April 4, 2018
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.
February 2, 2018
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.
January 24, 2018
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum.
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum is getting ready to attend the Associated Schools of Construction Regions 6 & 7 Competition for the first time in his new role. He and a team from our company are traveling to Sparks, Nevada next week to meet and work with some of the most promising college students in the country.
It’s a great venue to find the next generation of construction professionals and for students to impress contractors that may one day hire them for their first jobs. There are 1,443 students from 49 universities registered for the event.
We are one of the few that sponsor a competition. Ours takes a real situation involving concrete construction and tasks the students with finding the best solution. Shawn and his team put the “problem” together and eagerly await solutions the students generate.
How much of a recruiting ground is this for Sundt?
The competition is huge for Sundt from a recruiting standpoint, as we are exposed to more than 1,300 students from schools across the country. Our concrete solutions problem is hosted in the Open Category, so we not only gain access to students from schools that we currently recruit, oftentimes we have schools participate from other regions that we are not actively recruiting. We have many Sundt employees who are former participants in the ASC Competition.
How did Sundt get involved with sponsoring the concrete problem?
In 2010, we made the decision to petition the competition to become a host. In 2011, we hosted our first concrete solutions problem in the open competition category.
The problems come from real scenarios. How often do students develop solutions similar to ones that worked in the field?
Students often develop solutions that are similar to the ones that worked in the field. However, whether they matched what our project team did or if they came up with their own solution, the real value comes in thinking through the process. It’s amazing what innovations the students are able to come up with in such a short period of time, and there are times the students come up with workable solutions that even us as professionals may not have considered.
What do the students get from this competition?
They get exposed to more than 1,200 industry professionals from across the country and from companies of varying sizes, structures and markets. The students have an opportunity to solve real-life scenarios and get a glimpse of specific skill sets the industry is looking for as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Besides the opportunity to meet the next generation of builders, what’s the motivation for Sundt to serve as a sponsor of this event?
It’s really about the Sundt brand and getting it out there to schools and our industry peers. Approximately 100 other contractors sponsor the event, including many of the most well respected names in our industry. Further, Sundt is one of only 12 Platinum Sponsors of the event, aligning us with other best-in-class contractors as far as support and development of the next generation of builders and the overall growth and health of our industry.
December 18, 2017
We’re turning a former parking lot into 407 residences with numerous amenities in Tempe, Arizona.
It’s a unique project that had us transition from landowner to builder. Few things about Union Tempe Apartments, being built on the site of a former parking lot, will be commonplace for Arizona when the project is finished in July.
We owned the land, located not far from our headquarters in Tempe, for several years before selling it to the developer, The Opus Group. Opus is a family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies headquartered in Minneapolis with offices and projects across the country.
The 407 residences will “expand the downtown Tempe community to be more walkable, bike-friendly and economically diverse,” said Ryan Abbott, our Southwest District Building Group Manager.
Residents will have top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with a resort-style swimming pool, grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a fitness center, dog walk and storage for more than 450 bikes.
The project will cover a city block and feature two towers, one 20 stories and the other 12. The first will have primarily studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The second will have 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The building includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
We self-performed the concrete work, which helped in numerous ways. It gave us better control over quality and schedule and further honed our capabilities of constructing quality high-rise buildings. The teams building both towers often held a friendly competition to see which side could complete its work faster.
“Any project of this size brings complexity and I have appreciated Sundt’s willingness to plan, execute and problem-solve along the way,” said Opus Group Senior Vice President Lawrence Pobuda. “Most importantly, we have developed a real rapport – based on open communication and shared vision. We look forward to delivering this project on time, and on budget, and we feel confident we will do that with Sundt by our side.”
A welding student works on a project at Central Arizona College.
We’re cementing our relationship with Central Arizona College with donations that will expand training opportunities for construction and concrete technology program students.
To complement our workforce development partnership, we are covering costs to pour 320 cubic yards of concrete for a 142-foot-by-92-foot pad. Students in the heavy equipment operator program will begin leveling and grading the area this spring and construction technology students will build the concrete forms. The pad should be complete by fall 2018.
“This will provide students with valuable hands-on experience that will benefit them in their careers,” said Sundt Craft Instructor Darry Welker.
In another support of the partnership, we donated to the heavy equipment operator program for the purchase of GPS equipment. We also have given tools and supplies to the construction technology program.
“We appreciate all that Sundt is doing to help expand programming and training opportunities for CAC students,” Agriculture and Advanced Technology Division Chair Kristen Benedict said.
We are teaming with CAC and have established our own Center for Craft Excellence to help offset a lack of skilled craft workers needed to build our nation’s projects. An Associated General Contractors of America survey finds that construction companies will be short 2 million craft professionals by the year 2020.