Precast Hollowcore Planks

Check out this video shot by our Vice President. The drone camera shows the installation of precast hollowcore planks.  These planks help accelerate the schedule then the traditional wood joist with plywood decking.

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PDC Summit

Author: Dave Zins, CHC

The International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC Summit) is taking place this week in San Antonio, Texas. Many sessions are focused on the future of health care.   This has been a very educational and eye opening conference on what is in store for Health Care and Health Care Facilities.

Collaboration in the health care industry is crucial to preparing hospitals for the challenges of the future.   Integrated teamwork among health care planning, design and construction professionals will help shape safe and healing health care environments that will meet the evolving needs of health care. 

D.A.G. Construction currently has 2 of the 4 holders of a Certified Healthcare Constructor  (CHC) in the Cincinnati/Dayton area.   There are currently only 17 CHC’s in the State of Ohio. 

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Healthcare Facilities: Urbanite to Suburbanite?

Author: Steven Kowalski


While the healthcare debate continues in Washington, there seems to be a booming field of healthcare construction everywhere else in the nation. In the past few years, many large healthcare providers have been moving to the suburbs- branching outside of their usual large metropolitan areas.  The theory behind the move seems to be a smart economic strategy: locate to a convenient place where your customers reside. Many people live and work in the suburbs so why have a worried parent of a sick child travel thirty or forty minutes downtown to the nearest children’s hospital? As a suburbanite, I am more likely to appreciate a hometown healthcare facility and I’m thankful for world renowned expert doctors to be in my backyard as well as the metropolitan area.


Marketing and competition amongst healthcare companies are the driving forces in this movement. If a major hospital moves to a new neighborhood, you can guarantee another will follow. The “suburbia healthcare marketplace” is growing at a fast pace. The facilities are being built to impress patients and many new doctors are eager to start their practices in these areas.


So what’s it in for the healthcare industry? The U.S. healthcare system is driven primarily by the reimbursement rules and rates of the largest single payer of healthcare services: the government (Medicare and Medicaid [CMS]). While most healthcare providers strive to meet the majority of the public’s healthcare needs within their areas of practice, it’s in their best interest to provide services that have the highest reimbursement rates and return the greatest profit. Changes or additions to the physical spaces are often requiring housing the changes in healthcare services in response to the reimbursement rates and ruling changes by CMS.


Some of the changes to the design of the facilities are largely related to technology, however here are a few things that will always be considered during the design and construction process:

  • The design/layout of the rooms
  • The comfort of the environment for staff and patients
  • The ability of the infrastructure to support the use of technology


D.A.G. has taken an innovative role on helping many of our healthcare clients have a more efficient healthcare structure.  We understand their bottom line.

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7 Step Risk Assesment Approach

Author: Dave Zins, CHC


I use risk assessment for joint commission compliance in most of my projects, however, these steps can be used in any construction project to manage the risk better, whether we are the Construction Manager at Risk, General Contractor or Design Builder.


Step 1:  What is the issue?- Identify what the issue is.  Keep it simple and don’t combine issues.   Frame the question into a Yes/No answer.


Step 2:  Develop arguments that support the issue- Compile a list of reasons that support the issue.  Consider things that may impact not only workers, but the surrounding public.


Step 3:  Develop arguments that oppose the issue- This could be perceived concerns or situations that pose a risk and will impact a situation negatively.


Step 4:  Evaluate both arguments- The evaluation should be impartial and take all concerns of the parties that will be effected by your decision.


Step 5:  Reach your conclusion- You will need to decide to accept the risk, avoid the risk, or mitigate the risk.    It should then be submitted to your safety department to get their buy in.


Step 6:  Document- Written documentation and buy in shows that all parties are in agreement with the decision.


Step 7:  Monitor and reevaluate your decision-   As the project or issue moves forward it is imperative that constant evaluation of your decision to ensure that it is the best decision for mitigating issue.   Change procedure as/if required and document said changes.

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Sensitivities in Healthcare construction including the Joint Commission Reviews

Author: Jeff Warndorf, CHC


The most important consideration in healthcare construction, and what places it apart from all other types of construction, is patient safety. The Joint Commission reviews many aspects of healthcare facilities, including construction, for patient safety compliance and accreditation. There are many reasons for healthcare facilities to achieve and sustain their accreditation including reimbursement from Medicare. To achieve the Commission’s accreditation related to construction, the design team must incorporate the commission’s many ‘national standards of care’ into the contract documents and the construction manager must understand these standards and ensure all contractors are building to these requirements. As such, healthcare facilities are sensitive in selecting design teams and construction managers, in part, to mitigate risks in effort to ensure the success of their Joint Commission’s accreditation.


In many cases, certifications are not required for individuals managing healthcare construction and renovation projects. However, they do have favorable results for healthcare facilities. A construction Project Manager whom has obtained their Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) Certificate signifies that they are among the best in managing all aspects of healthcare construction, including the Joint Commission standards. Currently, in the state of Ohio, there are only 18 individuals whom hold this prestigious certification. Two of which are D.A.G. Construction employee’s, Mr. Dave Zins and myself.


To be eligible for the CHC certification, an individual must have at least five years of experience in healthcare construction. Once qualified, they are educated and tested on various broad levels of construction within the healthcare environment. Once certified, the CHC program requires renewal through continued education, personal and professional growth in healthcare construction and continued testing.


Here at D.A.G. Construction, our goal is to understand healthcare and patient safety and confidently build with the patient’s health on the forefront. After all, it could be our loved one receiving treatment in the very room we constructed or right next to our ongoing renovation project. The bottom line is that every patient deserves the best care and the right contractor.

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Classrooms, Technology driven design and construction.

Author: Jeff Larkin


In the 21st Century, classrooms are getting more technology than ever before. It is apparent that technology is our present and our future.  It is the job of educational facilities to train students to utilize the latest technologies to thrive and lay the groundwork needed to be successful in their professional careers.


D.A.G. Construction plays a small role in building facilities to include integrated technology.  Some of the technologies we incorporate in our educational projects include classroom sound enhancement, interactive white boards, two way paging and intercom systems, computer labs, digitorium (digital auditorium), television/media studios and control rooms, and CAVE (a computer-assisted virtual environment).


As the Construction Manager on Cincinnati Public Schools, we have helped educators connect one on one with students and promote a positive learning environment.  The use of infrared wireless microphones help transmit the educator’s voice through classroom speakers evenly distributing the sound.  Interactive White Boards are being used with our higher education and university clients and our k-12 clients.  The boards offer better quality and allow for easier execution of the lesson plan.  Other interesting feature our team is involved in is the Media Distribution Systems.  These systems provide access for distance learning, virtual classrooms, and off campus presentations.

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Multi-Use Rooms- Adaptable and Affordable

Author: W. Randal Newton, LEED AP


K-8 schools have the need for an auditorium for school assemblies, plays, and choral and band performances but do not have a space dedicating to being used strictly for an auditorium. There are a few creative options to achieve this:


Option 1: Incorporate a stage into the space used for the student dining. Generally the flooring in student dining is durable and will stand up to the punishment of folding chairs without damage to the flooring.


Option 2: Design the stage so that it is between the gymnasium and the student dining so it can be accessed from either space. The gym is generally a larger space and can be used if additional seating capacity is required. A folding partition can be used to separate the two spaces and double as a backdrop for the stage.


Option 3: If the gymnasium is adjacent to student dining, it can be used for overflow seating providing the design is such that the stage can be viewed from both spaces. A folding partition can utilized to separate the two spaces.


Option 4: Create a multi-use space that can be used for student dining, gymnasium, and auditorium. This is the most economical and provides the most flexibility.


D.A.G. has built over 70 schools.  It is important for us to understand multi use rooms can be cost effective without jeopardizing what the school needs to offer to develop young minds and keep them engaged while spending time in the same space.  Using Option 4 creates a different learning environment for the students and utilizes moveable furniture (furniture on casters, light weight furniture, etc.)  The goal is to create a different look in the same space to keep the students engaged while learning or interacting with each other.

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Home Improvements

Now that the warmer weather has arrived, all of you fix-it-uppers are eager to tackle those home projects that were put on hold during the cold, winter months. Unfortunately, safety is often put on the back burner when it comes to tooling around the house.

If you hurt yourself, you’re not alone. The National Safety Council estimates that thousands of people are injured each year performing home improvement projects. In fact, more people are injured at home than on the job. 


Since you don’t have your supervisor or co-workers watching at home, watch out for your own well-being. Set a good example for the rest of your family, particularly your children. Take a moment to plan out the steps involved in the project and make sure you will be following safe procedures. Think about the safety rules at work and apply them at home.


As you plan the job, make sure you have the correct tools to accomplish the project safely. If you don’t have the right size saw, for instance, borrow the correct one from someone or buy one. Don’t substitute what you already have for the proper tool. Always unplug power tools when you aren’t using them Store all tools in cabinets or wall racks where they are accessible but safely out of children’s reach.


Never use makeshift climbing devices, such as boxes or tables, instead of ladders. Obtain a ladder of proper length to reach high areas. Follow all safety precautions, such as placing the ladder on solid footing and only climbing as high as the third step from the top.

Poor housekeeping can also contribute to falls. Keep clutter to a minimum by moving unused buckets, wet rags, paint brushes and other items safely from the work area. Wipe up spills immediately.


Use safety glasses and safety shoes while working on home improvement projects. You may also need to use work gloves as well. Many companies allow employees to take their protective equipment home with them for off-the-job use. Some companies will even provide discounts for employees to purchase additional equipment for home use. As at work, avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry.


If the job seems particularly demanding or hazardous, you may want to consider getting professional help. Do not continue a job that is beyond your abilities or your safe working limits. Not only will you save yourself some headaches, you may keep yourself from getting injured.

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The importance of being certified by the EPA as a LEAD based renovation company

Beginning in April, 2010, renovation, repair and painting contractors were required to be certified and use lead safe work practices when working on homes or any child-occupied facility built before 1978.  In an effort to maintain as a leader in the construction industry, D.A.G. sent its managers to be trained in the new lead rules in May, 2010.


Following the successful completion of training, D.A.G. applied for recognition as an EPA Certified as a Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting contractor.  As a General Contractor and Construction management firm we are dedicated to ensure that we have personnel on staff who are trained and can recognize any issue that may arise on a renovation project of older buildings and be aware if we have a sub-contractor who is not following the proper regulations.


As a result of this training our personnel with verify that:


  1. The job is set up safely
  2. That we minimize the creation of dangerous lead dust, and
  3. That we leave the work area clean and safe for occupants after completing the work.
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Holiday Decoration Safety Tips


A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:

  • A fresh tree is green.
  • Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
  • When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
  • The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
  • When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
  • Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair” to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.
  • Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

In homes with small children, take special care to:

  • Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
  • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.
  • Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could eat them!


  • Use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.   Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.
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