Eric Cylwik is the virtual construction engineer for Sundt’s Transportation projects. Before focusing exclusively on transportation, Eric worked on adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the office to the field for Sundt’s general contracting and concrete projects. He creates Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) models that highlight technology’s capability to enhance the way work is performed in the field for horizontal construction.
He has used parametric modeling to create construction-quality bridge, road and trench models that are part of survey surfaces, machine control, quantity take-offs, utility coordination, constructability reviews and visualizations. During his time at Sundt, Eric has helped the company procure more than $1 billion in alternative delivery method projects.
Eric graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in design studies with an emphasis in digital visualization. He is a certified professional in several vertical and horizontal BIM and VDC software packages.
How does Building Information Modeling help Sundt better serve its clients?
BIM helps Sundt support proper planning and coordination. As project complexity has increased, pen, paper and even 2D computer-aided design don’t allow a contractor to identify all risks and construct-ability issues on a project. Serving our clients means delivering a project that meets the identified needs and making the process painless. BIM enables Sundt and our subcontractors to do just that.
What’s a good recent example of BIM working to a client’s advantage?
On the San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio, Sundt was able to create a 3D model of the design with only 70 percent of construction documents. This meant prices were accurate and the team understood a complex, several-mile-long linear park with more than 100 block and concrete walls. Without being able to understand the final dimensions and locations of the design in 3D, Sundt would have been unable to provide a detailed breakdown of what material needed to be excavated in order to build the project. As a result, Sundt and the project’s owner were able to have a conversation to discuss scope and design implications while there was time for the design team to respond, optimizing the owner’s value, reducing risk and ensuring an accurate schedule.
How much training does it take to become well-versed in BIM’s many applications?
Becoming an expert in BIM software can take months. Most of the learning curve comes from details about construction that most project engineers don’t dive into. If one doesn’t have a solid understanding of something and how it looks in 3D it is impossible to create a 3D model. Sundt’s sweet spots are complex projects, so a virtual construction engineer at Sundt usually masters three or more software packages to properly model and support a project.
Where does Sundt stand in the industry in its use of modeling software?
Sundt began using BIM software in early 2007 and hasn’t looked back. This lead time compared to most in the industry has allowed Sundt to share technology innovation among the building, industrial and transportation groups. As a result, the combined lessons learned and seasoned experience with technology enables Sundt to stay on the cutting edge while having a firm grasp on what brings value to clients and mitigates our risk.
What’s coming next in the evolution of virtual construction?
Right now the portion of the project team that sits in an office or trailer has easy access to a BIM through a computer, but the crews in the field that actually do the installation, move dirt and build buildings do not have easy access. As technology becomes more mobile Sundt looks forward to equipping everyone on the project with pertinent information on design, construction and safety.