model, we’re able to solve potential problems that make good business sense,” Leopold said. “By establishing relationship-based trust amongst the team, the typical dysfunctions of false harmony or fear of conflict are replaced by candor and honesty. Ultimately, alignment, accountability and superior results take place not only in the trailers, but out in the field where it all happens.

“Across the board, budget, schedule, quality and safety are all positively impacted. And, in each instance, the project has been memorable for all involved.”

For more information about DPR, visit dpr.com or call 858-597-7070.

Submitted by DPR Construction

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