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    RPS Construction Manager gives Evidence to Oireachtas Joint Committee on CIRI Bill

    13 October 2017

    RPS Construction Manager gives Evidence to Oireachtas Joint Committee on CIRI Bill

    Cormac Bradley, RPS Construction Manager and Executive Board Member of Engineers Ireland addressed the Oireachtas (Houses of Parliament) Joint Committee on the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) Bill last week.

    CIRI is a voluntary register of competent builders, contractors, specialist sub-contractors and tradespersons, administered by the Construction Industry Federation. It was established as a result of the consultation process on the Building Control Amendment Regulations (BC(A)R). The CIRI Bill would replace the voluntary register with a mandatory statutory register.

    Cormac attended the hearing with Engineers Ireland Director General, Caroline Spillane to outline Engineers Ireland’s support for the Bill, which they believe would promote a greater commitment to compliance with building regulations. This, they maintained, would promote greater safety and quality for the consumer and the wider public.

    The hearing was also attended by representatives of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), who similarly support the idea of a statutory register.

    As a representative of Engineers Ireland, Cormac was involved in the original BC(A)R consultation process and a member of the Working Group that developed the suite of Ancillary Certificates. He is a recognised industry expert on BC(A)R and recently addressed a conference in Dublin on the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations & Key Implications for the Assigned Certifier. His current Assigned Certifier roles include pharmaceutical, commercial and healthcare projects.

    Contact:
    Cormac Bradley
    E: cormac.bradley@rpsgroup.com

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    Children’s Cardiac Catheterisation Unit & Orthopaedic Theatre Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2017

    09 October 2017

    Children’s Cardiac Catheterisation Unit & Orthopaedic Theatre Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2017

    The Cardiac Catheterisation Unit & Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) in Dublin has been shortlisted by Engineers Ireland for Engineering Project of the Year 2017. This award will be the subject of a public vote over the next month.

    The new facility is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland to diagnose and treat children with heart defects. The hybrid design allows the laboratory to be rapidly turned into a cardiac theatre thus permitting more complex interventions such as open heart surgery. The combination of catheterisation and operating facilities allows interventional cardiologists and surgeons to treat a child during a single procedure. This type of treatment can lead to faster recovery times, less tissue damage and reduced scarring. This is especially beneficial for newborns because it is less traumatic than traditional approaches. The new orthopaedic theatre complete with an ultra-clean ventilation system also doubles as part of the national action plan to reduce the number of patients on waiting lists for scoliosis treatment surgery. Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spine to progressively curve sideways and therefore requires early intervention in children.

    The design build project was delivered on time and within budget through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) by an interdisciplinary project team including RPS as Mechanical and Electrical Consulting Engineers.

    Clancy was awarded the Design Build contract for the replacement of the existing OLCHC cardiac catheterisation laboratory in a live hospital environment. The project involved an extension to the operating theatre block to accommodate a hybrid cardiac catheterisation laboratory and ancillary facilities at first floor, suspended over an existing car park, a roof-top plant room and a link bridge. After construction had commenced, the project was extended to include an orthopaedic theatre at the same elevated level as the new catheterisation laboratory and the existing operating theatres.

    The national importance of the project combined with the highly complex spatial limitations created an opportunity for innovative solutions and creative thinking. Using BIM as a combined project tool, facility design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 Model. The project team created a digital prototype of the building and facilitated simultaneous rather than sequential integration of engineered systems (M&E), structural and architectural disciplines. This resulted in great precision and efficiency and enabled successful compression of the construction window.

    Particular innovations in mechanical and electrical design were achieved on this project. Air distribution and thermal control were of particular importance given the age profile of the patients being treated and the air distribution pattern is critical to the hospital’s infection control department. The complexity and volume of medical equipment in the catheterisation laboratory required 3D modelling of all equipment and highly detailed design in both plan and elevation to ensure that the scanner rails, lighting and medical pendant positions, both in use and parked, would not interfere with the air distribution patterns. The design of the air conditioning system provided for indirect heat recovery from air being discharged.

    Key complexities arose from undertaking a construction contract within a live operational hospital where all the activities are patient centric. The site management team were uncompromising in implementing all the required health and safety protocols. In terms of healthcare asset creation and management this is a critical new national facility, planned, designed and constructed in the most efficient and cost effective manner to meet current acute hospital care for children.

    To vote for your Engineering Project of the Year, follow the link below and choose your favourite project before 27th October: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5JXXHYD

    Contact:
    Andrew Mulhall
    E: andrew.mulhall@rpsgroup.com

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    Innovation Key to Low Carbon Gas Networks

    18 September 2017

    Innovation Key to Low Carbon Gas Networks

    The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) held their first ever conference in Ireland this week.

    Conference Chairs Liam Nolan GNI, Brian Ó Gallachóir UCC and PJ Rudden RPS with IGEM President Sheila Lauchlan (Image: SON Photographic Ltd)
    Speakers at the IGEM Innovation Session: Alex Webb SGN, Chris Clarke Wales & West Utilities, Dan Sadlier Northern Gas Networks, Thomas Thorkildsen FLEX LNG Management, Henry Smyth Ervia / GNI and Chair PJ Rudden RPS (Image: SON Photographic Ltd)

    The Future of Gas Infrastructure in Ireland conference was sponsored by Gas Networks Ireland and supported by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE), Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) the Pipeline Industries Guild (PIG) and Engineers Ireland. The conference was attended by gas professionals from across Ireland and the UK. The conference concentrated on the future of gas infrastructure and how innovation will be the key to low carbon gas networks.

    The keynote address was delivered by IGEM President Sheila Lauchlan on the lessons learned to date during the UK’s transition to a low carbon future. Speakers included representatives from Gas Networks Ireland, the Commission for Energy Regulation and UK utilities including SGN, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, Cadent and Northumbria Water. RPS Director PJ Rudden chaired the afternoon session on Innovation.

    The conference looked at the role of gas and its associated infrastructure in the future energy mix of Ireland from now to 2050 and beyond. Building on the Irish Government’s Energy White Paper ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future’, topics explored included the of low carbon gases, their injection into the existing network and the effects of variable gas quality on the supply chain. A host of case study projects from across Ireland and the UK were covered including CNG refuelling stations, biogas, floating LNG and hydrogen networks.

    Welcoming IGEM to Ireland, Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment Denis Naughten T.D. said “Gas is an important transition fuel in Ireland’s efforts to decarbonise our economy and achieve the targets we have set ourselves in domestic energy policy and with respect to our international obligations. Energy infrastructure – what is appropriate and how to implement it – is a key feature of current energy policy. This conference is very timely as we consider these issues... both here in Ireland and in the UK and further afield, in implementing safe, efficient and innovative gas supply solutions to energy demand issues.”

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

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     First National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change Published

    01 August 2017

    First National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change Published

    The first National Mitigation Plan on climate change was published on the 19th July this year and represents a huge initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve the level of decarbonisation required and transition to a low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. This is a very important first step by this Government in what will be a long journey with many different and complex elements to consider along the way.

    RPS carried out the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment of the National Mitigation Plan on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. The Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment were critical inputs to the development of the plan. Both documents ensured that environmental concerns were integrated into the decision-making and implementation process at both sectoral and national level.

    Some of the proposals within the plan include:

    To reduce motorway speed limits from 120km/h to 110km/h for cars and from 90km/h to 80 km/h for heavy goods vehicles

    Decarbonising Electricity Generation

    Electrification of the rail line to Balbriggan

    Further incentives for low-emission vehicles (including electric vehicles)

    Continuation of Agricultural Decarbonisation Measures

    To support this ongoing work, the Plan includes over 100 individual actions for various Ministers and public bodies to take forward as we move to implementation of what will be a living document. Importantly, the Government recognises that this first Plan does not provide a complete roadmap to achieve the 2050 objective, but begins the process of development of medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.

    Contact:
    Paul Chadwick
    E: paul.chadwick@rpsgroup.com

    Contact:
    Ashling Cronin
    E: ashling.cronin@rpsgroup.com

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    Haulbowline Island East Tip Remediation Works to Commence

    25 July 2017

    Haulbowline Island East Tip Remediation Works to Commence

    The transformation of the East Tip, Haulbowline Island, Cork into a new Recreational Park Amenity has reached a significant project milestone. The contract for the East Tip Remediation Works was signed on Monday 10th July. This contract appoints a consortium led by PJ Hegarty & Sons Ltd to complete the works over an 18 month works programme.

    Haulbowline Island was the location of Ireland’s only steelworks which operated between 1939 and 2001. From the early 1960s, waste from the steel production process was deposited on an area of reclaimed foreshore, which became known as the ‘East Tip’. The East Tip is predominantly comprised of stockpiles of waste slag and mill scale throughout the 9 hectare site. The overall Haubowline Island Remediation Project represents a €61m investment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, through their agent Cork County Council.

    Photomontage of proposed Haulbowline Island Recreational Park

    RPS has played a pivotal role in the progression of the project which initially included the preparation of an EIS, waste licence application and planning application for the remediation of East Tip. Remedial works began in 2014 with the repair of the bridges to the island and the upgrading of the access road. Most recently, RPS has managed the advance works contracts (including demolition, site clearance and preparatory works) and the procurement process for the main remediation works. The main remediation works, to be completed under an NEC form of contract, will deliver an innovative and sustainable design solution through re-profiling of the site, construction of a perimeter engineered structure around the East Tip and installation of engineered capping and surface water drainage systems.

    Speaking at the signing of the contract, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D said ‘I am very pleased to be here today for the contract signing for these crucial works to remediate the East Tip site at Haulbowline Island. This phase of works marks the start of a significant period of construction activity on the island and a major step towards the transformation of the East Tip into a great asset for the communities and other stakeholders located around Cork Harbour and beyond.’

    Contact:
    Brendan Brice
    E: brendan.brice@rpsgroup.com

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    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    04 July 2017

    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    RPS Technical Director Warren Phelan spoke at the recent European Commission event on the publication of the new EU Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW) Management Protocol. The event was organised by DG Grow and held in the European Commission Offices in Dublin.

    He discussed the ‘Current Position and Challenges in the Construction and Demolition Industry in Ireland’ and spoke about the radical change in the construction industry during his time which saw unprecedented growth and then a severe recession for the country and the sector and recovery in recent years. The profile of construction and demolition waste arising mirrored the market during this period, reaching highs of almost 18 million tonnes in 2007 and falling to 3 million tonnes by 2012.

    Based on volume, construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream in the EU. Proper management of C&D waste and recycled materials (including the correct handling of hazardous waste) can have major benefits in terms of sustainability. It can also provide major benefits for the EU construction and recycling industry, as it boosts demand for C&D recycled materials. A large proportion (over 80%) of C&D waste is recyclable but the average recovery rate for the EU28 is below 50%.

    Warren’s presentation touched on the vulnerabilities around the management of CDW which currently exist in Ireland. In the last 12 months the early closure of two facilities in the Greater Dublin Area left building & civil contractors with no outlet for significant quantities of soil wastes. Thousands of tonnes of processed recycled aggregates are unable to be used in the market due to a lack of ‘end of waste’ criteria from the EU. Such barriers must be addressed if a viable recycling industry in the market is to take hold.

    In his synopsis Warren called for a National CDW Plan to be put in place to co-ordinate the many policy measures, regulatory requirements and initiatives and provide the sector with clear direction.

    Summary of the Protocol:

    To turn the challenge of CDW into an economic, environmental and social opportunity, experts from the industry and the European Commission have drawn up the ‘EU Construction and Waste Demolition Protocol’.

    The overall aim of this Protocol is to increase confidence in the C&D waste management process and trust in the quality of C&D recycled materials. This will be achieved by:

    Improved waste identification, source separation and collection

    Improved waste logistics

    Improved waste processing

    Quality management

    Appropriate policy and framework conditions

    http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8985

    Contact:
    Warren Phelan
    E: warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

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    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    09 June 2017

    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    The Norwegian city of Oslo has won the European Green Capital Award for 2019. Two cities were awarded the title of European Green Leaf 2018, the Belgian city of Leuven and the Swedish city of Växjö. These prestigious titles were awarded by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in Germany last week.

    The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations over 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award whereas the European Green Leaf Award is open to cities of between 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants. As Secretariat for both awards, RPS manages the competition across the 28 Member States on behalf of the European Commission (DG Environment).

    European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Winning cities must demonstrate well-established records of high environmental standards and a commitment to setting ambitious goals for future environmental progress, underpinned by the practical application of sustainable development. The awards have a particular focus on green growth and job creation. Winners act as ambassadors to inspire other cities and to promote best practices in pursuit of sustainable urban development. Oslo impressed the jury by working systematically to re-open waterways with 3,000 re-opened so far. Leuven focused on climate change and introduced actions to achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, whereas Växjö demonstrated strong leadership in sustainable development.

    Commissioner Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Commissioner Vella said “I am delighted to be awarding the tenth European Green Capital Award and the fourth and fifth European Green Leaf Awards. More than two thirds of Europeans live in our cities and towns. The European Green Capital award shows us that cities can grow in size while keeping their green hearts beating. Good urban planning grows each time one city inspires another - that is the secret of the Green Capital Award.”

    Since the launch of the awards in 2008, ten cities have now won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017), Nijmegen (2018) and Oslo (2019).

    Five cities have now won a European Green Leaf award. In 2015 – the first year of the competition – Mollèt del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) received the award, followed by Galway (2017). The European Green Leaf Award 2018 goes to the cities of Leuven and Växjö.

    RPS manages the delivery of the two competitions as well as public awareness aspects. The competitions are annual events with the call for applications launching each May and the winning cities announced the following year in June.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    18 May 2017

    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released two guides to coincide with the launch of the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun by Minister for Communications, Climate and Environment, Denis Naughten TD. The guides were developed to support Ireland’s reuse culture and through research studies funded by the EPA.

    The reuse sector has grown steadily in Ireland in recent years, providing employment opportunities and developing a market place where a range of items from business and community throughout the public and private sector can be traded and exchanged in creative and imaginative ways. These guides help to highlight best practice and identify opportunities that the reuse sector provides to help extend the useful economic life of many items.

    From left to right: Dr. Sarah Miller (CEO Rediscovery Centre), Louise Connolly (RPS Report Author), Dr. Alice Wemaere (EPA Research Manager), Denis Naughten TD (Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment), Dr. Dorothy Stewart (EPA Project Manager) and Olivier Gaillot (RPS Report Author)

    One of the reports, entitled ‘A Review of Waste/Resource Exchange Systems and Good Practice Guide’, aims to encourage exchange on a wider scale. It offers businesses and other interested parties practical advice about setting up and implementing a waste/resource exchange system, including best practice guidelines.

    Louise Connolly, RPS, author of the Review Report, said:

    “A waste/resource exchange system enables the reuse or exchange of items that would otherwise become waste and potentially be sent to landfills. The aim of the good practice guide is to demonstrate how new and existing waste/resource exchange organisations can be set up and operated to the highest standards”

    The other guide, ‘Material Reuse Good Practice’ provides householders with the information necessary to identify items that have potential for reuse and recycling rather than replacement. Members of the reuse community in Ireland contributed to the project by sharing their knowledge and experience via surveys and interviews and by participating in workshops.

    Growth in the Reuse sector offers benefits for economy, society and the environment. Reuse brings together two areas, namely reuse and waste management to find ways to extend the useful life of items and in doing so prevent waste that will need to be managed/ disposed. Although Ireland’s recycling rate of 34% exceeds the EU28 average of 28%, there are opportunities to increase the level of Reuse to reduce the amount of waste going to overburdened and fewer landfills and the need for further resources to make more new products.

    Europe is moving from being a linear economy using a take – make – dispose model towards becoming a circular economy where resources are kept in use for as long as possible. This maximises value from resources whilst in use, and recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life. Waste/Resource exchange systems are an evolving concept that support and deliver on the goals of the circular economy therefore it is important that a framework is in place in the form of a good practice guide and supporting factsheets to demonstrate how new and existing organisations can be set up and operate to the highest standards and to assist those engaging with waste/resource exchanges to do so in an informed and compliant manner.

    The study identified a number of barriers to waste/resource exchanges many of which are addressed in the good practice guide. Additional recommendations outlined in the final report focus on: the simplification of legislation and reduction of red tape, support on access to materials, promotion and awareness of existing supports, review of funding structures to facilitate long term strategy and planning, use of instruments/incentives/tools/templates to encourage reuse and waste resource exchange, a sectoral approach to (Business to Business) B2B waste/resource exchange and engagement with industry representative bodies and awareness support to B2B raw material selection/consideration.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    10 May 2017

    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT and RPS were awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the Irish Construction Industry Awards last night for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”.

    Willie Madden (RPS), Mark Costello (RPS), Gerard Nicholson (GMIT) and Dr. Mark Kelly (GMIT)

    The development, piloting and delivery of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) used an innovative educational approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM.

    To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme. Five people from our Galway office were the first to graduate from the course last November. Mark Costello, Lisa Haverty, Desmond Keane, David McHugh and Agnieszka Niedziela all graduated with honours.

    Des Keane, Agnieszka Niedziela, David McHugh, Willie Madden, Lisa Haverty, Mark Costello

    BIM focuses on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    07 April 2017

    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT / RPS have been shortlisted in the Irish Construction Industry Awards – Excellence in Education and Training Category for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, 9th May.

    The international construction sector is undergoing significant change and with this, a new set of skills and competences are required for built environment-related graduates. One of the key drivers over the past few years has been the introduction of BIM and its focus on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes will enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Recent BIM developments in the UK have challenged the construction sector to review their business models and practices to move away from adversarial relationships to collaborative ones and to identify cost reduction and innovation opportunities within the supply chain to provide better value for money. This led to a mandate that fully collaborative 3D Building Information Modelling (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) be an industry requirement by April 2016. The Irish Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) has recently prepared a position paper for the purposes of inviting responses from industry. The position paper titled ‘A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy’ outlines the context and rationale for the adoption of BIM in Ireland and puts forward a proposed timeline for adoption.

    The development, piloting and delivering of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) utilised an innovative pedagogical approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM. To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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