October 5, 2018
March 5, 2018
Like many innovators who came before them, Eric Cylwik and Ryan Haines were never seeking recognition. They just wanted to do their jobs better—and save people’s time and money in the process. The two saw a problem in the construction industry, and they set out to fix it. Eric and Ryan’s selection as finalists for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Autodesk Innovation Award was a nice bonus, but the real success is what the industry at large stands to gain from their new technology. Its name? The civil Construction Toolkit, or “CTK.”
Virtual Construction App Developer Ryan Haines (center) and Sr. Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik (right) accept the AGC Innovation 3rd-place Award
CTK technology began as a response to larger issues in the civil sector causing huge inefficiencies. A nationwide trend toward 3D modeling in the preconstruction process has generated loads of data. But by itself, this data isn’t actionable information. Also, most of it is siloed off between designers, contractors, and engineers, instead of flowing into a single stream of information for a project. Estimators in particular spend hours counting the “what” of a project (volumes, areas, lengths, counts, and weights)—6.4 million hours in the past year to be exact, the equivalent of 70 full-length careers. Instead of counting the “what,” Eric and Ryan thought, these professionals could spend more time on the “how” and, in the process, become more of an asset to their companies.
CTK user quickly quantifies the entire project model, by phase, in Autodesk Civil 3D
Enter: the CTK, a technology that supports parametric modeling. In the absence of a 3D design model, a CTK user can take lots of numbers from construction documents and convert them into 3D models, with a few mouse clicks. These models can then be quantified to cover all construction estimating needs, including sequencing and phasing of a project, and provide visualization for design all in a matter of hours instead of weeks. The same models can even be used for automated machine guidance (AMG) by heavy equipment operators in the field. “This technology shifts the focus from construction being a reactionary industry to an industry that proactively adds value,” Eric said. “Proper planning ensures efficient construction, and by removing mundane tasks from a construction service provider it enables them to focus on predictable services.”
Sundt uses the CTK on a daily basis and has seen immense added value across projects for both our employee-owners and our clients
In presenting the CTK to various industry groups, including the AGC, Eric and Ryan were often asked: How did you convince your company to invest in this? “The funny thing is,” Ryan said, “this was already part of our jobs and company culture. The return on investment had been established, just in the huge amounts of time we were saving in our own jobs, across multiple projects.” Eric pointed out that he and Ryan were also recognized for the CTK by Sundt a year ago, with the Going Beyond the Expected Award. “It’s just part of what we do at Sundt. We’re builders. And by virtue of that fact, we’re innovators.” Overall, CTK is a means of delivering better infrastructure. “When we design, estimate, and build from the same information,” Ryan said, “everyone wins with better quality and efficiency.” For a company whose mission is to be the most skilled builder in America, having innovative people on our team is a win indeed.
February 15, 2018
Sellwood Bridge won a Build America Award.
Two of our joint venture projects earned big awards during last month’s Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Convention in New Orleans.
The Sundt/Slayden Joint Venture’s work on Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon received the AGC’s Construction Risk Partners Build America Award for best new highway and transportation project.
The Sundt-Rummel Joint Venture earned the Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnering Award for its collaboration on the White Tanks Flood Retarding Structure (FRS) for the Flood Control District of Maricopa County.
The Sundt/Slayden team replaced the 1925 Sellwood Bridge with a 2,000-foot-long structure across the Willamette River. The project required leaving the existing bridge open, building a replacement next to the old bridge and then moving the new bridge into place. The shoofly method minimized bridge closures to avoid negatively affecting the thousands of drivers who use the bridge each day. It cut roadway closures to less than the 30 days called for in the contract, saved $5 million and took a year off the project schedule.
The new bridge has an open steel deck arch structure, 6-foot bicycle lanes and two 12-foot sidewalks. It also meets the latest seismic standards.
White Tanks FRS earned the Marvin M. Black Award.
White Tanks FRS is a 1.3-mile-long, 20-foot high structure that provides flood protection to about 1,000 residential and commercial properties and agricultural land. The project was built using the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) method.
The Marvin M. Black Award is presented to construction projects that epitomize the principles of partnering. Contractors honored with the award stand out for their ability in signing a formal partnering charter, achieving a common goal, honoring all stakeholders, resolving conflict, improving communication on the project with all audiences and incorporating team-building activities.
We maintained the budget and avoided costly change orders by bringing in the joint venture during design and by partnering with outside agencies, including the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the National Resources Conservation Service, to write project specifications and work plans.
December 18, 2017
A team from Sacramento State won our concrete problem competition.
It’s a competition that has enabled us to find some of the best young talent in construction. It’s important enough for us to sponsor for eight consecutive years and our Chief Operating Officer attends to meet with dozens of university students.
This past weekend, a team of Sundt employee-owners participated in the Associated Schools of Construction’s (ASC) Regions 6 & 7 competition. ASC is the professional association focused on the development and advancement of construction education, and we are one of only two contractors who sponsor the event at the Platinum Level. As part of our sponsorship, each year Sundt submits a concrete “problem” for the participating teams to solve. This year’s competition included teams from 13 universities.
Solving the Sundt-provided problem required teams to provide a complete execution plan – including scope, cost, schedule, logistics and safety recognition – for the structural concrete components of a high-rise hotel tower in the Southwest. We awarded bonus points for identifying and providing solutions for complexities within the project.
The students had 12 hours to produce a quantity take-off, budget and safety recognition plan, and drew numbers to determine the order in which they would present the rest of their plan (schedule, logistics, execution strategy and risk analysis) the next day. Teams could have six members working on the problem and three alternates. The final six had to be selected prior to the problem presentation meeting on the first morning.
Sacramento State won the competition with an all-around impressive performance and by creating a safety recognition plan that was detailed, affordable and effective.
“It was something we would implement on our own projects,” said Project Executive Chandra Reilly, one of Sundt’s representatives at the conference in Sparks/Reno, Nevada.
Five of the top six teams had scores within one point of each other, and only a tenth of a point separated our second- and third-place finishers, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.
The advantages of self-performing concrete, which include control of cost, quality and schedule, benefit every division of our company, and we wanted to make sure our panel reflected a diverse set of perspectives. To that end, our problem creation team and judging panel consisted of employee-owners from concrete, building and transportation.
“We have committed to giving detailed feedback to all the teams so they can grow and build off this experience for future competitions and their careers,” Chandra said.
Our Concrete Division has a long history of emphasizing safety on the jobsite. As a company, we have won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award twice, an achievement which left a strong impression on some of the more than 1,400 students who attended the competition from campuses across the nation.
“We had several students compliment us on the way we addressed safety at our company, to the point where they said that even though they already had several full-time job offers they’d still like to talk to us, because it struck such a strong chord with them,” Chandra said.
October 9, 2017
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.
The theme for the AGC Safety Fair was “The Circus.” The “ringmaster” on the left is San Antonio AGC President Mike Sireno, with Sundt Area Safety Manager Mark Bakeman (middle) and AGC Safety and Health Committee Chairman Leonard De Braska (right).
For the third consecutive year, Sundt has been named Safe Contractor of the Year by the Associated General Contractors of America’s San Antonio Chapter.
Our building group had just one total day away from work and one recordable incident last year. The award was presented Oct. 6 at the AGC-San Antonio’s Safety Fair.
Our safety culture is based on the idea that choices made at work have a direct impact on the lives of our employees, their families and co-workers. “Safety by Choice” is our program designed to support a culture of safe choices by recognizing employees who choose positive safety behaviors and actions.
We are also the only general contractor on record to twice earn the AGC Grand Award, given annually to the safest construction company in the country. We won the award in 2006 and 2016.