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    SGN NIC Robotics Project Scoops Two UK Business Awards

    24 November 2017

    SGN NIC Robotics Project Scoops Two UK Business Awards

    The UK Business Awards were held on 22nd November at Wembley Stadium. It was a hugely successful evening for our client SGN and their NIC Robotics Innovation Project, which was awarded both the Utilities Award and the Innovation B2C Award.

    RPS provided the technical services consultancy to SGN and ULC Robotics, to support this industry-leading innovation project developing robotic platforms and solutions for the gas utility industry.

    The SGN Robotics team including Colin Osborne, SGN Engineering Policy Manager (second from left), Richard Mason, SGN Innovation Project Manager (third from right) and PJ Rudden, RPS Director (far right)

    The project pioneered the deployment of sensor technology inspection and repair robots in live gas distribution mains that had never been attempted before. It involved the design, manufacture and field testing of the new robots, which were successfully tested in live gas mains in London in November 2015.

    The innovative technology measures wall thickness, stress and strain in pipelines and will allow gas utilities to extend the life of cast iron pipeline infrastructure. Its use will allow pipeline inspection and joint repair operations to take place with minimal disruption to customers, with fewer traffic restrictions, lower road reinstatement costs and no supply restrictions for gas customers. The project was previously awarded the Engineers Ireland Excellence Award for Innovation in 2016.

    Richard Mason SGN Project Manager being presented with Award on Innovation (B2C) at UK Business Awards in Wembley Stadium

    The UK Business Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate exceptional business performance. Awards were presented across a wide range of categories including Financial Services, Retail, Utilities, Business Change or Transformation, Customer Centric Organisation, Disruptive Business Model, Innovation, Inspirational Leader and Best Place to Work.

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

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    Two RPS Speakers at GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    23 November 2017

    Two RPS Speakers at GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    GIS Ireland 2017, the annual conference for GIS professionals organised by IRLOGI (Irish Organisation for Geo-Information) was held last week in Dublin.

    Having been postponed from its original date in October due to Storm Ophelia, the theme of climate change seemed particularly fitting, as climate change is believed to have contributed to that category 3 hurricane.

    The conference brought together industry-elite speakers to evaluate and discuss GI application and trends, challenges and opportunities. The conference also provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing and networking within the GI sector in Ireland and UK.

    Saeed Khan & Justin McGurk speak at the GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    Two RPS GIS Specialists presented at the conference this year. Our GIS Manager, Saeed Khan provided an overview of CPD for GIS professionals, outlining the various pathways towards achieving accreditation. In 2016, Saeed himself was awarded Chartered Geographer (CGeog) status (there are currently only 650 CGeogs worldwide) and was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

    Justin McGurk, Senior GIS Specialist presented on ‘Land Parcels for Compulsory Purchase Orders’ and his work on the M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy project. He described the innovative process for generating accurate CPO land parcels for the motorway project using open source software. He discussed automation, validation and the technologies utilised to generate the required CPO parcels and schedules.

    Contact:
    Saeed Khan
    E: saeed.khan@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Staff Graduate with Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    21 November 2017

    RPS Staff Graduate with Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    13 RPS staff members have graduated with a Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

    At the GMIT conferring ceremony last week, Declan Byrne, Bryan Coyle, Dermot Hickey, Pierce Higgins, Marcin Nikonowicz, Nick Stevens, Jonathan Grogan, David Cotter, Denis Cronin, Richard Horgan, Tadgh Hurley, Michael Minehane and Kevin O’Riordan graduated with the Level 8 qualification.

    This is another major achievement for RPS staff and a significant milestone in the award winning outreach education programme developed by GMIT in partnership with RPS.

    Our growing BIM capacity is facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.

    Congratulations to all involved!

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

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    New Chairman of ICE Republic of Ireland Branch

    10 November 2017

    New Chairman of ICE Republic of Ireland Branch

    Cormac Bradley, Construction Manager with RPS, has recently been elected as Chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Republic of Ireland Branch.

    ICE members in the Republic of Ireland are working on a huge range of projects across the country. The ROI Branch and its network of volunteers play a vital role in helping to increase the profile of civil engineering in Ireland through events, site visits and media.

    In 2018, the ICE will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1818 when three young engineers met in a London coffee shop and founded the Institution of Civil Engineers, the world’s first professional engineering body. This anniversary will be celebrated at ICE events in 2018, including the ICE President’s visit to Ireland in February 2018, in which Cormac will be greatly involved. Among the many past-Presidents of ICE are Thomas Telford, Robert Stephenson, Thomas Hawksley, Sir Alexander Binnie, Sir Basil Mott and Sir Alexander Gibb. Another famous British Engineer Isambard Brunel was Vice President but died before reaching the post of President.

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

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    Timoole Unauthorised Landfill Remediation

    31 October 2017

    Timoole Unauthorised Landfill Remediation

    The contract to remediate the unauthorised landfill at Timoole in County Meath was signed last week after a lengthy process of site investigations, redesigns and public consultations running in parallel with a High Court action.

    RPS was appointed to the project by Meath County Council in 2015 and since then we have been involved in bringing the project to construction stage. The tender for the construction works was published earlier this year and attracted seven tender submissions which were evaluated by RPS and culminated in a recommendation to appoint Priority Construction.

    Since then, we have worked with Meath County Council to resolve a land occupancy issue adjacent to the site and held public consultation meetings with the local community in the area.

    Front row from left: Eoghan McCarthy Priority Construction, Cllr Gerry O Connor Cathaoirleach (Chairman) Meath County Council, Jackie Maguire Chief Executive Officer Meath County Council. Back row from left: Kevin Stewart Director of Service, Pat Keating Priority Construction, Cormac Bradley RPS, Caroline Corrigan Senior Executive Engineer, Larry Whelan Senior Executive Officer.

    The construction phase will see the removal of approximately 40,000m³ of material from the site to a licensed facility and its replacement with suitable clean material. Excavation depths are expected to reach 10m in one corner of the site but in-situ testing of the floor and side walls of the excavation will ultimately determine the extent of the material removal. Construction will begin in November and is expected to continue for 15 months unless ground conditions allow earlier completion.

    RPS has previously undertaken landfill remediation projects on behalf of local authorities in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Wicklow, Laois and Dublin.

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

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    Mersey Gateway Bridge Opens

    23 October 2017

    Mersey Gateway Bridge Opens

    The new Mersey Gateway Bridge to the east of Liverpool is open. The bridge opened to traffic at 00.01 on Saturday 14th October following an impressive fireworks display from the bridge.

    RPS Bridge Engineer Marcin Nikonowicz undertakes a site visit before the bridge opening

    The new six lane toll bridge over the Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes will relieve the congested and ageing Silver Jubilee Bridge. The cable-stay bridge forms the iconic centrepiece of a new and improved high standard link road, 9.5km long, connecting the national motorway network in north Cheshire with Merseyside. The project includes the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance over the next 30 years of the new bridge and approach roads. It has been successfully completed after three and a half years and almost 5 million man hours during construction.

    RPS and Currie & Brown have acted as Lenders’ Technical Advisors (LTA) for client Macquarie Capital since 2013. This involved due diligence reporting of all the engineering proposals and associated risks on behalf of the major lenders and UK Government Treasury to achieve financial close in March 2014. In line with the construction phase appointment, we monitored and reported on the progress of the works against the contract programme and cost plan. This included updating forecasts of costs to completion and likely completion dates as well as reviewing design or construction quality or technical issues which arise during inspections.

    The bridge has a total length of 2.25km, including the north approach viaduct at 700m and the south approach viaduct at 545m, which also crosses the Manchester Ship Canal. The main bridge is a 1km cable-stay bridge, with four spans supported by cables from three pylons. Construction of the three pylons was completed in November 2016, the outer pylons are over 110m in height and the centre pylon is 80m. Construction of the concrete deck was by means of balanced cantilever methods. The approach viaduct decks were constructed using a Moveable Scaffolding System (MSS), a span by span concrete cast in place method with a forward launch procedure, facilitating casting of concrete sections up to 70m in length. Other works include the Astmoor & Bridgewater viaduct with deck construction using precast beams which were cast and shipped from Ireland, along with remedial works to over 10 existing bridges requiring deck waterproofing, bearing replacement and crash protection.

    The Mersey Gateway Project is expected to help create new jobs, secure inward investment to the area and deliver important regeneration benefits, including improved public transport links across the River Mersey.

    Contact:
    Marcin Nikonowicz
    E: marcin.nikonowicz@rpsgroup.com

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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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