Evan's Intern Experience: You Win Some, You Lose Some

The past two weeks in the office have been great.

To start off; I experienced my first official bid day since joining the office at the beginning of May. The project we were bidding on was the restoration of Parkdale Pumping Station located in Toronto. This project happened to be the first one that I began estimating on upon arriving at Alberici.

During the week leading up to bid day the estimating team along with upper management worked together on preparing the framework and strategy for the bid. When bid day arrived, prices from subcontractors began flowing in and this continued throughout the morning with some prices coming in with less than 15 minutes to go before bid submission! Throughout the morning the team worked together to finalize the bid; it was awesome to see the team working so well together in a situation where time is not on your side. Time seemed to just fly by; one moment I was having my morning coffee, the next I was waiting in the bid room with the rest of the team for the results!........ WE DID IT! We had successfully beat the competition. I’d have to say that it was a pretty surreal feeling having a project that the team had worked hard on over the past month become a success.

Unfortunately, the next bid day was not as successful as we ended up finishing second place on a building renovation project. “You win some, you lose some” is the phrase which pops into mind. However, a positive takeaway from this experience was how the team reacted to the loss, which was the mindset of “let’s get the next one”.

Once again over these past two weeks I had the opportunity to attend a couple pre-bid meetings. One of the pre-bid meetings was quite an experience as it lasted 3.5 hours, taking the group through tunnels and various buildings at a wastewater treatment plant.

Every day continues to bring about new experiences. I’m looking forward to next week and hopefully another win on bid day.

Alena’s Intern Experience - Bid Day

Alena Gabel, one of Alberici's interns, continues to share her experiences working with Alberici's estimating group.

These first two weeks of my internship have been both exciting and very informative. I have gotten a glimpse into Alberici as a company and how we operate from sitting in on meetings and talking with employees. I have to say, one of the best benefits is the $2.00 lunch that we get every day at headquarters!


As far as estimating goes, I have gained a lot of knowledge already. I am learning about how to do quantity take-offs from documents and also how to use a special program to predict the unit costs of certain items. Quantity take-offs are done using a software similar to Autocad where you import drawings and then categorize certain element amounts like concrete, steel, floor tile, or acoustical ceiling tile. These amounts are documented in the program and can be exported for whatever purposes necessary in the estimating process.


One of the best experiences I have had so far was getting to help with and experience the bid submittal process for the MoDOT Missouri River Bridge project. I really wanted to see the process behind Alberici bidding as a general contractor and I was surprised that I got to see it within my first week of work! Nonetheless, I couldn’t believe how fast-paced and hectic everything was at the end of last week. It seemed as if every minute leading up to the bid submittal was crucial. From receiving the subcontractor bids to putting the final number together, the process was so exciting to watch!


I’m definitely looking forward to learning so much more here in the next few weeks of my internship and I can’t wait to share it!


Check back for more updates from our interns throughout the summer. In case you missed it, you can read Alena's first blog entry here.

The ACT Experience–Estimating Part 2

ACT_4cJames and Spencer are continuing their time in Estimating for the Alberici Career Training (ACT) program. Click here to read about their earlier experiences in estimating.

 

Spencer: Snapfinger Bid

I recently worked on a re-bid for the Snapfinger Waste Water Treatment Plant. This effort included not only preparing the estimate, but also reaching out to the local small business enterprise (LSBE) groups. I went to Atlanta to build relationships with the local community and get to know the local subcontractors.  Alberici conducted one full day of meetings with the LSBE companies for this process which gave me first-hand experience meeting with LSBE groups and demonstrated Alberici’s commitment to the communities in which we conduct business.

I also assisted with the Snapfinger re-bid, travelling to Alberici’s office near Atlanta so that we could better coordinate the bid effort. Though we were not ultimately the low bidder, this experience provided a better view on how Alberici is able to win and perform projects in various locations with specialized employees.

 

James: WUMC Campus Renewal Estimate

I have been working on the 90% CD Fit Out Estimate for the WUMC Campus Renewal Project with the project’s preconstruction team. We created this estimate using unit pricings obtained from subs. This estimate mainly focused on the finishes for both the BJC North building and the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital South Building. While working on this estimate we used information received from the architects and their dRofus programs. We categorized rooms that had similar finish types and found the average square footage of certain wall types, ceiling types, and floor types. Using this information we determined how much of a certain material would be on the building. Then using material and labor costs for each product, a final estimate value was established.

 

Spencer and James: Fargo Turnover Meetings

We both spent two days in turnover meetings with the Fargo Water Treatment Plant project team. It’s good experience getting to see the process of job startup such as awarding subcontracts, building a budget/schedule, and reviewing the contract.  Everyone from the estimating team presented their sections and explained what costs were in a project, identified potential problem areas and told Alberici’s on-site team what they will need to keep in mind on the project.  These meetings showed us how the different departments work as a team and the importance of communication to ensure project success.

 

The Alberici Career Training (ACT) program provides new project engineers with insight into Alberici’s various business functions and how they operate together as a whole. Our employees spend time in different departments including Estimating, Scheduling, Project Controls, Marketing, Legal and Safety, where they work one-on-one with key stakeholders to better understand our company.

The ACT Experience

ACT_4cThe Alberici Career Training (ACT) program provides new project engineers with insight into Alberici’s various business functions and how they operate together as a whole. Our employees spend time in different departments including Estimating, Scheduling, Project Controls, Marketing, Legal and Safety, where they work one-on-one with key stakeholders to better understand our company.

Some of our new Project Engineers, James Beatty and Spencer Litzau, recently began the ACT program. Over the coming months, they’ll be sharing their experiences with us. First, let’s meet them:

James Beatty was born and raised in St. Louis. He attended DeSmet Jesuit High School before going to the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He was an Engineering Intern at Alberici during the summer of 2014. He hired on full time as a Project Engineer in January after graduating from Mizzou in December 2014.

Spencer Litzau graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in Civil Engineering and has been working at Alberici for 8 months.  He worked on the Olmsted Dam project before starting the training program. 

James and Spencer are spending the first two months of the ACT program in the estimating department. Here’s what they’ve had to say about the experience so far:

Last week we submitted the bid for the Fargo Water Treatment Plant. Getting first-hand experience with the estimating department helps us appreciate all the work that goes into winning a project before construction even begins. Working with the estimating department teaches the importance of working with a team and looking over every detail of a project. 

While working on the bid we were all assigned different specification sections. After receiving our assignments, we needed to read the specs and preform take offs for the material that pertained to each of our sections. Next we started calling subcontractors to see if they wanted to bid on the project. While doing this we created Bid Analysis Sheets to help us break down the bids. This was done so that we could have the most accurate number possible and know what subcontractors would be giving us on bid day.

Bid day provides  great practice for working under pressure to make sure a job gets done on a deadline. It was exciting, hectic and even gratifying. This experience reinforced the value of good preparation and communication.

We can already see the benefits that understanding the estimating process will have in helping us become  better project engineers out in the field.