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Protecting public health and safety in the wake of Genoa bridge tragedy

A sudden bridge collapse in the heart of Genoa, Italy killed over 40 people on August 14. The bridge was completed in 1967. The bridge fell 148 feet, taking about three dozen cars and three trucks with it. The bridge was known to have been in deteriorating condition and required constant repair work since its … Continue reading

Painting the town white

Temperatures are rising and cities, in particular, are feeling the heat as a result of a phenomenon known as “Urban Heat Island effect.” An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that’s much warmer than surrounding rural areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, temperatures in US cities can get as much as 10 … Continue reading

Design professionals score win in California

California architects, engineers, and land surveyors can continue to organize as limited liability partnerships thanks to the work of the AIA California Council (AIA CC) and ACEC California, with assistance from Victor O. Schinnerer & Company. Senate Bill 920, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 20, 2018, extends the sunset date of … Continue reading

Court scrutinizes definition of surveying services

The Mississippi Board of Professional Engineers and Surveyors (Board) sued Vizaline in September 2017, alleging that Vizaline is offering services that require a surveyors license. Vizaline’s computer program takes the metes and bounds description of property and draws the polygon on a map for banks that need accurate property descriptions. The Board is alleging that … Continue reading

Energy efficiency benefit comes under scrutiny

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 extended a number of provisions that had expired at the end of 2016. Among these provisions was Section 179D, Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, now available for newly constructed buildings or building improvements placed in service during 2017. The deduction is available to owners and tenants of commercial properties … Continue reading

Driverless transportation and the future of bridge design

According to the Daily Telegraph, Norway has become the first country in the world to design a driverless ferry. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NNTU) is conducting trials of a half-scale ferry that shuttles people and their bicycles across the Trondheim fjord, a journey of 320 feet that takes only 60 seconds, and … Continue reading

Going green: 7 ways the growing marijuana industry may affect design professionals

Conflicting laws between the federal and state governments create many unknowns for all aspects of the expanding marijuana industry—including construction and design. Although to date, there’s only one documented insurance claim in the Schinnerer program related to the design of a marijuana facility—that’s yet to be resolved—design and construction experts are assessing how the industry … Continue reading

Blockchain: 5 Things You Need to Know Now

While the conventional wisdom around blockchain is that it’s a technology only affecting financial markets, design and construction stakeholders ought to pay attention to new developments, too. If you don’t, you risk falling behind on an important trend that potentially presents a competitive challenge for your firm, but also missing the opportunity the technology presents … Continue reading

Update on the saga of the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco”

Last year, I reported on the claims swirling around the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco that has sunk about 17 inches and tilted 14 inches to the west and 6 inches to the north since it opened in 2009. Not much has changed in a year; litigation is still on-going and the parties are … Continue reading

Thinking about hiring a drone operator?

Design professionals frequently use drones (unmanned aerial systems) to help provide professional services. A recent article by Mark A. Dombroff, “Lessons in Liability: Drones 101,” reminds us to consider the regulatory and risk management issues that can arise from your relationship with a third-party drone provider. First, consider that accidents, while rare, do occur. Drones … Continue reading