June 5, 2013
April 19, 2013
Six outdated wet scrubber vessels, like the one being hoisted into the air in the photo, were removed and replaced as part of the project.
While performing a challenging equipment upgrade at a gold and copper mine, Sundt used building information modeling (BIM) in an innovative way, coupled with detailed scheduling, to complete the mining construction project early without sacrificing safety or quality.
The mine’s fine crushing circuit (consisting of four secondary crushers and ten tertiary crushers) required a complete upgrade from the original wet dust collection system dating back to the 1960s to a modern and more efficient dry dust collection system. Sundt’s task was to replace one secondary and six tertiary crushers, five tertiary single screens, one double-deck scalping screen and one double-deck secondary screen and tie the new equipment into the existing system.
The team started with old drawings from 1964 and used BIM to create a video that modeled the process down to the tiniest details. Even the size of their trucks was worked into the video to make sure they could navigate the tight spaces and demonstrate to the client how specific tasks would be performed. It was also used as an orientation video to show crews the various safety risks and other issues to beware of.
“As far as I know, none of our competitors are doing this,” said Sundt Area Manager Clint Sundt. “Sundt is way out in front with this technology.”
Each of the project’s two phases was completed a month ahead of schedule, and with shorter planned shutdowns. But the biggest achievement was the project’s safety record: there were no recordable incidents throughout the entire project, which totaled 158,658 man hours.
April 10, 2013
Sundt is pleased to announce that Bob Powell was recently promoted from modeler to modeler II, a position that involves mastery of building information modeling (BIM) and other innovative design and construction technologies. Bob has been with Sundt since 2010 and holds an Associate of Science degree in design and drafting from Total Technical Institute. He works in our San Diego office.
What led you to Sundt?
I initially started working with Sundt while I was a freelance plumbing modeler for the subcontractor on one of Sundt’s community college construction projects in San Diego. I spent a lot of time on site working with the Sundt team. When a modeling position opened up, I was recommended for it.
Describe the kind of work you do in your new position.
My new position will require a lot of hands-on interaction with the subcontractors. I’ll be visiting most of our jobsites weekly to help manage the BIM process and help the subcontractors effectively coordinate, install per BIM, and maintain schedule. I will also be training our Sundt engineers how to work with BIM in the field, as well as any other help our project teams might need.
How does your work benefit Sundt’s clients?
BIM provides a powerful analytical and visual point of reference for current and potential clients. It helps owners understand their project in a 3, 4, and 5 dimensional BIM world (where scheduling and material quantities/costs can often times be incorporated into the 3-dimensional model). Timely and accurate BIM coordination at the preconstruction and operations phases can greatly reduce schedule impact, which in turn helps reduce costs and delays.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy seeing a hard-working team collaborate to get a project completed effectively. It’s a great feeling when BIM is used successfully and the entire team can look back and see that even through the complications of construction, the use of BIM was a powerful tool that supported the expedition of many issues. Also, seeing a three-dimensional model that replicates the physical building is pretty cool, too. (But that’s just the nerd in me.)
What’s the biggest drawback?
Sometimes it’s hard to get all members of a project team to “buy in” to the whole BIM process. Many builders still work with an old-school mentality, and part of my new role is to introduce them to new ways of thinking and working, and help them learn what BIM can do for them. It’ll be a welcome challenge.
What might you be doing if you weren’t working in the construction industry?
I probably would have continued my career on the design side of construction. I worked as a project manager for architectural firms for many years and I truly enjoyed it. And if that didn’t work out, I’d probably be at home building multi-billion-dollar structures from Legos, demolishing them, and repeating the process until it was dinner time.
What’s your dream vacation?
I’ve always wanted to take a couple weeks off and sail the Greek Isles.
Most recent book or movie that you enjoyed?
I am a huge fan of controversial documentaries, so for the sake of removing delicate opinions, I will only offer my two favorite movies. Braveheart is simply wonderful… a bit long, but a fantastic watch, with horrible Scottish accents, and a fantastic moral. And if you have never seen Army of Darkness, well then your life is incomplete. Both are great movies.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Since we’ve recently purchased a house, my “honey-do” list has not allowed much free time. If I am able to distract my wife long enough to get some time away, you will usually find me hiking with my dogs, having a nap in my hammock, taking in a local comedy show, sampling a nice cigar with a glass of wine, or simply relaxing in the spa at my quiet home. Life is good.
November 30, 2012
BIM was used to help plan and coordinate the project’s underground site utilities.
Tercero Student Housing Phase III (Tercero 3), Sundt’s $71 million dormitory construction project at the University of California, Davis, is an ideal project for the skilled use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). Why? Because with 108 single-occupancy units and 537 doubles, the university construction project contains many repeating elements that need to be defined with precision before construction actually begins.
“Using BIM is a huge help with detecting constructability issues in order to achieve a high level of quality, especially when you’re dealing with lots of repeating elements,” said Sundt Project Manager Shawn Marty. “For example, with a student housing project you might be placing 600 identical doorknobs. Using BIM allows that scope of work to be isolated and defined with certainty well before we start construction.”
Tercero 3 will span 330,000 square feet across seven, four-story buildings. Multiple lounges, study areas, computer centers and gathering spaces also will be part of the complex, which will surround a landscaped courtyard. Bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly pathways will be woven throughout a diverse landscape of mature trees and native plants.
“Through coordination, the team was able to prefabricate and install pipe that was 30 inches in length without any issues,” added Howard Atkinson, Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer. “Without the BIM process, this would have been impossible. Currently there are no conflicts with this process in the field.”
The sustainable project – which is aiming for LEED Platinum certification – will be complete and open to students in the fall of 2014.
October 8, 2012
BIM is being used to construct the West 7th Street Bridge project in Fort Worth, Texas, as shown above. Sundt is a recognized expert in applying BIM to horizontal construction projects, a process known as Virtual Design and Construction, or VDC.
Building complex, difficult projects is one thing. Communicating plans for those projects so that owners can visualize and understand them ahead of time is its own challenge – particularly when it comes to heavy civil construction such as roads, bridges, rail and other infrastructure.
Sundt is using building information modeling (BIM), a standard construction technology, in novel ways to solve this problem. By utilizing BIM as a communication tool during the proposal process, we have distinguished ourselves as an industry leader when it comes to innovation and creativity. The Sellwood Bridge project in Portland, Ore., is a great example of the innovative use of BIM in action.
This brief video, created by Autodesk (makers of 3D design software for the engineering, design and construction industries), explains how Sundt is pushing the capabilities of BIM beyond its original purpose.
Prefabrication – made possible through an innovative combination of BIM and Lean – saved the owner $2 million on ISTB 4.
Most contractors utilize Building Information Modeling (BIM) and many make use of Lean Construction (a scheduling approach that maximizes efficiency and minimizes waste – great for tight schedules), but not many integrate the two. The few that do, like Sundt, offer enormous advantages to their clients because the skillful integration of BIM and Lean translates to significant savings of both time and money that wouldn’t have been possible using just one method alone.
Sundt’s Director of Construction Technology, Dan Russell, provided a great example of the successful combination of BIM and Lean in a presentation he made recently to the Arizona Chapter of the Lean Construction Institute. In it, he showed how Sundt saved the Arizona Board of Regents $2 million on the recently completed Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4) at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. ISTB 4 is a $112 million, state-of-the-art research and educational facility.
“With Lean, instead of a superintendent creating a master schedule and handing it to the subs, he builds a baseline schedule with milestones and then works with the subs to complete the schedule through a series of pull-planning sessions,” Dan said. “It’s a very detailed process, but it’s invaluable for helping everyone understand where their piece fits into the big picture, who they affect and vice versa. It was especially helpful with ISTB 4.”
After creating the project’s schedule through Lean, Sundt’s team maximized the opportunities for off-site prefabrication with BIM, which Dan calls “a schedule compression tool.” Altogether, prefabrication saved $2 million in general conditions (money that went directly back to the owner) and eliminated 16 weeks of construction time from the schedule. The team was able to pre-fabricate:
- 100 percent of the ductwork and
- 30 percent of the plumbing working with Dynamic Systems, Inc.
- 90 percent of the fire protection working with RCI Systems, Inc.
- Five percent of the electrical working with Wilson Electric Services Corp.
- The building’s north and west facades were prefabricated off-site by KT Fabrication, Inc.
- Nearly all of the building’s laboratory components with its electrical, process piping and teledata interfaces were fabricated off-site by ISEC, Inc.
“Lean was crucial for developing the project’s ultra-aggressive schedule,” Dan concluded. “We couldn’t have met it without the prefabrication, and we couldn’t have done the prefabrication without BIM. Using BIM and Lean together was the perfect approach.”