Landmark Leaders 2016: Scott Root


Imagine being able to construct buildings the way children build with Legos. While that might be the future of construction someday, Kitchell is developing a process that brings the concept a step closer to reality.

Under the leadership of Scott Root, director of virtual construction, and senior project superintendent, Brent Moszeter, Kitchell has developed a multi-trade prefabrication shop where components of major construction projects are built to project and customer specifications within an industrial, off-site facility.

The “shop” is located in a 33,000-square-foot center in Tempe. The shop also includes 10,000 square feet of offices that are used for design, project management, 3-D printing and a virtual reality studio to work with subcontractors and customers on projects.

“My biggest accomplishment is beginning the building information modeling project here, which allows us to communicate with the design side, the construction side and really leads to the ability to do the shop and the prefabrication and the off-site assembly that we are really focused on,” Root said. “This one is really exciting.”

Production at the shop ranges from soffits to headwalls, interior and exterior walls, including framing, electrical, plumbing and drywall.

It already has produced thousands of linear feet that soon will be used on the Phoenix Children’s Hospital emergency department expansion.

“An innovator has to be willing to do things a little bit more unconventional and push the envelope,” Root said. “You always know you’re going to get some resistance

to change, so the question is how do you get the consensus to make sure it’s the right thing for your project? It’s nerve- wracking, but it’s also something I steadfastly believe is the right thing for our industry, for the design side and the construction side.”

Kitchell’s prefab facility also has the ability to bid on projects just like any other subcontractor.

The company claims the shop offers a safer, more controlled environment that expedites schedules, minimizes mistakes and saves money by shortening the construction timetable.

“If we can do things more safely, more effectively and more efficiently in a controlled environment, we can train the next level of workers on how to do this and it becomes second nature to them,” Root said. “With the way the industry is going now and our lack of some skilled trades and the talent pool shrinking, I think the whole industry will be making a bigger movement in this direction in the future.”

While changing old habits remains a challenge, there have been small victories. Root cites the example of a veteran electrician who made his first foray into the shop.

“After he had built several different pieces of parts off-site that were getting shipped out, he came to us and said, ‘I’ve been waiting 30 years for this. This is the way the industry should be going,’” Root said.

“That’s as rewarding as it gets when you get the folks who are actually doing the work saying that they really want to continue this process,” he said.


Years in the industry: 19

The hottest topic in your industry: Skilled labor shortage, which requires new thinking of how projects are going to be built.

One thing you would like to change about your industry overall: I would love for integrated project delivery to be standard operating procedure.

Personal accomplishment that means the most to you: Seeing colleagues that I’ve helped shape or educate grow into leaders within our company and throughout the industry.

One word to describe yourself: Imaginative.

With a little help from their friends, h/dc solves big puzzle for BIG YAM

puzzle-houseIn the building world, we are constantly solving puzzles, some more complicated than others. hardison/downey construction’s recent completion of the 65,000-square-foot YAM Worldwide Center was just that: one big puzzle. But fortunately Kitchell’s ability to mobilize and engage its in-house services helped solve it.

As the new home of BIG YAM Ad Agency, Sneaky Big Studios and several other YAM Holdings affiliates, each of the projects under this roof had its own consultant team and set of documents. h/dc held a total of four separate general contracts between the shell building, with two levels of underground parking and three major complicated tenant improvements (TIs). In August 2015, the post-tension concrete shell structure was already under construction and the h/dc team was challenged to implement a total coordination and document management strategy, since all three separate TI jobs (with three separate design and engineering teams) were combined under one permit.

Early on, says h/dc Senior Project Manager Eric Rogers, the team realized the coordination effort between four design and engineering teams was challenging: enter Kitchell’s in-house Virtual Construction (ViCon) team.

“Having the in-house tools to be able to manage a complex project like this was a great illustration of our services all working collaboratively,” Rogers said.

A digital scan of the building structure was overlaid into a BIM model, which had already eliminated conflicts. This brought even more issues and conflicts to resolution before they became costly delays, by bridging the gap between drawings/models and reality. Kitchell’s IT team was integral to the project, as SharePoint also played a major role in the simple management and coordination of information flow to the design teams and a long list of owner vendors.

As the project moved into construction, Bluebeam Studio became a very reliable and useful tool. A station was completely dedicated to the electronic management of the document set on-site, complete with a touch screen monitor. The document set was uploaded to a Bluebeam Studio session, so the project team could have access to the documents on both their desktops and iPads. In the studio session, drawings could be checked out and updated by anyone with access. The superintendents were able to post pictures of field conditions to the drawings.

“As you can imagine, with this many designers and engineers all crossing paths in a single document set, tracking and coordination of changes was really important,” Rogers said.

By using a hyperlink function, the team was able to highlight the areas on a drawing that was revised and linked back to the document that made the revision. This saved the field personnel time by being able to reference the drawings and revisions without having to carry around a set of paper drawings or return to the trailers.


The need for real-time access to this information was critical. The team used iPads in the field for quick reference and access to the latest information and any relevant revisions being tracked in the electronic set. When a larger screen was needed, the site team and subcontractors used the document station to review the plans, enlarge details and generate further questions and clarifications on the fly. This kept decision-making moving along, and allowed for a marked-up screen shot to be attached to an RFI for response in real time. This constant communication flow reduced response time to the field for implementation.

When the time came for punch lists, the team again turned to Bluebeam Studio.

“A little time spent on establishing the punch document set and they were off,” Rogers said. “Bluebeam allows photos taken with your iPad to be tagged to the punch item on the plan. In most cases, this greatly reduced the ‘wandering’ for a subcontractor to find and correct the punch item.”

At the end of the project the team was able to include the fully posted set of electronic documents as part of the closeout manuals turned over to ownership.

Puzzle solved: while building value for project owners, teams and each other.