February 2024

DFW International Airport Projects Highlight Partnership

When the DFW International Airport began planning for a new Department of Public Safety Headquarters, finding a design-build partner who could coordinate with many project stakeholders was a top priority.

In pursuit of meeting that need, JE Dunn Construction partnered with PGAL – a leading design firm with a strong aviation resume – to respond to the airport’s RFQ and RFP. Together, JE Dunn and PGAL began framing a successful project execution, which included JE Dunn’s Value Proposition Canvas (VPC). The VPC method allows the project team to look at the project from the lens of the client and begin identifying the challenges and interests they might have. By doing this, JE Dunn ensures every project stakeholder is united under a common goal from the get-go.

“I think that really resonated with the client,” said Chris Paris, Vice President at JE Dunn. “More than just answering the questions they asked of us in the RFP process, we talked about how we would be collaborative and really use the VPC process to come up with the best overall project.”

JE Dunn and PGAL were selected as the design-build team, a delivery method DFW International Airport hadn’t used since construction of Terminal D which opened in 2005.

Since DFW Airport essentially exists as its own municipality, the number of stakeholders – including design code and construction, facilities management, fire, police, and security groups – exceeded anything JE Dunn had seen before in terms of the number of individuals invested in the project outcome.

The first day on the job, JE Dunn and PGAL got everyone together for a VPC workshop. The idea was to take the early work the team had already done and have DFW Airport bring all of their interests, questions, concerns, and priorities to the table.

“We had over 90 people in a room putting sticky notes on the walls telling us their pains and what they wanted to gain from the project,” Paris said.

JE Dunn and PGAL then prioritized input from the various stakeholders, ensuring the public safety headquarters met the group’s biggest needs and desires.  As the project moved from pre-construction to construction, the project team continually referenced the knowledge gathered during the VPC session to further enhance their daily coordination and collaboration efforts.

Throughout the project life our team was always stepping back to make sure we delivered on the things that everyone said were important coming out of that workshop,” Paris said.

In addition to the VPC session, the team hosted regular meetings with the end users from the Department of Public Safety. Throughout the design process, JE Dunn and PGAL met with this group to make sure we were aligning the design with how they’d actually interact with the building while still staying within the project budget. Our VDC team utilized virtual reality (VR) technology to create a VR tour of the building interiors. The innovative technology incorporated a VR headset allowing department heads the ability to walk through their spaces virtually.

The result? An inviting, efficient, high-security, two-story 130,000-square-foot public safety structure that supports multiple DPS department user groups – including police, fire, special services, FBI, and criminal investigation – while creating an inviting work environment.

State-of-the-art functional areas within the facility include training rooms, office space, locker rooms, a fitness facility, records storage, a crime scene lab, weapons storage, and a cafeteria. There is also an apparatus garage for SWAT and specialty vehicles.

A 6,500-square-foot secure detention area includes 12 holding rooms, separate male/female areas, juvenile holding, intake rooms, and two isolation cells. The detention facility meets all TCJS requirements and is served by a full-service dual-entrance secure Sally Port.

JE Dunn received multiple awards for its work on the project, including 2018 DFW Airport Contractor of the Year, 2019 DFW Airport Superintendent of the Year, and DFW Safety Milestone Achievement Award recognition for over 300,000 manhours with ZERO recordable incidents. Additionally, the project received both the 2020 National Award of Excellence and the 2020 National Award of Merit from the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA).

Since this project, JE Dunn has become a preferred design-build partner at DFW Airport, and Paris said this is due to the collaborative culture our team brought to the project starting with design through construction and turnover of the facility.

“We come with solutions and try to find the best one overall for the project and for the client,” he said.