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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New Application for Mood Ring Technology

mood-ringThe mood ring, a popular fad in the late 1970s, is a specialized liquid crystal thermometer typically ornamented with a faux gemstone (usually made of quartz or glass). Temperature changes in the wearer’s finger cause the crystal to reflect different wavelengths of light, which change the color of the stone.  Green is considered normal or average, while blue is calm and relaxed and black is stressed and tense. 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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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…

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…

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…

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…

The Versatility of Concrete

While concrete is a basic building block of most structures that we see and use every day, it is something that we don’t think much about.  However, concrete is usually the material of choice when compressive strength and durability are paramount. Concrete is also naturally fire resistant.

Gilboa DamAccording to the Concrete Joint Sustainability Initiative, concrete “is strong and durable, resistant to deterioration and damage. It buffers temperature, and it can be colored and placed to do this in a way that works with passive solar energy to heat or cool spaces. It buffers sound, providing respite in a crowded, noisy world. It is versatile, allowing a large range of shapes, textures, and structural approaches to create the function, look, and feel appropriate to the project. It is also versatile in the flexibility of component materials, a quality which both extends the range of performance properties—insulation, permeability, and strength—and allows variation in the resources used to produce it. Concrete can play a vital role in the way we conserve and protect natural resources in the structures we create with it and the processes by which we produce it.”   Continue Reading…