News Archive

Highly Commended for School’s Leading Sustainable Design

27 October 2016

Highly Commended for School’s Leading Sustainable Design


Hampshire’s Park Community School’s ambitious plan for a phased remodelling across the entire school site is one of the largest capital projects in the county. The multi-million pound project recently completed and was Highly Commended in the Sustainable Buildings category of the Hampshire Countryside Awards 2016 run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

RPS worked closely with Hampshire County Architects to ensure the successful design and delivery of an extensive landscaping programme for the secondary school at the heart of the local community. Effective and positive community engagement was key to the process to ensure that the plans met the requirements and aspirations of the local area

The complex plan included both hard and soft landscaping areas, attractive social spaces and a dedicated smallholding on locally leased land where fruit and vegetables are grown and small livestock is kept. Over 70 new trees were incorporated in the plan – 20 of which were fruit trees selected for the school’s kitchen garden. Alongside the core curriculum students learn agricultural skills and small animal husbandry with fruit and vegetables grown being used in the school kitchens, and occasionally meat from school livestock. Younger students are taught horticulture on an accredited Royal Horticultural Society lesson plan.

A strong geometric design serves to define social, play, sports and teaching areas across the grounds without isolating them from the other areas. Strategic areas of ornamental planting softens the hard landscaping and a significant number of trees across the site are retained including wooded areas around the boundary and Hermitage stream which forms part of a wider pedestrian and cycle network along the stream corridor

The school remained operational throughout the works to deliver the ambitious facility on a substantial brownfield site.

Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Annual Conference 2016

20 October 2016

Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Annual Conference 2016

The CIF Conference 2016 'Constructing Ireland 2027: A 10 year vision for the construction industry' was held on 6th October. The theme focused on how the Irish construction industry will shape Irish society in the coming decade and envisages an internationally recognised, innovative industry that delivers world class construction and drives economic recovery and job creation.

Cormac Bradley, Padraic Brennan and PJ Rudden (all RPS) at the CIF Conference 2016 (Image: Maura Hickey / SBP)

RPS Director, PJ Rudden was invited by the CIF to participate in the Panel Discussion 'Perspectives on infrastructure gaps that need to be addressed if Ireland is to maintain and build on its competitiveness'. During the discussion, chaired by the Editor of the Sunday Business Post (SBP), PJ outlined the issue currently facing the industry on construction and demolition waste management, the need for a circular economy approach to maximise recycling and recovery, and the increasing costs involved. RPS has recently completed a report for the CIF on this issue.

PJ also called for more gender balance in engineering and the construction industry, calling it ‘a massive loss of creative talent’.

CIF Panel Discussion with Annette Hughes DKM Economists, Ian Howard Kerry Food Group, Dr. Edgar Morgenroth Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin, and PJ Rudden, RPS. (Image: Cormac Bradley)
Sneak Preview of UK’s New Intercity Express Depot

06 October 2016

Sneak Preview of UK’s New Intercity Express Depot


Reservists at Chetwynd Barracks, based in Nottinghamshire, UK, were recently able to enjoy a special early preview of RPS’ newly designed Doncaster Carr depot for Hitachi Rail.


The Doncaster Carr site in Yorkshire has accommodated a rail depot consistently for over 100 years under various ownerships before Hitachi Rail’s purchase of the site in 2014 to serve its new fleet of 65 Class 800 Series Intercity Express long-distance trains on the East Coast Mainline network. The Class 800 hybrid trains are expected to run from 2018 as part of the UK Department for Transport’s multi-billion-pound Intercity Express Programme. It replaces the previous Intercity 125 high-speed fleet serving the line since the 1970s with a mix of up-to-the-minute electric/diesel and electric only vehicles (Series 800 and 801).

Due to be officially opened later this year, the new rail maintenance, trainwash and storage depot covers 11,000m² alongside the delivery of a new two-storey office, and a top-end workshop and welfare facility. RPS provided architectural and structural engineering design services for the depot. The depot was constructed by VolkerFitzpatrick and received a British Safety Council International Safety Award last year.

The Reservists were from 507 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Railways Infrastructure), a Reserve sub-unit of 170 Engr Gp and the only rail infrastructure specialists in the Armed Forces. Principal Engineer Dale Hack from RPS Newark presented the Reservists with a detailed insight into the complexity of the project and our innovative design solutions before the guided tour.

Newark currently employs four Reservists and has developed a strong relationship with the Ministry of Defence’s 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group under the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant recognising the valuable skills serving personnel, regular armed forces personnel and reservists can bring to business whilst accommodating their military obligations.