October 14, 2016
September 30, 2016
Sundt Project Engineer Tim Warnes.
Project Engineer Tim Warnes recently earned his Certificate of Management in Lean Construction from the Associated General Contractors, giving Sundt an impressive 26 employee-owners who hold the certification. As of Sept. 27, only 240 construction industry professionals in the country had the designation.
Tim has been with Sundt for more than three years, working as a Field and Project Engineer and earning a reputation as a Lean champion and passionate teacher. Along with being involved in Lean Project Delivery and implementation of Last Planner System, he is part of Sundt’s Continuous Improvement efforts, helping the company become more efficient and productive.
What is Lean Construction all about?
Lean Construction is the catchphrase that gets attention. In reality, what we’re doing is Lean in Construction or Lean for Construction. While many of the ideas central to Lean thinking have been applied to construction, the fundamentals have been most comprehensively and successfully applied in the manufacturing, service and software engineering industries. Similar to construction, these industries have traditionally had a very clear customer-performer interface based on transactions where the customer pays the performer for a particular product or service and the performer provides the customer a particular product or service. Unfortunately in our industry, the products and services paid for by the customer often aren’t equal to those provided by the performer in the eyes of one or both of the parties. Lean is essentially about improving our ability to successfully request and provide products and services that our internal and external customers want.
The customer-performer relationship is established by a conversation. The initiative to do so may be taken by either party. Especially in the construction industry, this means that our list of customers is quite large (and ever-growing) and cuts against typical contractual lines, requiring builders and designers to behave as customers, designers and owners to behave as performers, and all parties to respect the significance of other project participants and their requests/offers.
How important is it to Sundt’s clients?
There are many things that interest our clients in Lean Construction. For instance, all of our clients would like to have the most up to date and reliable information regarding the schedule of our projects. The use of Last Planner System and other lean management strategies helps us confidently provide that information in the complex and often fluid environment of a construction project. Many of our clients are also interested in developing long-term relationships with their contractors for the development of future projects; leadership in Lean management by their general contractor goes a long way toward helping them narrow down future short lists. Lastly, since Lean is about delivering value to the customer, many of our clients require some form of Lean management to ensure that end users are getting the desired value out of the project.
What’s an example of a Lean process helping a client save time or money?
A recent project schedule was threatened by the late delivery of structural design information for four exterior walls. The situation worsened when the subcontractor responsible for procuring and installing the additional steel wasn’t able to meet its committed fabrication schedule. While there was shared responsibility for the issue and some may have predicted an ensuing dispute about entitlement for a potential delay claim, our team recognized the issue early and together developed a plan to complete adjacent construction and finish the wall assemblies in an expedited fashion when the material arrived. By soliciting reliable commitments for small chunks of work from our trade partners during our weekly work planning process, we were able to meet the dates on our short interval schedule. Doing so reduced the size of the issue, eliminated typical trade stacking complaints, got rid of the need for a delay claim once estimated at approximately 25 working days and ultimately won us great relationships with our trade partners and our client. Everyone on the project recognized this as a win-win scenario when it initially seemed to be headed in the other direction.
What does a Sundt employee-owner need to do to earn Certificate of Management in Lean Construction?
An employee-owner needs to register for and complete all seven units of the Associated General Contractors’ Lean Construction Education program. I did so at a boot camp at the San Diego AGC chapter. Sundt also offers these trainings in house. Following completion of these courses, a candidate must pass a 150-question multiple choice exam before using the CM-LC designation.
What does that designation mean for you and the company?
For me it means that I value continuous learning and that I’m passionate about the implementation of Lean on our projects and throughout our business. As the number of employee-owners in our company who have attained the certification continues to creep up, our pitch to owners that we understand and are passionate about delivering customer value and continuously improving the experience of building gains even more depth.
January 25, 2016
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.
March 24, 2015
Sundt is on the leading edge of Lean Construction with 17 employee-owners taking and passing the Associated General Contractors’ certification exam late last year. We are one of just 34 companies industry-wide with CM-Lean certified employees.
The interactive certification program consists of seven courses and a 150-question exam.
Lean Construction maximizes value for clients by minimizing waste in the design and construction processes.
As we continue building a continuous improvement culture, a key component of our strategy is to educate and train our employee-owners on the skills and tools that support our Lean goals.
March 9, 2015
Sundt won the Build America Award in the Highway and Transportation Renovation category for its work on the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas.
An innovative water treatment facility and an iconic bridge had something in common last week when they both won prestigious Alliant Build America Awards from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) at the AGC’s 96th Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sundt won the Environmental Enhancement category for its work on the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility renovation construction project in Chandler, Arizona, and the Highway and Transportation Renovation category for the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ryan Abbott, business development manager for Sundt’s projects in the Southwest, holds the award for the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility. To the right of Ryan is Tom Case, Sundt’s senior vice president for civil construction.
The $75 million Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility project was completed in April of 2014. A global semiconductor manufacturer selected Sundt and Carollo Engineers, Inc. as the design-build team to reconstruct the water treatment plant, which supports the City of Chandler’s Reverse Osmosis Facility (CHRO) as it treats additional waste streams brought on by the manufacturer’s recently built Ocotillo Campus fabrication facility. The water treatment construction project included modifications to the existing CHRO influent pump station, a modified finished water pump station, a repurposed brine concentrator, sludge storage, a sludge dewatering facility with belt filter presses, repurposed brine evaporation ponds, chemical feed systems, electrical buildings and instrumentation, and supervisory control and data acquisition programming and upgrades.
Cade Reddig, Sundt project superintendent, holds the Build America Award for the West 7th Street Bridge. Standing to the right is John Carlson, Sundt’s Texas district manager. To the left of Cade is Chris Leintz, Sundt project engineer.
The West 7th Street Bridge connects downtown Fort Worth with the city’s thriving cultural district, and is the first structure of its kind in Texas. Its 12 precast, post-tensioned arches were built offsite and moved into place on either side of the existing bridge before it was demolished and reconstructed – in just 150 calendar days. The bridge construction project was completed a month ahead of schedule.
Build America Awards honor the builders of the nation’s most impressive construction projects. They recognize excellence in state-of-the-art advancement, project management, innovation, sustainability, client services, community contributions, safety and meeting the challenges of a difficult job.
Sundt completed a $46.5 million expansion of Tucson International Airport’s terminal in 2005.
The Tucson Airport Authority recently selected Sundt as the Construction Manager at Risk for a terminal upgrade/optimization project that is expected to begin later this year. The Tucson International Airport terminal optimization program, which is Sundt’s third major venture for the airport since 2002, includes relocation of two existing security checkpoints to a new, enhanced configuration, expanded pre- and post-security concessions, and major building infrastructure upgrades.
“Our previous success delivering both a terminal expansion and concourse renovations for the airport played a significant role in our selection for this project,” said Sundt Project Director Kurt Wadlington. “When completed, the new facility will serve as an enhancement to the Tucson International Airport experience, increasing the passenger’s level of service and opening up concessions opportunities that will help build airport revenues.”
Sundt’s previous work at TIA included a partial remodel of existing portions of the ticketing and baggage claim levels.
The project’s construction cost is budgeted at $18-23 million.
The terminal improvements underscore Sundt’s reputation as a leader in aviation construction. Other notable Sundt airport projects include the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport Terminal Replacement in Wichita Falls, Texas; Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Passenger Terminal Expansion in Phoenix; and San Diego International Airport Landside Modifications in San Diego, California.