Southern California is a land of dreamers, with entrepreneurs changing the state of industry and architects envisioning a brighter landscape. With concrete, steel and know-how, contractors help both make their dreams a reality. Brea-based KPRS Inc. shares in this progress, lending its expertise in design build, construction and management to Los Angeles area clients.
Creating a new vision
In November 2014, Meta Housing Corporation teamed with the YMCA and the city of Glendale to begin development on the Glendale Arts Colony, a 70-unit multifamily affordable apartment complex with a very special vision. Designed by architectural firm Studio One Eleven, the project contains not just four stories of residential housing but community rooms, a sculpture garden, and professional art studio and gallery spaces.
“The idea is to attract young artists to the area, and to develop affordable housing for those artists,” explained Paul Buse, Senior Project Manager and Partner at KPRS. To handle the building and structural challenges of this project, Meta Housing Corporation and Studio One Eleven turned to the proven capabilities of KPRS.
“This is built on a small piece of property, so the perimeter of the building is very near the property lines of the site,” said Buse. “We are also building right adjacent to a YMCA that has parking issues of its own. So, dealing with construction access is probably the biggest challenge, and getting enough manpower to stay on schedule and getting vendors on board with that is challenging in and of itself.”
Working and finding access avenues within such close quarters requires finesse. KPRS was able to overcome these challenges on a tight timeline, keeping the Glendale Arts Colony on schedule to open September 2016.
Rebuilding within communities
KPRS also realizes new visions for existing landmarks, like its 92,000 square foot Lake Forest Gateway Shopping Center and 59,908 square foot San Clemente Phase I and II projects currently under construction. Both retail projects have entailed extensive renovations to modernize existing shopping centers for today’s consumers. KPRS has been involved with both projects from the design build phase forward, and have been instrumental in navigating each project’s unique challenges—from full depth reclamation to improve existing subgrade issues to tunnel barricades and precision planning for utility overhauls that don’t interfere with tenant operations.
“The number one priority whenever you’re renovating an existing, operating center is always safety—safety for the public, safety for the tenants, and safety for the construction personnel,” said Buse. “I think the challenge on many existing retail centers is that the utility infrastructure completely changes, which creates distinct challenges keeping the existing tenants operational.”
With this eye to safety and innovation, KPRS is able to stay on track with plans while satisfying building owners and working tenants alike.
“Getting us involved in the early design phase helps to facilitate the process and make important decisions early on—like what will we do with the existing tenants?” said Buse. “There are also a lot of unknowns that are uncovered through the process whenever you’re doing existing façade renovation. KPRS does a great job in helping the owner minimize cost by way of looking at different alternate methods of achieving the look that the architect was after.”
Working together to stay on task
With large construction projects for multiple tenants, especially remodeling projects where tenants are often doing business throughout the construction process, time is of the essence. KPRS understands this and takes every step possible to ensure that projects run smoothly and that everyone is on the same page.
“A lot of it is just partnering with the vendors we have gathered and making sure they understand how important it is to stay on schedule,” said Buse. “Like anything else, the squeaky wheel gets the grease—if you stay in front of the vendors and impress on them how important it is to have a common goal of schedule, that tends to go a long way.”
Careful preparation also lays the groundwork for a more streamlined project, and is key to KPRS construction plans. “It is all about preplanning—getting information out there as early as possible as to when you need materials, when you need manpower, and when their time to arrive on site is going to be,” Buse adds. “Getting that in well ahead of time is what helps you stay on schedule.”
Respect for the client and the project
Whether it’s a remodel or a full build out from the foundation up, some parts of construction projects are bound to be similar. But from site logistics to client and tenant needs, every project also has components that make it unique. KPRS believes in finding that unique aspect of each assignment it takes on, and giving it the extra attention needed so that all parties involved can be proud to put their names on the finished product.
“For us it’s about service to the client and the project goals,” said Buse. “I’ve often found that if you look at the project as something of its own entity, and give that project what it needs to be successful, generally all parties that are a part of the project become successful as a result. If you can get vendors and the consultants and the owner on board with that as a team, it tends to work to the project’s benefit.”
After all, just as a rising tide lifts all ships, a successful construction project is a win for everyone who made it happen along the way. Through its hard work and innovative ideas, KPRS strives to achieve that kind of win every time. “Then the owner is successful, our vendors are successful, the consultants are successful,” said Buse. “And ultimately KPRS is successful as well.”