Elon Musk Is Innovating Change in Space and on Earth (1 of 2)

In the first installment of a two-part blog series, we take a look at one of the most innovative minds in the world today: Elon Musk. The PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX polymath has been moving forward with visionary plans, including utilizing a revolutionary new rocket design both for interplanetary exploration and high-speed suborbital travel.

At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia last week, Musk announced that SpaceX planned to send unmanned cargo ships to Mars by 2022 and human explorers by 2024 (Pulse, 10/3/17). This is going to be possible, according to Musk, by utilizing a new rocket, called the “BFR,” that is even larger than NASA’s Saturn V that carried astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo program. Furthermore, SpaceX is no longer going to put resources into its current line of Falcon 9 rockets (which are being used to carry satellites into orbit and to ferry cargo to the International Space Station) or its larger, next-generation Falcon Heavy (the Verge, 9/30/17). Instead, all resources will go into developing the new spacecraft, which will carry a payload of 150 tons and of which Musk reportedly hopes to begin construction “within the next six to nine months.” Continue Reading…

The New Tappan Zee Bridge’s Smart Technology Makes It Built To Last

One of the most technologically advanced bridges in the U.S. opened to traffic shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, partially replacing the old Tappan Zee Bridge, New York State’s longest bridge.

The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is on schedule to replace the entire Tappan Zee Bridge when its second span is completed later this year. Once both spans are open for traffic, the new bridge will have eight lanes, including four for breakdowns and emergencies, bicycle and walking paths, and a future mass transit crossing. ENR reported in its March 20/27 issue that the new $3.98 billion bridge is designed to use smart technology systems to keep it operating smoothly and safely for the next 100 years—without needing any major repairs. Continue Reading…

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…