Virtual planning aids healthcare renovation project

Parkridge Health System is getting an upgrade, thanks to support from HCA’s FacilitiGroup. The hospital kicked off a $3.1 million chiller and cooling tower replacement project last month in partnership with the EMJ Construction team.

According to Parkridge, “This significant upgrade will improve the facility’s ability to manage its interior climate controls and overall utility efficiency.”


The new structure is being built within a mechanical “bull-pen” full of multiple utilities and services, leaving little to no room to spare. This complexity, combined with the need to continue operations at the hospital without disruption, required extensive planning and critical analysis before construction began.

“After reviewing the drawings, Lee Company and EMJ Superintendent David Taylor had concerns that the new chiller equipment wouldn’t fit into the roll-up door considering the adjacent air-cooled chiller located only a few feet away,” said Lance Truett, EMJ Project Manager.

If the equipment could not fit through the roll-up door, the team would need to identify an alternative method for installing the new equipment. To test the installation scenario, the project team enlisted the help of EMJ’s Construction Technology Department, which specializes in building information modeling (BIM) and other virtual imaging techniques.

“Employing laser scanning for existing conditions was the perfect solution for the Parkridge project since we were dealing with a high degree of complexity and congestion,” said Jonathan Deming, EMJ Director of Construction Technology. “This process has enabled our team to move forward with complete confidence and certainty.”

A “scan” is a powerful laser recording that captures a site’s shape and appearance and converts those conditions into 3D models and structural drawings at sub-millimeter accuracy.

“Roger Aasheim and Will Callery laser scanned the existing conditions and overlaid the new construction along with a 3D model of the chiller equipment provided by the chiller manufacturer to see how it was all going to go together,” said Truett. “With their help we were able to demonstrate that moving the building 18” east would eliminate all concerns and site constraints. Moving the structure also makes the installation safer and the future maintenance possible.”

With a modified construction plan approved and in place, the team and its trade partners kicked off the Parkridge renovation in late August. Demolition of the existing cooling tower is complete, and temporary towers are fully operational.

Working in conjunction with the technology team at HVAC company Lee Company, the EMJ team is currently modeling the pumps, piping, and control panels of the new space to fully understand the structure and ensure smooth and efficient construction continues throughout the project’s duration.

The Parkridge project is on track for early 2019 completion.  Congrats to the EMJ Construction Healthcare team on a job well done!

Roger Aasheim, Virtual Construction Engineer II
Will Callery, Virtual Construction Manager
Zach Klassen, Project Engineer
Lance Truett, Project Manager
Sam Marks, Preconstruction Manager
Cody Stubblefield, Project Engineer
David Taylor, Superintendent

Guiding teams into the future with construction technology

EMJ’s people are the building blocks of the company. Their personalities, skills and past experiences are large parts of what make the company great. We are proud of each member of the team and enjoy sharing their stories.

Jonathan uses a Matterport reality capture device to capture virtual walkthroughs of rooms at EMJ’s 728 Market Street project.


Jonathan Deming, EMJ’s Director of BIM and Construction Technology, began his construction career building U.S. Embassies internationally—most notably in Beijing, China, and Moscow, Russia. He worked in various roles from construction project manager to design engineer, gaining understanding of the complexities and challenges of many construction roles.

After several years of international construction, he changed his course to focus on BIM and technology.

“Building internationally expands your perspective and pushes you to look beyond the way things have always been done,” Jonathan says. “Exploring ways to increase efficiency and improve the overall construction process in other countries really launched my passion for construction technology.”

After shifting his career focus, Jonathan gained experience working on projects of all sizes, including the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) $90 million Defense Distribution Center. He led a team that self-performed the design and fabrication of mechanical systems to include ductwork and piping, using 3D modeling technology. This effort resulted in over $500,000 in savings to the project and several accolades, including first place in the 2013 Sysque Model of the Year.

Jonathan also worked on DFW’s Automated People Mover and Terminal Expansion, a $1.2 billion program, where he served as a quality assurance engineer and scheduling manager.

A model of Shaw Industry Group’s Create Centre by EMJ’s Construction Technology team. The office building was designed by Gensler.


Today, Jonathan leads EMJ Corporation and its family of companies in the training and application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and various other construction technologies, such as laser scanning, smart site, 4D scheduling and more. Some of the projects impacted by his team’s work include 728 Market Street, U.S. Xpress, Connection Park, Chattanooga Whiskey and Farmer Brothers.

“Applying technology to construction can be complex and disruptive, so it’s important that we compare methods and help clients understand what the best options are so that they can achieve their goals and cut risk,” says Jonathan.

Jonathan’s department is also responsible for selecting and implementing the cloud-based project collaboration system Procore, currently being rolled out across EMJ.

With nearly 20 years of experience, Jonathan is committed to sharing his knowledge with others in the industry. In 2016, he founded Grassroots BIM to serve his Chattanooga community. This group of like-minded professionals who are passionate about construction technology holds quarterly meetings to foster community and collaboration within the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

“The group’s tech-focus aligns perfectly with Chattanooga’s emphasis on innovation, and it has the potential to really enhance the AEC community,” says Jonathan. “We are building great momentum and are excited to see the results.”

He has also served as the speaker for Autodesk University and a guest lecturer for Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Civil Engineering, The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, and The University of Tennessee School of Engineering Technology. This August, Jonathan will be one of the main speakers at the Advancing Field Technology 2017 conference, where he will address topics ranging from data analytics to ROI case studies.

For those trying to find their way in the construction industry or life in general, Jonathan says,  “Find your passion. It won’t necessarily be instant or easy, but when you find it, you will have a whole new outlook on your job and your purpose in life.”

Learn more about EMJ’s Construction Technology offerings here, and learn more about our EMJ team and how to become a part of it here.

Laser scanning to produce structural drawings


Kevin Lloyd, Senior Estimator at Accent Construction Services, and Jonathan Deming, EMJ Director of BIM and Construction Technology, are receiving EMJ’s C2C Spotlight Award for their innovative work at the US Xpress office in Tunnel Hill, Ga.

While working with U.S. Xpress on another project, Kevin proactively identified an opportunity to add unique value by producing an accurate set of drawings for existing conditions at their office building.

Kevin saw an opportunity to add value, saying, “Hang on a second. I bet we could facilitate this for you. I called Jonathan, who confirmed that the space would be an ideal project for laser scanning, and within two weeks, we were in business.”

A “scan” is a powerful laser recording that captures a site’s shape and appearance and converts those conditions into highly accurate 3D models and structural drawings at sub-millimeter accuracy.


“We asked the client, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’ Once we understood their goals, we proposed a better and more economical solution,” said Jonathan.

U.S. Xpress took Jonathan and Kevin up on their offer, and Jonathan brought in the laser scanning team from Coast 2 Coast Survey Corporation. The resulting scan is now in post-processing, and the new set of drawings will soon be delivered to the client.

By LISTENing to the client and THINKing of innovative solutions, Kevin was able to not only serve them better, but also bring additional business to the family of companies.

Kudos to Kevin Lloyd and Jonathan Deming for their dedication to our C2C approach and for collaborating to deliver U.S. Xpress an exceptional client experience.

Click here to learn more about our C2C approach.

EMJ Vice President Greg Everett presents Kevin Lloyd with his C2C spotlight award.


Pictured, from left to right: EMJ’s Jonathan Deming with Wallace Beard of U.S. Xpress and Werner Slabber and Shaun Heldzinger of Coast 2 Coast.


Aligning project vision through trade-specific meetings

Trade-specific preconstruction meetings have become commonplace in the construction industry, but at EMJ, these meetings are far more than checking a box—they are a key component of our Concept-to-Completion (C2C) approach.

The trade-specific preconstruction meeting is a key step in uniting a construction management team with subcontractors and ensuring that all parties align to understand the client’s vision and project goals.

We asked our Director of Quality Assurance, Jonathan Horne, to share some key components to an effective trade-specific preconstruction meeting.

“The first step in promoting a collaborative atmosphere is to bring the whole team together in person,” says Jonathan. At minimum, the contractor’s project manager and superintendent, as well as the subcontractor’s project manager and superintendent should be present for a successful meeting. However, sometimes a manufacturer’s representative, a third party testing agency, a coordinating trade’s superintendent and others should also be in attendance.

“The project team should create an agenda and be prepared to review contracts, project specifications, construction documents, approved submittals, project schedule, scope-specific safety requirements, quality expectations, lessons-learned and even closeout,” Jonathan says. However, teams should be considerate of all participants’ time. Plan the meeting according to what needs to be reviewed at that time and schedule subsequent meetings as needed. “Remember, the precon is about setting expectations.  If the content is quickly glanced over, you can set a bad example for the work that is to be performed.”

Timing of the preconstruction meeting should be carefully considered. “If a meeting is conducted too late, the project schedule may suffer if issues arise that need to be resolved before the trade begins, and if a meeting is too early, the stakeholder may get reassigned to other projects or the discussions can slip by the wayside,” says Jonathan. The optimal time should be determined based on the trade to be discussed. “A typical rule of thumb is 2-4 weeks before the trade is scheduled to begin, but can vary.”

Not only is the jobsite often the most convenient place for all parties to gather, but it is also proven to enrich the meeting discussion. “Experience shows that preconstruction meetings are most effective when they are conducted in person at the job site so that all stakeholders can visualize the project and become familiar with the site,” Jonathan adds.

Atmosphere & Attitude
“Create an atmosphere in which everyone can participate and feel confident to share ideas,” Jonathan says. C2C’s four steps—Ask, Listen, Think, and Do—can be helpful in spurring collaboration among the group. The project team should initiate by asking questions to spark discussion, and subcontractors should bring up concerns and ideas regarding the scope, and—be open to answers.

“The team must have an open mind about the project, the meeting, and the team approach, and the stakeholders must be aligned so that clear expectations can be set during the meeting.”

Documentation & Accountability
Quick distribution of detailed meeting minutes holds stakeholders responsible and accountable for the commitments made or the items to address. “All parties should walk away from the meeting with a clear understanding of what their team is responsible for and when it is to be completed,” said Jonathan.


Teamwork and collaboration from all stakeholders are key to delivering unique value and an exceptional construction experience to our clients, partners and colleagues. A solid preconstruction meeting is just the one of many steps in solidifying the collaborative relationship among the many players on a construction project.

For more information about EMJ’s C2C approach and our commitment to quality, click here.