Making A Difference, One Customer At A Time

Long term relationships bear some of the sweetest fruit. For Skanska, we’re most effective when we can develop that deep level of trust and an understanding of our customers’ needs over an extended period, leading to projects that exceed not just the technical specifications of the job, but the personal aspirations of what a job well done really is.

Skanska has been engaged with Methodist Hospital and Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, TX since 2002.  We are currently working on the hospital’s most extensive upgrades to date – a $205 million set of construction projects that include a seven story children’s tower with its own power plant; an expansion of the adult and children’s emergency rooms;  an expanded central tower for Women’s Health Care and critical care services; expanding the Neonatal ICU to 94 beds and a 13-story garage with three levels below grade.

Methodist Hospital in San Antonio is undergoing its most extensive renovation in its history. Skanska crews are challenged to complete the work on schedule while keeping all facilities operating. Credit: Aero Photo.

Methodist Hospital in San Antonio is undergoing its most extensive renovation in its history. Skanska crews are challenged to complete the work on schedule while keeping all facilities operating. Credit: Aero Photo.

Working at a hospital that serves a 27 county region and 175,000 ER patients every year, the main focus has been on having zero impact on patients and their medical care.

“Our biggest and most important challenge was staging – from entrances open to our work in close proximity to children’s and acute care areas,” said Project Executive Keith Sitzman.  “We recognized early on that the best way to manage the process was with frequent meetings to discuss issues and propose solutions, then communicate to the people using the hospital what they could expect.”

Hospital COO Elizabeth Ortega says one weekly meeting grew into three – and took on the moniker of “Coffee Talks.”

“At first we just wanted to know about what kind of noise we could expect from the project, but it turned into a wonderfully collaborative way to address issues before they became problems,” she says. “In the end, it made us one big team instead of a customer and a construction company. I am very grateful for all that the Skanska team has done to make this project an ongoing success.”

“The complexity of the project is incredible; I’ve never worked like this before,” says Sitzman. “It is technically challenging work; making sure we manage every element of safety. We’re using heavy machinery on the other side of a wall where there are NICU babies who weigh no more than a pound. That makes you much more focused on who you’re building for.”

The staged work will see the NICU, Central Sterile and Supply, Same Day Surgery and the Children’s Emergency Department Expansion open this month. The Children’s Tower will follow in February of 2017. The entire facility is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

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Elizabeth Ortega (back row, second from left) and her Methodist Team on site at the Hospital.

“What is designed on paper is often very cool, but the execution of it is a different story,” says  Ms. Ortega. “The Skanska team had to figure out not just ‘how are we going to build that,’ but ‘how are we going to do it and not impact the care that goes on inside the hospital?’ You won’t find other contractors who will sit down and say ‘We get it, we need to make sure we keep things open.’ Those guys are my advocates in keeping our facility open and running.”

Ortega says many of the Skanska employees on the job have been there so long, they’re just as much part of the hospital family as they are Skanska.

“Some of them have hospital badges that are just as worn as their Skanska badges,” she says. “This has been a true partnership every step of the way.”

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Now arriving in NYC: Skanska’s completed World Trade Center Transportation Hub

For the last 15 years, lower Manhattan has been under construction. Building after building and milestone after milestone, New York City has been slowly rebounding – and healing – from the events of September 11, 2001. This week, another milestone marked the journey in that process, with Skanska’s substantial completion of six-and-a-half years of work on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus, opening the final part of the main passenger hall to the public.

Linking multiple subway and commuter rail lines, the completed Transportation Hub serves hundreds of thousands of commuters every day and contributes to the larger vision of a fully-rebuilt World Trade Center site.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson has been there from the start. Standing in the Hub’s soaring Oculus entrance hall, which opened in March 2016, he watched the masses of travelers flowing past him and reflected on his time there.

“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they walk through here gives you a sense of gratitude,” Gary says. “This is more than a construction project – this is a memorial for the families of those lost in the attacks. That’s something we felt every day working here. I’ll never build another project with this kind of emotional impact.”

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Great obstacles

Skanska’s joint venture at the World Trade Center faced unique challenges in delivering the project, most of which is underground. The Hub’s main section sits below the National September 11 Memorial, which opened in 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks. To allow that to happen on time, Skanska built the Hub from the top down, rather than from the bottom up, a non-traditional construction approach that added and additional layer of complexity.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11 and marked the substantial completion of the project.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11, 2016 and marked the substantial completion of the project. Credit: Michael Benabib.

The No. 1 subway line bisects the Hub’s subterranean site, and it needed to stay operational during construction. So while the subway was suspended 70 feet in the air, Skanska crews built under, over and around it. They also safely built around the thousands of commuters, as they went to and from a temporary plywood-and-concrete train terminal.

Further complicating Skanska’s work was Hurricane Sandy, which in 2012 flooded the subterranean project with some 40 feet of floodwater, more than 200 million gallons.

“When Sandy hit, we had to take a big step back. We were able to quickly and safely switch gears, get new equipment in and rebuild,” said Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga. “A further adjustment was keeping the station active while building these final platforms, which was a constant and everyday challenge we were proud to overcome.”

The complex logistics of the World Trade Center site itself – with many structures being built simultaneously – further challenged our crews. At one point, 13 cranes and more than 4,000 workers were packed into the five city blocks of the site.

“I’m very proud of our teams that we finally got to the finish line,” Gary says. “It’s been a long time coming.”

One of the support beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 211, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub.

One of the foundation beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 11, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Rising again

Visitors to the Transportation Hub are now greeted with expanses of smooth Italian marble and huge exposed steel beams that ripple overhead – all of it pure white. It’s a place teeming with life, but also a place to remember what happened 15 years ago. Reminders of that day are throughout the Hub, including visible sections of the original Twin Towers’ steel framework and concrete foundation (both built by Skanska in the 1970s).

It’s also a place to be proud of the tremendous efforts of those who labored to bring this hallowed ground back to life.

“We’ve come back from the ashes,” says Gary, who lost two close friends on 9/11. “It’s all back together now after so many years.”

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What Labor Day Means to Us

The true meaning of many of our modern holidays tends to get lost in social activities, shopping blitzes and greeting cards. So when a holiday like Labor Day rolls around, our thoughts are more likely to turn to back-to-school sales, barbecues or one last weekend at the beach.

For the construction industry, Labor Day is immensely important – I’d even say it’s “our” holiday.

The Federal Department of Labor defines Labor Day as “a creation of the labor movement, dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, saluting the  contributions they have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

One of the great things I get to do as CEO is travel to our thousands of projects around the country. When I do, I see firsthand the incredible work we are doing – building roads and bridges, airports and hospitals, schools, data centers, office buildings and much more.

I also have the honor of meeting many of the talented people – our co-workers – who are building those jobs. I am always in awe of the men and women who spend hours outside – this time of year, in the hot sun – translating drawings on a page into the creations that catch our eye and tug at our imagination.  We build those projects that make people say “Wow, look at that.” If they only knew what it took to create – and how much love, sweat and worry is left at every job site!

Here, in their own words, are some of our co-workers who make us proud to be builders and developers. Check out more stories from our workers who built the World Trade Center Oculus and Transportation Hub, here.

Thanks to them and the thousands of Skanska employees across the country for the work they do.

 2016-PHOTO-ManuelBarrios-smaller“It’s a rare opportunity to be a part of such a great construction firm like Skanska. It takes a certain type of person to work in the industry and I know I work hard. I want to make sure that I am able to provide our subs with the tools and access they need to complete our job. Anyway that I can help, if I can do it, I will. There’s nothing I can’t do. I have many certifications but I have no problem doing the dirty stuff, if something needs to be cleaned I’ll tend to it. I am just very grateful.” – Manuel “Manny” Berrios, Miami Science Museum Team

 

2016-PHOTO-DavidCulliver-smaller“The best part of my job is meeting new people, seeing what they do.  I love learning new things and how they impact our customers. I was inspired by a job superintendent to keep learning and that has made an impact how I work.”  – David Culliver, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital in Fort Lauderdale

 

 

 

2016-PHOTO-JamesThompson-smaller“I got into the craft after high school, recognizing the opportunity it held. The best part of my job is meeting different people and teaching my craft to others. My job is hard, but also fun, exciting and very rewarding.” – James Thompson, I-4 Ultimate, Central Florida

 

 

 

2016-PHOTO-TylerSmith-smaller“After working as a Field Engineer in Virginia, I was nominated for the CCTP program and am currently on rotation at the I-4 Ultimate Project with the Safety team. The best part of my job is the travel, seeing other projects and participating in other facets of the industry that I would otherwise not get an opportunity to do. This is a fantastic learning opportunity, it is enjoyable, challenging and offers an opportunity to see, do and learn something new every day.” – Tyler Smith, SGL Safety Department

 

2016-PHOTO-Joseph-Bruneau-smaller“I am originally from Haiti, so this is an opportunity to begin a career in my newly adopted country. The best part of my job is building Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls, watching them get longer and taller.  Our crew is more than a team, we are building lasting friendships and a camaraderie that has become very important and fulfilling for me.” – Joseph Bruneau, MSE wall crew

 

 

2016-PHOTO-LucindaCox-smaller“Showing others they can be productive and schedule-conscious while still being aware of their surroundings and making the right decisions to help protect the well-being of them and their coworkers is what I love about my job. It is challenging, it takes discipline and patience, but it is very rewarding to see people working safely.” – Lucinda Cox, Area 1 Safety Manager

 

 

 

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Richard Cavallaro

Richard Cavallaro

President and CEO, Skanska USA

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Elizabeth River Tunnel Opens Early – Again!

For the second time this year, a critical stage of our Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia has hit a deadline early, this time opening the second lane of the newly-built Midtown Tunnel (MTT) to traffic on Friday, August 26, a full four months ahead of schedule. This follows the opening of the first lane to traffic back in June, six months early.

“It encourages the movement of goods and services and economic development. And let’s be clear, that’s why we build these transportation assets is for economic development,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane.

The first vehicles drive through both lanes of the Midtown Tunnel for the first time on Friday, August 26, 2016.

The first vehicles drive through both lanes of the Midtown Tunnel for the first time on Friday, August 26, 2016.

It’s also another victory for the public private partnership (P3) model, in which private developers and operators invest their own equity – alongside government – to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain critical infrastructure projects for the public good.  The $2.1 billion ERT project is Skanska’s first major infrastructure P3 in the U.S., alongside the I4 Ultimate in Florida and New York’s LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal.

Project benefits at ERT are numerous: drivers will enjoy reduced emissions and congestion, as well as shave as much as 30 minutes a day off their average round trip commute. For more on the benefits of P3, check out our previous blog post here.

Improved safety features are also a key element in the MTT’s design. For example, the tunnel has a unique, pressurized emergency exit tunnel that allows people to escape the tunnel if needed.

“If an event happened in the tunnel – smoke, fire, if there was an accident – and you couldn’t get out of the tunnel in your vehicle, you could get out of your vehicle, and you can safely [leave] the tunnel,” said Wade Watson, project director for SKW Constructors, ERT’s design-build joint venture partnership of Skanska, Kiewit, and Weeks Marine.

The ERT project is divided into four sections:

• Rehabilitation, life-safety improvements, and maintenance of the existing westbound and eastbound Downtown Tunnels (completed in August 2016) and the existing (now eastbound) Midtown Tunnel (projected for completion May 2018);

• Construction of a new two-lane, unidirectional Midtown Tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River (opened to one lane of westbound traffic in June 2016, and opened to both lanes of traffic in August 2016);

• Interchange modifications at Brambleton Avenue and Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk at the approach of the new Midtown Tunnel and the exit of the existing Midtown Tunnel (completed in August 2016);

• The extension of the Martin Luther King Expressway from London Boulevard to Interstate 264 in Portsmouth (projected for completion in December 2016).

Full completion on the project is expected in August 2018.

To celebrate the completion, runners participated in a 5k run/walk through the tunnel on Saturday, August 27.

To celebrate the completion, runners participated in a 5k run/walk through the tunnel on Saturday, August 27.

Click here for more on how this amazing tunnel was built.

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Changing the Way We Watch The Game

Americans are passionate about their sports. From the pros to collegiate teams – and even some elite high schools – fans love heading to their home stadium or arena for a game.

But the way fans watch a game has shifted dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years, says Tom Tingle, Skanska SVP and national director of our Sports & Entertainment Center of Excellence (COE), and venues are responding with a retooling of stadium and arena amenities from seating to concessions to technology.

“Owners are incredibly strategic about the amenities they build into their facilities,” says Tingle, “Being smart about what to offer your fans to enhance their experience while at the game can make or break a team’s revenue stream. We help owners see the possibilities of not just building new, but renovating what they already have to keep pace with the demands of the new fan.”

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Skanska USA renovated the football stadium at the University of Kentucky, which added fan amenities including expanded standing room near food and beverage stations and seats and gathering spaces closer and lower to the field of play. Credit: Phebus Photography.

Trying to get someone with a stocked refrigerator easily within reach off their couch? Tingle says to give them lounge seating at the game, waiter service and big screen TVs at their seats (in addition to a great view of the field).

Want to attract the fans that use second screens – including social media platforms – as part of their experience? Tingle points to distributed antenna systems that can support thousands of mobile devices, paired with active campaigns from teams that encourage fans to interact online, post pictures of their experience and use pre-determined hashtags, which he says can also help drive additional revenue.

“Gone are the days of watching a game from the seat you paid for. The modern fan moves around the stadium to take in the game from multiple vantage points,” says Tingle. “That means giving these mobile fans places to land, including standing food and beverage areas with clear views of the field of play that encourage traffic flow and further enhance the experience.”

Owners are also rethinking the premium experience, he says. “Suites don’t have the allure they once did and so incorporating premium seating, with access to services including food and beverage, are being accomplished through surgical renovations to stadiums and arenas rather than full scale, tear down jobs.”

Skanska’s Sports & Entertainment COE experts are responsible for some of the more amazing NFL Stadiums, including MetLife Stadium (home of the NY Giants and NY Jets), Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots) and NRG Stadium (home of the Houston Texans).

Read more from Tom about the “Battle for the Fan” in this piece on Construction Dive.

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Competing for a Sustainable Future

Each year, competition for the best young talent in the construction industry grows. Skanska has taken an innovative approach to recruitment by partnering with the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) for its annual student competition.  Held every year in Nevada, this event attracts students from top construction and engineering schools including Oregon State, Virginia Tech, University of Washington and University of Florida.

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Project Executive Pat Prendergast discusses career opportunities at Skanska with interested student. Credit: Skanska USA.

“Between 2015 and 2016,  we have hired 33 candidates for positions on the East and West Coasts whom we found at this competition,” explained Skanska HR Service Manager Shannon Carver.

The problem statements and oral prompt portions of the competition are hypothetical, based on similar challenges Skanska teams have experienced on a project. Our team of judges looks for how individual students and teams adapt to changing circumstances, expectations and stress when scoring written responses and presentations.

Skanska sponsors the only Sustainable Building and LEED problem statement in the competition, drawing on our pool of sustainable projects.

This year, the Skanska competition problem statement focused on the Transbay Transit Center project in downtown San Francisco, which Skanska is currently building. The new center will replace the existing terminal and serve as a hub for 11 bus and rail systems, encouraging the use of public transportation and providing a more convenient, sustainable alternative for the estimated 100,000 daily passengers. At five stories tall, it will incorporate sustainable design features such as a 5.4 acre rooftop park.

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Senior Project Engineer Shelby Ohlund reviews student resume as they fill out Skanska’s app-based recruiting questionnaire. Credit: Skanska USA.

“I have had the opportunity to participate in and lead the problem statement team,” explained Project Manager, Dan Fredrick. “It always amazes me that the schools come back year after year saying they are excited to see how we are going to challenge them.”

The three-day event is overflowing with opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage. While students work on their problem statements and presentations, the faculty and staff interact with and learn from industry leaders. Topics of discussion have ranged from sustainability and Great Boss strategies to diversity and inclusion.

The competition is also a professional development opportunity for Skanska employees. Over the course of five months, a group of Skanska employees from across Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona collaborate to produce the written and oral problem statements and prepare to recruit and interview potential candidates for employment.

“When we are creating these problems, we hope it will help students gain an understanding and appreciation of the green building methods that the construction industry employs, specifically Skanska, in day-to-day operations,” said Project Controls Engineer Brian Thomsen. “More than that, we hope that students will look to incorporate these ideas into their daily lives outside the classroom and in their future careers.”

As Skanska prepares for the 2017 competition, the team will look for ways to integrate Envision and other green strategies into the written and oral problem statements to continue to challenge students and share our continued efforts in building what matters.

For more about the competition, check out this video from ACS:

 

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Upgrading Our Hospitals Will Take a New Approach to Design

The last time you were in a hospital, did you take a good look around? What did you see?

Since the middle of the last century, hospitals have grown in size and complexity, but their physical layout has not kept pace with technological innovations and taken advantage of evidence-based design. Yes, they may look different, and feel modern and welcoming, but they have also grown, somewhat unchallenged, in square footage, materials and support systems.  One can look at a healthcare facility and come close to identifying the decade in which it was put into use.

Our Healthcare Center of Excellence (COE) helps hospitals push the boundaries of hospital design, and build for the health care delivery methods of today with an eye to the technologies of tomorrow. Andrew Quirk, head of our Healthcare COE, describes this approach in this piece on Building Design + Construction, here.

2016 IMAGE-KarolinskaHospitalSweden

Skanska recently handed over the first patient wing of the Karolinska Solna Hospital in Sweden, which designers say put the patient in the center of the planning. All patients receive a single room and a “thematic care” approach means doctors and specialists visit the patient rather than the other way around.

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Not Your Grandpa’s Library

Asked to envision a library, one might conjure up images of stacks of musty books, dimly-lit wood-paneled rooms in hushed silence and cabinets of Dewey Decimal cards that lead to a prized tome.

Our Dayton Metro Main Library project in Ohio is anything but that: with design elements that include glass, steel and natural materials that bring in natural light, open space and encourage social interaction in a model that turns traditional library construction on its head.

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The Main Branch of the Dayton Library will incorporate future-proofing elements like raised floors for cable runs and back-of-house space for next-gen technologies that will make the structure more inviting and longer-lasting. Credit: Skanska USA.

“It’s more like a community center than a library – there’s an emphasis on programming and connection,” says Senior Project Manager Greg Lowery. He describes the all-glass building as maximizing exposure “in every nook and cranny” and incorporating movable glass partition walls to make the space as nimble as possible to accommodate groups both large and small.

The Main Library is one of five buildings Skanska is working on for Dayton’s expansive library system – and one of two projects with an expansion component we are constructing there. A third is a completely new building.

Lowery says his favorite elements in the renovated building include a grand staircase entrance and a planned fireplace with exposed brick that will provide a welcoming space to read and interact. A coffee shop will fill the space with inviting aromas.

Beyond the design elements, Lowery says Skanska’s expertise came through in making the building flexible for its future needs. He points out the building has raised floors rather than concrete slabs, allowing installation of new cable and utility runs simply by removing a panel. He says that will make future room re-configurations easier and save money for the library and the city.

“We helped look beyond the immediate plans for the library to leave room for technologies and expansions that will come 10 and 20 years from now,” he says. “We helped preserve options for future developments no one can even predict today.”

Skanska has particular expertise in this area, having provided preconstruction and construction management at risk services for the multi-award winning James B. Hunt Jr. Library on North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus.

Lowery credits the Skanska preconstruction teams with helping to cost-benefit the future-proofing concepts and convincing the client of its importance.

“And kids will love it,” he says. “With USB charging ports and tablets available to search for information, it’s a long way from when I sat in the basement of my library searching microfiche archives for a term paper.”

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Ready for Takeoff at Tampa International Airport

Air travelers passing through Tampa International Airport (TIA) will discover some significant changes the next time they arrive, as a major component of the Skanska-built transfer concourse opened to the public on Friday, July 22. When complete, Skanska’s $130 million portion of TIA’s largest expansion ever will include 65 new retail, dining and beverage locations.

“It’s all aimed at making the traveler experience more pleasant and more convenient,” says Danny Valentine, Communications Manager at TIA.  “Increased seating and more electrical charging stations were critical – as well as offering places to eat, drink and shop.”

2016 RENDERING-TampaInternationalAirport

In this rendering for the project, a view from the existing monorail tracks, the roof of the new public dining and retail concourse curves up and away from the parking deck. Credit: Tampa International Airport.

Spanning approximately 18 months, more than 300 Skanska workers have worked on the expansion to date.

“From the start of the project, it was evident that the two most important missions for the owner were the safety of the patrons and workers, and the patrons travel experience so they can maintain the airport’s award-winning customer service ratings. So we knew we had to be safe and invisible,” said Roger Stephan, Senior Vice President on the project. “We continue to work with the TIA staff to enhance our phasing plan and signage to be as invisible as possible, working night shifts to minimize and almost eliminate all noise activities so travelers wouldn’t notice the ongoing construction.  Directional signage remains paramount to make sure passengers get where they need to be as fast as possible.”

“Working with Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) to bring this first big main terminal reveal has taken a tremendous effort from everyone and should generate even more excitement as the rest of the program evolves,” said Denise Muth, Project Executive for Skanska USA. “We’re very proud to be part of this historic project with HCAA and look forward to more exciting unveilings as the work continues.”

Crews unveiled the east side of the expansion, including two new restaurants, glass curtain walls and new, more modern finishes. The space will invite more natural light into the space and expand the footprint that made the new amenities possible. And the airport took the opportunity to bring a little bit of Tampa to everyone who passes through.

“We wanted to bring a local feel to every one of our air travelers, so we incorporated local food and beverage options,” says Valentine. “Gasparilla’s is named after a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida. Every year Tampa has a festival named after him. Our bar is even shaped like a pirate ship.”

The expansion is also serving a critical need to simply expand the footprint of the airport, which has seen its usage swell in recent years. “Passenger decongestion was a primary goal of this project as well as providing a more comfortable and user-friendly atmosphere. And it’s the first time we’ll have pre-security, outdoor dining options where you can watch the planes taking off and landing. Along with the Florida climate we expect it to be quite beautiful.”

Above: Time lapse video of Skanska-built East Side Expansion at Tampa International Airport.

View shows the construction of one of two glass curtain-walled dining and shopping concourses that opened on July 22, 2016. Courtesy: Tampa International Airport.

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Getting Ahead of the Curve

When it comes to driving value for customers, bringing innovative solutions to problems is a powerful asset.

In Skanska’s Building Division, the preconstruction group has been utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric estimating technology to help accelerate the building process from concept design to final estimate – to the growing delight of customers and colleagues.

It started – as most great ideas do – with the need to solve a problem.

In Boston, Preconstruction Estimator Tony Meade and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Managers Matt Emond and Jeremy Thibodeau  realized that their preconstruction work of estimating costs for projects was made challenging by the limited availability of information at the early stages of design. They knew enhancing early design concepts from designers by using advanced BIM technology tools could speed projects and help customers. So they developed a way to create their own models that would allow them to start their estimating work sooner.

“In early designs, the detailed information we rely on to estimate a job is often lacking,” says Matt Emond. “Estimating needs to start before a design has been fully fleshed out. By creating a 3D model and sharing it with the entire team, you eliminate those delays.”

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(left to right:) Kelsey Stein, David Kabasin, Jeff Courtney, and Teresa Morales, of the Tampa Preconstruction department, look over a parametric estimating job, also displayed on the screen behind them. Credit: Skanska USA.

Our preconstruction team in Tampa, FL is utilizing what it calls a “Revit Takeoff Template” to extract material quantities using 3D models. Estimator Kelsey Stein says the process helps express a design intent and include costs. The “Takeoff Template” is proving to be a very helpful estimate expediting tool, one which was developed along with a training lesson to share the knowledge with other Skanska Preconstruction Teams throughout the US, according to the team.

“We spend less time counting and measuring so we are able to spend more time addressing issues that make the project better,” says Stein. “We are also standardizing how we can express the quantities for a building.”

Some iterations of the technologies allow project details to be changed on the fly and provide cost changes for the customer, instantly. “We can move a wall or change a finish and the estimate can rise or fall based on the change, right there on the screen. That’s an enormous advantage,” says Emond.

USF - Parametric Estimating

An example of parametric estimating that allows real-time adjustments to material costs (at left) as the design of a building is modified (at right). The result speeds projects through multiple iterations keeping a close eye on cost.

The innovation has had added benefits – with seasoned estimators and younger technical experts sharing information in both directions – a kind of two-way mentoring system.  “Experienced team members are learning model usage to their benefit and our tech savvy model users are climbing the estimating learning curve quicker by working together behind the wheel of a BIM model,” says Steve Stouthamer, EVP for Project Planning.

“From an architectural standpoint, this is the future of construction,” says Tampa-based Preconstruction Manager Jeff Courtney. “We’re looking to take lessons learned from this template to develop other 3D tools; this is just the beginning.”

Thibodeau, a member of Skanska’s Innovative Construction Solutions Group, says the merger of images and bottom-line cost can help avoid having customers fixate only on the budget of a project, and allow a discussion about the benefits of building something to its maximum potential.

“A client was flipping through a project cost proposal and had a question, and recalled the model we had created. It demonstrated the power of images and how they connect to the data. It was an ‘a-ha’ moment for us, knowing we had moved the project in the right direction,” says Thibodeau.

“We want to use the extra time the models give us to add value to the project,” says Stein. “With the time we get back, we can more carefully scrutinize pricing levels, analyze sustainability options and review other important elements.  Everything we do in advance of construction makes the project better for the people who build it.”

“I see us doing more and more of this because it’s a benefit to the client, and it helps us build better,” says Emond.

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Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Project manager

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