News Archive

Modelling Inundation in Scotland

28 May 2015

Modelling Inundation in Scotland

The RPS Belfast office has been providing flood risk management services under the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Framework for the last 3 years.

This framework was established to assist SEPA in their role as the competent authority in delivering the requirements of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, thus ensuring Scotland's compliance with the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC).

A key requirement of the Act was to assign a provisional risk designation to all reservoirs with a capacity threshold above 10,000m3.

RPS won the contract to undertake the hydraulic modelling and inundation mapping of 361 dams of varying size and type across Scotland. Our team applied best practice methods in hydrograph generation for the uncontrolled release of water from each dam and used InfoWorks RS 2D to derive the potential flood extents.

Reservoir Inundation Mapping was produced as required under the Act. This provided SEPA and the dam owners with the required information to develop appropriate inspection and maintenance regimes for each dam.

Unique Urban Drainage PGC is Industry Leading

20 May 2015

Unique Urban Drainage PGC is Industry Leading


Staff development is a cornerstone for the growth of a successful consultancy business and a newly accredited Post Graduate Certificate in Urban Drainage will provide RPS Clear staff with a big step towards attaining professional membership with CIWEM.

Image: RPS

The urban drainage consultancy business is highly competitive, with the need to develop existing staff and provide a unique offering to recruit top graduates in the field being essential to ensure continuing growth. With this in mind, the RPS Clear team has been working with The University of Derby for the past 12 months on the creation of a unique technical development programme within the urban drainage sector to enhance the existing Clear Technical Development Programme.

The Post Graduate Certificate in Managing Urban Drainage is a work based learning programme accredited at Level 7 on the National Qualifications Framework, which will challenge participants to broaden their understanding of the principles of urban drainage and risk based catchment management, whilst developing their technical skills and implementing their learning in the workplace.

The content and outputs of the course have also been aligned to the CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) Mandatory Competences, with the final assessment replicating a formal Professional Review. Staff successfully completing the course will have developed sufficient knowledge and experience to achieve the MCIWEM qualification and will have taken a big step towards Chartered status with the institution (Chartered Water and Environment Manager - C.WEM).

Technical Sector Lead and Course Director James Hale said “There is nothing else like this within the Industry. It will provide our staff with the opportunity for enhanced work based learning, a formal qualification and a stepping stone towards professional membership with CIWEM. It should also give us a unique selling point within the graduate recruitment market within the coming years.”

The course was approved by the University of Derby Validation Panel on the 24th April 2015, with the panel commending the team's ‘approach to CPD and academic curiosity’ and the development of a ‘technically challenging and advanced multi-disciplinary programme’.

The first cohort of RPS Clear participants will formally start the course on the 1st June 2015, registering as students with the University of Derby on this date. In future years this qualification will be opened up to staff in RPS (Clear's parent company) and also to our Client organisations within the water sector.

RPS Clear Director, David De Rosa, said “Following significant investment in developing the course content, this is a major achievement and signals our commitment to structured continuing professional development for staff”.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems - RPS opens dedicated office

11 May 2015

Unmanned Aircraft Systems - RPS opens dedicated office


RPS Risk Management has embraced the rapidly expanding Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) market by opening a dedicated UAS Risk Management office in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

All images: RPS

A rapidly increasing number of industries now acknowledge that the use of UAS for tasks such as inspections, survey, and aerial photography can dramatically reduce time and costs over that of using traditional methods. A proportion of these savings can be passed to the client giving those companies operating “drones” a more competitive edge in the market place whilst increasing profitability.

With increasingly sophisticated technology on the market unmanned aircraft are now being used in highly complex, densely populated or high risk environments. Unmanned systems can be used where there is too high a risk for humans such as a chemical environment or where access is severely restricted such as inspecting oil rigs or industrial structures. Increasingly, UAS are being used to survey large bodies of water or areas of conservation that traditionally would have required helicopter support or a large team on the surface. Improved sensor technology also means that applications can range from 3D modelling/mapping, crop monitoring (precision agriculture), pollution control, or for use as a communications relay. The possibilities are endless.

The RPS Risk Management UAS office has been established to service internal RPS Business Streams and external companies by providing safety and risk management support for all UAS operations. We can guide you through the regulation, administration and risks of using unmanned platforms from initial concepts of use to daily operations and through life.

RPS Risk Management UAS can provide:

Advice on whether UAS could be an option for your business.

Guidance on the route to achieve safe and compliant flying in accordance with national regulations.

Advice and support on appropriate training for potential operators.

Guidance on the production of mandatory regulatory documentation.

Advice on contracting external UAS providers if an “in house” solution is not for you.

Case Study

The Ports and Harbours team of RPS Belfast are utilising UAS to support structural inspections and provide record video footage and photography of elements from angles and elevations which could not be safely or economically obtained by other methods. “The Ports and Harbours team are continuing to expand on the use of this technology both as an internal resource and an external service to our clients” says RPS Project Engineer Eamonn Magee from our Belfast office.

It was considered by the team that this technology; which has undergone recent and rapid development, would be of great assistance when inspecting marine structures from above water level providing additional detail from unique perspectives. UAS technology allows extensive and time efficient inspection without the need for mobilisation of marine plant and operatives.

Examples of usage include:

Inspection of rock armour revetments (>400m length), Co. Wicklow (which cannot be safely accessed or easily photographed from ground level)

Extensive inspection of revetment and coastal defense structures (with limited shore connection); North Bull wall, Dublin Port.

Construction record images of a reclamation project at Killybegs, Co. Donegal

Capture of record images detailing current condition of a storm damaged pier, Co. Antrim.

In addition to supporting the UAS operator, RPS Risk Management UAS is also a key player in the international UAS arena providing pragmatic and proportional advice to regulators, design organisations and operators. We are also the Independent Safety Auditors of choice for the MoD providing safety and risk management advice on the seven highest profile military unmanned aircraft systems in use or in procurement. With an eighteen year track record in the UAS industry RPS Risk Management UAS has developed a core team of experts that can provide safety assurance support for any UAS operation.

If you would like to understand more about what we do or would like to see if UAS could be a solution in your business area then please contact us or click here to visit our website.