School: University of Florida Major: Construction Management Company: PCL Construction Services Internship from 5/11/15 — 8/14/15
This summer I worked with PCL construction Services on the Disney Springs Project in Orlando, FL. This project was very unique as it was an entire revitalization of the downtown Disney area. Our project value was over 300 million dollars and the scope of work included a million gallon water feature which would later be themed as a natural Spring along with 16 other buildings that would house retail and restaurants that were located around the spring. In addition, this job is an IPD project which means Integrated project delivery method where PCL, Disney and the architect had one contract which bound everyone together.
I had various responsibilities during my internship with PCL on this project. One major task I was in charge of was coordinating various subcontractors to install all the necessary underground and services required for the “back of house” Service yard areas which were located behind each building. These yards had to encompass various things such as large trash compactors, cardboard balers, large electrical transformers and fire hydrants. These were essentially areas where the shops and restaurants would receive shipments and dispose of trash and other items. Also all the electrical,plumbing, grease and sewer were all run through these areas. A focus of mine was coordinating with the field and the design team ensure continued progress of underground utilities along with managing out concrete subcontractor to finally place the slab on grade for these areas once all underground was completed. This was often challenging as the design sometimes would require more information or even drawings were missing necessary systems for a complete install. Another challenge was when placing concrete in these areas was to ensure that all ADA slope and cross slope requirements were met because our owner Disney does not want to be on the losing end of a lawsuit for one of these areas being in non-compliance.
In addition to that, I also used Bluebeam to track all the progress of underground utilities. I updated maps showing current progress of all utilities on site and made maps showing Live electric and gas underground and a tested and inspected map for sewer, drainage and water. All these tools were useful as a manager to help show progress of the job to the owner along with help forecast the jobs progress. These tools also were distributed to all excavator operators on site to ensure that when they were digging they could see what utilities where underneath them. This in itself helped save lost time from unnecessary repairs and even lives saved from not hitting live electrical systems.
Another awesome responsibility I had during my internship was to help superintendents run Pull Plan scheduling meetings. This is a scheduling tool apart of the Integrated Project Delivery Method which allows subcontractors to meet in a room and place sticky notes for the following weeks activities. I saw how critical communication is in these meetings because more often than not subcontractors were waiting on other subcontractors. So therefore, bringing them all in one room allowed for them to communicate and plan the following weeks work in a coordinated fashion.
These were just some of the major roles and responsibilities i undertook this summer working for PCL construction on the Disney Springs Project in Orlando, FL
What results did you achieve on the project(s), and what impact did they have on the company?
The project from my point of view seemed to be going very well. The results that I achieved from pouring four service yard areas that were rough 8000 square foot each was critical towards the progress of the job. Many of the general superintendents were very proud of the progress that I had achieved as an intern because they gave me the responsibility and I took it and ran with it achieving the desired results in a timely fashion. I think the progress I made will overall help the company accomplish the job on-time and on budget with a quality product delivered to the owner. Therefore, I believe I helped the company maintain a positive image in Disney’s eyes.
What real-life technical or business skills did you learn during the internship?
Some real-life skills I learned during my internship were communication and documentation. I found out how critical communicating your ideas in a very clear way will help the subcontractors and your bosses trust you. Also, when communicating with owners and subcontractors it is critical to talk in a professional and knowledgeable manner because this will ensure that they can trust you and keep the reputation of your company positive. Also, when you express that you will take on a responsibility, your word is everything so you must act on it and accomplish the task. In addition, documentation is critical. Things can become hectic on site, so its very important to have the proper documentation before you proceed with something, such as an inspectors signature to continue with a concrete pour. I also learned how to use Bluebeam which is such an awesome tool for document management and marking up drawings. These skills will stay with me for a lifetime as they are critical for my success in the construction industry.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Their are numerous things I learned this summer that will affect me in a positive way. All of the real-life technical and business skills I learned this summer will without a doubt stick with me and impact me in a positive manner. Learning how to communicate properly with owners subcontractors and fellow co-workers is critical in my success. Additionally, learning how to properly document activities on site is critical to the success of the job. Even further, learning how to use technology such as BlueBeam and BIM360 Field Management was critical to my success as an intern and for my future.
Where do you think technology will make the biggest impact in construction in the next few years, and how will it do that?
I feel that technology is going to be our best friend in the coming years. There is without a doubt a need for more technological advances in the construction industry as many other industries are well ahead of it. I can see in the future, all documents and updates to the documents becoming linked electronically. This would mean that once a new document is submitted and approved by the Building Department. All the drawings in the digital plan room will become updated so everyone in the field is on the same page. ‘Additionally, I can see surveying becoming a thing of the past as IPADs will soon be able to locate any point on the job site along with be able to tell you exact elevations. This could really help the superintendents in the field when they are doing quality assurance and control. In addition, technology such as 3D printing may become very useful. Have you ever been on a job site where a subcontractor is delayed because he is waiting on a shipment for a special order part to finish his job. With a 3D printer we could have that special part in just hours instead of weeks! This could really increase productivity and even shave time of a schedule!