October 5, 2018
August 16, 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.
September 18, 2017
Our Building Group’s Southwest District recently completed a 10-story high-rise academic medical and research laboratory in downtown Phoenix, the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building. Sundt captured the project in 360-degree video and images to show off the world-class research and laboratory spaces. The complexity of these spaces is difficult to put into words, as so much is happening from an architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing perspective. 360-degree imagery offers a more intuitive way to explore this environment—looking around. It reveals details that required extended coordination, such as how the building’s copper exterior mimics the walls of the Grand Canyon, or the way natural light floods into the library. Ultimately, people can see what inspires our employee-owners to exceed expectations: bringing the entire built environment to life.
Watch our 360-degree video tour of the building and drag/swipe to explore the finished project!
August 9, 2017
Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik speaks to a class at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction.
Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik recently went back to school to share some of the many ways technology can improve the way general contractors serve their clients.
Eric spoke to an upper-level class at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction about the many advantages Building Information Modeling (BIM) can provide on a project. BIM involves generating and modeling both the physical and logistical characteristics of a building.
“I am convinced that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it,” Eric said. “The complicated subject of how BIM interfaces with every individual on a project is a difficult story to tell in under an hour, so it really forces me to refine how I approach technology. Engaging with the students is also an excellent opportunity to meet new people entering the industry. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will be using all of this technology.”
The fundamental idea Eric teaches the upcoming generation of builders is that technology will inevitably be the backbone of the construction industry.
“My background is in digital visualization, so I love being able to dive in to the technical details of how 3D models are created from photogrammetry and the puzzle of building complicated geometry in 3D,” Eric said. “Constructors take on significant risk with the selected means and methods for any project, so it is always a challenge to select the correct modeling tool to visualize that risk.”
Eric is quickly becoming popular on the college speaking circuit. He will be presenting to a class at the University of Arizona in November.
March 17, 2017
Our entry in the Phoenix Canstruction competition includes more than 600 cans of food that will be distributed to Phoenix’s under-served community.
Working with industry partners DWL Architects and Schafer Engineers, a Sundt team participated in the Phoenix Canstruction competition, which runs through Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The team’s entry is a phoenix comprised of more than 6,000 cans of food. The structure, which measures more than 8 feet tall, was planned using building information modeling to work out the design, get an accurate can count and ensure the display fit the physical constraints of the competition.
Canstruction is an international community service event where design teams compete to build structures out of canned food. For the past 11 years, Canstruction, in conjunction with the Arizona Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, has invited architects, engineers, contractors, design firms and schools of design to participate in this effort to help St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. The event offers the design community the opportunity to exhibit its imagination and creativity while helping the less fortunate in our state. Since its inception, Phoenix Canstruction has provided more than 400,000 pounds of canned food for those in need across Arizona.
The Sundt team included Ryan Abbott, Doris Baker, Melissa Love, Rich Gohl, Deni Liechty, Matt Vandenberg and Randy Zastrow. Our sponsors were E&K of Phoenix, Dow Diversified, Bell Steel, JFK Electric and Century Sign Builders.
To see the entries, please visit the Phoenix Canstruction Facebook page.
Sundt Help Desk Representative Robert Ayres.
Robert Ayres was recently hired by Sundt as a Help Desk Representative. He brings to the position more than 10 years of experience in information technology, five of which were spent as a Help Desk Technician for Intel.
He’s an Arizona native who has spent his life in the Phoenix area.
What made you want to work at Sundt?
I found out about the position from the current Help Desk Lead Erica Miller. She was the one who hired me at my previous position. I didn’t know anything about Sundt until I started speaking with her about the position. The information I got made me really excited, especially with the ESOP and other great programs like tuition reimbursement.
How interesting have your first few weeks been?
My first few weeks on the job were extremely hectic. There is a lot of stuff to learn coming into a new environment, but especially in IT. Sundt uses a lot of different software for accounting, Building Information Modeling and handling projects. I was new to all of it having never worked in a construction environment so my head was spinning with all the information.
What do you do in a typical day?
My typical day starts like most people’s. I go through my email and get caught up on anything that I wasn’t able to finish the day before. I then log in to my phone and start fielding any IT requests that come in through the helpdesk line or through the email system. There are some walk-ups that happen from time to time, but the majority of our work comes in through the other methods. My tickets mainly consist of helping people install software on their computer or helping people gain access to their projects.
What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?
I love to go to movies when I get a chance. Science fiction or action style movies are usually my favorite so you can normally find me at a premiere of one of the new Marvel movies or Star Wars/Star Trek. I am a fan of manga/anime. I love watching sports. I’m a rare Arizona native, so I root for all of our local teams. I also enjoy playing video games. The new Zelda game just came out, so that will probably be taking up the majority of my free time for now.
Where do you like to travel?
My favorite place so far has to be Alaska. I went there on a cruise last summer. It’s a completely different world especially after living in Phoenix all my life. You know things are different when the high temperature is 63 in the middle of June. The scenery was amazing, and I got to see wildlife I’ve never seen like Bald Eagles swooping around and Beluga Whales breaching the ocean. Just an overall amazing experience.