Building a Virtual Future

Virtual reality (VR) technology has advanced rapidly in the past few years and is a potentially powerful tool for the AEC industry. VR, in which a user is completely immersed in a virtual environment and is able to move about in and interact with virtual features and objects, has its roots in the 1980s but has become increasingly relevant.
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2017: The Year of the Commuter

As we prepare to ring in the new year, we would like to highlight some projects that will reshape area transportation and ease the way for thousands of commuters.  One improvement will be ready for use as early as January 1st, when the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opens.  Others should be evident a little later in the year—emotive lighting on bridges and tunnels and the north span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  One change is already in place—remnants of a World Trade Center passageway dating to the 1970s.

The HAKS Family wishes you and yours a happy and healthy 2017. Safe travels.
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Philadelphia Remembers: The June 5th Memorial Park

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Courtesy of Scott Aker, AIA

The City of Philadelphia is turning a tragedy into an opportunity for the community to commemorate those lost and remember the paramount importance of job safety.

On June 5th, 2013, the demolition of a vacant building at 2138 Market Street in Philadelphia collapsed a party wall, destroying a Salvation Army Thrift Store and resulting in six fatalities and many injuries. To ensure that this tragedy would not be forgotten, the City of Philadelphia decided to provide a contemplative respite for visitors while preserving the memory of those lost and projecting its commitment to public safety. Continue Reading…

2016 Interns Learning the Ropes

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HAKS’ Summer Internship Program is once again under way. The program engages deserving students and gives them the opportunity to gain experience in the industry. By providing internships to eligible youth, HAKS is helping these young people prepare for the future; determine whether they would choose a career in engineering and architecture; or, if they are already studying these subjects, gain valuable, on-the-job, real-world experience that will make them much more attractive to potential employers once they graduate. Continue Reading…

A Commitment to Quality

Contributed by Lance Payne, MSI, LHI, CLA

SRI CERTIFICATE JPGIn the building and construction industry, reputation and trust are everything. And reputation and trust are earned through quality work. Quality assurance programs (QAP) exist for this purpose. The concept of “quality assurance” is often confused with quality control and quality inspection. The American Society for Quality (ASQ), one of the world’s leading authorities on quality, defines these terms as follows: Continue Reading…

Declaring “War” on Homeless Shelters

Earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio released the results of his aggressive program to inspect and repair violations in New York City’s homeless shelters. The numbers are impressive: in just two months, the city and shelter providers repaired almost as many violations as were fixed in all of 2015 and, in two months, the city conducted one-third as many inspections as it did in all of 2015. The February Shelter Repair Scorecard, which allows tracking of conditions and results, reported that:

  • The 2,660 inspections conducted in just two months in 2016 is almost one-third of the 8,665 inspections conducted in all of 2015. These inspections identified 11,125 new violations and conditions.
  • The two-month total of 12,026 repairs completed is almost as many as the total 12,934 violations cleared in all of 2015.
  • Of the 330 non-cluster city homeless shelters, 157 sites had ten or fewer violations; 90 of those sites had five or less. (A cluster shelter refers to groups of individual apartments in larger buildings, and the violation total includes all violations in each building, not those solely relating to the cluster units. The city plans to phase out the use of such cluster shelters and return them to the market to serve as low-rent housing.)
  • The 303 cluster shelters, which house only 23 percent of the total shelter population, had 14,054 violations, or 68 percent of the total.
  • The Scorecard lists 26 cluster buildings with 315 units designated for closure this fiscal year.

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Fixing America’s Surface Transportation: A FAST Act for the 21st Century

Cedar Street Bridge over I-95In December 2015, a new surface transportation act was signed into law—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act– providing long-term funding for surface transportation and allowing state and local governments to address critical highway and transit improvements. The $305 billion Act reauthorizes funding for federal highway and public transportation for fiscal years 2016-2020 and stabilizes the Highway Trust Fund during that five-year period. Continue Reading…

Building Technology into Protective Clothing

blog 1Accidents (unintentional injuries) are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 4,679 workers died on the job in 2014. OSHA mandates the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the work site, which includes face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, safety shoes, goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs and respirators, based on the work environment. The next generation of PPE offers the means to monitor a worker’s vital signs, warn of oncoming traffic, display work instructions via augmented reality, and much more, thereby increasing safety, productivity and accuracy. Some of these garments are already on the market. Continue Reading…

ACE Mentor Program: Investing in the Future

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Bronx Design and Construction Academy Students

Some commitments have a ripple effect. Such is the case with the ACE Mentor Program, a not-for-profit organization where professionals mentor New York City high school students in preparation for careers in design and construction. HAKS has been a long-time supporter of the program, with individual employees volunteering as mentors. This year, we are proud to have formed our own mentoring team and are eager to share our industry knowledge with deserving students in the Greater New York City area. Continue Reading…

Carless Bridges Hit the Road

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An October 2015 article in The Atlantic examined the allure of carless bridges, citing innovative design possibilities, cheaper construction cost (millions instead of billions), and the overall movement to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian-only bridges are connecting neighborhoods across the country, while many motorist bridges under reconstruction are adding facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. Continue Reading…