Engineers and contractors deployed all over the metropolitan New York City area in Sandy-related tasks.

McLaren Engineering has 25 engineers working with the New York City Dept. of Buildings assessing damage to the thousands of structures on Staten Island, the New York City borough where 14 deaths were attributed to hurricane Sandy.

“We are applying Applied Technology Council ATC 45 procedures for assessment, providing red, yellow or green cards on each building inspected,” says Malcolm G. McLaren, CEO of the West Nyack, N.Y.-based engineer.

Red means a building is unsafe to re-occupy; yellow is restricted access and green is safe to re-occupy, even though there may be some damage.

McLaren has also provided four dive crews to the Dept. of Transportation and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to determine the stability of bridge foundations and piers in the port.

McLaren's staff is working 16-hour days throughout the weekend and the marine community of contractors and owners has been pulled together to help one another, says McLaren.

The biggest problem is a lack of fuel for boats, trucks and cars. "Without fuel, soon we may have to reduce coverage.

McLaren staff also are inspecting cranes prior to their return to operation.

 “There is still some confusion as to what needs to be done to allow operations,” says McLaren. “We are working with the city to resolve this. Safety is paramount.”

McLaren's West Nyack main office, about 15 miles north of New York City, lost power Monday evening. But the company had just installed a 150 kW generator.

It clicked on three seconds after power went out. “We managed to function at nearly full capacity throughout the storm,” McLaren says. “Our 42nd Street office came through with no problems.

Fund Created to Help with Problems

To help companies with post-storm problems, the New York Building Congress's foundation is creating a fund. Seed money is $25,000 from the foundation and $25,000 from the general fund.

The money will also be used to sponsor research into design and construction problems uncovered by the storm.

“There are major lessons to be learned about infrastructure,” says Richard T. Anderson, president of the group. “First we will focus on immediate rescue and recovery efforts,” he adds. “Then, we will focus on longer term issues.”

The Building Congress will solicit funds from members and also is requesting volunteers to help with the rescue and recovery.

Reminding Clients of Services Provided

Construction industry firms affected by the storm are marshaling resources to continue business and aid their affected employees, as well as to offer their services to others.

Here is an excerpt from an email offer to customers by Langan Engineering & Environmental Services:

“To our clients-developers, property owners, corporate executives or institutional officers-let us know if you need Langan. To our design team partners and allies in the legal and surety communities, Langan is prepared to pitch in on a moment's notice. We possess particular experience in waterfront structures, as well as dams and levees."

After enumerating the specific services its offers, Langan says:

"There is no telling how extensive the damage will be, but by working as a team our recovery will be all the more swift."
Hunt Resumes Work, But House is Lost

Hunt Construction Group is once again operational on jobs at JFK International Airport and at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn, N.Y., office of Hunt is managing construction of a JFK Terminal One luggage handling expansion and new customs facility at Terminal Four.

Some 70 employees of Hunt and its partners live on Long Island and were affected by the storm. Most have no cell phone or land-line phone service.

“We are mobilizing relief for our people and others,” says Kenneth L. Johnson, a Hunt executive vice president.

Four who live in or near Long Beach, N.Y., a barrier island totally flooded by the storm surge, are homeless. One of these employees has a newborn baby, for a total of four children. Hunt, with the help of its developer-client Forest City Ratner Cos., is moving the families into furnished apartments in Brooklyn.

Hunt had a corporate house in Long Beach, as well. The bottom floor is completely flooded. Hunt expects the usual problems of mold contamination, corroded electrical components and other rot to make the house unlivable.

“We are not hopeful we are moving back,” says Johnson.