The Sundt Experience: May 2017
Northwest Extension Rolls Up Two Build America Awards
Sundt’s Valley Metro Northwest Extension project has earned a pair of awards from the prestigious Build America program, considered the Oscars of the construction industry.
The $160 million project won in the transportation category and also brought home the Marvin M. Black Partnering Excellence Award, which is presented annually to projects that epitomize the principles of partnering. The project was a joint venture with Stacy and Witbeck.
The honors were presented during the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) National Conference in Las Vegas in March.
“These awards, which are selected by a group of our peers, represent the best projects construction has to offer,” said Project Manager Chris Elison. “It’s an honor to be recognized by other great contractors for the work we performed.”
The project is a 3.2-mile addition to the Valley Metro light rail system in the Greater Phoenix area. The Sundt/Stacy and Witbeck JV work is the fourth project the team has finished as part of Valley Metro’s program. Scope included curb-to-curb replacement of water, sewer, storm, electrical, communication and gas utilities, roadway widening and installation of embedded double track with an overhead catenary system, train signals, three traction power substations and traffic signals. The project added three stations and a park-and-ride at Dunlap Avenue, and 6.4 miles of sidewalks, curb and gutter and pavement.
The project was delivered three months ahead of schedule and within budget despite the challenges of being located in an urban area with a high volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Sundt/Stacy and Witbeck also coordinated more than 20 months of utility construction to remove and replace 100 percent of the water, sewer and storm systems.
To keep the community informed, the joint-venture team developed a smartphone app to provide project updates and information about changing traffic control. The app also contained coupons, business promotions, route information and information about community groups.
Build America awards honor AGC members who perform the nation’s most impressive construction projects ranging across the building, highway and transportation, utility infrastructure and federal and heavy divisions. Sundt’s most recent Build America honors came in 2015 in the environmental enhancement category for the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility renovation construction project in Chandler, Arizona, and the highway and transportation renovation category for the West Seventh Street Bridge in Fort Worth.
We’re Expanding in North Texas
Sundt has a long and successful history of serving clients in Texas, from the iconic Reunion Tower in Dallas to the award-winning 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth to our ongoing work at San Pedro Creek in San Antonio. We will soon have four offices in the state, all equipped to meet the needs of unique transportation, industrial and building projects.
Sundt has been operating in the state for more than four decades and is about to open a second office in the Dallas Metroplex area. Hal Hardister, a Project Director in our Fort Worth office, recently took time to discuss the company’s commitment to the Lone Star State and what the future holds for Sundt in North Texas.
How competitive is the North Texas market and what sets Sundt apart from other general contractors?
As with any fast-growing market, North Texas is extremely competitive. Many of the top national construction firms have a significant presence as well as some strong local/regional companies. What clients value about Sundt is that we have well-established procedures for all parts of the construction process, bringing predictability to their projects. Our approach to Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is recognized as unique by our clients. VDC is often thought of as just BIM/clash detection. We don’t just do clash detection; we use VDC for 3D modeling. We also use VDC to maximize Lean practices during the preconstruction and construction phases of our projects.
Sundt is about to open a transportation office in Irving. What are the benefits of having two offices in North Texas?
In 2015, we opened a joint transportation and building group office in Fort Worth. Our growth and success obtaining work in the transportation market prompted us to consider another Dallas/Fort Worth office. Having two offices in Dallas/Fort Worth and being more than 25 miles apart increases our ability to cover the Metroplex more easily.
Sundt has had success in Wichita Falls over the years. How has that come about?
Wichita Falls is a great place for Sundt. Our Career and Technical Education Center for the school district is nearing completion and we are approaching the start of a new project for Midwestern State University. We have a local JV partner, Trinity Hughes, and this relationship as well as Project Executive Bob Aniol’s move to Wichita Falls shows Sundt’s commitment to the market.
You’ve been part of the North Texas construction market for a long time. How has it changed?
I have spent my entire career in North Texas and the landscape has changed significantly in the past 25 years. This market has made a shift from commodity based awards to more relationship driven selections. This move aligns perfectly with Sundt’s alternative delivery expertise. Our clients are looking for a partner to deliver quality projects at a fair price.
We make grants to underserved youth and adults through the Sundt Foundation. How important is it for the company to give back to the communities it serves?
We build environments where our clients, employee-owners and communities prosper. Giving back to the community through grants to organizations like the American Heart Association and Scottish Rite Hospital allows us to show our true commitment to the area. We not only work here, we live here.
Case Study: CSU Channel Islands Sierra Hall
The Sierra Hall Science Lab Project at CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo, California, was a CMAR project to construct a 62,000-square-foot Spanish Mission-style science and chemistry laboratory building. Work included demolition and abatement of the original West Hall building, courtyard walls and a small outbuilding.
Reporting construction progress and status on a regular basis can be challenging and time-consuming. There are many reasons to document project conditions and progress, including quality control, safety measures, claims management, executive progress reviews and owner billings. The more photos and videos taken, the better documentation you have. Unfortunately, this takes time and resources, which are scarce on any project site.
Photo documentation was proving to be very time consuming, so the team set out to develop a way to quickly and easily capture photo and video documentation across the entire project and present it to internal and external stakeholders on a regular basis.
The project team researched the use of drone technology to regularly fly the site to document progress. They flew the drone around the jobsite documenting hard to access exterior envelope areas, roofing and overall site progress.
The project team was immediately able to report progress to the owner with greater accuracy and efficiency. They were also able to present regular monthly progress documentation to Sundt executives, giving them a more detailed and global image of project progress. This newly discovered ability to capture progress video and photo documentation on a regular basis added value both internally and externally. This value was clearly recognized when Sierra Hall was awarded a 2016 Engineering News Record Best Projects Award.