January 17, 2012
January 13, 2012
Dan Russell, Sundt’s director of construction technology, is one of the first people in the country to be certified by the AGC in the use of BIM.
Sundt is pleased to announce that Dan Russell, our director of construction technology, is among the country’s first construction professionals to receive a new national accreditation in the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) offered by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Just 34 people across the country tested successfully to receive the new professional accreditation, known as the Certificate of Management-Building Information Modeling (CM-BIM). It is the first assessment-based credential to recognize construction professionals on their ability to use the process.
“What I have always enjoyed about construction is working with different disciplines on the challenge of converting the intent of the design team into a physical building. With the emergence of BIM over the last few years, we now have a better tool to communicate the intent, work collaboratively as a team and deliver better projects to our clients,” said Russell. “Getting credentialed shows our clients, their designers and our subcontractor partners Sundt’s commitment to using innovative technology to provide the highest quality projects in a cost effective manner.”
Stephen E. Sandher, AGC’s chief executive officer, calls the new credential “a way to recognize professionals who have demonstrated a real mastery of the building information modeling process.”
January 11, 2012
Have you ever budgeted a year in advance for a European vacation, only to discover that airline ticket prices suddenly doubled right before you made your purchase, leaving you with enough cash to buy round trip bus fare to Truth or Consequences, N.M.? Although it’s a simplistic example, the equivalent situation happens often in construction: yesterday’s estimate may fall short of today’s prices, catching less experienced contractors – and their clients – off-guard. The result is less buying power, i.e. building potential, than was originally planned.
Pricing in the construction industry is affected by a number of factors, primarily the cost of materials, fuel and labor. These numbers fluctuate over time in response to changes in supply and demand – both domestic and international. The challenge is to make reasonably accurate predictions about future prices when estimating the costs of projects that may not begin for several months or even a year or more. In 2011, the average cost of construction materials rose about six percent, which was less than the previous year’s increase but twice the annual inflation rate. What’s on tap for 2012? Industry experts, including Sundt, agree that the U.S. construction industry will experience an average price increase of approximately five percent this year, driven mostly by international demand.
What does all this mean for builders and those who hire them? “We put a lot of time into tracking and understanding pricing so that we can effectively manage risk, both for ourselves and for our clients,” says Don Goodrich, Sundt’s director of preconstruction services. “When we serve as the Construction Manager at Risk, we work with the client to ensure that there’s an escalation line item that acts as a buffer for price fluctuations to protect our clients and their budgets. When we are competing for projects that require us and our subcontractors to go at risk for a fixed amount – regardless of what the prices are when it’s time to purchase materials – we use the data to analyze and manage risk.”
What if a contractor doesn’t factor the right costs into in its early estimates and include its clients in conversations about market volatility? That, says Goodrich, can create a credibility problem. “Construction pricing is a very dynamic process. It pays to work with an experienced contractor that dedicates time and talent to this subject, and it also helps to utilize alternate project delivery methods that provide the most flexibility and protection against the unexpected.”
January 9, 2012
This aerial photo shows recent progress on construction of the $99 million Health Sciences Education Building at Phoenix Biomedical Campus, being built by Sundt and joint venture partner DPR Construction. Phoenix Biomedical Campus is a major academic health center developed by the Arizona Board of Regents, the state universities and the city of Phoenix. The 268,000-square-foot Health Sciences Education Building is on track to be complete this summer, in plenty of time for the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. Its unique design features multiple exterior finishes including copper metal panels, concrete, masonry, and glass.
January 8, 2012
The Richard E. Arnason Justice Center is the first new California courthouse to earn LEED Silver certification.
Another recently completed Sundt project has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for its contribution to the sustainability movement. The $42.3 million Richard E. Arnason Justice Center in Pittsburg, Calif., has earned LEED Silver certification, putting it into an elite category of civic buildings that serve the public good while reducing their impact on the environment. It is the first new California courthouse to earn LEED Silver certification.
The three-story, 73,500-square-foot courthouse gained LEED points for its high-efficiency mechanical systems, extensive use of local and recycled materials, and the incorporation of natural light and ventilation. To help save on energy usage and costs, motion sensors control the building’s lights, turning them off whenever a room is unoccupied, while the HVAC system lessens its environmental impact through the use of a chemical-free water treatment system. One of the most unusual features is the jury assembly room, which is covered by a 2,900-square-foot “green roof” planted with a variety of native grasses, reducing heat load and conserving water.
The building includes seven courtrooms, judges’ chambers, administrative space, conference rooms, a library, and in-custody detention areas, plus state-of-the-art systems for security, access control and video surveillance.
Artist's rendering of the John M. Roll United States Courthouse in Yuma, Ariz.
Six lives were brought to a tragic end during the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., last January 8, which left an additional 13 people wounded, among them U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Although the victims’ lives were cut short, their hopes and dreams live on thanks to the many programs, nonprofit organizations and projects that have since been founded in their names.
Sundt is honored to be building one such project: The John M. Roll United States Courthouse in Yuma, Ariz., a landmark building that pays tribute to its namesake while reminding us that out of tragedy comes hope and renewal. John M. Roll was a federal judge who was killed in the attack.
The $25 million design-build project, which was funded several years ago and then put on hold because of the stagnant economy, was brought back to life largely because of the efforts of Justice Roll, who was one of the project’s biggest champions. The courthouse is being constructed in a prominent location on the city’s riverfront, where it will replace an outdated facility and help stimulate economic reinvestment in the area.
The building’s design puts a southwestern twist on the classic American courthouse by using locally sourced sandstone, living walls made of vines planted on steel trellises to shade windows, and fans for maximum ventilation. The project’s centerpiece is a 10,000-square-foot canopy made of photovoltaic panels that will provide shade while generating one quarter of the building’s electrical needs. Together, these innovative features are expected to put the project well within reach of earning LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2013.
The John M. Roll Unites States Courthouse will stand as a tribute to a man who dedicated his life to his family, friends and community. Sundt is honored to help him be remembered.