Jul
09

Serving Engineering & Historic Preservation: Working For a Better HAZEx

By Chris

The varied archaeological and historical services we provide as part of our Clients’ environmental permit processes aren’t always the usual. It would be so nice if all we had to do was walk into the local historical society and pull out the folder with all of the maps and records from the property under investigation then walk out into a freshly mown 500 acre lawn and dig and fill-in our test pits every fifty feet.

Unfortunately, archaeology in New York is more often a complicated process with conflicting requirements that have to be traversed in a timely manner. Field work has to be finished despite dreadful weather, rugged terrain, unhappy neighborhood dogs, and even escaped convicts. HAZEx Researchers have to work through piles of incomplete and badly cataloged collections avoiding recluse spiders within the ever shrinking office hours of underfunded state and local repositories.
Through all of the +100 HAZEx projects conducted over the past five years of operation in New York we have tried to keep our clients informed and satisfied. At the four-year-mark I decided to call or write all of our half dozen past clients and muscle up the courage to ask we had done. I asked about our Time Frame, Budgets, Communication Skill-set (written and spoken), and Results and I also asked for comments. I wanted some good criticism so that we could make them Happier with HAZEx 2009. I wanted to hear something positive that I might share with other great Engineering Firms considering using our services.
The results of my survey were helpful. We received feedback from all six Engineering firms with the following selection of comments from their project managers or engineers:
“Thanks Chris – Hope to work with you sometime soon”
“Nice work”
“I loved working with you and will do so again, next chance we get!”
“We appreciate your prompt, courteous and knowledgeable services”
Of the 30 questions answered all clients agreed that we met expectations and a whopping 90% agreed we had at least exceeded expectations. I felt pretty good.
But it wasn’t all wine and roses…I heard back from a Client that HAZEx needed to tighten our belts on some projects just like everyone else. So I went back to my younger days and took on more of the work that I had be sub-contracting (research, excavation, and report preparation) in order to save money for all us. Our budgets are now as streamlined as our schedules.
I also thought that new SHPO review guidelines for recorded sites were confusing my Clients so I put together an informal survey for fellow archaeologists and State Officials to see how we could get it right the first t ime. Now we have a tighter and more efficient HAZEx report. We are also holding a fire under our review agencies whenever HAZEx reports are sitting on their desks for more than 30 days.
Since I sent the survey out last Fall HAZEx has been committed to living up to the high regard we have been lucky enough to receive from our Great Clients.
So…
Maybe we’ll have to get a little frost, spider and dog bit.
Maybe we’ll have to crawl for ten minutes through buckthorn and snowdrifts to get to the next fifty foot mark.
Maybe we’ll have to eat more canned sardines and less lobster-roll while in the field.
And because of this I am confident that this year’s Client survey will be even better.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please email me at Chris@HAZExplorations.com or just use the blog.

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