Showing posts from: Training & Education

June 4, 2018

Introducing Project Engineer III, Jack Burns

It’s that time of year again where we have the opportunity to host summer internships offering exposure to the commercial construction industry. As an active supporter of strengthening the southeastern Minnesota workforce, Benike Construction offers internship opportunities that expose students to both the office and field sides of commercial construction. The best way to learn about an internship experience is straight from the source. Here is Jack’s recap of his Benike Construction internship experience.

I had my internship with Benike Construction in 2013, the summer before my senior year of college at North Dakota State University. The reason I pursued an internship at Benike Construction is because they are a family owned, self-performing, commercial general contractor.

While working towards my Construction Management Degree, it was important that I gain experience working with a self-performing contractor because it allowed me to understand real applications of labor rates and productivity that I was learning about in school.

My internship experience at Benike Construction provided an opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge during my post-secondary education. I experienced all aspects of the construction process including:

  • Bid preparation and submission.
  • Attending site project meetings.
  • Reviewing invoices.
  • Managing changes to contract documents.

My main task was to ensure all project documents on a large healthcare project were kept up-to-date as changes were made. This may seem like a meager task. However, it was vital to the project to eliminate mistakes that would happen in the field if the project documents were not kept up-to-date. I also made frequent site visits to ensure on-site information was up-to-date.

“From my internship experience I was able to gain a better feel for the day-to-day operations within a commercial construction firm.”

Classroom learning can teach you the basic knowledge of methods and materials, but an internship will give you real world knowledge on how things actually happen. My internship experience was capped off with climbing to the top of a 250-foot-tall tower crane for a bird’s eye view of the project I was working on during the summer.

Benike Construction is a unique company with extraordinary values and culture and I would recommend an internship to any student interested in gaining further knowledge of commercial construction.

Since his internship and graduation, Benike Construction was honored to add Jack to our project management team in 2016 as a Project Engineer III.

We are passionate about workforce development at Benike Construction. If you’re interested in learning more about our internship or career opportunities, please email us at for more information.

Interested in learning more about Jack?
Connect with him on LinkedIn.


August 22, 2017

Healthcare Construction: Can Contractors Contribute to Patient Safety


Here’s a staggering statistic – 75,000 patients per year in the United States die from a hospital acquired infection (HAI)* – an infection that is contracted during a patient’s visit which the patient did not have prior to being seen. This staggering number is down from nearly 99,000 in 2010.

By contrast, less than 1 person per year dies from a hospital fire.** Yet there continues to be an incredible amount of emphasis and money spent on fire safety and compartmentation within hospitals – a worthy effort considering the occupants in hospitals are not always capable of exiting a building in the event of a fire.

The emphasis for construction professionals in healthcare is rapidly shifting toward infection control. Of the 75k deaths from HAIs, it is estimated that 5% of these deaths could be attributed to infection control measures during construction/renovation projects.

In May, team members from Benike Construction completed the Healthcare Construction Certificate (HCC) workshop administered by the American Society for Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) at the 6th annual ASHE Conference in Rochester, MN. ASHE provided many takeaways for construction professionals like us who work in the healthcare setting.

The top challenges currently faced in healthcare construction projects are:

  • Noise/vibration
  • Education of Owners, Designers and Contractors on Healthcare Construction Procedures
  • Firestopping
  • Budget Concerns
  • Scheduling Shutdowns for MEP Services (and healthcare specific infrastructure such as pneumatic tube or med gas)
  • Scheduling/Phasing
  • Site Logistics, Availability of Space
  • Interim Life Safety Measures (ILSM)
  • Maintaining Clean Job Sites

These challenges are project-centric, and while they do exist, and need to be overcome, the #1 priority is to provide patient safety throughout the construction process.

What Are We Doing to Mitigate the Risk of Spreading Infections?

To mitigate risk associated with the spread of infection, healthcare construction professionals perform Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) prior to the start of each construction project. The ICRA addresses such questions as:

  • What is the project type and duration of the work?
  • What is the patient risk group of the area being renovated?
  • What infection control precautions need to be taken given the answer to the prior questions?
  • Will surrounding areas be affected by the construction project?
  • What interim life safety measures will be needed?

Through performing an ICRA and using infection control (IC) containment strategies (barriers, negative air pressure, HEPA filtration, etc.) construction teams are enhancing patient safety and minimizing the risk of HAIs. Other best practices to perform on healthcare construction projects include:

  • Daily huddle of project team to review ICRA and ILSM
  • Safety “Toolbox Talks” for trade workers that focus on healthcare-specific risks
  • Mandatory ICRA-training for trade workers working on healthcare projects

Who is the Customer?

With “patient satisfaction” now being used as a metric for Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements, the professionalism and courteousness of construction workers in a hospital setting is even more important to the customer. It is our goal at Benike Construction to be an extension of the hospital staff while we are onsite for construction work.

We make it a priority to remember that most patients and families in a hospital setting are not having their best days and deserve our empathy. A great reminder is this video titled “empathy.” It provides an immediate perspective as to why we do what we do.

In broader terms, construction companies must recognize the true customer of healthcare construction – the patient. Although we are a General Contractor, we are key partner in keeping the patients safe.

Mike Benike, CM-LEAN, LEED AP BD+C
Executive Vice President
Benike Construction