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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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…

ACEC New York Recognizes Two HAKS Projects For Engineering Excellence

This year, ACEC New York has recognized two high-profile transportation projects—one in New York and one in Connecticut. The Gowanus Expressway (I-278) in Brooklyn, New York, is a critical component of New York City’s highway system, connecting the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, a distance of approximately six miles. The approximately 200,000 vehicles that utilize the Gowanus Expressway each day will undoubtedly benefit from the New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) extensive improvements to this transportation corridor.BeFunky Collagebl

I-95 between Interchange 14 and 15 in Norwalk, Connecticut, had been referred to as “the worst highway choke point on the I-95 corridor” prior to recent upgrades by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT). Continue Reading…

Self-Healing Materials: Reinventing Nature

Governors Island Ventilation Building-WebBanner

“Smart concrete” is on the horizon

This past June, the Fifth International Conference on Self-Healing Materials took place in Durham, North Carolina. The conference attracts a diverse group of top scientists and engineers from around the world to discuss advances in this fascinating field that are based on the healing properties of the human body. Since its first edition in 2007, the mission of this conference has been to provide a high-level international platform for this rapidly developing field. The developments in self-healing materials are such that many are starting to take notice, due to the impact that this would have not only in the industry, but for personal items such as sports equipment, cell phones and even nail polish. Continue Reading…

For HAKS’ Summer Interns — The Future Is Now

Intern-1From mid-May through the end of August, HAKS holds its annual Internship Program in which we provide deserving youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an office environment.

This year, we have a heavy intern presence, comprising of both high school and college students. In addition to hiring interns directly from colleges since 2005, HAKS has been partnering with the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) Summer Internship Program (SIP) to assist in the recruitment of high school students. We have continued our commitment and volunteered as hosts every year since then. The SCA offers paid six-week internships through SIP, which matches interns to available positions based on their career interests and skills. HAKS is one of the firms chosen to serve as intern host for the 2015 program season. The majority of interns go on to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, business, and information technology. These students participate in staff meetings and on-the-job training and are assigned program supervisors who monitor their performance through bi-weekly meetings between the interns and their supervisors. Interns who successfully complete the six-week program receive high school credit. Continue Reading…

DC Water Tunnels for Clean Rivers

Contributed by Zaw Soeoo

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Anacostia River Tunnel ISCT Excavation

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 600,000 residential, commercial and governmental customers in the District of Columbia. As part of this mission, DC Water operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (BPAWWTP), the largest such facility in the world. The Authority’s $2.6 billion long-term control plan for combined sewer overflows (CSOs), known as the DC Clean Rivers Project, captures CSOs and conveys them to the BPAWWTP for treatment. The Clean Rivers Project is comprised of a system of 20 miles of 23-foot-diameter tunnels at depths from 50 to 160 feet. HAKS is a member of the consultant construction management (CCM) team providing inspection services, including tunnel and near-surface construction, for both the Anacostia River and Blue Plains design-build tunnel projects. Giant tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are being used to bore the underground structures that form DC Water’s solution to CSOs. Continue Reading…

OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City

DSC07801 REVLast month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, the successor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability oversaw its development and shares responsibility with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency for ensuring its implementation. OneNYC addresses challenges such as a population of 9 million by 2040, changing climate conditions and aging infrastructure through principles of growth, sustainability, resiliency and equity. The plan builds on the four core challenges addressed in past PlaNYC reports with the addition of growing inequality, the importance of the region and New York City “voices”—a reference to the necessary input of a broad range of residents. The plan also acknowledges the growing gap between “technology haves and have-nots.” Continue Reading…

25 Years of Client-Focused Quality Service

Today, HAKS begins its 25th year in business. Initially a Minority Business Enterprise, HAKS is now a medium-sized, full-service consulting firm winning high-profile work. In 2014, we ranked 135 in ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms. Actually, we are many firms in one:  a construction management/inspection firm—one of the largest in the eastern region; an engineering design firm—delivering high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable projects; an architecture/facilities design firm—employing state-of-the-art technology such as BIM and conceptual 3D modeling; a bridge inspection firm performing biennial and other inspections for major bridges throughout the northeast; a surveying and mapping firm—offering cutting-edge laser scanning and ground penetrating radar technology; and a special inspections and material testing firm—the only agency in the New York market accredited to conduct special and progress inspections in all categories of building construction.

We could not have reached this milestone without our skilled employees and our long-standing client relationships. We thank our employees for exemplifying HAKS’ commitment to excellence, and we thank our clients for their trust and for allowing us to be of service to them. Continue Reading…

Recommissioning of Gilboa Dam

Recommissioning of Gilboa

Recommissioning of Gilboa

On October 31, 2014, HAKS Senior Vice President Al Lopez, P.E., and Vice President Todd Yanoff, P.E., of our Water/Wastewater Group, joined New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd and other dignitaries at the recommissioning of the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County, New York.  A HAKS-led joint venture has been providing Construction Management services for the rehabilitation of the dam—the firm’s largest construction management project to date and believed to be the largest public works project in the Catskills. D&B Engineers and Architects, PC/URS was our joint venture partner; Gannett Fleming/Hazen and Sawyer joint venture was designer; and Barnard Construction/DA Collins joint venture was the contractor. The NYCDEP initiated this $400 million project to extend the life of the dam another 100 years and bring it into compliance with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation safety standards. Says Commissioner Lloyd, “This was a safety project foremost.” Phase 3 of this massive undertaking, the $138 million reconstruction of the Gilboa Dam, has been completed two years ahead of schedule in spite of a nine-month delay caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Continue Reading…