Zach’s Experience as The Intern

Zach’s Experience as The Intern

My name is Zach Roberts, commonly referred to as “The Intern”. I am a senior at Henderson High School, planning to attend MIT next year to major in Civil Engineering. I will be with DL Howell for the rest of the month of May participating in a new West Chester Area School District program called “Learn to Earn”, which allows me to experience the real-life role of employees at a Civil Engineering firm. With the help of my Henderson advisor, my calculus teacher Mrs. Hohwald, I have been able to create this experience with DL Howell.

During my three week span, DL Howell has definitely kept me busy. I have visited numerous job sites to perform a variety of tasks, including droning and land surveying. I have been working hard to reform their company website and constructed a Google Map containing all of their job sites, which will be used on the company website as well. The employees have also been so kind and helpful in this process. In all of the tasks assigned to me, they have been very thorough and understandable when explaining what they want me to do. I cannot thank the company enough for that.

The program has been an invaluable learning opportunity to confirm my interest in the field of civil engineering and understand the practical use of math in a work environment. It will be extremely beneficial to know next year what it is I will be studying for and what I should focus on while I’m at school. While at MIT, I certainly plan to find an internship (hopefully) similar to the one I was given here at DL Howell.

Using Drones for Same Day Job Site Aerial Photography

Using Drones for Same Day Job Site Aerial Photography

A few years ago, D.L. Howell and Associates recognized the importance drones would be having in the Civil Engineering and Land Surveying services. Today, D.L. Howell has two licensed UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Pilots and has flown and rendered multiple job sites in Chester County.

As both a UAS Pilot and a Civil Designer at D.L. Howell, I have come to realize one of the best uses of “Same Day” Drone aerial site photography is the speed and accuracy with which we can generate more accurate preliminary sketch plans and designs for our clients.

Many civil engineering and surveying companies in Chester County use Google Earth Imagery or Bing Maps Imagery, which is okay in some cases for preliminary design, but can complicate the site design sketch process if the imagery is out of date. Sometimes this aerial information is months if not years old, resulting in potentially inaccurate conceptual design. These inaccuracies can cost a client time and money down the road.

​Using UAS Systems or Drone flights to get “Same Day” Imagery for a project site provides extremely accurate information to the engineering team and the client.

The flight team at D.L. Howell will delineate the area of interest, and then schedule a drone flight based on weather and location of the project site. We will then go to the location, set up the drone for the flight, fly the entire project, direct the drone safely to landing, and return to the office for processing of information captured during the flight. Depending on the size of the project site, D.L. Howell can typically have the information processed within the same day.

Once we have the processed aerial imagery from the drone, the Engineering and Design team at D.L. Howell can then begin their proposed site sketch or design for the client.

Because the aerial information gathered by the drone shows exactly what existing features exist on site, D.L. Howell can provide more accurate solutions for our clients than other engineering companies using aging aerial imagery. This drone technology is also an effective way of monitoring site construction once a project has been approved. Flying the drone every few weeks will allow the client to see the project’s progression…from the air!

The use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems or Drones by D.L. Howell and Associate and Howell Kline Surveying gives us a distinct advantage over the other engineering and surveying companies in Chester County for providing the most accurate preliminary site designs and effectively tracking project development.

It is our goal to provide our clients with the best engineering and land surveying services in Chester County and adding Drone and UAS technology services will help us accomplish that task!

Shown above is a map of some of the site that has been flown by the D.L. Howell Pilots!

For more information on Drone / UAS services in Chester County, Contact D.L. Howell and Associates at (610) 918-9002, and we will be happy to schedule a flight for your next project.

A New Age for Roofs

A New Age for Roofs

May is upon us and before we know it, summer will be here. Soon enough the melodic chimes of ice cream trucks and the savory fragrance of barbeques will fill the air. The days are growing longer and the sun is getting stronger. And with the intensifying sun, many are reminded of the golden opportunity to harness this energy and channel it into usable electricity.

The solar industry has been around for decades but its marketability has been hindered by problems such as durability and lack of aesthetic appeal. Solar panels are vulnerable to damage from falling tree limbs, hail, and other natural phenomena. And the fashion in which the panels are mounted are typically not flush with the roof and look inconsistent with the design of the house. Elon Musk appears to have solved these issues.

Tesla/Solar City will be releasing solar shingles later this year that not only can replace existing shingles (so they no longer sit on top of the roofing) but are also stronger than common roofing shingles. The solar shingles are flush with the roof and also come in a handful of design options to best fit each house, greatly enhancing the aesthetic appeal. These solar shingles are also made of quartz, which is one of the strongest materials on the planet, easily outperforming common roof shingles in strength tests.

While the price has not been announced yet (and it likely won’t be cheap), this is a good option from a sustainability standpoint. The energy source is abundant and renewable, and many municipalities give incentives for this type of development. Even here in West Chester the Borough is developing a sustainable recognition program that will provide various bonuses for including sustainable practices in new developments. So if you are thinking about replacing your roof in the near future, you may want to wait for the release of these new solar shingles. They may be worth the extra buck.