The Godfrey-Hoffman Blog
Get the latest tips on land surveying and civil engineering.
There are many steps that a property owner takes to properly plan a site design. When you're proposing a site for a septic system, for example, you could be tempted to use the first recommendation from a website or developer. However, not all sites are the same, and you might need a professional survey and an engineered designed septic system. Some sites have special drainage and saturation issues. Other sites have been previously developed or re-purposed. All sites are affected by surrounding lands and may have unique storm-water management issues. It pays to take your time and plan for the best design and locate it in the right position compared to the building structure. Rushing the process would be costly later, especially if your community experiences unusual amounts of flooding. In this post, we discuss a few drainage and saturation issues that can affect septic design. 3 Common Issues for Small Septic Designs
Since Early America, land surveying has successfully mapped unknown territories and established governmental and private boundaries. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were surveyors, utilizing a number of tools such as a compass, chains, and some early version of a transit or sextant to gather land distances, angles, and elevations. Today, land surveying with drone technology adds an additional layer of land access, monitoring, and precision measurement and documentation.
When it comes to commercial solar panels, most businesses think of rooftop arrays on warehouses, or panels put out on vacant land that isn't being used. However, when it comes to generating large amounts of power via commercial solar panels, one of the biggest resources in the U.S. is parking lots. As Urban Land pointed out back in 2011, parking lots are an ideal location for solar panels. They take up a lot of space, they tend to be open to the sky, and they are literally everywhere. It's no wonder that, at least along the east and west coast, businesses have been installing solar panel carports and canopies with enthusiasm.
When selecting a prospective house or patch of land, most people are easily enticed by the usual factors like location, size, price and even structural design. But acquiring a property means that you need to be mindful of even the tiniest details. Otherwise, you might face unexpected conflicts or the value of your new property may be badly affected later on.
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In October of last year an electrical problem sparked a blaze at the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont, located in Milford, that caused extensive damage to the temple. "On July 21, 1995, the synagogue was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. The building was nominated for this designation because of its Colonial revival design, the fact that it hasn't been modified, and also because it was used for most of its life as a seasonal temple." The historical building, prayer books, shalls, and other various items dating back to 1926 were all destroyed in this devastasting fire. Immediately following the cleanup process, the goal of rebuilding the Temple in the same location was created and the overwhelming support from neighbors, organizations, and other synagogues poured in to help out in anyway possible. In the emotional process of rebuilding the temple, there was an issue with the last survey performed on the property. Godfrey-Hoffman and Associates stepped in to help complete a survey that was lacking certain info that was needed by the architect for the new design and permitting. This week, the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont presented GHA with a sincere letter thanking the company for donating their services to help in the rebuilding of the new temple:
This Infographic about the Top Engineering Achievements of 2012 was brought to our attention and we wanted to share this with you. Enjoy!
Double the Fun Owning one business can be time consuming, expensive and challenging. Throw in a second business, and an extra set of challenges is introduced. How is it possible to achieve success with double the clients, projects and work? Adam Hoffman, owner of Godfrey-Hoffman Associates and Hodge Surveying, tells Point Of Beginning Magazine his story. POB: In April 2010, you purchased Hodge Surveying after already owning Godfrey-Hoffman Associates (GHA). How hard has it been to run two businesses? What made you want to do both? Hoffman: I was asked to take a look at the company by one of my now key employees at Hodge; he felt the business [had potential but] was not being run very well. Through review and due diligence, I confirmed that was the case. Since both firms do the same type of work, I had the experience of running this type fo business already, so it seemed a natural fit. Also, unlike GHA, Hodge was being operated with outdated technology, which can cripple a company in our business today, and I saw an opportunity to better serve those clients. It wasn't as hard as I had first anticipated. The team at my original company, Godfrey-Hoffman, unified while the new business, Hodge Surveying, had an under-utilized employee who was a diamond in the rough. With the appropriate guidance, empowerment and technology upgrades, he has been managing that office sucessfully ever since. I decided to operate Hodge as a seperate business because they have been around since 1925. Also, GHA does both surveying and engineering, and I didn't want to upset the engineers that did business with Hodge. Now that they know me, they understand I'm not out to steal their clients. POB: How did you develop a business strategy? What have you looked to improve with your business? Hoffman: I never had to start from the ground up. When I was first licensed, I was a partner with my uncle, Bernard Godfrey, so together we continued to build on his excellent reputation. Our philosophy was to "do great work at reasonable rates, and they will come." When I purchased Hodge, we continued with our new approach, applying it in a new location and continuing to listen to our clients. Our clients are the biggest barometer for us. They will always tell us what's working and what's not. Fortunately, we hear consistent, positive feedback from them telling us that our business is responsive to their needs and solves their permitting issues. Our focus and specialty within "sustainable design" is an area we want to help our clients benefit from further. Clients can see their construction costs be reduced by as much as 40 percent in some cases, with maintenance expenses ove the development's lifetime dramatically reduced as well. With the reuse of existing materials, we also want to help our customers "go green" and feel good about their decisions. POB: What has been your biggest challenge? What has been your biggest success? Hoffman: The current economy has been extremely challenging for our profession. Construction of new housing has just about stopped. Larger firms have seen huge contracts dry up and are scrambling to replace them with smaller-sized projects where they're not as competitive due to scale and overhead. Luckily for us, we have always operated extremely efficiently, yet accurately, which allows our clients to move their projects forward quickly and cost effectively because town officials know and trust the validity of our plans. Our clients tout our ability to "get things done" for them, despite advice from brokers or attorneys who say approvals will be unlikely to obtain, and all of us know time is money. I am most proud of the fact that at my company, we are like a family, we care about one another. If someone is gone for some reason, everyone steps up to get the job done. POB: What technologies do you use, and how do you stay on top of the latest trends? Hoffman: We have found great success with robotic total stations and office software like AutoCAD, and are about to jump into GPS. We see this as a great tool to add to our toolbox. We are commited to learning. We invest time and money as active members in multiple trade associations and organizations, and make sure we stay abreast of new technologies and attend vendor demos, etc. We talk with other engineers/surveyors and read, read, read! With the Internet, all the information is available so we do our homework. POB: Your company also markets 3D laser scanning services. How did you get involved, and what do you see the future of this technology being? Hoffman: I knew a guy who was laid off from his "normal" survey job; he bought a 3D laser scanner figuring it's the newest technology in the industry and since he was not licensed, he could legally offer these services. We partnered up on a few projects, and I marketed it to my clients, which created some work for both of us. Since BIM is the latest technology in designing buildings, laser scanning helps create the base mapping. It also allows for some mapping to be done remotely when conventional methods would be cost prohibitive. As built surveys of a highway would require the highway to be shut down or traffic to be re-routed. Laser scanning can be done without stepping foot on the highway, which is much safer. As for the future, as the pricing decreases, the uses will increase, but it's just another tool in the surveyor's toolbox. POB: What most excites you about the future of the surveying profession? Hoffman: While no one can predict the future, I do see the opportunities for new ways of thinking that can allow us to serve and partner with our clients to help them achieve their project goals. Our clients cannot afford lost time and expenses for missteps and errors, so they look closely at the "whole picture" of cost and quality when deciding who they hire. Our best clients are informed clients, and we have noticed that with the down economy other companies are taking a lot of short cuts and their work integrity suffers. Our clients know that it truly matters who they hire and that not all plans get them to the finish line. We have built our business on offering top quality work at reasonable rates, and work with the clients who want the job done right the first time and every time. Another opportunity and advantage is the fact that we've been around since 1925. Over the years, we have acquired and owned an abundance of past survey records that can save our clients money since these records avoid the need to re-perform research that has already been documented and approved by town officals. It's the little things that really add up for our clients and we enjoy helping them learn how to put the pieces of the property puzzle together and save money at the same time. As they say, knowledge is power! Full article courtesy of www.pobonline.com. January 2013, Vol. 38, #4
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Wait, before you go!
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