Empire State Development Pre-Qualification

InfoTran Engineers, PC (INFOTRAN) is excited to announce that we have been approved by the Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors for inclusion to the list of Pre-Qualified Owner’s Representatives. Under this contract, INFOTRAN will provide Real Estate development and construction Owner’s Representative services to includes project planning, scheduling, budgeting, construction monitoring, and close-out on a task order basis.

 “We are excited to add Empire State Development to our client list,” said Pavan Ilipilla P.E., Senior Program Manager. “We are proud that our team continues to expand our client footprint and looking forward to providing Owner’s Representative Services to ESD,” added Pavan.

INFOTRAN is a Professional Engineering Services company, serving public and private sectors since 2007. InfoTran’s core capabilities are Traffic/Transportation, Construction Management/Inspection (CM/CI), Engineering Design, Condition Assessment, and Disaster Recovery. Our team “of professionals provides comprehensive technical and business solutions to our public and private partners. We are currently serving the local, state, and federal agencies that include but are not limited to; PANYNJ, NYC DDC, NYC DOT, NY DEP, NYC SCA, MTA, DASNY, NYCHA, GOSR, and FEMA.

INFOTRAN is a certified SBE/DBE/MBE firm across major cities and states that includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Texas. 

PhilaPort Award of On-Call Engineering Services

InfoTran Engineers, PC (INFOTRAN) is excited to announce that we have been awarded a contract by PhilaPort – The Port of the Philadelphia to provide the On-Call Engineering Services. Under this contract, INFOTRAN will provide Civil, Structural, and MEP Services to PhilaPort within the Port Zone. The Port Zone exists along the Delaware River, from Morrisville south to the border with the State of Delaware, and to varying degrees to the west into Pennsylvania.

 “We are excited to add PhilaPort to our major and longstanding client list,” said Jon Sidenstick P.E., Senior Vice President. “We are proud that our team continues to expand our client footprint and looking forward to providing our exceptional engineering services to PhilaPort,” added Jon.

INFOTRAN is a Professional Engineering Services company, serving public and private sectors since 2007. InfoTran’s core capabilities are Traffic/Transportation, Construction Management/Inspection (CM/CI), Engineering Design, Condition Assessment, and Disaster Recovery. Our team “of professionals provides comprehensive technical and business solutions to our public and private partners. We are currently serving the local, state, and federal agencies that include but are not limited to; PANYNJ, NYC DDC, NYC DOT, NY DEP, NYC SCA, MTA, DASNY, NYCHA, GOSR, and FEMA.

INFOTRAN is a certified SBE/DBE/MBE firm across major cities and states that includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Texas. 

Construction Challenges on the Island of Saipan, MP

On October 24, 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu, the strongest typhoon ever recorded to impact The Mariana Islands and the second strongest to strike the United States or its territories made landfall on the islands of Tinian and Saipan. Torrential rain and sustained winds of 130-180 mph killed two citizens, injured at least 133 others, and damaged or destroyed significant portions of the island’s buildings and critical infrastructure. A major disaster declaration was announced by the U.S. president on October 26, 2018, making federal funding available to affected individuals in Rota, Saipan, Tinian, and the Northern Islands municipalities.

InfoTran Engineers, PC was contracted by APTIM to provide construction supervision and quality control services for the rebuilding effort of the residential houses in Saipan, located 7,000 miles away from the US mainland. The rebuilding effort faced several technical, supply chain, and resource challenges due to Saipan’s geographic location. The COVID-19 global pandemic further exacerbated these challenges. The following sections describe the challenges and the suggested approaches to address them on the construction projects on the islands.

Technical Challenges

Constructability

The design documents called for the concrete masonry unit (CMU) construction for walls from the ground to the roof. During the early stages of the construction phase project, The Project Management team recognized that the local contractors and crews were not very familiar with CMU construction methodologies.  The limited experience of the labor force on the CMU method was compromising the quality and design compliance. After working directly with the construction crews, the team recognized that the contractors were more familiar with cast-in-place concrete as a construction method.  The team proposed a recommendation to the design to terminate the CMU coursing at the 10th course and cast-in-place concrete from the 10th course to the roof level. This modification directly led to an increase in quality and workmanship and helped to gain positive time towards the construction schedule.

Similarly, the specifications required the use of lime in cement mortar and skim coat. However, this type of mix was not typically utilized on the island and lime was not locally available. The specifications not being tailored to the contextual environment created a steep learning curve, which involved several trial & error iterations.

An in-depth analysis of demographics, local construction techniques, and material availability during the constructability review and value engineering can address these challenges.

Delays in Permitting Process

The local city/municipal agencies required several weeks to several months to process the permit applications. Similarly, the local utility providers had limited resources available to support new connections to power, water, and sewer. This uncertain timeframe caused schedule delays. It is crucial to capture the realistic processing times in the project schedule to plan accordingly and to negotiate more realistic deadlines with the clients.  

Advanced Assessment of the capacity of local agencies will ensure realistic costs and schedules for the large-scale project.

Supply Chain Challenges

Limited Availability of Off-the-Shelf Materials

The drawings & specifications called for specific construction material and supplies that were not readily available in the required quantities or in accordance with the specifications. The common construction items such as adhesives, faucets, doors, windows, bolts & screws, roof coating materials, water heaters, insulation material, etc. were not readily available on the island. The Project Team had to coordinate daily with the subcontractors on identifying the construction material/tool requirements, months in advance, place orders, and track the items while in freight.  Contingency evaluations and plans were set into motion for materials and equipment when scheduling delays were occurring due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

For example, the floor coating material, while available on the island, was not available in the required volume for the project and due to the global pandemic, the procurement of additional materials was not possible in the scheduled timeframes. The team was able to coordinate with the client and contractors to obtain a waiver to use similar products from various manufacturers.  While the quality of the products utilized was of equal or better in their performance, The Project Management team was able to work with the installation crews to ensure that the final aesthetics of the product met the client’s expectations.

In-depth knowledge of the limitations of the local supply chains on the availability of construction materials will allow accounting for the time and costs associated with procuring such items.

Limited Production Capacity

The new construction activities are limited on the island and there were not sufficient production facilities on the island because of the limited demand for construction materials such as concrete, prefabricated concrete blocks, etc.  For example, there were only three concrete batching plants on the entire Saipan and only two of the three plants agreed to mix concrete in the design mix specified in the design document.  In addition, only one of these two batching plants had a mechanism of printing concrete tickets electronically. The design document called for electronic ticketing for the batches. This requirement caused a severe bottleneck and The Project Team had to work with the concrete batching plant to reserve the capacity on days when multiple concrete pours were planned.

Similarly, the concrete blocks needed for the project were produced by two manufacturers and production could not be scaled to meet the project needs. The quick fix was adapted to use three cell blocks along with two cell blocks. This presented another set of challenges, as the workforce had to adapt to differences in sizes and shapes which proved to be an uphill task. The tolerance for deviation on the island was much greater than what construction contract documents specify.  For example, there was a variation of 10% to 20% in concrete block dimensions, in all dimensions, which caused the bed & head joints to be out of tolerance limits.   

Advanced knowledge of the production plant’s capability to manufacture needed supply and available production capacities can assist in addressing the needed design modifications and schedule/cost.

Resource Challenges

Insufficient Skilled Workforce

Most of the labor force on the Island was of foreign origin and was on a temporary work visa with set durations. The global pandemic of COVID-19 forced the team to work with only the workforce that was available from the beginning of the project. The team was able to mitigate this challenge by shuffling skilled crews to the houses that were behind schedules. The challenge was further exacerbated by limited access to power tools and equipment. With this constraint, the labor force would often perform tasks such as concrete block saw cutting; rebar bending, mixing paints/coatings, etc., using manual methods.  This was carried on through construction, even to the point when power tools were available to the workforce.  The Project Management team realized that the workforce was not accustomed to using power tools and was often not comfortable and scared of the use of power tools, such as electric saws. Some of the problems were mitigated by the team, to some degree, by becoming directly involved in training the crews on performing the work by conducting training seminars and demonstrating the use of equipment/tools.

Similarly, there was only one licensed firm on the island that could provide special inspections for the project. The availability of special inspectors for rebar inspections was extremely limited. The Project Team performed preliminary rebar inspections independently to minimize inspection failures and ensured that the special inspector’s reviews were efficient and concise.

This is a difficult challenge to overcome. However, the available skillset and communication gap should be considered during the risk, cost, and schedule plans.

Giving Back – Internship Program

INFOTRAN is pleased to provide the summer internship to engineering students each summer. We strongly believe in investing in our young professionals to create a better workforce in the future. Our internship program provides a hands-on and real-time experience of the industries. We assign our seasoned professionals to work closely with the interns based on the interest of the intern. During the internship period, each intern gets an opportunity to prepare and present a report to the senior management. Our team provides the learning experience that will prepare the young professional for tomorrow.

Working at INFOTRAN has taught me how to apply what I have learned in a classroom (or virtual classroom) into the real-world civil engineering environment. I have had the opportunity to learn much more through training in traffic/transportation engineering and construction and project management, acquiring new software skills, and communication skills. I have grown professionally under the mentorship of a great team at INFOTRAN.”Julissa Hernandez.

This year’s young professionals are Elias Bakhtiar, Julissa Hernandez, and Suchay Uttara. All three young professionals graduated from NJIT with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.  INFOTRAN congratulates these graduates and all the graduates around the country, wishing them the best!

Project of the Year & Honorable Mention Awards

We are very excited to announce that one of our NYCHA projects was selected for “Project of the Year & Honorable Mention Awards, Category: 2019, $25-$100 million.” InfoTran was part of the STV team as a sub-consultant. Our team provided construction management as agent services to NYCHA for Smith Houses.

Alfred E. Smith Houses is a public housing development built by NYCHA in the Two Bridges neighborhood of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There are 12 buildings in the complex; all are 17 stories tall. It covers 21.75 acres, has 1,931 apartments, and houses an estimated 5,739 people.

Congratulations to InfoTran’s team!

207th Street Yard

INFOTRAN as a subconsultant is providing Consultant Construction Management (CCM) services for the rehabilitation and resiliency of the 207th Street Yard that was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
Due to the relatively low elevations of the yard, the high-water level of the Harlem River during Superstorm Sandy backed up through the drainage system and resulted in flood waters inundating the eastern half of the yard. Water flowed from the yard through the tunnel portal into the subway system, requiring significant repairs of the yard and subway line.
This project both rehabilitates damaged equipment and seeks to protect the yard from future storm events. Our team is providing Mechanical Inspection, Environmental Engineering, and Cost Estimation services to the prime.

Hudson Line and Brewster Substations

INFOTRAN Engineers & Inspectors are working on Power/Communication and Signals Infrastructure Improvements as part of Sandy Restoration efforts along Hudson Line Substations and Brewster Substations in the boroughs of Bronx and Manhattan and Westchester county.
The scope of work includes performing special and condition assessment inspections, an inspection of power line and C&S system relocation to above 100-year flood levels, site surveys and evaluations, damage evaluation of structures and faulty systems, cost estimates and specifications for urgent repairs and miscellaneous construction and scope development services for various projects.

Recently awarded PANYNJ contract

INFOTRAN was recently awarded the PANYNJ contract for Performance of Expert Professional PATH logistics planning, constructability review, and management of third-party agreements services (SBE) as requested on a “Call-In” basis during 2020-2025.
We look forward to working with PANYNJ on this exciting contract!

Permanent Housing Construction (PHC)

InfoTran Engineers, P.C. just wrapped up Permanent Housing Construction (PHC) in Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
• On October 24, 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu, the strongest typhoon to impact the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) on record caused catastrophic damage to the islands of Saipan and Tinian.
• The scope included the construction of eligible PHC applicants’ 1, 2, and 3-bedroom homes utilizing the architectural and engineering (A&E) drawings developed by USACE for FEMA in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and Local laws, building codes and standards.
• InfoTran was responsible for providing Engineering Oversight and Quality Assurance. The unique challenges encountered included unavailability of materials due to the remoteness of the island and disruption caused by Covid-19.