Drones are being used more and more often on construction sites these days and Sundt’s projects are no exception. Much of our drone work is happening in California and Texas, including the CPS Energy Headquarters in San Antonio. In this video, Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Jonathan Ammon explains how the technology is being used to provide client value on the project.
When it rains, it pours at Sundt’s San Pedro Creek job site in San Antonio. Good thing we have plans in place.
Our team knew going into the project that we would have to deal with rain on a regular basis since the west side of downtown San Antonio drains into San Pedro Creek. A small half-inch rain event causes 2 feet of water in the channel.
There’s virtually no flexibility in the schedule. Our work has to be complete in time for the city’s 300th anniversary celebration next May 5.
“We don’t have the ability to ask for more time,” said Senior Project Manager Chad Yount. “So we developed a plan. “When our employee-owners are given a challenge they come up with great solutions that keep our projects moving forward,” Chad said.
Dealing with excessive rainfall was addressed during preconstruction. The last block of Phase 1 Segment 1 is 8 feet below the existing channel, creating a dam at the end of the project. To solve the problem, the team over-excavated the area by 1 foot and placed filter fabric and drain rock which creates a working surface during minor rain events.
A 6-inch perforated pipe was installed down the middle of the channel below the drain rock which conveys the water to a 6-foot diameter casing that sits 6 feet below the surface. Within this casing, a 6-inch submersible pump is set to turn on and off by a float system reducing the labor costs. As water enters the channel, it drains through the rock to the perforated pipe and into the 6-foot diameter casing. The floats then automatically trigger the 6-inch pump to turn on, sending water over the “dam” and downstream.
The system was tested Aug. 8 when 4 inches of rain fell in four hours. Part of the site ended up under 11 feet of water. With the system in place, the water was pumped out by the next morning and crews were back at work a day later. Without the system in place, work would have been shut down for almost a week.
Sundt Lead Estimator Larry Diaz is a San Antonio local, growing up about 60 miles from the city in Karnes City. He works out of our office in the Alamo City reviewing project documentation to determine scope of work, constructability and associated cost of construction for building projects in Texas.
Larry has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
He has almost two decades of experience in the construction industry, all in the Texas market.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, my father worked for Sundt on an airport project in Austin, Texas and a highway project in Arizona. He always spoke fondly of the Sundt organization and its people. I have noticed that since establishing an office in San Antonio, Sundt has made substantial gains in establishing itself as a major player in the local market. An opportunity presented itself in San Antonio and I jumped on it.
What kind of skills does someone need to be an estimator?
Most important, an estimator needs math skills. Estimating by its nature is working with numbers. Estimating also requires organizational skills; the data extracted during the estimating process needs to be organized in a format that can be conveyed and analyzed. Time management is important. Often, there are bid dates associated with an estimate and/or you may be assigned to multiple projects simultaneously. It is during these times that an estimator must be proficient with his or her time. Though an estimator may be pressed for time, it is crucial to the success of a project that he or she is detail orientated to ensure accuracy. Failure to identify and capture costs could be detrimental to the success of a project. Effective communication is essential. Estimators are often required to communicate their findings with other stakeholders. Open dialogue and transparency are key to successful projects. Lastly, critical thinking skills and technical knowledge are important. Identifying means and methods can help an estimator better understand how a project can be efficiently constructed. Experienced estimators should be able to visualize the job as shown on the drawings and how they would be able to construct the project in the field, step-by-step, most efficiently.
You’re a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders. What have you done as part of the organization?
I was part of the initial travel team that went to Papachacra, Bolivia to close out an existing project that provided safe and reliable drinking water for the people of the village. Our team conducted a needs assessment on communities throughout Bolivia. Based on our assessment, recommendations were made to our chapter and other chapters seeking new projects or communities to help. It’s typically a five-year commitment to a community.
What do you like to do away from work?
I like to spend time with my sons and my family. My sons are in numerous sports and school activities so, as any parent knows, that keeps you on the go. We also like to go bike riding, fishing, camping, hiking and exploring new places in and around San Antonio. Once a year, we try to take a week-long vacation somewhere new.
Where are your favorite vacation spots?
To name just a few: Machu Picchu, Peru; Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Rico; St. Croix; Destin, Florida; Santa Fe; New Orleans; Washington D.C. and the Grand Canyon. There are still so many more on my list that I look forward to visiting.
Just in time for National Public Works Week, Sundt’s work on Hausman Road in San Antonio has been named the American Public Works Association’s Texas Chapter Project of the Year.
Hausman Road was the City of San Antonio’s first design-build transportation project and the largest transportation/street project in its history. We will receive the award June 15 at the annual Texas Public Works Association Conference in San Antonio.
“We are very proud to win this award with our partners from the City of San Antonio and our Design-Build team,” said Corporate Strategic Business Officer, Senior Vice President John Carlson. “The City took a chance on implementing the design-build delivery method on its first transportation project, which was probably its most challenging. It was a tremendous public works project and the effort from everyone involved ensured success for the community.”
Hausman Road is a two-lane roadway that connects two major highways: Loop 1604 and Interstate 10. Our crews widened the 3.4-mile stretch between the highways to four lanes, plus a center turn lane, and constructed five new bridges.
The scope also included managing extensive utility relocations; earthwork; construction of retaining walls; sidewalks, hike and bike trails; storm sewer; archaeological and historic survey; environmental analysis and permitting; geotechnical work; right-of-way services and acquisitions; and public outreach.
The American Public Works Association has sponsored National Public Works Week since 1960. Across North America, its more than 29,000 members in the U.S. and Canada use this week to energize and educate the public on the importance of public works to their daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating at the heart of their local communities to improve quality of life.
Representatives from 3M were there showing the benefits of their fall protection systems as contractors across the country celebrate Safety Week. The systems are harnesses that attach to workers’ backs and tie off to a sturdy part of the structure under development. If the worker slips and falls, the device catches the person and keeps him or her safely suspended until rescued.
We have used similar systems for many years. Anyone working at a height of 6 feet or greater is required by the company to wear a full arrest system. In tests, a 220-pound weight created 5,000 pounds of energy when falling 6 feet, plenty of force to cause serious injury.
Every year, more than 80,000 workers are injured on construction sites across the U.S. Slips and falls are the most frequently cited safety issues by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“In this era of construction safety, and with the fall protection equipment we have available, we need to plan the work and work the plan to ensure there are no falls on our projects,” said Sundt Corporate Director of Quality & Safety Paul Levin.
Safety Week’s mission is to raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury, and to clearly communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern.
Our Safety by Choice program focuses on both how and why workers need to be safe. We encourage our employee-owners to make good choices every day so they can go home to enjoy time with family and friends.