May 4, 2018
April 25, 2018
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.
April 10, 2018
Each cycle, which is the process of prepping and placing a deck, usually takes three weeks.
One of the things that can be frustrating on a job site is having subcontractors waiting around to work. Delays waste time and money, and can impact project morale.
We made sure that didn’t happen during our concrete deck cycle operation on the Cal Poly Pomona Student Housing project. The work is critical to the schedule and success of the project.
Careful planning by Field Superintendent Jessie Castro, Senior Project Engineer Adam Mack and Project Superintendent Andy Larsen ensured the cycle stayed on track. Each cycle, which is the process of prepping and placing a deck, usually takes three weeks.
“Without a vertical placement of columns and walls, our horizontal cycle is affected and it trickles down to the other trades starting their work,” Field Engineer Jessie Castro said.
Communication happen throughout the day, starting with the reinforcing contractor joining our morning foreman and lead-man meeting. This is when foremen talk to each other about progress and coordinate crane time.
“With multiple trades involved, constant communication is required to avoid workers waiting on work or work waiting on workers,” Jessie said. “The project team is effectively using the weekly work plan meeting. It’s our formal sit-down where each trade commits to the group what they will be accomplishing in the next week and eliminates any possible impacts to our schedule.”
Placing concrete decks is a team effort. At Cal Poly Pomona, we used a cycle that repeated every three weeks per segment. Each cycle started by lowering tables and jumping onto the next level. After the deck was sheathed and the perimeter handrail installed for safety, the deck was released to multiple trades to pre-install sleeves, block-outs and electrical, followed by reinforcing steel. After stud rail rebar and post-tension cables were set prior to placement, each deck went through an inspection to ensure quality work.
After a quality inspection we placed the deck before sunrise. As the deck cured, we started setting columns and shear walls that were placed in the afternoon.
This project includes multiple structures, including a student residence hall, a supporting mechanical central plant and a stand-alone, single-story dining commons. We eliminated potential for confusion through top-notch coordination.
“Having a plan, working the plan and communication are the key factors to having this project run as successfully and efficiently as possible,” Jessie said.
Our deck placement occurred before sunrise at Pomona.
March 7, 2018
Dinesh Allam (left) and Tim Gattie talk with a construction management class at Arizona State University.
One of our core values was on display during the spring semester at Arizona State University. Nine of our employee-owners served the community and industry by teaching their specialties to graduate students.
“I knew professors at ASU from when I graduated in 2015,” Project Engineer Dinesh Allam said. “We stayed in contact and that led to this opportunity.”
Southwest Building Division employees Jonathan Randall, Curtis Smith and Garren Echols taught construction management students about early stage project planning and conceptual estimating using D-Profiler. Kristen Bejarano, also from Southwest Building, and Jesse McDonald from our Industrial Division presented a lecture on Project Controls, including delay analysis, cost control and schedule management. Two employees from our Concrete Division, Michael Fyffe and Jeremy Jafferis, taught estimating covering the quantity takeoff process using 3D models and developing pricing using production rates.
Tim Gattie from our Transportation Group and Dinesh, a Concrete Division employee, talked about an upcoming trend, data analytics in construction. The lesson won’t be forgotten. The department chair wants to incorporate the topic into course curriculum.
Dinesh said he and his Sundt co-workers would be returning to ASU classes. There’s still much more knowledge to pass along.
“Sundt’s ASU alumni are very involved with the program,” he said.
February 15, 2018
Ernest E. Tschannen donated $9 million toward the former Science II Building at Sacramento State University.
Sacramento State’s Science II Building will have a new name before we even finish construction. The facility is now known as the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, named after the Sacramento businessman and philanthropist who donated $9 million to the project.
The university held a celebration and made the announcement last month on the 93-year-old businessman’s birthday. Ernest is an immigrant from Sweden who came to California “poorer than a church mouse” as a young man. He built his fortune in Sacramento in real estate and has given back to the community in many ways, including a $38.5 million grant to UC Davis and several donations that have helped beautify cycling and hiking paths around Sacramento’s rivers and Lake Tahoe.
Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelson and Mayor Darrell Steinberg attended the event to honor Ernest.
“We were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him when a cake modeled after the building was rolled out,” said Sundt Project Director Tim Blood. “It was a great event.”
The Design-Build project is a 96,000-square-foot, five-story facility that will centralize the College of Natural Sciences’ biology and chemistry departments. We have completed utilities, the building footprint and form work for cast-in-place concrete.
Structural steel should start going up as early as June. Work is expected to finish in June 2019 and the building is scheduled to open that fall.
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.