On the Road Again …

Last week I spent my time traveling again for work. Unfortunately, it wasn’t glamorous like the trip to D.C. I took a few months ago. Instead, this time it was Wichita Falls, Texas. If most of you haven’t heard of it yet, don’t worry, until about a year ago I hadn’t either. Ironically though, Wichita Falls and Sheppard Air Force Base is home to the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT), the world’s only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for NATO. This program and their planned new training classroom was what landed me in Wichita Falls for three days. 

A new destination wasn’t the only new experience I had on this trip, it also marked the start of my first design-build project. For anyone that doesn’t know, design-build is a project delivery method in which the architect and contractor team up and work together for the owner. Many design-build projects, especially federal ones, are put on a fast tracked schedule and this project is no different. We are planning to have 65 percent design completed by December 15 and that’s a mere six weeks away. Plus, let’s not forget, those few days we lose to the Thanksgiving holiday. This means I will have plenty of work to keep me busy for the rest of the year. Don’t feel too bad for me though. Save your sympathy for the civil and structural engineers that must be at 95 percent by that date. 

On the upside though, our entire design team will be utilizing BIM and I think on a project like this my firm will really start to see the efficiency benefits we hear about. By using BIM hopefully we can get any design conflicts sorted out early and the construction in the field will be filled with far fewer errors and questions. 

 I think as you can see there are many reasons that I’m looking forward to this project. There is one thing however that I might be looking forward to a little bit more than the experience I will gain using design-build method and the ability to really put the BIM process to the test – and that is flying a jet. Have no fear, they’re not letting me fly a real jet, but the colonel did promise that the next time I’m there at Sheppard AFB they will at least let me test out one of their flight simulators. It’s probably a safe bet that I’ll crash within the first two minutes, but that’s not keeping me from being excited about trying!


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