April 27, 2018
April 25, 2018
Sundt Project Engineer Dinesh Reddy Allam.
Project Engineer Dinesh Reddy Allam has been with Sundt for two years after spending a year as an intern with another concrete contractor in Phoenix. A native of Hyderabad, India, Dinesh has a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and a master’s in Infrastructure Management from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in his native country. He also has a master’s in Construction Engineering from Arizona State University.
His brother, a Project Engineer named Dilip, also works for us. Both are in our Concrete Division.
How did you get your job at Sundt?
The company reached out after finding me on LinkedIn.
What does a Project Engineer do?
A Project Engineer acts as a liaison between the project team and subcontractors, vendors and anyone external on a project. The cool thing about being on the self-perform side is the Project Engineer gets to analyze and act on labor production rates and commodity curves on a daily basis.
How important is the role technology plays in preconstruction?
We have seen massive gains in efficiencies in the way we set up estimates. With an upward trend in the industry using building information models during the design phase of a project, we leverage the information in those models to perform quantity takeoffs much faster and more accurately. It gives us more time to do constructability reviews and analyze the structure on how it needs to get built.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to clone myself. That way, I can multiply my efficiency.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite has to be “Baahubali: The Beginning,” which is a Tollywood movie from my hometown.
What’s one thing someone should do or visit when in the Phoenix area?
You should definitely try mountain biking. My favorite is the South Mountain National Trail.
April 10, 2018
Each cycle, which is the process of prepping and placing a deck, usually takes three weeks.
One of the things that can be frustrating on a job site is having subcontractors waiting around to work. Delays waste time and money, and can impact project morale.
We made sure that didn’t happen during our concrete deck cycle operation on the Cal Poly Pomona Student Housing project. The work is critical to the schedule and success of the project.
Careful planning by Field Superintendent Jessie Castro, Senior Project Engineer Adam Mack and Project Superintendent Andy Larsen ensured the cycle stayed on track. Each cycle, which is the process of prepping and placing a deck, usually takes three weeks.
“Without a vertical placement of columns and walls, our horizontal cycle is affected and it trickles down to the other trades starting their work,” Field Engineer Jessie Castro said.
Communication happen throughout the day, starting with the reinforcing contractor joining our morning foreman and lead-man meeting. This is when foremen talk to each other about progress and coordinate crane time.
“With multiple trades involved, constant communication is required to avoid workers waiting on work or work waiting on workers,” Jessie said. “The project team is effectively using the weekly work plan meeting. It’s our formal sit-down where each trade commits to the group what they will be accomplishing in the next week and eliminates any possible impacts to our schedule.”
Placing concrete decks is a team effort. At Cal Poly Pomona, we used a cycle that repeated every three weeks per segment. Each cycle started by lowering tables and jumping onto the next level. After the deck was sheathed and the perimeter handrail installed for safety, the deck was released to multiple trades to pre-install sleeves, block-outs and electrical, followed by reinforcing steel. After stud rail rebar and post-tension cables were set prior to placement, each deck went through an inspection to ensure quality work.
After a quality inspection we placed the deck before sunrise. As the deck cured, we started setting columns and shear walls that were placed in the afternoon.
This project includes multiple structures, including a student residence hall, a supporting mechanical central plant and a stand-alone, single-story dining commons. We eliminated potential for confusion through top-notch coordination.
“Having a plan, working the plan and communication are the key factors to having this project run as successfully and efficiently as possible,” Jessie said.
Our deck placement occurred before sunrise at Pomona.
April 4, 2018
Dinesh Allam (left) and Tim Gattie talk with a construction management class at Arizona State University.
One of our core values was on display during the spring semester at Arizona State University. Nine of our employee-owners served the community and industry by teaching their specialties to graduate students.
“I knew professors at ASU from when I graduated in 2015,” Project Engineer Dinesh Allam said. “We stayed in contact and that led to this opportunity.”
Southwest Building Division employees Jonathan Randall, Curtis Smith and Garren Echols taught construction management students about early stage project planning and conceptual estimating using D-Profiler. Kristen Bejarano, also from Southwest Building, and Jesse McDonald from our Industrial Division presented a lecture on Project Controls, including delay analysis, cost control and schedule management. Two employees from our Concrete Division, Michael Fyffe and Jeremy Jafferis, taught estimating covering the quantity takeoff process using 3D models and developing pricing using production rates.
Tim Gattie from our Transportation Group and Dinesh, a Concrete Division employee, talked about an upcoming trend, data analytics in construction. The lesson won’t be forgotten. The department chair wants to incorporate the topic into course curriculum.
Dinesh said he and his Sundt co-workers would be returning to ASU classes. There’s still much more knowledge to pass along.
“Sundt’s ASU alumni are very involved with the program,” he said.
March 7, 2018
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey (center) shows Project Engineer Tyler Persyn (left) and Intern Meagan Garcia how to use the DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian drone.
Members of our team working on the Canopy Hilton along San Antonio’s historic River Walk recently took to the skies to avoid problems on the ground.
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey held a training session with newly licensed drone pilots Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Mark Epstein and Engineering Interns Meagan Garcia and Matt Huffine for about 90 minutes using our DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian.
The Canopy Hilton River Walk will be 22 stories with 195 rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace.
Flights will take place before concrete is poured for the post-tension decks. The drone will be used to spot-check slab penetrations and sleeve locations, ensuring utilities are in the correct places and slab box-outs are the proper size before concrete is poured. Each time a clash is found in a post-tension slab, it costs the project between $10,000 and $50,000 to repair or resolve.
“With an incredibly complex project, it is one of our major goals to discover these clashes before they are constructed in the field,” Mark said. “Flights will also be performed following the concrete pour to monitor project progress, inspection and quality control.”
The craft will capture dozens of photographs and combine them using a program called Pix4D to create a jobsite orthomosaic, an aerial photograph geometrically corrected so the scale is uniform. Think Google satellite image (plan view) with 4K resolution. These plan views can also be geo-located with the use of precise ground control points. Aerial photographs are used to create a point cloud of the existing conditions and surrounding structures. A point cloud is a three-dimensional image and model that is created from the photographs based on the distance of the existing element from the drone. The model can be imported into the architect’s model to verify existing conditions and locations.
“On the Canopy project, we have a neighboring structure with a wall that is about 150 years old,” Mark said. “We’ve fully documented the existing conditions of that wall for any future questions, claims or otherwise. We’ve also created a point cloud model of it which accurately illustrates the location and will be used to proactively investigate constructability concerns.”
The hotel is one of the most high-profile projects going on in San Antonio. The 22-story facility will feature more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space, 195 guest rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the River Walk.
The Master Plan Project Overlay shows the complexity and tight confines on site.
Ernest E. Tschannen donated $9 million toward the former Science II Building at Sacramento State University.
Sacramento State’s Science II Building will have a new name before we even finish construction. The facility is now known as the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, named after the Sacramento businessman and philanthropist who donated $9 million to the project.
The university held a celebration and made the announcement last month on the 93-year-old businessman’s birthday. Ernest is an immigrant from Sweden who came to California “poorer than a church mouse” as a young man. He built his fortune in Sacramento in real estate and has given back to the community in many ways, including a $38.5 million grant to UC Davis and several donations that have helped beautify cycling and hiking paths around Sacramento’s rivers and Lake Tahoe.
Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelson and Mayor Darrell Steinberg attended the event to honor Ernest.
“We were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him when a cake modeled after the building was rolled out,” said Sundt Project Director Tim Blood. “It was a great event.”
The Design-Build project is a 96,000-square-foot, five-story facility that will centralize the College of Natural Sciences’ biology and chemistry departments. We have completed utilities, the building footprint and form work for cast-in-place concrete.
Structural steel should start going up as early as June. Work is expected to finish in June 2019 and the building is scheduled to open that fall.