Here is a sneak-peak into the work lives of some of this year’s PEY interns

Thomas Nestico (2T0 + PEY), Dragados

What is your position? Provide a brief description of what you do (it’d be great if you can include some project work you’ve done in the past if it’s not confidential)

I am currently a Junior Estimator at Dragados Canada Inc. We are one of the largest heavy civil infrastructure general contractors in Canada and have won many bids for multi-billion dollar projects in North America, such as the Eglinton Crosstown and Gordie Howe International Bridge. 

In my first five months at Dragados, I have been involved in the estimating stage for 3 projects, the twinning of Highway 104 in Nova Scotia, the proposed LRT in Hamilton, and the aforementioned Gordie Howe Bridge. I spent the majority of my time conducting quantity takeoffs, mostly for the Hamilton LRT. To complete quantity takeoffs, the process begins with reviewing proposed drawings for the design of the project’s components, such as bridges, buildings, trackwork, and roads. Like in CIV280, Construction Management, you break each element into it components and calculate its respective quantities.

As an estimator, you will be involved in reconciliation meetings with Joint Venture partners to review each estimator’s quantities and assumptions to come to a final agreed quantity on each item. 

Another task for an estimator is to conduct procurement. To generate unit prices for different parts of a project, a general contractor must hire subcontractors to provide quotes. For the Highway 104 project, I was tasked to contact various subcontractors around the project area and inquire about their interest in the job. If they were interested I would pass them on to a senior estimator that would provide them with the specific details about the project needed for quoting.

I have started to learn how to use HeavyBid, a bidding software used to organize and price out a project, and will use it later in my co-op to help price out a project.

If you have to describe your work environment in 3 words, what would they be?

Welcoming, Encouraging, Friendly

What are some things you wish you knew before starting the job?

I wish I knew more about construction before starting my job. There are a lot of little things that you can miss when just looking at a drawing, for example how each component fits into each other and the sequencing of certain events in a project. Knowing how a bridge or a building is built from the ground up is very important to know as an estimator at Dragados Canada as it gives you insight into how you can possibly save materials, labor, and ultimately cost in a project.

Perks of working at your company…

  • I work an extra hour each day Monday-Thursday (8:30-5:30) and we finish our work week Friday at 1:30 pm (8:30-1:30)!
  • The location is easy to access, as the building is connected to the PATH via St. Andrew’s Station
  • Dragados hires about 3-8 co-ops every 4 months, so you’ll be able to meet new people your age and year and create connections
  • The pay is higher than the average CIV PEY job

Karen Chu (2T0 + PEY), GFL Infrastructure

What is your position? Provide a brief description of what you do (it’d be great if you can include some project work you’ve done in the past if it’s not confidential)

Hey, I’m Karen and I am a CIV2T0 + PEY. I am currently working as an estimator at GFL Infrastructure Inc. GFL Infrastructure is a construction company that works on civil servicing works (sewage, watermains, storm sewers, etc.) and excavation services. In my role, I get the opportunity to learn how a project is awarded and how to estimate competitively. I am responsible for doing quantity take-offs, reviewing contract documents and drawings, and completing job estimates. Throughout my term, I have learnt what components are needed to construct municipal services and the cost associated with them. With my knowledge, I have bidded on jobs worth $1 million to $16 million independently and worked on over 100 projects.

A bonus task I get to do, is to design a grading plan for a waste facility in Whistler, BC. As the only person in the office who knows how to use the construction software that allows you to have the 3D cut and fill models and calculations, it is pretty cool to have my own project.

I spend most of my time in an office setting but I also get to go out in the field to understand how my role translates to real life.

If you have to describe your work environment in 3 words, what would they be?

Casual, collaborative, loud

What are some things you wish you knew before starting the job?

I wish I knew that my role didn’t involve as much math as I thought, because going in I was worried it was going to be very technical in math calculations. Also in construction, people can get pretty intense sometimes, especially when a project is behind schedule and budget. So, when you hear project managers yelling that’s normal!

Perks of working at your company…

  • Company socials (they’re free to go, free to eat, free swag from sponsors, and they always have free drink tickets/open bars at these events)
  • Free leftovers
  • Discounts to Canada’s Wonderland and other attractions
  • Cheaper gym memberships and phone plans
  • A NEW WORK PHONE with all the fixins
  • Flexibility to change your role/position to gain other experiences

Stephanie Marton (2T0 + PEY), Mattamy Homes

What is your position? Provide a brief description of what you do (it’d be great if you can include some project work you’ve done in the past if it’s not confidential)

I am working on a high rise construction site in Humber Bay Shores. The plot of land Mattamy is developing has two buildings consisting of a 56-storey (Phase 1) and 17-storey (Phase 2)  residential condo building. I am working alongside a construction management team overseeing all aspects of high-rise construction from shoring/excavation to building envelope/interior finishes. I assist the project team, including the superintendent and project manager with scheduling and coordination of trades to meet deadlines. I spend time going through and understanding different construction drawings/specifications and translate relevant aspects of these documents directly to different trades necessary throughout the project’s duration. My day to day tasks consist of placing concrete and steel orders, health and safety and coordinating the consultants, including structural, mechanical, electrical engineers and architects, on the project.  I am doing tasks for both of the buildings on the project, but recently my focus has shifted to Phase 2 of the project. When issues come out on site due to discrepancies between drawings or trades, I need to understand the changes that need to occur and am involved in developing engineering solutions to ensure that the structural requirements are being met for the project while maintaining the architectural requirements corresponding to building codes . Since it is a site team of 6 working between the two buildings, my role is very flexible and adaptive based on what is needed to ensure the project stays on track.

For more information on the project I am working on check this out: https://urbantoronto.ca/database/projects/vita-lake

If you have to describe your work environment in 3 words, what would they be?

Dynamic, Reactive & Fast-paced

What are some things you wish you knew before starting the job?

How nothing is perfect in the real world. How real and useful some second and third year courses are! Reinforced concrete, materials, transport I, construction management, municipal engineering to name a few but the list goes on!

How tiring work can be when you are working 9+ hour days on your feet and being outside for most of the day.

Perks of working at your company…

The people! All of the people I am working with are amazing. Super receptive to questions and always supporting me to learn and expand my practical experience.

The opportunity Mattamy gives me to really learn about all aspects of the project due to the small project team

The beautiful view of Toronto’s skyline and the morning sunrises I get to see from site

PEY Interns from previous years

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Larry Kei

Engineering Student

PCL Construction


6171

Greg Koncan

Construction Coordinator

Dufferin Construction Company


chris rotella

Chris Rotella

Construction Coordinator