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    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    16 March 2017

    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    Galway was officially launched as the 2017 European Green Leaf at a conferring ceremony at City Hall recently.

    The European Green Leaf Award is an initiative of the European Commission and was launched in 2015 building on the success of the European Green Capital Award. The Green Leaf competition is aimed at smaller cities with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants that show a strong commitment to green growth, sustainable urban environment and ambitious plans for the future.

    Galway is the first Irish city to receive this title. It was awarded to two cities in 2015, the Spanish city of Mollet del Vallès and the Portuguese city of Torres Vedras.

    RPS was reappointed by the EU Commission in October 2016 as Secretariat for European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards to manage the awards in terms of technical assessment and communications.

    From left to right: Louise Connolly, Barry Walsh, Serena Byrne, Brenda McEvoy (all RPS), Ben Caspar and Joanna Drake (EU Commission), Cllr. Noel Larkin (Galway City Council Mayor), Nicole Wanders-Wengler (EU Commission), PJ Rudden (RPS) and Brendan McGrath (CEO Galway City Council)
    Image: Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

    Speaking at the event, Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General DG Environment said that Galway can become an ‘ambassador for change in Europe’. She commended Galway’s application and success in winning the Green Leaf Award for having highlighted a sustainable approach, holistic methods, strategic goals and adopting a long term approach.

    “European Green Leaf not only celebrates our past environmental achievements, but also challenges our city to continually improve the quality of life of our citizens and reduce our impact on the global environment,” said Dr. Sharon Carroll, Project Co-ordinator for Galway’s Green Leaf 2017 programme. “Galway city has always led the way with environmental initiatives, from our progressive waste management practices to our active education and awareness programmes. The European Green Leaf jury recognised the potential of Galway city to act as a green ambassador and to promote the concepts of sustainable cities and sustainable communities throughout Europe.”

    A series of projects and events will be delivered as part of Galway City's European Green leaf year and more information is available on the Galway City Council website here. Galway is also designated a European Region of Gastronomy 2018 and European Capital of Culture 2020.

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

    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS BIM Director Awarded BRE Academy Fellowship

    24 February 2017

    RPS BIM Director Awarded BRE Academy Fellowship

    Mark Costello has been awarded BRE Academy Fellowship. This is “the highest level of BRE Academy membership awarded upon recognition of significant activity within the industry. Fellowship is awarded to those who have demonstrated an extremely high level of success or achievement in their chosen field. As leaders in their fields, Fellows will have undertaken notable projects or have made a special contribution to their profession”.

    In 2009, RPS identified BIM as a key industry development. Mark established a BIM committee and piloted BIM within RPS. He has been instrumental in providing a new approach to BIM education and training in Ireland. He has collaborated with local academic institutions to develop suitable BIM training programmes to enable upskilling. Mark is co-author of a number of research papers on the subject of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

    Collaboration between RPS and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has resulted in the development of an industry orientated Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8 on the National Framework) to train designers to meet Level 2 BIM requirements. Over 60 RPS staff are currently registered on this training programme.

    RPS also achieved Level 2 BIM Business Systems Certification from BRE Global in January 2016, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients. The certification assesses the BIM policy and capability of the business as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91 as well as assessing the ability of the business to meet the requirements of an employer to carry out a BIM capability assessment. In the UK, centrally procured public sector projects require the implementation of BIM at Level 2 since April 2016.

    The BRE Academy is the leading international provider of blended learning training and education programmes for professionals and employers. It is the lifelong learning extension of BRE, a world leading multi-disciplinary building science based company, whose mission is to improve the built environment through research and knowledge generation.

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

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    RPS Ecologist Contributes to Royal Irish Academy Proceedings

    22 February 2017

    RPS Ecologist Contributes to Royal Irish Academy Proceedings

    Image: Royal Irish Academy

    Caroline Wynne, RPS Senior Freshwater Ecologist has co-edited a special issue of Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy on the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

    The Water Framework Directive (WFD) has provided a structure for integrated water resource management across the European Union over the last fifteen years. Here in Ireland, our implementation of this directive has been underpinned by a substantial body of scientific research on water body classification, characterisation and management.

    In recent years, a sizeable body of further research underpinning implementation of the WFD has been undertaken, much of it funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). RPS is involved in many aspects of this research working with EPA Catchment Unit and the Ecological Monitoring Unit.

    The Biology and Environment Special Issue on the WFD presents diverse research that draws on learning from the first cycle of Water Framework Directive (WFD) river basin management planning and develops an evidence base and new tools for decision-making that are informing the second planning cycle. It will be officially launched at this year's ENVIRON conference on 10th April, with a special session also devoted to selected papers from the issue.

    The articles can be viewed at:
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/biolenviprocria.116b.issue-3

    Contact:
    Caroline Wynne
    E: caroline.wynne@rpsgroup.com

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    Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Crumlin Hospital Shortlisted for ACEI Excellence Award 2017

    20 February 2017

    Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Crumlin Hospital Shortlisted for ACEI Excellence Award 2017

    The new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in Dublin has been shortlisted for the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2017.

    This €5.6m state-of-the-art laboratory is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland. It allows cardiologists to treat young children with heart defects by performing catheter-based procedures and if necessary, surgeons to perform open-heart surgery. It minimises risks of infection and provides more timely access to critical interventions. The project is shortlisted for the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Mechanical & Electrical Design Excellence Award 2017 and the winner will be announced the ACEI Annual Dinner and Awards on 31st March.

    The design build project was delivered on time and within budget in 2016 through the use of building information modelling (BIM) by a multidisciplinary project team including RPS as mechanical and electrical consulting engineer. The project consists of a three-storey development measuring 545 sq m and the third floor is an internal plantroom containing the M&E equipment necessary to serve the building. A link bridge was constructed to join the new facility with the existing theatre block. Construction work was carried out in a live hospital campus adjacent to the existing operating theatres.

    As Contractor’s Designer to Clancy Construction, our Building Services team designed the mechanical and electrical services for the new facility. This involved careful phasing of works and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the continuity of critical services in a live hospital environment during construction. The mechanical and electrical design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 model.

    The complexity and volume of medical equipment to be installed in the catheterisation laboratory necessitated 3D modelling of all equipment to ensure it does not interfere with the air distribution patterns, which were critical to the hospital and their infection control department.

    The facility has already won two awards at the Irish Construction Industry Awards in 2016, the Health Project of the Year and the overall prize Construction Project of the Year. The successful completion of the design build project on time and within budget was a very efficient use of capital investment to create essential health infrastructure for the nation’s children.

    Contact:
    Gerry Cullen
    E: gerry.cullen@rpsgroup.com

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    Raith Interchange in Scotland Opens to Traffic

    17 February 2017

    Raith Interchange in Scotland Opens to Traffic

    The new Raith Underpass in Scotland opened to traffic yesterday following a three-year construction programme to improve the heavily congested junction.

    Raith Interchange During Construction - Image courtesy of Lagan Ferrovial JV

    The new A725 underpass near Hamilton in South Lanarkshire runs below the M74 motorway, the main arterial route between Scotland and England. It is part of the £500m M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvement Project and will improve journey times through the junction by up to 15 minutes.

    RPS is part of the multinational consortium (Ferrovial/Lagan/Amey/RPS) collectively responsible for the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the project on behalf of the Scottish Roads Partnership.

    The development of the three level interchange and the surrounding local roads network has been a hugely complex and challenging engineering project. It involved the creation of a 600 metre long, 35 metre wide and 12 metre deep underpass below the existing roundabout and the M74, while providing free flow traffic conditions for over 75,000 vehicles per day. It also included construction of a realigned Raith Roundabout, three new bridges, two pedestrian footbridges / cycleways, and five signalised junctions. The highly constrained site is located in a floodplain with variable ground conditions and adjacent environmental sensitivities.

    RPS undertook the detailed design for geotechnical, highways, lighting, bridges and other highway structures on the Raith Interchange. Along with our project partners, we have pioneered BIM technologies on the project and it represents the first large scale implementation of Level 2 BIM on a major infrastructure project in the UK. The collaborative delivery of all design elements using innovative Level 2 BIM processes was key to the success of this project. The 3D BIM Model has enabled understanding in real time of the design proposals and facilitated local authorities and other stakeholders. It has facilitated the planning of traffic management and temporary works and allowed health and safety issues to be detected and mitigated prior to construction.

    This innovative project has been selected as an Exemplar for the definition of the Scottish BIM mandate (due for publication in April 2017). The project has also been shortlisted for the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Overseas Design Excellence Award 2017. Award winners will be announced at the ACEI Annual Dinner and Awards on 31st March.

    A Transport Scotland video on the Raith Underpass can be viewed here. A second Transport Scotland video ‘Building Information Management at M74 Raith Interchange’ showing the RPS BIM model can be viewed here.

    Contact:
    Christy O’Sullivan
    E: christy.osullivan@rpsgroup.com

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    Engineers Ireland Project Management Breakfast Briefing

    25 January 2017

    Engineers Ireland Project Management Breakfast Briefing

    Engineers Ireland Project Management Society held a breakfast briefing last week on Project Change Management – Challenges and Opportunities. Some 60 people attended to hear Karen Fenton, RPS Programme Manager explore the different attitudes to the management of project change, the challenges associated with change and methods for developing robust change management approaches.

    Ann Rogers Chairman Project Management Society, PJ Rudden Director RPS & Karen Fenton RPS Programme Manager

    Karen has project managed large scale design and construction water and wastewater treatment projects in Australia. These include design and construction of a large water treatment plant for a new power station as part of an alumina mine expansion, and the design of a 150km seawater pipeline for an iron ore mine feasibility study. She has also established project management office functions for Transport for NSW in Sydney and OpenHydro in Ireland and has led organisation transformation and strategy projects at Irish Water. At RPS, Karen now leads the delivery of a procurement programme for Irish Water.

    Karen used real project examples to illustrate different types of project change, the challenges faced on each and how these were overcome – the importance of implementing appropriate systems and effective communication with clients and project teams were recurrent messages. She compared the ‘design’ and ‘construction’ approaches to change management, recognising an existing culture of change management on the construction side, whereas the design approach is softer with a tendency to avoid conflict. Based on her extensive experience, Karen offered a number of strategies across three key themes of change management, team leadership and client relationship management, and identified a number of Project Manager competencies to support these themes.

    Contact:
    Karen Fenton
    E: karen.fenton@rpsgroup.com

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    Mersey Gateway Project – A Progress Update

    23 January 2017

    Mersey Gateway Project – A Progress Update

     

    The Mersey Gateway Project is a major scheme to build a new six lane toll bridge over the River Mersey, to the east of Liverpool. The cable-stay bridge will form the 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.

    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 monitor and report on the progress of the works against the contract programme and cost plan. This includes 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 is by means of balanced cantilever methods. The approach viaduct decks are 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.

    There are eight project milestones, and the first five have been successfully achieved. The next milestone is completion of the main cable-stay bridge deck in June 2017. When complete, the project is expected to help create thousands of new jobs, secure inward investment to the area and deliver important regeneration benefits, including improved public transport links across the River Mersey.

    Contact:
    Tony Magee
    E: tony.magee@rpsgroup.com

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    Transformed Cork Landfill Site Shortlisted for ‘Best Public Park’ Award

    10 January 2017

    Transformed Cork Landfill Site Shortlisted for ‘Best Public Park’ Award

     

    Tramore Valley Park (formerly Kinsale Road Landfill) in Cork has been shortlisted for the Best Public Park Award in the Community & Council Awards 2017. The awards ceremony will be held in Dublin on 4th February.

    Aerial view of Tramore Valley Park, park bench using recycled concrete and BMX track

    Kinsale Road Landfill operated as a municipal landfill from the early 1960s until its closure in 2009, with over 3.5 million tonnes of waste landfilled on site. Cork City Council has dedicated significant resources to remediating the landfill using a variety of different engineering initiatives in compliance with EPA licence requirements. The 70 hectare site is now being transformed from a once unpopular landfill into a parkland amenity for the local community.

    Amenities provided for the local community include Munster’s only international standard BMX track, 5 km of paths and trails, including biodiversity trails and bird hides, a multi-use events area and sports pitch, pavilion building with changing facilities and public toilets and parking for 200 vehicles.

    RPS delivered the final phase of the engineering remediation work on behalf of Cork City Council in 2015, including detailed design of landfill capping, leachate and landfill gas infrastructure and surface water system design. The challenge was to successfully integrate this infrastructure whilst ensuring the site could be developed to meet the amenity objectives and create visually attractive spaces. The RPS project team also designed internal access roads, the pavilion building, parking, playing field and landscaped areas.

    The design team applied the best principles of sustainability using recycled construction materials where possible. This included the innovative reuse of crushed concrete from demolished grain silos in the Cork City docklands to fill gabion cages and form park benches. Landfill gas has been used to generate electricity on-site and feed into the national grid to power 850 homes in the locality. Foundation bases and ducting for three wind turbines have been installed for future installation of turbines. Allowances were made for future landfill settlements, so the pavilion building was constructed on piled foundations and the car parking area was constructed using a flexible rubber ‘BodPave’ system.

    The site is unique in Ireland in delivering such a range of tangible benefits to the local community on a previous landfill site. It will benefit a range of people from the locality and wider areas including fitness / BMX enthusiasts, nature-lovers and families seeking open green spaces.

    Contact:
    Frank Maguire
    E: frank.maguire@rpsgroup.com

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    Challenges and opportunities for public consultation and stakeholder engagement - RPS Director contemplates the future of PR in the Irish Marketing Journal

    20 December 2016

    Challenges and opportunities for public consultation and stakeholder engagement - RPS Director contemplates the future of PR in the Irish Marketing Journal

    Neasa Kane-Fine, Director of RPS Project Communications contributed to November’s Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ) on the future of PR. As RPS is strongly focused on public consultation and stakeholder engagement, Neasa reflected on the challenges and opportunities faced in this area – read full article below.

    Our work involves advising on and delivering consultations that allow for public and stakeholder participation, whether it is to inform development of a new public policy, sustainability campaign or infrastructure project. We also develop and manage relationships to build trust with the communities and many stakeholders impacted by public infrastructure projects and construction.

    Public participation is healthy and necessary to inform projects and policies. In recent years the industry has seen a seismic shift in the quantity and content of submissions made to public consultations, thanks to increased awareness through online and social media platforms and multiple devices.

    Interestingly, we still see a larger proportion – about 60% – of public consultation submissions being made in writing and submitted via traditional post, rather than through email or online consultation forums that we facilitate. Many people have told us that when they believe something is important, they prefer to write it out and post it, so we facilitate that.

    With access to so much information online, including through social media, we need to ensure that accurate and factual information is easily accessible so we are now developing more animated video and infographics that quickly and simply explain complex projects and policy issues, as well as continuing to utilise print and broadcast media.

    Another trend we see is that with more people aware of projects thanks to social media campaigns and increased mobilisation of interest groups via Facebook and Twitter, social media often makes it difficult for some to discuss their views openly online. Social media campaigns against public policy or projects often promote polarised positions and questioning or differing views rarely raise their head in the online discussions.

    Looking ahead? Social media needs to mature to enable a grown up, inclusive and informed debate about important policy and issues, where all views can be expressed and respected.

    Social media will never replace direct engagement as meaningful consultation builds understanding as well as addressing issues and concerns, but tools like Twitter and Facebook ensure we reach all our audiences with engaging content.

    Data management is a growing area for us and we see more and more large projects requiring bespoke cloud based systems to manage stakeholder and project data across multiple platforms and users, and this need will continue.

    Demand for creativity will never cease.

    Video will continue to grow in importance too. Print will remain relevant for particular projects and certain demographics, but print will become more graphics driven as people have less and less time to consume the written word.

    Finally, more than ever, there is a strong need for quality traditional journalism; to objectively establish the facts and provide balance through impartial reporting and valid questioning of all positions.

    Contact:
    Neasa Kane-Fine
    E: Neasa.kane-fine@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Staff first to graduate with Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    18 November 2016

    RPS Staff first to graduate with Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

     
     

    Five RPS staff graduated with honours from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) yesterday. Mark Costello, Lisa Haverty, Desmond Keane, David McHugh and Agnieszka Niedziela, all from our Galway office, are the first graduates from this course.

    (L to R) – Des Keane, Agnieszka Niedziela, David McHugh, Willie Madden, Lisa Haverty, Mark Costello

    The course was developed by RPS and GMIT in response to the skills and competency needs of the construction industry in relation to Building Information Modelling (BIM). Having completed a pilot phase with construction industry partners, the programme is now being offered as a full-time course in GMIT.

    BIM has changed the way industry professionals worldwide think about technology and how it can be applied to design, construction, and management. BIM also supports the continuous and immediate availability of project design, scope, schedule, and cost information that is high quality, reliable, integrated and fully coordinated.

    AT RPS, we are now extending BIM from the design stage through the construction phase, creating lifecycle engagement and enriching our BIM models with data to make them useful for future maintenance and operation.

    Our work on the M8/M74/M73 Motorway Improvements Project in Scotland was recently acknowledged at the Irish BIM Innovations Awards, where we received the Judges` Special Commendation. This project represents the first largescale implementation of Level 2 BIM on a major infrastructural project in the UK and it has been selected as an exemplar project for the definition of the Scottish BIM Mandate due in April 2017. The M8 project has been instrumental in building digital competency in the Irish construction industry. This BIM capacity is now facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in other major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.

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

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