Cut Building Inspection Costs, Not Corners
In response to the New York City construction boom, construction site penalties and regulations have strengthened, leading to a growing demand for inspectors. In 2012, the city added further restrictions on who could complete inspections, requiring construction-based firms to register as special inspections agencies. The new rules have become a headache for many owners trying to curb expenses and speed up completion times.
The stricter rules are not without precedent. Last year, the New York City Department of Buildings revoked a license on an inspector who signed off on a 14-unit Brighton Beach condo building that later collapsed on, and killed, a 54-year-old laborer. The same year, a fallen crane in Tribeca fatally injured a pedestrian. The site had no acting superintendent.
HAKS senior vice president Paul Hoffmann sees the role of the company’s special inspections department as helping owners rather than taking advantage of the situation. The 25-year-old company, which offers services from construction management to land surveys, was the first NYC firm to earn accreditation in all categories in construction.
HAKS inspectors are multi-certified, consolidating inspections across different construction categories and costs into a one-day rate. The firm invests in quality, from training programs to project management software. It helps that Hoffmann is a member of the Advisory Council of the International Accreditation Service, a global standard by which to assess an organization’s ethical, legal and technical standards.
Hoffmann’s involvement with the IAS enforces HAKS' commitment to ethics throughout the inspection process. That starts with giving owners options.
“The selection process should include requiring a list of available inspectors, and it should be a requirement that multi-certified inspectors are utilized whenever possible,” Hoffmann said. Inspectors do not need to be present for every workday. “Most owners may have inspectors on-site full time where they are actually needed on a periodic basis.”
The firm's commitment is to the social, economic and environmental condition of a construction project, not its bottom line. HAKS demands none of the hidden charges other companies tack on for meetings or deliveries.
HAKS transparency has helped it build a reputation for excellence — and $150M in contracts. Its inspectors currently spearhead several of the city’s most high-profile projects, including all the World Trade Center buildings and infrastructure, Hudson Yards, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and on-call contracts with every public entity in the city.
At the cancer center, the firm provided special and progress inspections for a new $100M, 15-story ambulatory surgery center on the Upper East Side. HAKS’ commitment to quality also recently won it a biennial inspection and evaluation contract for the highway bridges and sign structures on the New Jersey Turnpike.
HAKS has become the largest and most-referenced special inspections agency in the New York market for one reason: The company cares about the projects it takes on.
“We have empathy for owners who realize they have to hire a third-party special inspection agency,” Hoffmann said.
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