DesCor Builders Makes Worker Safety #1 Priority and Achieves SHARP Status
CAL/OSHA Success Story
DesCor Builders is a licensed general contractor based in Rancho Cordova, CA, providing full-service preconstruction, general contracting, and construction management services to private and public entities throughout Northern California. In early 2019, DesCor began their partnership with Cal/OSHA Consultation Services, which offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high hazard worksites. Partnering with Cal/OSHA On-Site Consultation Services helped DesCor to refine and elevate their existing safety and health program and to align their safety culture with that of their subcontractors.
In the beginning, the process was challenging. DesCor had to gain the trust of their subcontractors by demonstrating that the program was there to provide assistance. During the initial visit, Cal/OSHA On-Site consultants identified various hazards that needed correcting. As a result, the company updated required safety and health programs and corrected all items consultants identified during their site walk-through. The company also provided Fall Protection Training, Silica Training and Excavation Training, and started a Regional Safety Manager meeting with all subcontractors. Today, all subcontractors participate in safety meetings; proactively help identify, mitigate, and prevent hazards; and are committed to creating the safest workplace environment possible.
DesCor’s improved workforce safety culture has decreased rates of serious injury. The company’s three-year Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate average for 2016 through 2018 was 0.62, compared to the national average of 2.0. Similarly, DesCor’s three-year total recordable case rate (TRC) average was 1.87, compared to the national average of 3.3. In addition, DesCor’s workers’ compensation Experience Modification Rate (EMR) for 2018 was 73%, which is 27% below the industry average. This directly decreased DesCor’s workers’ compensation premiums.
As a result of their engagement with Cal/OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Services, DesCor developed and implemented their own internal recognition program, the “Golden Hammer Safety Excellence” program, which recognizes workers for consistent safety excellence during their work performance.
Partnering with Cal/OSHA On-Site Consultation Services helped DesCor to refine and elevate their safety and health program and align their safety culture with that of their subcontractors. In recognition of their achievement, DesCor earned Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status on June 19, 2019. SHARP acknowledges small and medium-sized businesses that have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary workplace safety and health programs. Small businesses that achieve SHARP status receive an exemption from OSHA or the State Plan programmed inspections for the period that the SHARP designation is valid. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP is an achievement that identifies the employer as a model for occupational safety and health among its business peers.
We’re introducing you to our Best Real Estate Projects of the Year. This is the top bar/restaurant project.
When Kyle Nelms walked into the dark, windowless and empty basement, it immediately reminded him of something.
“It kind of looked like a scene out of ‘Saw,’” he said. “It was pretty bleak.”
Or, to think of it another way, it was a blank canvas, said Nelms, a project engineer with DesCor Builders who was charged with helping transform the space into a lively bar, restaurant and miniature golf course dubbed Flatstick Pub, based on a concept from Seattle.
Brandon Robinson and his wife Jennifer co-own the two-story, 14,000-square-foot space at 630 K St., located just steps away from Golden 1 Center. The couple invested about $3 million to develop the former craft brewery tasting room into Flatstick Pub, complete with a private speakeasy hidden behind a trophy case.
Brendan Koon, principal at Vitae Architecture, said that on one hand the high-profile site is great, as it’s surrounded by lots of retail and foot traffic, but that also made it difficult to get workers and machinery into the building.
From the K Street entrance, guests step into a landing, where behind a two-way mirror that doubles as a trophy case is the 2,000-square-foot speakeasy dubbed The Trophy Club.
Koon collaborated on the speakeasy’s design with the Robinsons, who wanted a “1920s golf resort meets Hollywood” theme, he said.
“The décor feels like it’s a century old,” Koon said. “There’s a certain grandeur combined with glamour.”
Design touches include vintage wall coverings in emerald green, white and beige, along with custom club chairs and high-end brass and leather finishes. There are also big photographs adorning the walls of celebrities playing golf, including Katherine Hepburn and Chevy Chase.
“It’s like stepping back in time,” Koon said. “We just had fun with it.”
While plenty of time and effort went into the upstairs, the bulk of work was focused on the 12,000-square-foot basement. “You don’t really know what you’re going to get until you start uncovering walls and floors,” Koon said.
What they discovered was a giant slab of concrete with multiple levels of rebar, including some sections that were 7 feet thick. Nelms with DesCor said they spent about two months using heavy machinery to cut 400 linear feet of plumbing trenches.
“The underground plumbing called for a lot of coordination with Brendan and the structural engineer,” Nelms said. “No one had really done it before, and there was not a lot space to bring equipment down into the basement. It was tough.”
While the upstairs feels vintage and classic, the downstairs is modern, urban and industrial. There’s a big, 42-tap bar made with a structural steel countertop and reclaimed wood, over which hangs a custom drop ceiling cloud, which helps absorb sound. Dozens of lounge areas with tables and chairs surround the nine-hole miniature golf course. The big, open space also has a small kitchen that serves pub fare, lots of TVs, work from local artists and duffleboard, a bar game combining shuffleboard and golf.
“This project was a real collaboration between the architect, contractor and owners,” Koon said. “We put our heads together and figured out how to get over some hurdles. It’s a very cool project and a fun, creative space, but the big success happened behind the scenes.”
Work on Flatstick Pub started in April 2019 and wrapped up in October, about five months before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Co-owner Brandon Robinson said they’ve been closed since March 16.
“We plan on reopening as soon as we can have bar games and food inside,” he said.
Flatstick received a $25,000 no-interest loan in April from the city of Sacramento’s economic relief fund to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Robinson said Flatstick also received a $350,000 loan under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Still, the company had to lay off its approximately 40 employees.
“We will be back,” Robinson said. “My main priority is bringing my employees back to work.”
Flatstick Pub Details: A two-story,14,000-square-foot bar and restaurant with a private speakeasy and nine-hole miniature golf course. Cost: $3 million Completed: Q4 2019 Developer: Brandon and Jennifer Robinson General contractor: DesCor Builders Architect: Vitae Architecture
We’re introducing you to our Best Real Estate Projects of the Year. This is the top innovative design project.
Typically squat, bland and utilitarian, self-storage places generally aren’t considered innovative or visually appealing. But someone forgot to tell that to the team behind Broadway Storage. Situated at X and 3rd streets in Downtown Sacramento, the four-story project is a modern-looking structure with 1,243 units (the fourth floor is climate controlled), nearly 4,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and even a two-bedroom manager’s apartment on the second floor.
The Grupe Co. developed the $21 million Broadway Storage. In addition to self-storage projects, Stockton-based Grupe also develops master-planned communities, single-family homes, multifamily and commercial/retail projects.
Company President Mark Fischer said Grupe purchased the land near Broadway in 2005 to build a storage facility and for-sale condos, but then the Great Recession hit.
“We sat on the property until 2018,” said Fischer. “It was a long time coming. We definitely saw a need for storage in that area.”
While not as sexy as new retail or restaurant development, self-storage projects are growing increasingly popular in Sacramento, as the area’s population continues to climb.The region had the fifth-highest rate of growth in new units in the country, according to a November 2019 report on the self-storage market by research firm Yardi Matrix.
Working with DesCor Builders and Vrilakas Groen Architects, Grupe broke ground in May 2018.
“We’ve done many storage-unit projects, but nothing quite like this,” Fischer said. “We put a lot of thought into the design and were really mindful of its impact on the community. We didn’t want to it to look like a ratty, old-timey storage facility.”
Denton Perreault, project manager with DesCor Builders, said they faced logistical challenges during construction. “It was a very tight project site, with city streets on two sides,” he said.
Perreault said DesCor made some street improvements along one corner of the project parcel, which was under the California Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction because it was so close to the freeway and an offramp.
“It required a lot of coordination and collaboration with the city, the public works department and Caltrans,” he said. “We had to get a lot of approvals.”
The shape and placement of the storage facility also proved to be tricky, said Perreault.
“The building has a very elaborate geometry,” he said. “There isn’t a single right angle. It was designed to maximize the space available on that lot, which was challenging from the perspective of installing foundations and structural steel.”
Moreover, Fischer said that just before they were about to start construction, President Donald Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs, which caused prices to increase. “When we started playing footsies with the Chinese, our project cost increased by about $1 million,” he said.
As Broadway Storage began to take shape, Perreault with Descor said they got lots of questions from visitors. “As we were building the project, there was a ton of visibility along the freeway. As we would get deliveries, they would ask us what the building was going to be. Just from the architecture and shape, people assumed it was going to be an office space.”
The project wrapped up in late 2019. Its crowning piece is a big red neon sign on the roof that spells out “Broadway” in 10-foot-high letters.
“It’s a permanent landmark,” said Fischer. “What made the entire project a success was the collaborative process with the developer and architect. We created a really unique building in a one-of-a-kind area.”
Fischer said the project is one more step forward in helping reinvigorate and brand the Broadway area, which is home to the historic, art deco Tower Theatre, and where the flagship location of the now-defunct Tower Records once stood. But when the state built the elevated W/X freeway some 50 years ago, it separated Broadway from Downtown, which caused the area to slowly decline.
The city is looking to improve the area with its Broadway Complete Streets project, including plans for new bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings, which is intended to help spur new development.
Grupe continues to participate in that effort. The company plans to build a 74-unit, five-story apartment building on a parcel adjacent to Broadway Storage. Fischer said they hope to break ground by the end of the year.
Broadway Storage Details: A four-story self-storage development with 1,243 units, nearly 4,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and a two-bedroom apartment. Cost: $21 million Completed: Q4 2019 Developer: The Grupe Co. General contractor: DesCor Builders Architect: Vrilakas Groen Architects
Flatstick Pub touts more than golf and beer downtown
Days ahead of Flatstick Pub’s grand opening in downtown Sacramento, co-owner Brandon Robinson said he’s excited to show it off.
The 14,000-square-foot space on two levels in the basement of 630 K St. might be best known as a combination miniature golf course and beer bar. But Robinson, who owns the site with his wife, Sacramento native Jennifer Robinson, said he’s pushing back on those who dismiss it as “Fratstick Pub,” a gathering spot for bro types.
“It’s not a sports bar,” he said, though there are plenty of high-definition TVs showing sports. “If you don’t like the beer, come for the art. If you don’t like the art, come for the golf. If you don’t like the golf, come for the food. It’s all about having a lot of options.”
In what was the tasting room for craft brewery Ruhstaller before the latter moved to nearby 726 K St., Flatstick Pub was a $3 million investment. The business is scheduled to open Sunday.
From three holes spelling out the letters “SAC” in the nine-hole mini-golf course to 42 taps featuring breweries from within 100 miles, Brandon Robinson said, there is a strong emphasis on the local. In that same vein, the pub’s food service, #taco, uses farm-to-fork ingredients, while party and event rooms as well as a golf course sculpture of the Tower Bridge feature local artists such as Maren Conrad and Gina Rossi.
Mini golf won’t be the only diversion at Flatstick, which is based on a concept from Seattle. An idea conceived there will have what Robinson said is its only presence in Northern California: duffleboard, a bar game combining shuffleboard and golf, with nine different “holes.”
Another area of Flatstick will feature other golf-based pub games, while event rooms line the walls.
Flatstick will also offer something a bit more upscale, though at a price.
From the K Street entrance, it’s easy to miss at first. But behind a trophy case, the Trophy Club is a speakeasy with craft cocktails by experienced bartenders and custom furniture and interior design by Sacramento architect Brendan Koon of Vitae Architecture.
Annual fees for the Trophy Club will be $400, Robinson said, though that comes with perks such as unlimited golf and games at Flatstick. “We wanted a place that was vibrant and fun,” he said, adding membership will be capped, and a handful of Sacramento Kings players and coaches are signed up, among others.
Flatstick Pub’s Sacramento location is the first in California, Robinson said, but it won’t be the last. He’s hoping to eventually have other locations in the Bay Area and elsewhere.
Taking care of people means making them feel comfortable and valued.
Sacramento Business Journal, October 11, 2019 A+ Employers Award / Best Places to Work Medium Company Winner 2019: DesCor Builders
The co-founders of DesCor Builders have done more than grow their business by the numbers.
Brad Des Jardin and Neal Cordeiro say they have created a family.
In 2005, the Rancho Cordova-based company began with four employees, now it has 74.
“We have a philosophy, if you do the right things and take care of people, the money will come,” Des Jardin said.
And it has.
Revenues are trending at about $150 million this year, up from $113 million in 2018, he said.
Taking care of people means making them feel comfortable and valued.
“For a person who has been here less than four years to be able to have the opportunity to have a seat at that table and have a voice that is heard is so foreign to me, but that’s DesCor in a nutshell. They empower people.”
– Sean Sargenti, project superintendent
Des Jardin and Cordeiro don’t have corner offices. Instead, they work at desks in an open office space so team members can come to them anytime for advice or to share ideas.
Employees also participate in planning sessions, including ones that will determine the company’s 2030 goals.
“For a person who has been here less than four years to be able to have the opportunity to have a seat at that table and have a voice that is heard is so foreign to me, but that’s DesCor in a nutshell,” said Sean Sargenti, a project superintendent. “They empower people.”
Des Jardin and Cordeiro also make sure they know their people.
“I got a call last week from Neal just to check in,” said Lee Freeman, a project superintendent. Cordeiro wasn’t asking about a project. He was calling to see how Lee’s son Chase was doing. Did the Whitney High School senior like working for DesCor with his dad during the summer? Does he still plan to attend Sac State?
“They always remember your wife’s name, your kid’s name. It’s about you, so that makes you feel like you’re a big family,” Freeman said.
Spouses and children come to barbecues and celebrations; spouses attend the annual fundraisers for Sierra Forever Families.
To work for DesCor, people have to fit into the family-first culture. Often hires come through word-of-mouth recruiting.
For instance, when Des Jardin spotted Joe Giger skiing with DesCor employees, he interviewed him on the chairlift as they rode to the top of the mountain. Giger had a second interview and signed on.
A project manager, Giger appreciates the company’s work-life balance philosophy.
“We are all home at 5 p.m. to spend time with our family. That’s important because a lot of our competitors are conducting business in the Bay Area,” Giger said. “They aren’t home until 7 p.m.”
Before joining DesCor, Sargenti and his wife wanted to have a second child, but he worked out of town all week and sometimes on Saturdays, so that wasn’t practical.
“I can safely say that the focus that DesCor puts on work-life balance and family first is the whole reason I have a 10-month-old,” Sargenti said of his second child.
Seeing all the children at a company picnic makes Des Jardin proud.
“It’s like a sign of prosperity when people feel good enough that they are buying homes and having kids,” he said. “We feel like the DesCor family has just expanded, and we love that.”
Bonnie Stewart | Correspondent | Sacramento Business Journal October 14, 2019
Sutter Health’s SeniorCare Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) has operated in Sacramento County in some fashion for roughly 27 years. It opened a small center in 1992 on Franklin Boulevard, and in 1995, a second outpost on U Street, said Karli Holkko, interim administrative director of Sutter’s PACE. But as the centers became a prominent model for elderly care, they couldn’t accommodate the growing number of seniors who wanted to use the space.
“Those buildings were really well loved, and while we were growing the program, we eventually reached capacity,” Holkko said. That’s when Sutter made the decision to invest in building a new center — a one-stop shop for all of its participants’ health care and personal needs — at another location. After completing the new center in July 2018, Sutter has since closed its previous locations and now operates solely out of its River District facility, “which is more spacious than the previous two centers combined,” Holkko added.
The idea for bringing the two facilities under one roof stemmed from Sutter’s need to “update materially, but also to improve the workflow,” said Stephanie Swain, director of interior design at Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, which worked on the project. Identifying a location that would be transit-friendly, cost-effective and able to streamline patient and administrative services were at the forefront of Sutter’s considerations.
Early on in the planning process, Swain said that her firm conducted a validation study to potentially build a ground-up facility, “but I don’t think it penciled out with the whole budget,” she said. Because of the community Sutter serves in its PACE program, “the location had to be perfect,” she added. “And that’s how they arrived at Richards Boulevard, a location that’s at the height of redevelopment.”
Formerly office space built in the 1970s, the property consisted of four gutted, single-story concrete buildings, Swain said. The development team renovated and updated three buildings on the property, all connected by a breezeway structure, as well as exterior courtyards that brought in a lot of natural light into the space, Swain said.
Now, the three-building, 45,000-square-foot complex houses all of the program’s offerings. That includes clinic space, the Adult Day Health Care (ADHD) — “where we feed them, entertain them and educate them” — along with a separate building for administrative staff, said Dana LeSher, senior project manager at Sutter Health. The center also includes private therapy rooms, an expanded library, a full-service kitchen and on-site laundry facilities.
“The breezeways that existed in the common areas between the three buildings were cleared up and we added wood privacy screens and gates to compartmentalize the areas for physical therapy,” said Andy Laughton, project manager at DesCor Builders. He added that workers also installed steps and walking areas with AstroTurf and handrails so that participants can go outside and navigate different terrain, or take advantage of other outdoor areas for activities like tai chi and yoga. “Before, it was just dated pavers and concrete planters that had been neglected, and we turned it into a pedestrian egress area and path of travel that they could actually use.”
While multiple parties were involved in the planning and redevelopment process, Sutter used a method of construction called the Last Planner System. The scheduling and management style aims to streamline communication. For example, the project’s foreman was brought into meetings to help make decisions that the team would review and ratify, LeSher said.
“It’s an integrated method with our contractors meeting once a week, breaking areas into five groups to expedite construction,” Laughton added. “We also worked closely with Sutter’s equipment vendors throughout the move-in and were very involved in project conception, which included design build all the way through to finish and equipment.”
LeSher added this was the first time that Sutter used the planning and management style for a medium-sized project, which helped the team finish the new center on deadline.
In selecting materials for interior spaces, Sutter did so with its participants in mind, said Swain. “We were trying to make sure that the participants would feel like the space is an extension of their homes,” she said. Using the nearby river as inspiration, designers used softer hues and textures that mimicked the water and natural stone.
As the designers and contractors all worked together, they also consulted with the program participants to help select artwork for the facility. “They actually had some major input as to what they wanted,” LeSher said. “You tend to see a lot of photos and artwork from their era.”
Sutter’s PACE program currently serves all of Sacramento County and has added 80 new participants since opening its doors last December, said Holkko, who added that Sutter’s vision is to further grow the program, including a joint venture with WelbeHealth, which manages medical and social services for seniors and recently opened a center in Stockton.
“Because of what they offer here, and all of the services are under one roof … this concept is really taking off,” Swain added. “They’ve done such a phenomenal job at getting this past just the basics and extending the livelihood of these patients,” Swain said. “We need more of this.”
Size: 45,000 square feet Cost: $11.2 million Completed: July 2018 Developer: Sutter Health General Contractor: DesCor Builders Architect: Dreyfuss + Blackford
DesCor Builders has just accomplished the
extraordinary by earning the SHARP Award from Cal-OSHA. The SHARP (Safety and
Health Achievement Recognition Program) Award honors
high-hazard employers for their excellence in safety practices. Currently, DesCor
is the only general contractor in Northern California approved and listed as a SHARP
participant. DesCor’s recognized project is The Pique, a 327-unit apartment
complex under construction in Folsom.
Founded in 2005, DesCor provides
full-service preconstruction, general contracting, and construction management
services throughout Northern California. This licensed general contractor provides
sophisticated services at a competitive cost, and has a robust culture of
safety. Backed by this philosophy, Robert Harding, regional safety director, initiated
pursuit of the SHARP Award in April 2018.
“We are committed to people first, so we make safety our number-one priority and receiving the SHARP Award exemplifies that commitment.”
– Brad Des Jardin, president & ceo
general contractors won’t pursue the SHARP Award because it takes a
considerable amount of effort and coordination,” notes Harding. “All of our subcontractors have to commit to this, and agree
to in-depth analysis by Cal-OSHA. I work with all our subs to assess their
entire safety programs and help them become compliant. For those without safety
director, we take that role for them, helping them elevate their safety culture
DesCor delivers its building strategy on a
foundation of safety. “Safety is our established policy before we break ground
on any project,” says Jeff Deming, senior superintendent. “Large corporate
clients have had third-party consultants and safety management companies review
our program, and we always meet or exceed their requirements. Pursuing the SHARP
Award is putting our program to the test in the field.”
With the commitment of time, effort, and strong
partnerships with subcontractors required to earn the SHARP Award, it’s clear
that DesCor takes a true team approach and that safety is always a primary
concern. “We really do care about people – our team, those working on our
projects, and our clients,” concludes Neal Cordeiro, vice president and CFO.
Link to article: Award-Winning Safety Culture Jennifer von Geldern, Freelance Writer | Comstock’s Magazine Charles Vincent McDonald, Freelance Photographer | Comstock’s Magazine Comstock’s Magazine: August 2019
Construction picking up at 156-unit Stonebrier Apartments
STOCKTON — Crews have started work on a new apartment complex near the corner of Bianchi Road and West Lane in Stockton.
The three-story complex of 156 one- and two-bedroom apartments is the 13th project in the portfolio of the Patmon Company, a family-owned construction and property management business since 1965 in Stockton. Patmon Co. and Grupe Commercial have joined forces to build the project, called Stonebrier Apartments, and have contracted architects Mark Lee of Lee-Jagoe Architecture in Stockton and landscape architect Jeffrey Gamboni of Stockton. Construction will be performed by DesCor Builders of Rancho Cordova and the complex is scheduled to be completed next year.
Stonebrier is directly south of office and retail space built by Patmon Co. that includes The Kitchen Restaurant and soon will be home to the company’s corporate offices. Residents of Stonebrier will have valet service to receive packages and dry cleaning, as well as private garages and covered parking. The project will cost approximately $36 million and monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit will be about $1,400. Patmon Co. builds, owns and manages its apartments.
“I haven’t sold a building in 40 years,” said Charles “Pat” Patmon III, president of Patmon Co. “We have the largest portfolio of apartments under ownership in Stockton,” with 1,867 total units.”
Stonebrier is preceded by Ashley Park on Pershing Avenue, Sorrento on Rosemarie Lane, Abbey Pointe on Tyrol Lane, and Torcello at Bianchi Road and West Lane. Patmon Co. also has built and owns Iron Horse and Country Club Village on Country Club Boulevard, Parkside on Blue Ridge Circle, Schooner Landing on Shoreline Drive, Harbor Isle on Mariners Drive, Quailwood on Grouse Run Drive, Westpointe on West Lane and Bridle Path Place on Bridle Path Way.
Construction all but stopped during the recession. During that time, Patmon pulled equity from existing properties and refinanced them. Now, the company is building again.
“It’s a good thing,” Patmon said. “I think it’s because people are working. People have jobs.”
Construction activity has increased, and so have costs. In 2003, Patmon built Torcello for $25 million or $83,000 per apartment. The cost per unit at Stonebrier will be $232,000, a 277 percent increase from Torcello.
In the works for Patmon Co. are another $200 million in projects in Stockton, including developments at Eight Mile and Thornton roads and Trinity Parkway