July 16, 2013
June 5, 2013
Sundt is pleased to announce that Howard Atkinson was promoted from BIM modeler to senior virtual construction engineer. Howard, who works in Sundt’s Sacramento office, is now overseeing all building information modeling needs in the state for business development, preconstruction and construction. He is a Revit architecture professional and holds a Bachelor of Science in construction management from California State University, Chico.
Building information modeling (BIM) has been around for a number of years, but Sundt has a reputation for finding cutting-edge ways to use it. Can you elaborate?
I think most of the top general contractors do a fine job of using BIM. Where Sundt excels is in the field. The top GCs can do 3D shop drawing, but most stop there. Not only are we involved in preconstruction and the shop drawing phase, but we also spend a lot of time out in the field working with the trades to make sure it’s going in right. Taking accountability for what we did in our shop drawing phase and making sure it works in the field is very important to me.
What’s the future of BIM in your opinion?
I foresee Sundt working with architects and engineers to design shop drawing level drawing before the subcontractors are on board (steel, rebar, metal stud, etc.). This would speed up the delivery so there wouldn’t be a delay waiting for steel shop drawings, for example.
How has technology changed construction since you joined the industry?
This story probably illustrates my response best. The owner of a water treatment plant project I was working on continued to reject a change order because he couldn’t visualize it. That went on for six months, but once I got involved by working on a model, we were able to demonstrate the change with BIM and it was approved within an hour. My point is that technology continues to get better, but it’s the people who are making the industry change the way we do construction.
What might you be doing if you weren’t working in construction?
I would be a full-time head track and field coach at a university. I love teaching/coaching; it has always been a part of my life, and always will be.
Favorite childhood superhero?
I lived on a ranch and there wasn’t much TV time, so the person I most looked up to was my dad. If I got all my ranch work done it was play time when his truck pulled up. And if it wasn’t, well that’s another story.
Where would you most like to travel?
My sister and I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, but I’m not looking forward to the flight.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I coach track and field when not at work. Sundt has been very supportive of my coaching, no matter where my projects take me. I currently coach at Yuba College. Last year was my first year taking over the program and they had their best year in over 10 years. All of my sophomores received full ride scholarships to D1 programs. Most went to University of California schools, which means they were also doing well in the classroom.
Best advice you ever received?
My junior college coach had some choice words about where he thought my head was at the time. That motivated me to become athlete of the year that year, and then earn a scholarship at CSU Chico where I become an All-American in the shot put. It still motivates me to this day: actions are stronger than words.
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.
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.