Last Friday, members of the D.L. Howell and HowellKline teams participated in the 2019 Annual Sporting Clays Invitational. The event, held at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays, benefited the Scout programs of the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America. The Scouts BSA vision is “to prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.” The council serves almost 6,000 youth each year with the help of many adult leaders. To date, the Sporting Clays event has generated over $214,000 for Scouting programs in Chester County Council.
D.L. Howell and HowellKline would like to thank the Chester County Council, BSA for hosting this event. It was a great day out for a great cause!
To learn more about the Chester County Council BSA, visit www.cccbsa.org.
Back in the middle of the summer we took over a job that was in the middle of the review process. iRoy Sport and Fitness is a gym located in East Norriton Township owned by Yori Adegunwa. Taking over a job from another engineer is always a challenge, and on top of that, the new site for iRoy has provided us with some interesting engineering challenges.
The proposed gym will be located along Germantown Pike in Lower Providence Township. Existing conditions at the proposed site include a rundown bridal shop, a few deteriorating buildings, a ton of overgrown vegetation, and some dying trees. It’s quite an eye sore.
The new location is a little over 4 acres and has a grade change of about 32 feet across the site. Finished floor elevations, retaining wall heights, stormwater drainage patterns, and driveway slopes, are all factors that we need to consider during the design phase to balance cuts and fills. Two retaining walls and a steep hill in the front of the building had to be incorporated into the design to make the layout work.
Shallow weathered rock and bedrock were encountered throughout the site during geotechnical investigations. Infiltration was almost nonexistent during testing. How are you supposed to satisfy Township and County Conservation District infiltration requirements if your soils won’t let you? Thanks to the newly released managed release concept (MRC) (https://www.dlhowell.com/blog/pa-dep-releases-guidance-for-managed-release-concept/) you can now achieve the requirement without actually infiltrating. This may seem like an easy fix, but you will most likely need a waiver from the Township to do this and need to do extensive infiltration testing to prove there are no other options.
For this project, we had to design an MRC system, which is more complicated than it might seem. Although there is no “infiltration volume,” there is a volume that needs to pass through water quality features and a volume that needs to pass through the small “slow-release” orifice. Discharge rates must be below a certain value, but you also need to make sure the system will fully dewater within a certain time period. It’s a balancing act to make sure the discharge rate is slow enough, but also fast enough.
Despite some struggling with the new MRC design and the large grade change across the site, the iRoy Sport and Fitness job has been an interesting project to work on. We here at DL Howell are always ready to take on a challenge!
Do you have a boss? Have you ever worked a long workday? Then you need an ice-cold beer to wind down after those long days. What better way to enjoy that beer than with a group of good people that work in the same industry as you?
The Chester County Commercial Industrial Investment Council (CII Council) is a membership organization for professionals involved in commercial and industrial real estate in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The group is not-for-profit and works closely with the Chester County Economic Development Council. This past Thursday CII Council held their end of the summer happy hour at Chop House in Exton. These happy hours are a great way to meet and build relationships with people in our industry. CII Council also holds monthly breakfast meetings. Visit their website to learn more and join a great organization.
Another great organization is Chester County Engineers (CCE). CCE was formed in 2006 by Denny L. Howell II P.E. to promote excellence, encourage cooperation with reviewing agencies and create educational opportunities among the civil engineers in Chester County and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. CCE holds monthly meetings to go over leading topics in the land development industry. The meetings are usually held in the mornings and more educational than CII Council’s happy hours. So, beer is not usually present. However, you can bring a beer or two; I’d respect it. Please visit the CCE website to learn more.
Go Birds and Roll Tide,
In today’s world, technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. You can’t go into a public space without seeing someone with their head down in their phone. As technology becomes more accessible, and with the ever-growing population, energy consumption continues to increase. As a result, alternative sources of energy continue to be researched and developed in order to offset these energy demands. The energy industry has come up with alternatives such as fossil fuels, nuclear, thermal, hydro, and solar. Another source that is being looked at is the energy that we as humans produce in kinetic footfall.
One of the most common human functions that we perform everyday is walking, which in the process generates a lot of energy. Each step that we take causes pressure when the foot hits the floor and all the energy goes unused. If the ground surface you are walking on was engineered to harvest that energy, power could be generated from those steps and then used as a power source or stored and sent to a power grid. As an example, a person dancing on one of these floors can generate 5-10 watts. In a packed club, all of the people dancing in there could account for up to 60% of the total energy required for the club. This technology is continually being researched and improved, but there have been some applications of this technology that have already been used. This was used back in 2012 during the Olympics in a high foot traffic area, and trials have also been used in Las Vegas as well. As a way of marketing this technology and to try to get their product out there, companies producing these products are also adding different features than just being able to generate energy. One company is connecting their floors to streetlights that have phone chargers and that also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots so that your walking can also keep your phone going. This technology is also being looked at to be incorporated for different sports. The tiles that are used to capture the energy could be placed under whatever playing surface to generate energy, and they are also developing it so that it could track the player’s steps for data purposes. Advancements in technology are continually under development and they are making everything smarter from phones, to cars, to roads, to even the ground that we walk on.
Lately here at DL Howell our newsletters have been taking a look at the Civil Engineering /Surveying field from the past (A Look Back), the present (A Quick and Abrupt Lesson in Civil and Environmental Engineering), and today we’ll be providing some insight on what the future might have to offer. In the upcoming years expect to see the rise in use of 3D printers, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Material Physics, Drones, and Smart Roads in the industry. While some of these advancements are already in place, they have limitless potential to grow and become part of everyday life for a civil engineer and surveyor.
3D printers allow for the creation of a physical object from a digital model. They can create objects by laying down a series of thin layers (plastic, metal, or ceramic) in succession over a period of time to build objects layer by layer. 3D printing is often applied to create models for early designs of projects so that engineers and clients can get a rough idea of what a proposed land development might look like. Engineers are starting to use 3D printed models now to help bridge gaps between proposed visual designs/concepts and planning/drafting that might need to be done. This will allow our engineers to bring scaled-down proposed 3D models to clients or township meetings to get a better idea of the proposed project. A Chinese construction company has already started building houses made from concrete with a large 3D printer and can build up to 10 in one day.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are now starting to be utilized in the engineering field for multiple reasons. AR and VR are being used to analyze proposed structures before construction begins on a project. AR is being used to envision how a building will look on a site, even before the site is starting to be developed. Civil engineering technicians are starting to use VR to analyze the placement of utilities, roadways, and sewage for a project. These technologies will aid in the visualization of how a project will or won’t work for structural, architectural, and civil engineers.
In the future look to see and hear more about Material physics and the use of metamaterials. Metamaterials are materials which are designed to have specific properties for specific situations or occurrences. The versatility of materials that civil engineers have allows them to design and create more innovative projects than ever before. One of the more well-known examples of these types of materials is graphene. Graphene is about 100 times stronger than the strongest steel. It conducts heat and electricity extremely efficiently and is nearly transparent. Who knows what other metamaterials will be created in the near future with limitless capabilities and properties!
I know, I know we talk a lot about drones, but while drones aren’t the newest thing ever to Civil Engineering and Surveying in the upcoming years, they really are going to make leaps and bounds in both fields processes. For surveying, drones will be able to provide land-related services to surveyors such as subdividing land, finding property boundaries, and surveying sites for possible placement of buildings. Drones can also produce topographic maps, volumetric calculations for stockpiles, and assist with flood insurance maps with the right equipment. Right now, drone technology isn’t quite as accurate as the current method for proper surveying, but it does allow our surveying team to get a rough estimate of an area.
With more and more people buying electric cars, it’s only a matter of time before we get rid of the dumb roads and upgrade them to smart roads. While it’s still an idea that needs to be fully tested and figured out a New Zealand company has started on a concept of a road that could possibly wirelessly charge your electric car while you drive. The road would work as a bunch of solar panels that would then charge your car as it was driving. Who knows if this will ever happen, or what headaches it might cause if it happens for civil engineers when designing a road, but it would be interesting if it becomes possible!
In the meantime, if you need some present-day land surveying, or civil engineering work done contact us and we’ll be more than happy to assist!
Once a survey proposal is signed, most clients typically ask, “When can I expect the plan?”. Time is money, and surveys take time. For large projects, it can take weeks or even months to complete the fieldwork, reduce the survey notes, assemble the job data, and draft that information into a useful and reliable plan. In the past, the traditional method of surveying large areas was to hire a photogrammetric mapping firm that would use a fixed-winged plane. That method can be expensive, and typically takes multiple days or weeks before the client receives the final product.
Today, drones are rapidly reducing the turnaround time of our surveys. They allow us to set up a date, fly the job site, upload the data, and receive the survey files back from Drone Deploy as quickly as the same day.
One of the best examples of just how much time the use of drones can save on a large project is a boundary, topography, and physical improvement survey completed for the United Sports Training Complex in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The entire 91.4 acre site was completed using four flight logs, totaling just over one hour. Without the use of drones, this would have taken our field crew over two weeks to ground survey. Our crew then had plenty of time to concentrate on locating sub-surface utilities, hidden features below canopy lines, and property monumentations.
The below is an orthomosaic-produced high-resolution aerial photo of the sports complex:
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of drone surveying, contact HowellKline Surveying, LLC anytime. Our friendly, helpful staff would be happy to speak with you.