DPR Reduced Issues Cycle Times for Hospital Project
DPR Construction implemented Latista on the Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center for Thornton Hospital at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The project team on the $227-million expansion created an extensive punchlist procedure that included hands off to and from architects and other owner’s representatives. This collaboration allowed the project team to save time on data-entry tasks, create reports for subcontractors and project at the touch of a button, and see that they were staying on deadlines.
Collaboration with Latista’s solutions provides big results for the DPR-UCSD project teamThe project team working on the Sulpezio Family Cardiovascular Center—part of a $227-million addition to Thornton Hospital on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD)—developed the mission statement, “As a team, inspire,” to capture the integrity, openness, enjoyment, progression, and determination with which they would complete the project. As a collaboration and automation solution, Latista Field software was a key addition to the mission, uniting the project team in the punchlist process in the final stages of the project. Team members from the contractor, architect, engineers, third-party consultants, and subcontractors were all able to use the system to enter and communicate about construction deficiencies.DPR began construction on the Thornton Hospital expansion and Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center in 2007. When completed in December 2010, the facility will be LEED certified and will bring a state-of-the-art cardiovascular clinic, laboratory, and research facility to the UCSD campus. The project is one of six current major developments at the university, costing $568 million and creating more than 5,500 on-site construction jobs.
Since healthcare projects are so complex, DPR brought Thornton Hospital’s architects and engineers into Latista to work on the punchlist process. “Most of the time we walk with the consultants, but some of them are more tech-savvy and will do the walk themselves,” said DPR Project Engineer Kylor Schlaht. “All of the items get entered directly into the tablet.”
“We are using Latista on the design side,” said Danielle Simpson, an architect with RTKL Associates Inc. and a consultant and inspector on the Thornton Hospital project. “Our MEP and structural engineers are using it for punchlisting.” The Latista system allowed Simpson and other consultants to concentrate on identifying design issues from the field using tablet PCs the similar to the contractor’s system.
Latista also allowed the project’s consultants to create custom reports for themselves. “I come in as the architect, do my inspection, and enter my issues and comments. The issues go back to DPR, who either confirm or reject them. Then DPR sends them out to subcontractors,” said Simpson. Involving the architect in Latista directly puts the contractor into close communication with the owner, improving the turnaround time from identification to correction on punchlist issues. “We’re acting as the owner’s agent, so we do walk a lot with the owners and their representatives. Typically their issues will just become architect issues,” she said.
“It does save time in general, even if I’m not entering the issues directly, such as with some of the overhead areas where the tablet is inconvenient,” said Simpson. “The question is whose time it’s saving. If I were to do a traditional report and give it to DPR, it creates more work for them. Now that we’re more efficient using the system, there’s time savings across the board.”
Latista Field customized subcontractor reports so that each company on the hospital expansion project sees only the non-conforming issues related to them. The software also provided several options for DPR and the subcontractors to distribute and communicate about the reports, including an online “portal” that subcontractors could access to see their responsibilities. “Subcontractors have access to the portal and can log in to see the report and show it to their personnel,” said Schlaht. “The time that we’re saving to create PDFs for each individual subcontractor is huge!”
The subcontractor portal also allowed subcontractors to provide feedback about their responsibilities, including alerting DPR that corrections had been made and could be inspected. “Our larger subcontractors are working in the system,” said Brekke. “We’ve given them access so they can close out their items manually and let us know when to check their work. They’re logging in to the system themselves.” The project team also described how, in many cases, being able to provide feedback to the contractor made the subcontractor feel more involved.
Reports for All Stakeholders
When inspections were complete, reports were automatically generated in and distributed by Latista. Recipients got reports customized with information relevant to them. Delineating these groups allowed DPR to sort issues by the entering party easily; “For example, if the electrical engineers want to see only the issues they created, we can separate those out for them,” said Schlaht.
Third-party consultants realized benefits from Latista’s report creation features as well. As the owner’s representatives, the architects, engineers, and consultants used Latista to provide transparency to the subcontractor level. The software made it easier for Simpson to create architect reports, to record issues and keep track of the correction process. “When I’ve completed an area, I run a report of all the comments and issues I’ve entered. Since we’re not doing our typical punchlist, that’s our way of keeping a record,” said Simpson. “Other consultants do the same thing. I review those reports and do triage before sending everything to DPR.”
Project Executive Carlos Crabtree and his team also used high-level reports every week to track the construction’s progress and quality. “These reports tell us how many new items we have and how many we’re closing,” said Crabtree. “We can break it down per area, per floor. It lets us see what areas need attention, and we can project how corrections are going and whether we’ll be making our deadlines.”
Bringing It All Together
When all inspections and corrections are finished, Latista will contain a complete record of the punchlist process. “Eventually everything gets printed and ends up in the QA/QC binder that the university requires us to have for each subcontractor,” said Schlaht. DPR, the architects and engineers, and the subcontractors have all collaborated on the same system. This was very valuable to the parties involved, explained Schlaht: “Being able to work in a ‘live document’ situation where they can enter items as easily as I can, being able to get in and do things for themselves—sort, print, edit—that’s all very good for them.”
Effective collaboration is critical for project teams, and using Latista has simplified this process. Being able to get contractors, subcontractors, owners, and third-party consultants and inspectors into one system, where they can communicate and share information is important. “The industry is trending toward platforms like Latista for entire project teams to use,” said Simpson. “It’s a really efficient tool. Latista does reduce the issue turnaround time for the contractor and the amount of paper changing hands.”
Despite having a relatively limited implementation of Latista Field, Project Executive Crabtree was pleased with the results and looks forward to further opportunities with the Latista solution. “We implemented Latista while we were already under construction,” he said. “We probably used 10 percent of Latista’s capabilities. If we had started with Latista from the beginning, we would have been able to use a lot more of the features, but we focused on punchlist.”
“Giving contractors and owners more control and transparency over their jobsite is one of Latista’s foremost goals,” said Latista Vice President Chris Ramsey. “The Latista solution becomes stronger and more functional as we have more users on more jobsites. Getting feedback from contractors, subcontractors, owners, and architects allows us to improve our already robust software and its implementation.”