Construction Honored with AGC Builders

Last night, Construction was honored to accept a Best Builders Award from the Associated General Contractors of Vermont for the construction of the $31.3 million Vermont Public Health Laboratory. There is so much to celebrate about this project – from both a construction and community perspective – and it was so gratifying to have that impact formally recognized in the contracting community.

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Project Spotlight: Kensett Lane

6E Kensett Community 8 resized 600

Our very own Denise Halstead, PE, was hired by a developer to take an existing site of 15.87 acres, formerly the grounds of a gravel processing operation, consisting of 1.83 acres of wetlands and develop the site into an age-restricted community with a meeting center and pool. The development would have some 62 units, approximately 3,500 sf each with a garage and patio. This development would be the first new home community in Darien in more than a generation.


6I Kensett Clubhouse 2 resized 600

The plot of land was not without its challenges. The site had been overworked for 60 years and many drainage problems existed within the trunk storm sewer piping that ran throughout the entire property. A railroad and two cemeteries abutted the properties and the design be modified to appease all neighbors, regulatory agencies and the Town’s stormwater management requirements. The neighbors supported this development because the new design incorporated plans to alleviate flooding they regularly incurred during storm events.

The project required creative thinking in order to provide a home for a community that felt one with nature. One of the first improvements made was the replacement of the Town storm sewer and stormwater system. The use of underground systems combined with rain gardens and bioswales provided not just relief to the drainage concerns, but an environmentally sensitive and green infrastructure to complement the development.

6E Kensett Community 3 resized 600

The project was unanimously approved in 2009, but hit a hurdle with the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation. The project planned to re-use the existing driveway to access the site. The State denied use of the entrance because it crossed the Metro North railroad tracks, a site of multiple fatalities. The developer had to put the job on hold and determine another way to access the site. With the railroad abutting the site on the west, cemeteries on the west and north and wetlands on the east, the only access was via a neighboring street, and involved the purchase of properties to do so.

In 2010, a solution was found, and with approval from local regulatory agencies and the state, an access drive was developed off Wakemore Street. Final design work would include permitting from Metro North for a sanitary sewer crossing under the railroard tracks, as well as a State Department of Transportation permit for improvements on the nearby Hoyt Street and the realignment of their access road, Wakemore Street. The project included extensive coordination with utility companies, the Town of Darien Public Works department, and general contractor, client, sub-contractors, and other specialty consultants.

Looking Forward

Construction commenced in 2011 and is proceeding as planned. The project is a 3-year phased project, expected to be completed sometime this year in 2014. Kensett Lane Development is noted to have “filled a need for marketrate homes that are different from the single-family residences available in Darien.” Town officials stated that the development provides a long-needed option for many older, longer-term residents of Darien looking to downscale while maintaining their connectivity to the town and providing bedrooms for visiting family.

6I Kensett Clubhouse 8 resized 600

The Importance of a Proper Septic Design in CT

Designing a proper septic tank is a vital part of constructing a property that cannot access the local sewer system. In fact, the final design of a property cannot be completed until the ideal location of the septic tank has been decided upon. Doing so will help to ensure big savings on the construction and design of the septic tank.

Hiring a Civil Engineer

It is critical to hire a professional septic tank designer to survey and analyze your land before you begin constructing your new property. The professional will examine the lay of your land and perform various soil tests to establish the best area to place the septic system. During this assay process, they will also put into consideration the place you wish to position your home. Click here for a free quote for surveying and septic design from Godfrey-Hoffman & Hodge.

Steps to take following consultations with a professional septic tank designer

In certain cases, the septic tank designer will ask you to change the place where you wish to construct your home in order to ensure proper working of the septic system. This will help you to save on the investment since most septic tanks are designed to follow a downstream flow. This therefore means that gravity fed septic designs cost less than those that require pumping to work effectively. In addition, a gravity fed design has lower maintenance costs and has fewer breakable moving parts.

If a regular septic tank design will not work well for you, you can request the design specialist to provide you with alternative options at your disposal. Ensure that you clearly understand the pros and cons of each option before making a decision on which one to go for.

Septic tank zoning and codes requirements

Your septic tank design must meet the relevant zoning and codes requirements. A reputable contractor should be able to meet all these requirements. Your local civil engineering company that oversees the designing of septic tanks should approve the plan before proceeding with its installation.

Key Takeaways

  • Hire a professional septic tank designer to survey your land before undertaking any property construction
  • Ideally choose a gravity fed septic design since it cost less than one that requires pumping to work effectively
  • Understand the pros and cons of alternative septic tank designs before installing any of it
  • Your septic tank design should meet all relevant zoning and code requirements before installation

Holiday Help from Godfrey Hoffman Hodge, LLC

This Christmas Eve, Steve Strinie, a 30 year Hodge employee will be lending a hand at the WTIC/Salvation Army Holiday Store in Avon Ct. collecting packages and sorting items for the annual donation drive. This is Steve’s third year at the event!

Ray Dunaway from WTIC being familiar with Hodge Surveying, talked about the old days when his former next door neighbor and Hodge owner Weston Barnes (circa 1937-1980) would go over to Ray’s house on Christmas morning and broadcast his morning show live from there!

Godfrey-Hoffman & Hodge would like to thank Steve for being a contributor to this worthy cause and carrying on a great tradition.

Common Scenarios for a Septic Repair Job

Few things can be more distressing for a homeowner than a problem with the septic system. Even householders who are vigilant about reducing the water load and ensuring that the tank is pumped regularly can find themselves facing an unpleasant situation if something goes wrong. While there are many things that can go wrong with a septic system, they can be roughly grouped into a few common scenarios.


Clogs and blockages are a routine problem for septic tank systems. Blockages at the inlet can prevent waste from entering the tank, causing it to back up; blockages at the outlet prevent liquid from entering the leach field and will eventually cause the tank to overflow. Sometimes these arise because the wrong items are being put into the system: cooking oil and grease can cause major problems, as can feminine hygiene products and the wrong kind of toilet paper. Algal blooms and biofilms can also form barriers that stop the tank draining properly. Blockages may be often resolved by snaking the system but sometimes the tank needs to be opened up and the clog removed.

Minor Repair Scenarios

Septic systems are made up of several different elements. Over time, one or more of these may begin to fail an will need to be replaced. These include the pipes and fittings; septic tank risers (connections between the septic tank and the surface, facilitating pumping); baffles, which prevent solid waste from escaping once it has entered the tank; and filters, which can become clogged over time.

Major Repair Scenarios

While septic tanks are minutely inspected before being installed, cracks and weak spots can form over time. A septic system only has a finite lifespan, typically around 20-25 years. Systems can fail faster if they are not properly maintained or if the homeowner uses the system incorrectly (for example, by pouring caustic chemicals such as paint thinner down the drain). The tank will need to be dug up and exposed for repairs to take place; in the worst case, it may need to be replaced all together.


Using a professional civil engineering company to assess the situation on your property can be extremely valuable in the long run. Hiring an experienced firm to come out and evaluate a septic system is extremely important before purchasing a new property, whether it’s residential or commercial. If your hiring an engineering company for new construction, they will take your septic design from a plan to a design and gather all legal permits along the way. For more information about a septic repair on your property, click here.

Key Takeaways:
– Conduct regular maintenance on your tank
– Routinely pumping the system
– Use the system correctly to reduce the number of repairs.
– Conduct minor repairs involve fixing or replacing components such as filters.
– Major repairs will require the replacement of the septic tank.

The 6 Steps to Flood Protection

No one wants to deal with the cleanup and repair costs associated with extensive flood damage to any property. For this reason, there are a number of proactive steps that you can take to avoid flooding on your property in Connecticut. Depending on the kind of flood risks in your location, the zoning and building codes, and the type of home or property you own, some flood preventive measures can be simple and quite inexpensive while others may necessitate the services of a professional civil engineering company. Below are some important steps to take to prevent flooding on your property:

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InPractice Confrence in Hartford

Godfrey-Hoffman and Hodge would like to thank all the attorneys who stopped by our booth at the “InPractice Conference” at the Hartford Hilton on Thursday. It was great to chat with some old acquaintances as well as meet a few new people in the law profession. The InPractice Conference was put on by the Hartford Bar Association and featured seminars on Professional Services Marketing, Practice Management, Social Media for Professional Services and more. If you missed it this year and would like to go next year please let us know.