Partial roof collapse in North Haven

“As you are aware the horrible weather of the past few days/weeks/months has put quite a strain on the integrity of many structures in our area. GHA was able to come to the assistance of a building owner here in North Haven who had the unfortunate experience of a partial roof failure at a warehouse structure. GHA performed survey, column location and truss heights to determine the integrity of the remaining portion of the building. This quick work made it possible for the owner to get most of his business back up and running while the contractors made necessary repairs to the collapsed portion of the building.
If you find any of your contacts in a similar situation please think of GHA as part of the solution….”

New Haven Proposing Runoff Tax

Lately, there has been a rash of nasty winter storms unleashing havoc on the roads of Connecticut. This is par for the course in the Northwest, so it’s really no surprise to anyone who has lived up here for longer than a few years. Although snow storms immediately affect most of us by making road conditions difficult, we never really think about how much snow storms affect our sewer systems. As blizzards end and the sun begins to melt snow, the sewers can easily become flooded and overwhelmed by the amount of water surging underground.

The city of New Haven has proposed a controversial measure to deal with the aftermath of storms. According to a story in the New Haven Register, the city has planned a new commission to enforce possible storm taxes:

“The city wants to create a Stormwater Authority, a plan that involves charging a new user fee to homeowners, businesses and nonprofits based on the amount of runoff they generate.

Under the proposed plan, residents would pay a small flat fee, while properties with parking lots and big buildings would pay more. The idea is to switch from a taxpayer-funded system to a user fee-funded system to pay for storm water services such as maintenance, street sweeping, catch basin cleaning and other costs.”

The tax would appropriately tax big corporations and businesses that cause more runoff than regular homes. The article says that the current cost of managing runoff is $2.5 million and apparently this tax would make up for a large amount of that cost.

If this measure passes, it might be wise to hire a CT engineering firm to take a look at your property and find ways to augment the runoff from your business. You might save some money in the long run.

UK Shows Growth for Engineering Jobs

Engineering firms are faced with an absolute myriad of tasks on a regular basis. One day they may have a project requiring civil engineering design for a building restoration and the next they may need to run a veritable slew of surveys on a new spot for a public park. It stands to reason that the breadth of skills that an engineering firm represents would be a boon to any economy, here or abroad.

Currently, engineering firms in the United Kingdom are reporting that their respective companies are “upbeat” about new employment possibilities for engineers out of work. This, according to the Liverpool Daily Post, is due to the prime minister’s request for companies to “invest and grow.” The survey of engineering firms discussed in this article references how these businesses plan on achieving this goal:

“Some 76% of companies say their growth strategies will be achieved by increasing innovation in the UK and 69% by increasing capital investment. It is also highly export driven, with exports accounting for more than half of turnover in 40% of companies and one third having production facilities outside the UK.”

The article also talks about how important the British government can be in this process, and what must be done to accomplish the goals outlined by authorities and firms alike:

“The North West is the UK’s biggest manufacturing region with almost 15,000 companies employing about 350,000 people, and output worth £21.1bn out of a UK total of £155bn. However, the report warns that the Government must work with the sector to ensure its continued growth, or risk arresting its impressive progress.”

In the end, a story like this proves how essential engineers are all over the world. Without their skills and know-how, a lot of projects would never be completed correctly. That’s why people study to be engineers in the first place – to gain a different perspective on the world and the way that we build on top of it.

Surveying Equipment Uncovers Artifacts

Surveying is a very particular and essential part of any kind of land development. This can be for local projects like building a house in the suburbs or for restructuring a large bridge in a metropolitan area. No matter what kind of building or structure needs to be put up, surveyors can determine how and where it can be done. At its base, surveying is the science of determining three dimensional points and the angles / distance between them as accurately as possible.

However, surveying isn’t always used for aiding in the construction of buildings and other structures, it can be used as a means for discovery. This is precisely what is occurring in Zacatecas, Mexico, where archaeologists are excavating in El Teul Archeological Zone. El Teul is known for its wealth of artifacts, according to an article in Opti-Cal:

“El Teul, in Zacatecas, is one of the few Mesoamerican sites that was occupied continuously for as long as 18 centuries. Excavations so far have unearthed items including an enormous Prehispanic sculpture of a ballgame player that is thought to have been deliberately created without a head. Historians of the era believe its lack of head could have meant it was used as a pedestal to display the real heads of sacrificed players of the ritual ballgame. Archaeologist Peter Jimenez Betts, who is co-director of the El Teul Archaeological Project, said the abundance of objects is the result from a continued occupation that the hill presented for at least 1,800 years.”

In this special case, land surveying is helping archaeologists discover new elements in the fabric of Mesoamerican history. Artifacts that will potentially be discovered using three dimensional models from total stations might open up new avenues of study in this historic people.

Massive Shortfall of Engineers in India

The job market is tough out there across North America, especially in the United States.  Although some types of jobs are opening up – medical, engineering and food service fields specifically – it has still been difficult for many to find places to work in this hard economic state.  However, if an engineer is finding no open positions in his/her area, they may want to look towards Asia.

Recently, there has been a construction boom out in India that is seeking civil engineers and designers for help in building high rise apartment buildings and the like.  The shortage has developed out of a lack of Indian graduates moving into those fields – instead graduates are working in the information technology field, which is always seeking in India.  According to the Economic Times the salary for someone in civil engineering versus someone in information technology is roughly half, causing a serious shortage:

“Infrastructure problems ranging from dirt roads to power cuts are a major obstacle to India’s future growth, and the government plans to spend one trillion dollars on upgrades between 2012 and 2017. India has jealously watched China’s remarkable economic development over the last 20 years, which has been made possible by huge and successful public construction projects. Experts however warn that India faces a massive shortfall of qualified civil engineers. Delhi’s new metro system is one shining example of the type of project that would be welcomed across India. But when a new stretch of track opened before the Commonwealth Games, the chief of the project E. Sreedharan complained bitterly about a ‘severe shortage of architectural and civil engineers.’”

This story highlights the importance of all kinds of engineers across the world.  Not having enough civil engineers may stall India’s movement towards growth in years to come and that would be a shame.

3D Laser Scanning Saves Time

Laser technology in the fields of engineering and land surveying is sweeping across the country. By using lasers to map coordinates, shapes and elements of an area that will be constructed upon, engineers can quickly, accurately and effectively capture the full breadth of an area. Laser scanners produce point clouds that can be turned into 3D or even 2D models of buildings and landscapes that can be used for planning and other data collection. Laser technology is definitely the future of engineering and surveying and schools are jumping on the bandwagon with high tech engineering firms.

For instance, this technology is being taught at the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, according to The Chronicle Herald. Students at the school are learning how to use the laser scanning tools to create models of structures automatically from hard resin, instead of paper. The article explains the process:

“Brandon Smith, a mechanical engineering instructor, waves a laser wand around an angular piece of metal in a workshop at the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth. A few metres away, the information from the laser sensor appears on a computer screen, slowly building into a three-dimensional replica of the object, which was once part of an airplane. That computer image will be fed into a large “printer” on the other side of the room and in a matter of hours, an exact three-dimensional replica of the part — made of a hard resin material, not paper — will be produced for the aviation company IMP.”

This type of process would have taken weeks without the technology now available to students studying engineering in schools all over the world. The article goes on to say that the skills associated with using these types of tools will help students get acclimated with real-world “customers, deadlines and engineering challenges.”

Wooden Whaling Ship Back in the Water

In this blog, we have discussed the usage of laser technology to create 3-D models of buildings to help aid engineers with recommendations for land that is complex and time consuming to survey with standard engineering tools. Technology is one of the major backbones of engineering and 3-D imagery is just one of the newest techniques for making the science of engineering more precise and accurate.

Using lasers as the “eyes of an engineer” can be a very effective way of determining how a structure needs to be fixed in order to achieve maximum stability and long lasting structural integrity. A 3-D scan provides engineers with a model that looks very similar to the computer generated imagery used in the classic movie “Tron.” Using this technology paired with the engineering skills gained from the study of math and science, engineers can interpret a model and make recommendations to clients. This process also saves a massive amount of time for engineers, who would normally have to manually make measurements on difficult pieces of land.

This process isn’t just used for scanning areas of land and current building structures, but also used for restoring old ships, according to this blog entry from Gizmodo. The entry speaks about the restoration of the world’s last great whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan. The wooden ship was scanned with lasers and X-ray technology to determine where its weak spots are, so that a $10 million restoration could begin.

According to the piece, the boat should be restored by 2012, but that whaling will not be possible. At this point, the boat will be preserved for history’s sake. Without 3-D scanning technology, the last whaling boat in the world would be gone forever.

Hackathons Mine Engineering Minds

In the world of computers, the idea of hacking is met with various responses. Some look at hacking as a form of virtual terrorism and others look at hacking as an art form that can change the way computer systems and online media are used to enhance performance and usage of computers across the world. In a lot of ways, some hackers deserve to be lauded for their efforts.

A lot of hackers use their knowledge and abilities to alert corporations and software developers of bugs and holes in security programming. In this way, hackers are very useful to the safety of our personal and private data. Once a hole is discovered, the developers can go in and make a patch or rewrite a piece of code before the problem is discovered by malicious hackers.

That’s why University of Illinois students are hacking Facebook with permission. The Daily Illini has a story about how Facebook has set up a Hackathon at the university and a few others. What do Facebook developers hope to get out of this hacking? Some of the best Facebook features of the past few years:

“On Friday, students formed teams to work for 24 hours straight on hacks for new product ideas that could very well result in similar success. Hackathons are usually internal operations at Facebook where engineers get together to try and create innovative new products using the Facebook platform. It was at one of these hackathons that Facebook Video and other products such as Facebook Chat were invented.”

This kind of story proves how valuable that engineers can be in the landscape of the world, whether it is virtual or otherwise. While one Connecticut engineer is surveying an area for planning and zoning commissions, a computer engineer in California is inventing the next big social network.

Serious Shortage of Software Engineers

Engineers complete a variety of difficult, but essential tasks that make a lot of things possible in the world. That is why the education that all kinds of engineers go through is so rigorous and time consuming. Without engineers, buildings wouldn’t get built, roads would never get fixed and computers would never have any decent software and hardware systems.

In the world of software engineering, there is a serious demand for “decent engineers,” according to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. At first glance, a shortage of software developers seems impossible, seeing as the media world is constantly expanding on a daily basis. According to the article, that is the precise problem: the tech bubble is growing so rapidly that there are not enough software engineers to take crucial positions in companies. Of course, there are software engineers out there, but they simply do not have the skills necessary to fit into these serious positions:

“The most obvious cause of increased software developer demand is that the Internet is still rapidly growing; the tech sector accounts for an ever bigger chunk of the economy. Young companies like Google have created thousands of new programming jobs. More recently, Twitter, Facebook, and Zynga have been throwing money at every engineer they can find.

But the problem is especially bad in the startup community, because of the surge in early stage funding. Getting new consumer web companies off the ground is vastly cheaper today than it was just a few years ago; as a result, venture capitalists and angel investors are increasingly focused on seed stage investments. Since such investments are much smaller than later round ones, that means far more companies are getting funded, and they all need engineers to get them up and running.”

Just imagine if a shortage of civil engineers occurred in the near future, particularly with a lot of stimulus money going towards road development and reconstruction. Engineering is a great skill to learn and if more of us don’t do so, we may be at a loss in the future.



Hodge LLC. was hired by Maric Builders in 2008 to complete a boundary survey and map all existing features of the property. We located the house, driveway and patio’s etc.  The house was a beautiful old 1920’s or 1930’s English Tudor with a lot of character, but quite rundown. The project began with designs, town approvals and the teardown of the original house. Hodge LLC. provided the layout to the foundation crew as well as information to the crews building the driveway, walls, patios and the pool. The homeowners, architects and Meric Builders had the vision to turn it into what we see here today. This project is currently nearing completion after several years but with many details to be tied up. Meric Builders has used Hodge LLC. for many of their projects and we look forward to many more in the future.