June 21, 2017
June 15, 2017
There was no time for holes in Sundt’s grading plan for the Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson. With the region’s rainy season sitting smack in the middle of the construction timeline, all gaps needed to be filled.
Tucson’s monsoon begins in late June or early July. On average, the region receives half its 12 inches of annual rainfall during the summer, with the peak occurring between mid-July and mid-August.
Much of the rain comes in short, intense bursts, causing localized flooding. That’s a bad scenario for a building project since any holes that exist on the site become filled with water, forcing crews to pump it out. Standing water can also saturate the site, resulting in potential problems with a building’s foundation or stability.
To avoid the issue, all grading work around the building on the animal care site was completed in June, a few weeks before the typical start of the monsoon. The grading was completed with the rainy season in mind to avoid lost time resulting from stormy weather. Having as few holes as possible on site reduces standing water and wasted time spent getting rid of it.
The center has been around since 1968. When it opened, the region’s population was around 300,000. The center was built to accommodate 300 dogs and 100 cats at a time. Staff now takes in about 400 animals a week and has around 800 on site at any time.
The county has since climbed to more than a million residents. Accompanying that growth has been a critical need for a larger center for stray and abandoned pets.
We are constructing two new buildings on the site and renovating the existing facility. A tent that was put on the property to house animals because the current building lacks room will be removed. The new buildings are scheduled to open in late December. Renovations on the present facility will start soon afterward.
June 14, 2017
Sundt Senior Marketing Proposal Specialist Allison Joseph earned her degree from Colorado State University’s Global Campus Program.
When Sundt employee-owner Allison Joseph earned her college degree earlier this month, she walked at the commencement ceremony without carrying the burden of student debt.
That’s because she used our company’s tuition reimbursement program to fulfill her long-standing goal of completing her education after years away from the classroom. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University’s Global Campus Program in Marketing and Organizational Leadership.
“Without Sundt’s tuition reimbursement program, pursuing my degree would have been impossible,” said Allison, a Senior Marketing Proposal Specialist in our Sacramento office. “When I went back to school I was a single mom with two pre-teen daughters. Any money that could be spent on college would go to saving for my girls’ education, not mine. Because of Sundt’s generosity, I could focus on my family, work and school, and I am finishing debt-free.”
Employee-owners must have worked for Sundt for at least one year (2,000 hours) prior to the start of classes to be eligible for the tuition reimbursement program. The company reimburses approved participants 100 percent of the cost of basic tuition for courses they pass at a state community college or university, plus books and incidental fees. The maximum reimbursement is $10,000 per fiscal year.
Allison began working for Sundt in 2012. After learning about the reimbursement program, she talked with her children and future husband about her going back to school. They were all in favor so she started researching programs and began taking classes in 2014.
“Not finishing college has always been a major regret of mine, but I was busy raising my girls and building my career, and it just wasn’t a priority,” Allison said.
For the past few years, Allison had to constantly juggle work, school and home life. She even studied and took a final exam while on her honeymoon.
“There hasn’t been a weekend or many evenings in the last three years that haven’t involved school work,” she said. “The nature of my job is that my workload varies greatly depending on when statements of qualification and proposals are due, so it has been a balancing act of getting my school work done ahead of time when I knew a crazy work week was coming. I would use my drive time home from the office to switch gears and think about what assignments I needed to work on that night.”
Education was never far from Allison’s mind; she says she chased the dream of a college degree for 20 years. She believes the shared experience will inspire her two daughters, ages 13 and 15.
“It was hard work, but the pride I have in this accomplishment and in what my daughters have learned through being on this journey with me is incredibly rewarding,” she said.
Allison Joseph is a Sundt Senior Marketing Proposal Specialist. This item is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects.
June 9, 2017
Construction work on the Golden West College Math and Science Building starts next month.
Ceremonial shovels have turned dirt and construction will soon begin on a 120,561-square-foot mathematics and science building at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California.
Sundt is serving as construction manager on the project, which is scheduled to begin in July. HMC is the architect and the facility is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification through the USGBC.
The three-story building will include lecture spaces, laboratory space, computer labs and support space for the Math, Biology, Life Science and Physical Science departments. There will be lab spaces for geology, biology, microbiology, zoology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, botany, marine life, physics, chemistry and organic chemistry. There will also be a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center for students.
“The new building represents Sundt’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the community college environment, specifically with STEM projects,” said Sundt Vice President and Regional Director John Messick. “More importantly, this is the third project we’ve collaborated on with the Coast Community College District.”
Other projects we have performed for the district are the Orange Coast College Interdisciplinary Complex and Golden West College Student Services Center.
June 8, 2017
Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our employee-owners who are licensed to fly drones for commercial purposes.
Sundt Virtual Construction Engineer Frank Garcia is one of our company’s first employee-owners to earn his commercial license for drone operations. Using drones at job sites enables us to provide better client value by more efficiently capturing project information.
Frank is putting his drone skills to use on a student housing project at Cal Poly Pomona this month.
How important are drones to the construction industry?
Drones are another tool we can use to solve challenges. While we are figuring out new uses for this technology all the time, every tool has its use. Drones, robotics and technology in general are changing the way we build and think about construction.
In what ways is Sundt using drones to provide client value?
The drones allow us to produce some of the same things we are doing now, just more efficiently. One example is the use of “photogrammetry,” where we take a variety of pictures with the drone from different angles and put them together to generate 3D models. So for a 3D site logistics plan, we can fly the drone and generate 3D models of the surrounding buildings, existing conditions, calculate the grade of the site, etc.
Why is it important for us to operate drones instead of having a vendor do it?
While flying drones is fun, we are flying them for a purpose. We are collecting data that allows us to produce a variety of deliverables. When we fly ourselves, we know what data is critical to capture in the development of our deliverables. There is nothing wrong with using a vendor to operate the drone. We just need to make sure the data we are receiving is viable for our intended use.
How hard are they to fly?
As with anything, there is a bit of a learning curve. Once you get over that it’s fairly easy, depending on the type of weather you are flying in. Some of the drones practically fly themselves. I recommend everyone give it a try; I find it to be really fun. The real challenge is in the preflight work. If you are flying for commercial use (not just for fun) you have to be aware of the airspace you are flying in and, in some cases, need to get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance. You need to be aware of the type of weather you are flying in as it can affect flight characteristics. Really, you are getting your ducks in a row to fly safely.
What was involved in becoming licensed to operate drones?
Studying! The main hurdle to get over in earning your drone license is passing the FAA written test. The test covers basic drone flight operations, loading and performance, laws and regulations, etc. What I found to be slightly challenging were the questions related to interpreting National Airspace System information (airspace maps), and weather and micrometeorology.
What do you need to do to remain licensed?
I need to pass an aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
Crews work on the Northwest Extension light-rail project in the Phoenix area.
Construction activity is a boon for cities and towns. A recent commitment by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) to add $1.25 billion in projects to its long-range regional transportation plan will be a significant economic driver in Greater Phoenix.
An article on KJZZ radio’s website cited economic modeling performed by a professor at George Mason University that determined every $1 billion spent on non-residential construction creates an economic impact of $3.4 billion.
According to the study, the latest MAG commitment should support about 28,500 direct and indirect jobs. Direct jobs include construction and administrative workers. Indirect jobs include work tied to equipment and materials as well as financial services.
MAG, a council of governments that serves as the regional planning and policy agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area, has $5.7 billion in transportation spending planned.
Greater Phoenix is one of many markets Sundt serves in the Southwest. Anyone interested in starting or continuing a career in construction should visit our careers page.