February 15, 2019
May 4, 2018
Senior Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Manager Mark Epstein was recently named among ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2019 Top Young Professionals. After completing two concurrent master’s degrees in architecture and construction management at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010, Mark accepted his first position as a project engineer with a construction management firm. He later moved into an architecture role with Gensler in Austin, Texas, where he spent three years learning to produce high-quality construction documents and eventually became a project manager. Soon after, a friend introduced Mark to Sundt Construction in San Antonio, where he now leads our BIM and VDC strategies. Mark is advancing Sundt’s technology capabilities with a full immersion of the Texas Building Group into BIM and VDC processes. Part of his goal is to strengthen communication between the office and field, and better transform concept into reality. But there’s a lot more to Mark and to his work than meets the eye.
With your unique background in both construction and architecture, what drew you to Sundt, and how is it being back in construction?
The transition back to construction has been really refreshing. It’s been good to get on the jobsite and touch and feel the work—not just in the digital form or detail form on paper, but to be out around the work, the people performing it, and then to learn from their expertise. Some of these guys have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I have a huge amount to learn, and I appreciate that. On the contractor side, there’s that ability to learn and people’s willingness to teach and take you under their wing, and in architecture I’d say it’s just much more limited in that regard. So, yeah, it’s been a great transition.
Speaking of that dynamic, how has the team in San Antonio taken you in and supported you in your role?
The leadership down here is incredible. Eric Hedlund and Todd Calder have really high aspirations for what they want us to do, but at the same time they provide us with the resources that we need to do it. That, to me, shows that they’re serious about accomplishing these goals. When I came to San Antonio, they knew I had an architecture background; I was working with “backbone” technologies like Revit and Navisworks, which are cross-disciplinary for the architecture and contractor side. So, they’re leveraging that experience to build upon what they want to achieve with technology here, and they’ve been extremely supportive.
What are some innovative things you’ve been working on recently, things that you get excited about?
Well, I give credit again to the leadership and resources that Sundt has provided. Dominic Daughtrey with the Continuous Improvement Department has gotten me up and running with a drone fleet here, so that’s been a great way to explore technology and implementation. You’ve got the hardware aspect, but then you also have the data and deliverables to manage and distribute. That’s been a real game-changer to experience how that data can affect how we do work on site, you know, bridging that gap from computer to the field. That’s not necessarily the most innovative thing in the world, but it’s just been eye-opening to see where else it can go, for example, taking that jump from basic drone flights to importing footage into augmented reality applications and 4D scheduling.
But, you know, the innovation isn’t the tech itself; the innovation is how we’re deploying the hardware and software packages with our project teams. It’s helping project engineers, managers, and superintendents understand how technology can help them do their job, to be safer and more efficient, to have less rework. I mean, you can hire a “tech person” or a few “tech people” in this role. But that’s not what we’re doing here; we’re infiltrating the jobsite with this tech, having superintendents and project engineers know it, and having people at the project level buy into technology as a comprehensive approach. We’ve actually got a guy here, age 60, who’s really excited about using 4D scheduling—not to sound ageist, but across the industry, you have a lot of construction veterans who typically don’t want to learn that stuff. But when we have people here buying in, that’s a big deal. To me, that’s innovation. That’s success.
November 30, 2016
Sundy Project Engineer Dilip Allam.
Soon after graduating, he moved to Detroit and attended Wayne State University to earn his master’s in Civil Engineering. When he graduated in fall 2016, he moved to Tempe to work for Sundt. He and his brother, Dinesh, work for our Concrete Division. Dilip is in El Paso and Dinesh is in Tempe.
How did you learn about Sundt?
I joined Sundt as an Engineering Intern in summer 2016 and continued to work as a student while I was in my last semester in the fall. I was working from home in Detroit. Then I was offered to join full-time after school and took the offer.
What’s the most challenging thing a Project Engineer has to do?
What’s it like having a brother who essentially has the same job as you?
It is great to work together. We talk a lot about process development and how to lean our processes. One major process development we did together was creating a BIM process for estimating. In this project, Dinesh created a process that we call model-based estimating, which we are using for estimating in concrete and I created how-to videos for the whole process. I learned a lot of things from him throughout that process. Regarding personal life, I think it is always good to stay closer to your family members.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would have the power of super speed like The Flash. It would help me be unstoppable while playing soccer or field hockey.
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Shawshank Redemption.”
What’s one thing someone should do or visit when in the El Paso area?
The Scenic Drive is interesting in the evening.
October 20, 2014
Truckee High School will be refurbished by Fall 2019.
Almost three years before the scheduled completion of two projects for the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Sundt’s preconstruction team is hard at work finding ways to cut costs and save time.
The school district asked our team, acting as Construction Manager Multi-Prime on the two projects, to develop strategic phasing plans, decide the best way to approach, package and consolidate the work, and anticipate potential constraints before they become issues in the field.
In order to mitigate some of those constraints, our Virtual Design and Construction group, led by Howard “Howdy” Atkinson and Alan Sanoja, laser-scanned Truckee High School. The results revealed several conditions that would have resulted in significant project delays and added costs.
“The scans were used as true as-builts and clashed against the architect’s Building Information Model, allowing us to resolve those problems before they could affect the execution of the job,” said Project Director Tim Blood.
We’re converting existing modular buildings into new construction for classrooms, science labs, elective space, administration and locker rooms. Both projects, including Truckee Elementary School, will undergo significant façade enhancements, technology and mechanical upgrades, site work and ADA upgrades.
Like Construction Manager at Risk, CM Multi-Prime provides an owner the value of preconstruction services including estimating, constructability reviews, logistics, phasing, scheduling and VDC.
“Modernizations, renovations and expansions of this magnitude require a level of phasing, coordination and competent management above what is typically required for a new construction project, particularly when the school needs to remain occupied,” Tim said. “This is the main reason the district opted to award this project to Sundt as a CM Multi-Prime contractor.”
The K-12 projects, located 20 minutes from Lake Tahoe in the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains, will occur across multiple phases with completion on both scheduled for Fall 2019. Total construction value is expected to be $80.5 million.
July 1, 2014
In this integration of a Survey CIM model and Site CIM model, transparent items represent existing sub-surface features; solid color items represent proposed utilities and foundations.
You probably know about Building Information Modeling (BIM) and how it can improve vertical construction projects. Civil Information Modeling, or CIM, is the same idea – but applied to horizontal construction projects (think roads, site infrastructure, etc.). BIM has increased efficiencies and minimized design and construction coordination risk in facility projects over the past decade. Can a similar process be applied to the equally important survey capture, site design and construction portions of a project?
Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik and a team of other industry experts recently authored an article in the Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences that explores this topic … and offers some intriguing answers. Click here to read the full article.
We’re pleased to announce that Paul Barnhart has joined Sundt’s newly established San José office. Paul is a senior project superintendent who has been with Sundt since 2000. Until his recent move to California he was working in various locations on the company’s federal government construction projects. His more than 30 years of construction experience, which includes extensive knowledge in federal and government housing projects, will play a vital role in his new position as part of the new San José State University Campus Village Phase II student housing project team. We recently asked Paul a few questions to get to know him better:
What drew you to Sundt’s San José office?
I really wanted to get back on the west coast for the drier climate.
How do you expect your work in California to differ from the federal government construction work you’ve been doing?
I don’t expect it to change much, apart from the weather. Whether you’re building a barracks or a dorm, there are a lot of similarities: square, plumb, level. The customer is the biggest difference.
What’s a typical work day like for you, i.e. what are your major duties and responsibilities?
I have not been able to have a typical work day since I arrived in California, but that is not a bad thing. I have been working with my team on preconstruction documents, logistic plans, constructability reviews, contact reviews, BIM, scheduling construction and reviews, creating maps, and learning the area.
Favorite type of cuisine?
Best book you read (or movie you saw) recently?
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It was important to me at a critical stage in my life.
Favorite sport, either to play or to watch?
Where would you most like to travel?
Australia or Ireland
Who has most inspired you in your life, and why?
My wife. We have known each other for over 20 years, married for 18 … and still she stays with me.
How do you like to spend your free time?
At home with my wife. I’m a homebody who is never home.