In many ways, Tyler Jones’ summer 2020 was typical.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and vaccines half a year away, Jones spent most of his time working from home in his role as a construction administrator for HKS Inc., the world-renowned architecture and design firm based in Dallas, Texas.
But for two weeks in July, he spent several hours each day doing something that’s anything but typical.
Jones was one of several people traversing up and down the steps of the soon-to-be-completed SoFi Stadium, the 70,000-seat, US$6 billion (AU$ 8.4 billion) mega stadium and entertainment complex in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles.
HKS designed the state-of-the-art venue, home to Los Angeles’ two National Football League teams, the Rams and Chargers. Jones and several colleagues walked the stadium – up to 16 kilometres per day, Jones said – to ensure that every seat was safe and functional.
‘Basically, you just go from seat to seat, and you’re just tapping the seats, you’re shaking them, you’re looking for punctures, looking for stains and other potential issues’, said Jones, a Tennessee native who graduated with a master’s degree in construction management from the University of Texas at Arlington. ‘And you smack the next seat to see if it goes up and down – every seat, every last one in that stadium.’
When he’s not conducting defect inspections at multibillion-dollar stadiums or working for HKS out of its Dallas-area office, Jones is leading the area’s Bluebeam User Group (BUG).
Jones said the DallasBUG, one of the largest in the Bluebeam community, is a privilege to lead and organise. The meetings give him a chance to network with like-minded construction professionals as well as learn from others outside of his area of expertise.
Of course, leading the BUG also helps Jones learn the different ways Bluebeam can be used in his role at HKS, where he primarily uses Revu and Studio Sessions for submittal reviews and other collaborative tasks.
‘You’re getting a large community by joining the group in Dallas’, Jones said. ‘It’s a huge, diverse community of engineers, subcontractors, architects, etc.’
‘Everybody goes in there with an open mind, just wanting to share and absorb what other people are doing with Bluebeam’, Jones added. ‘It’s a great group.’
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Being at a prestigious architecture firm is an ideal role for Jones, considering that he wanted to be an architect going as far back as grammar school. And although Jones entered college at UT Arlington with architecture in mind, he ultimately pivoted out of the trade for a broader focus on construction management.
While completing his graduate degree, Jones was hired by HKS as a BIM support specialist, where for the next 2 ½ years he helped colleagues use various software platforms on the firm’s design projects. This first exposed him to Bluebeam Revu, a tool heavily used by HKS’ construction administrative team, Jones said.
Jones became immersed in the software as a result, which led him to his first BUG meeting hosted at the HKS office. Jones became a staple at the local BUG meetings from then on and eventually was tapped to lead the group.
Love for construction
Jones’ enthusiasm for the construction industry is obvious. He loves construction, he said, because of the opportunity to see something built from the ground up. ‘Being able to be part of resurrecting a vision is pretty amazing’, Jones said.
At HKS, Jones has experienced a few shining examples of remarkable visions build to life. In addition to SoFi Stadium, he has seen the firm design Globe Life Field, home to Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.
The design firm has also been involved in several other notable stadium builds, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home to the NFL’s Vikings.
The DallasBUG group has been a great way for Jones to share his love for construction and design with others in the industry. And even though Dallas’ user group is already robust, Jones said the more, the merrier.
‘I encourage people, especially those local to the Dallas area, to get involved, especially if you’re using Bluebeam’, Jones said.