The Sundt Experience: April 2014
Paying it Forward
Participation in Case Study Benefits Complex Education Project While Advancing the Construction Industry
The complex, time-consuming process of identifying and tracking unfinished/corrective items at the end of a project takes weeks with conventional software programs. But “punchlisting,” as the process is known, is much faster and more sophisticated with the use of a program developed by Bluebeam® Software called Revu®. Sundt deployed Revu in an innovative way by applying it to one of its more challenging projects during a recent case study. What Sundt learned makes this digital workflow a potential game-changer for the construction industry.
The project was the $75 million Aztec Student Union project at San Diego State University, a 206,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum building that features expansive arches, arcades, balconies and courtyards designed to complement the Spanish Mission style architecture seen throughout the campus. Inside the historic-looking Aztec Student Union are several high-tech spaces, including a 300-seat theater; a wood-cladded, 1,200-person ballroom; and a state-of-the-art bowling alley.
As the project’s closeout phase approached, Sundt Project Engineer Dominic Daughtrey had the idea to use Revu to manage the complex punchlist process. Daughtrey had used Revu before, but never for punchlisting, so he invited a Blubeam representative to come to the project and perform a demonstration. After seeing what Revu could do, the team was hooked on the idea of using it – even though it meant that a steep learning curve lay ahead. About two weeks after the demonstration, Bluebeam invited Sundt to formally participate in a Revu case study so the team could share its successful implementation of Revu for punchlisting.
“Sundt’s rapid adoption of Bluebeam Revu on this project, especially within the punch workflow, showcases the company’s commitment to being an innovative technology leader in the industry,” said Stan Singh, Account Manager at Bluebeam Software and Daughtrey’s direct Bluebeam contact throughout the deployment and use of Revu.
Ten consultants were involved in the project’s punchlist, including Sundt, the owner and Cannon Design, the project architect. Before they all agreed as a team to use Revu, each one had its own way of punchlisting.
“That’s a common problem that leaves the general contractor or construction manager with a huge job when it comes to integrating and managing it all,” Daughtrey said. “For this project, it would have been exceptionally challenging because there were so many parties involved, a lot of complexities, and an 800-page plan set. But Revu allowed us to greatly simplify an otherwise complicated workflow. For example, the plan set was reduced to a 254-page punch set of architectural and MEP floor plans.”
Revu enables users to easily identify items that require attention by placing pre-created “Punchkey®” annotations (markups that provide detailed information about common issues) on PDFs. At the same time, the program automatically tracks who made a markup and when, and enables users to easily assign responsibility and set the status – such as accepted or rejected – to any annotation.
“One of the biggest benefits we experienced was that the markups were automatically assigned to the right contractor,” Daughtrey explained. “With older approaches, each consultant sends the contractor its list of markups, and then someone has to go through and read every single markup and assign each one to the right sub. That takes a very long time. But this way, it’s automatic because it’s all built into the software. We were able to create reports that contained exact location information for each markup as well as the specific page of the plan set for each. The subs were amazed at the amount of detail and accuracy.”
“Implementing and updating the punchlist was much easier using Revu,” added Sundt Field Superintendent Jared Mettee. “I was able to walk through the building in person while updating the punch list virtually on my tablet. With Revu it was easy to see exactly where the correction was required, making it much faster to correct and close out.”
There’s no question that Revu simplified and greatly improved the punch process for the complex Aztec Student Union project. Even more exciting is the fact that the information Bluebeam obtained from the case study stands to benefit the entire construction industry and, most importantly, the clients it serves.
“It took a lot of hard work and lots of late nights to figure out how to transform our process in just two short weeks,” Daughtrey added. “But the benefits are huge. Time is definitely money in the construction industry, and using Blubeam Revu on our project has helped Sundt save both, which ultimately benefits our clients. I expect to see Revu become much more commonly used across our industry.”
Airfield Paving Experience Opens the Door to Important Military Construction Project
Sundt’s extensive airfield paving experience helped the company win a challenging project at one of the nation’s most security-sensitive air force bases. Minot Air Force Base near Minot, N.D., supports a unit of intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles and is home to one of the country’s only two squadrons of B-52 bombers. Developed during the Cold War to provide a quick route to Russia over the Arctic Circle, Minot remains strategically important today as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
“Keeping the base operational during construction is important in case there is a national military emergency,” said Sundt Project Manager Scott Miller. “Sundt understands security issues and how to accommodate them because of our extensive history performing work for the U.S. military. We’re also adept at meeting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ detailed specifications for airfield paving.”
The $32 million heavy civil construction project involves repaving the central, 8,900-foot-long stretch of the base’s runway – a task that will require approximately 41,400 cubic yards of concrete and 35,650 tons of asphalt. (The two ends of the runway were already repaved by other contractors under separate contracts.) But first, the team will pave and stripe a nearby taxiway to turn it into a temporary, emergency runway that hopefully won’t ever need to be used.
Logistics and timing are the project’s main hurdles. Construction can’t begin until the B-52 squadron is removed from the base on March 31. After that date, Sundt will begin excavation and grading with its own crews as soon as the ground is sufficiently thawed, and from there work will proceed at breakneck speed until the project is completed on or before September 30, as stipulated by the contract.
Success during the intervening six months will depend on expert planning and coordination – and cooperation from the weather. The timing of the spring thaw affects more than the team’s ability to perform earthwork; it also dictates when heavy loads can be driven on local roads. Summer brings warmer temperatures, but it also ushers in the rainy season and the potential for groundwater issues at the site.
“Our completion date is firm but the start date and work windows are highly dependent on external factors, primarily the weather,” said Miller. “How you plan and adjust is where the contractor’s experience comes into play.”
Sundt will set up a concrete batch plant adjacent to the runway and mix and place the concrete and aggregate base with its own crews. While the sand and other materials will be sourced locally, the rock for the concrete will have to come all the way from Sioux Falls, S.D., which is hundreds of miles away. It will be sent to the jobsite by train to a terminal that is only available until July, after which it is shifted to agricultural use.
“This essentially means that we have to have all of the rock onsite before paving even begins,” Miller said. “If we don’t have enough, there’s no way to get more in time to complete the project on schedule. Over-ordering isn’t an option either, because materials in this remote area are extremely expensive. This is when it pays to know what you’re doing and invest a lot of work upfront in the planning stages.”
Sundt’s other recent military airfield paving projects include construction of a $23 million apron and taxiway at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, N.M., and a $24 million Auxiliary Landing Field for the F-35B at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Yuma, Ariz.
Challenging Design Relies On Innovative Use of BIM
Sundt’s first project for the Coast Community College District in California has an eye-catching, complex design that calls for an innovative approach. The three-story, 78-000-square-foot facility on the campus of Orange Coast Community College in Costa Mesa – designed by LPA Architects – will have an exterior skin comprised of exposed structural steel, a glass curtain wall system, metal panels, plaster and exposed cast-in-place concrete.
As Construction Manager (CM) for the $38 million CM Multiple Prime project, the project team decided the best way to successfully integrate the different skin materials was to require some of the prime contractors to use Building Information Modeling (BIM) to plan their work in advance.
“We called out for framers, steel contractors and glazers to provide BIM models. It was a requirement that was written into their contracts,” said Sundt Project Manager Conrad Benitez. “Having this range of prime contractors provide BIM is pretty innovative. Usually it’s just the MEP guys who do it, but all of the trades are getting more sophisticated in their use of technology.”
When it’s complete in the summer of 2015, the community college construction project will house offices, classrooms and computer labs for the math and business departments. Inside the building will be several areas of architectural-quality exposed concrete, including a circular cast-in-place concrete element that will surround a new computer laboratory, and an elliptical-shaped, cast-in-place concrete area to house lecture rooms.
The team overcame a few challenges early in the project in order to keep the project on schedule, and once again modeling proved essential to their success.
“There were some challenges coming out of the gate, including the discovery of unforeseen miscellaneous concrete structures,” Benitez explained. “Through quick collaborative decision-making by the entire project team, schedule impacts were able to be mitigated during grading operations. Modeling to coordinate all the underground work also helped to ensure that subsequent work immediately after grading went as smoothly as possible.”