January 25, 2012
January 23, 2012
Chamisa Village will accommodate 282 students when it is complete this winter.
Some higher education projects go beyond the expected, like Sundt’s current work for New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. This winter, we’ll wrap up phase two of Chamisa Village, a student housing project for NMSU that is seeking LEED Gold for Homes certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first Gold-certified multi-unit university building in the state.
Sundt’s $22 million Construction Manager at Risk contract includes construction of four new three-story buildings along with associated site development and utilities. We’re also performing all of the project’s concrete work with our own crews. To achieve its high level of sustainability, the team is using environmentally preferred wood materials and efficient framing to reduce waste.
January 18, 2012
Sundt’s Concrete Division is making nearly 11,000 pre-cast concrete blocks to create 200 targets at Fort Bliss’s new computerized target practice range. The project will be complete in November.
Sundt is proud to be building the U.S. military’s first fully computerized target practice range at Fort Bliss Army Post, Texas, a high-profile project called DAGIR, which stands for Digital Air-Ground Integration Range. Our $30.4 million heavy civil contract includes constructing 23 miles of tank trails, installing 200 pre-cast concrete targets, and building six support buildings. The facility will be used to train U.S. soldiers and the armies of several U.S. allies for combat missions on the ground and from the air.
What makes the range unique? A digital control system allows for the creation of unlimited combat scenarios, while sensors in the targets and the vehicles gather information that then becomes part of the review and feedback process.
Sundt’s ability to self-perform all of the concrete work is playing an instrumental role in helping the team manage the tight schedule. Nearly 11,000 concrete blocks, each measuring 2x2x6 feet, are being cast using an efficient assembly line approach that has boosted productivity rates by more than 30 percent over what was originally projected…and earned accolades from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The quality of our concrete work really stands out because we did a lot of research into forms and ended up investing in a steel version that produces a very nice, consistent block,” says Project Manager Fred Locke. “We’ve been complimented several times in the owner’s meetings.”
January 17, 2012
Sundt's "West Block" project in San Diego, Calif., occupies an entire city block.
Now that’s a tight construction site. Sundt’s current project on the San Diego Community College District’s City College Campus occupies an entire city block, hence its nickname “West Block.” It consists of an 83,000-square-foot classroom building that will be used for social sciences instruction, health services and corporate education, plus an adjacent 400-vehicle parking structure.
This photo, taken last week, shows how little room the team has for materials delivery, equipment storage and laydown, which makes careful planning and sequencing essential for success. “The job is bounded by streets,” says Project Manager Conrad Benitez. “With the exception of the small area at the courtyard, every side of the buildings is up to the property line.”
Something else that’s unique about the job: our Concrete Division is self-performing all of the concrete work, a package valued at $13 million out of a total contract amount of $16 million. The design-build project is scheduled for completion this summer.
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.”
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.”