October 5, 2018
April 10, 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.
December 15, 2017
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.
November 22, 2017
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Cade Rowley.
Cade Rowley has spent all 20 of his years in the construction industry with Sundt. Cade, the Preconstruction Manager for our Transportation Group, is a registered civil engineer, member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors of America and AGC’s Board of Governors.
Cade holds a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Early in my career, I was on a very difficult project. I had the opportunity to leave Sundt and pursue a less stressful and less time-consuming career with the US Forest Service. Fortunately, I had a strong Project Manager as a mentor who assured me not all projects were the same. I took the risk to stay with Sundt and it played out well for me and my family.
What does a Preconstruction Manager do?
Besides stress out on bid day, I manage all estimating and preconstruction work in our four Transportation Group offices (Tempe, Arizona; Irving, Texas; San Antonio and Salt Lake City). Manage the budgeting and buyout process for all transportation projects. Review and execute subcontract agreements and purchase-order agreements for all Transportation Group work. Collaborate with Preconstruction Managers from Industrial, Building and Concrete to enhance self-perform opportunities across all groups.
What’s unique about preconstruction for transportation work?
Every project we look at is unique due to site conditions and the environment we are working in. The cost of the work varies greatly due to the geology of the earthwork, site conditions such as working in traffic or in the open, existing underground utilities, weather, etc. We also do a lot of design-bid-build commonly referred to as hard-bid work. In many cases we only have three to four weeks to review hundreds of pages of plans and specifications and provide a price that we are financially committed to.
Dog person or cat person?
Definitely a dog person! My wife even had to leave her cat with her parents when we got married.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
No success can compensate for failure in the home. What we do at work is very important and gives us the ability to support our families and the ones we care about, but we have limited time with our children before they grow up. I encourage everyone who works with me to make time for their families. A happy home life usually leads to a more productive work life.
Seen any good movies lately?
I really enjoyed the movie “Only the Brave” about the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew.
September 15, 2017
Sundt’s Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona.
It’s a smart way to build a road.
Sundt is using Intelligent Compaction (IC) for the first time on our Thousand Trails Road improvements for the Arizona Department of Transportation. IC is the compaction of road materials such as soils, aggregate bases or asphalt pavement materials, using vibratory rollers equipped with an integrated measurement system, an onboard computer reporting system and global positioning system-based mapping.
Compaction is necessary to attain high quality and uniformity of pavement materials, ensuring longer-lasting performance.
“Using IC on the project gives us the ability to monitor compaction efforts in real time and let us know when it has obtained the required compaction on the aggregate base course (what’s under the surface layer) as well as the asphalt,” said Senior Project Manager Eric Weston.
Our Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona between Camp Verde and Cottonwood. The job site is about 20 miles from the award-winning Cordes Junction project we completed in 2013.
The project team will replace the barrier on an existing bridge for future westbound lanes, construct a new bridge for future eastbound lanes and build a new multi-modal pathway. The work consists of seven roundabouts, earthwork, aggregate base, asphaltic concrete pavement, bridge construction, drainage improvements, curb and gutter, sidewalk and other related work.
“The biggest challenge so far has been dealing with traffic on State Road 260,” Eric said. “During the day, SR260 is very busy with local as well as vacation traffic to Cottonwood and Sedona.”
Sundt Virtual Construction Application Developer Ryan Haines.
Sundt Virtual Construction Application Developer Ryan Haines is a Phoenix native and has enjoyed traveling across the U.S. and abroad. He grew up around construction, working for his father’s local general contracting company during summers while in school.
Ryan studied mathematics at Arizona State University, where he had his first experience in computer programming. He has enjoyed pairing these unique experiences at Sundt through construction technology.
What does a Virtual Construction Application Developer do?
Application development for virtual design and construction (VDC) is about efficiency and innovation. To build and consume large 3D models for our construction projects requires sound standards. It also means transferring many thousands of data points, from model creation to quality control in the field. This is where custom digital tools produce efficiency gains.
How does what you do help the construction team once it starts work on a project?
My focus is for our VDC teams to deliver potent results from 3D models. In the Building Group, this means having the right tools to effectively coordinate mechanical, electrical and plumbing design. In Industrial, we are able to track piping components in the 3D model for quality control upon field installation. In Transportation, our VDC teams and estimators can extract phased material quantities based on project schedule. Ultimately, we are providing ways to leverage digital information to mitigate risk and minimize rework.
What does it say about the company that we have the flexibility to put people in departments that better suit their work?
Sundt cares about its employee-owners and is willing to align skills and interests with business needs. Sundt is known for being innovative, and that only continues as we leverage great technology on our projects.
What are your hobbies away from work?
I love being outdoors, including hiking, hunting and fishing. I also like to work with my hands doing welding or helping others with small building projects. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, including my little nieces and nephew.
What the best advice you’ve received from a mentor or coworker?
Trust God. This advice has already paid great dividends in my life.