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    RPS Leads in Innovative Tidal Power.

    10 December 2009

    RPS Leads in Innovative Tidal Power.

    Supply sustainability is essential to the utilities sector, with renewables being key to the long-term delivery of greener reliable power and water services.
    Images courtesy of OpenHydro.


    The Irish Government has announced a target of 500MW of tidal power generation connected to the national grid by 2020 under its National Strategy for Ocean Energy.

    RPS has been working with OpenHydro since 2005. In this time the company has designed subsea gravity base structures which have been deployed at Orkney, Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada and a pile mounted test facilities in Orkney as well as developing unique deployment and retrieval systems.

    The test facility at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in Orkney is the first grid-connected energy device that operates on tidal flow in the UK. The test facility and the gravity base design and deployment has recently won the NI Construction Employers Federation 2009 innovation award, which acknowledges the unique and highly efficient deployment method developed by the RPS/McLaughlin & Harvey project team, working with the client to reduce installation time from a matter of weeks to just a few hours.


    Images courtesy of OpenHydro.


    The test platform, set on 37m long steel piles which were cast into 8m deep sockets in the bedrock involved construction techniques using jack up barges in a very challenging environment where the tide never ceases and runs at speeds of up to 8kts. The construction, which was not without problems, was completed due to the partnering approach between client, contractor and consultant where difficulties were overcome through the contribution of all team members. The subsea cable that connects the Openhydro turbine test facility to the National Grid was also installed by McLaughlin and Harvey in challenging conditions using deployment methods developed by RPS and Openhydro.

    Northern Scotland is generally noted as the optimum location for hydropower generation in the UK and Ireland because of its mountainous landscapes and strong tidal currents. The turbine has been operating at the EMEC test facility in the Falls of Warness, Orkney, in 20m of water with tidal velocities exceeding 8 knots, since its 2007 installation, and the client has now signed major contracts with Nova Scotia Power (Canada) and EDF Energy (France).

    This is a major step to OpenHydro’s target of deploying farms of subsea tidal turbines across the world – silently and invisibly creating a reliable flow of green and renewable energy.

    Most recently RPS have designed and procured the fabrication of a 400 tonne gravity base structure and deployment frame for the installation and trial of OpenHydro’s pioneering 10m diameter, one-megawatt commercial scale turbine. This Turbine was successfully deployed on the gravity base in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage –about 10km west of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in Canada, on 12 November as part of the Canadian government’s target for 25% renewable electricity by 2015.


    Images courtesy of OpenHydro.


    Devising the method for gravity base deployment also involved the procurement of a bespoke installation vessel. RPS assisted in designing a performance specification and in negotiating the fabrication contract.

    RPS Ireland has more than 30 years experience in renewable energy and has worked on a range of renewable projects for sustainable power generation including the design and supervision of wave energy projects, various tidal energy projects and the resource determination for wind, wave and tidal developments.

    Images courtesy of OpenHydro. >share
    Big News in Belfast

    30 October 2009

    Big News in Belfast

    RPS offices plan for the ambitious regeneration of Belfast’s Westside.

     

    It is an ambitious project on a huge scale, that is set to deliver an incredible community result. Following a period of extensive consultation, the final masterplan for the regeneration of the Westside of Belfast City Centre has been launched.

    RPS will provide project management, landscape architecture, and civil engineering services for the Bank Square Public Realm project as part of the Westside Masterplan. The plans will be produced in compliance with the Department for Social Development’s Belfast City Centre Regeneration Policy Statement, and have a clear target to achieve an Excellent CEEQUAL1. rating, and fully answer Achieving Excellence in Construction standards.

    With an estimated budget of £5m, the public realm project focuses on the effective redevelopment of Belfast’s Bank Square, and the associated Chapel Lane, Bank Street, Berry Street, and part of King Street. The area is rich in architectural heritage, but has suffered several generations of poor economy, causing social problems, and pockets of territorial behaviour yet it is a short distance from the busy Royal Avenue and thousands of shoppers. The intention is to transform the area into an appealing and vibrant community area with new homes, and new business, retail and leisure spaces forming a strong sustainable economy – benefiting the existing community, and attracting new people and investment.

    The regeneration of Bank Square is the critical first step in the delivery of the Westside project. The masterplan sets out detailed steps to create a positive neighbourhood area which enhances the region’s well-developed independent trade sector, and is sensitive to its heritage – complimenting the historic street pattern, but incorporating effective street lighting and improved public spaces to create a safer environment. The scheme will deliver 322 new homes with 20% affordable housing, nearly 23,000m² floor space for café, restaurant and retail use, over 23,000m² of office floor space, and 280 hotel rooms, in a well-planned and welcoming environment. Much of the retail and restaurant space will be situated in a new public space – Fountain Square, which will be linked to the existing Fountain and Chapel Lanes by footpath, and feature an outdoor performance space to create a strong community focal point.

    The result will be a revitalised west quarter of the city, providing a pleasant and secure environment, and creating around 2400 more jobs. New retail and leisure businesses are expected to attract visitors and boost tourism in the city’s northwest quarter, contributing to a good long-term economy within the community, and recognising the regions key role as a positive window of the city as a whole.

    Contact:
    Raymond Holbeach
    T: +44 (0) 28 9039 3969
    E: Raymond.Holbeach@rpsgroup.com

    Morgan Haylett
    T: +44 (0) 28 9066 7914
    E: haylettM@rpsgroup.com

    1 Civil Engineering Environmental Quality and Assessment Award Scheme.

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    RPS Wins Health & Safety Award

    20 October 2009

    RPS Wins Health & Safety Award

    On Thursday 24th September in Castlebar, RPS were awarded the National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO) President’s Award in the Construction Category.

    This much coveted award, sponsored by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), is also known as the ‘Overall Construction Award’. In the past, this award has generally been awarded to large contracting firms, so RPS has broken new ground for consultants in this area. 

    The award recognises our occupational health and safety record as well as our systems and procedures in the areas of design safety. Pictured at the event, from left to right are: Dermot Carey, Head of Safety Services, Construction Industry Federation (CIF); Jim Leahy, Technical Director Health & Safety, RPS; Amy Lillis, Health and Safety Officer, RPS; Dara Calleary, TD Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Labour Affairs; Joan Gallagher, Health and Safety Officer, RPS; and NISO President, Pauric Corrigan

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    Signature Buildings

    08 October 2009

    Signature Buildings

    RPS provides professional built-environment services for key structures that are being developed in the Netherlands and Ireland.
    The Maastoren

    The Maastoren

    It is always very exciting to be involved in a unique project that is widely acclaimed, and to proudly acknowledge a part in a landmark building. As a prominent professional consultancy, RPS has provided quality services to many significant structures internationally.

    The new Titanic Signature Building is a key factor in the regeneration of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, and the revitalisation of the area’s heritage. As a phase of the overall Titanic Quarter project, the Titanic Signature Building links together key Titanic heritage sites on Queen’s Island. 

    RPS is providing the civil, structural and fire engineering services in relation to the project, which is due to start construction on site this summer. The ultimate client is the Titanic Foundation Ltd (TFL), an independent Charitable Trust which has been established specifically to deliver this project, comprising a public consortium group of Titanic Quarter Ltd, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast City Council, and East Belfast Partnership.

    The building will not only provide an arts centre, quality restaurants, and a theatre, but most importantly will house the Titanic Experience museum, taking visitors on a journey through time, across several levels of engaging displays and historic artefacts, and finally leading them to the point where the Titanic was launched. The £97m iconic visitor centre is scheduled to be completed and open by 2012, in time for the Titanic centenary.

    The Maastoren

    The Maastoren

    Set to make exciting new history in the Netherlands, ‘The Maastoren’ at Kop van Zuid, Rotterdam, will be the country’s tallest building at 165m high. It’s central position in the city, with its feet squarely in the Maas, and overlooking the Erasmus Bridge, makes it a prominent and eye-catching feature of the city. RPS has project managed the interior design, ICT, security and facility services for international accounting and consulting firm Deloitte’s, and law firm AKD Prinsen van Wijnen’s, new offices in the building.

    With a total area of 66,000 m² and total floor area of 44.0000 m² over 44 floors including ten storeys of over ground parking and two storeys of underground parking, the sheer size of this new development enables Deloitte, and other professional firms to consolidate smaller offices in the area. By appointing RPS to project manage the fit-out of the new offices, the client is assured of a quality, bespoke service where quality, delivery time, organisation and cost are all carefully managed at one professional point, which also allows flexibility to fully meet the clients specific requirements for the offices. Deloitte will move in to the building later this year.

    Contact:
    Titanic Signature Building:
    Michael W Shaw
    T: +44 (0) 28 9066 7914
    E: Michael.shaw@rpsgroup.com
     
    The Maastoren:
    Wouter Boon
    T: +31 (0) 10 286 61 00
    E: wouter.boon@rps.nl

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    Saddle up for Dublinbikes

    21 September 2009

    Saddle up for Dublinbikes

    RPS staff among first to “saddle up” for new dublinbikes initiative

    RPS staff were among the first 150 people to make the inaugural cycle from Winetavern Street to dublinbike stations across the city to celebrate the launch of dublinbikes last Sunday morning, 13th September. The new initiative is open to everyone in Dublin to use, seven days a week, from 5am to 00.30am.

    Register for the scheme online at www.dublinbikes.ie and pay a €10 annual membership fee.  Usage of a bike is free for the first 30 (thirty) minutes.

     

    Pictured at the launch were Danielle Vierling, Project Communications, RPS West Pier, Aileen McSwiney, Health and Safety Consultant, RPS Cork, and Claire O Hara, Project Communications, RPS West Pier.

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    Motorway Re-designations Come Into Operation after RPS Redesign Motorway Signage

    01 September 2009

    Motorway Re-designations Come Into Operation after RPS Redesign Motorway Signage

    Almost 300km of dual carriageways on 10 National Routes became motorways on Friday 28th August, following their re-designation by the Dept of Transport.

     

    The objectives behind this high profile re-designation project are to enhance safety and operational efficiency of sections of existing high quality dual carriageway, and to shorten journey times by availing, as appropriate, of the design speed of 120 kph which applies to motorways. The re-designations will also serve to protect the routes against inappropriate development, including multiple access points, which would have road safety implications and affect efficiency and service life.

    The sections of National Routes affected are:

    N2 Dublin to Derry
    Killshane to Ashbourne (open to traffic) 13 km

    N3 Dublin to Cavan
    Littlepace to Loughsallagh (under construction) 2.1 km
    Loughsallagh to Pace (under construction) 2.3 km

    N4 Dublin to Sligo
    Kinnegad to McNead’s Bridge (open to traffic) 6.8 km

    N6 Dublin to Galway
    Athlone to Ballinasloe (Open to traffic) 20 km
    Ballinasloe to Galway (under construction) 51 km

    N7 Dublin to Limerick
    Limerick Southern Ring Road (Phase 1)  (open to traffic) 8.5 km
    N7/N20 Rossbrien Interchange (under construction) 1.5 km

    N8 Dublin to Cork
    Watergrasshill to Glanmire (open to traffic) 7 km
    Glanmire Bypass (open to traffic) 6.3 km

    N9 Dublin to Waterford
    Powerstown to Waterford (under construction) 64 km

    N11 Dublin to Wexford
    Ashford to Rathnew (open to traffic) 8 km
    Arklow Bypass (open to traffic) 7 km
    Arklow to Gorey (open to traffic) 21 km

    N18 Oranmore to Limerick
    Shannon to Ennis (open to traffic) 8.3 km
    Ennis Bypass (open to traffic) 12.5 km
    Gort to Crusheen (under construction) 22 km
    Oranmore to Gort (in planning) 28 km

    N20 Cork to Limerick
    Limerick to Attyflin (N20/N21 Junction) (open to traffic) 5 km

    The RPS Traffic Signs Team have been working closely with the NRA for the last 8 months in implementing this changeover, with the biggest challenge being to change the directional and regulatory road signs, including overhead gantry signs, to reflect motorway status.

    RPS were responsible for the delivery of 18 separate re-signing packages, which included detailed design and construction supervision.  The works were carried out under a very tight timescale, which commenced once the Minister signed the Re-designation Order on July 10th.  Five signs installation Contractors and numerous other suppliers and sub-contractors were involved, which required significant co-ordination and supervision. 

    Contact:
    Rowan O’Callaghan, Associate
    T: +353 (0) 71 913 8909
    E: rowan.ocallaghan@rpsgroup.com

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    Stormont Wharf at the Port of Belfast

    01 September 2009

    Stormont Wharf at the Port of Belfast

    The new extension to the Stormont Wharf at the Port of Belfast was completed earlier this year. At a cost of £8.8M, this project was a major investment for the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

     

    RPS Belfast Office’s Ports & Harbour Engineers were appointed for the outline design, specification, procurement, project management and contract administration on this prestigious design and build development.  The principal elements of the new wharf were the construction of 330m of quay wall, dredging of the new berth and approach channel and the provision of hinterland marshalling areas.  With a total length of nearly 1000m, Stormont Wharf is now one of the longest deep water quays in Ireland.  The new wharf’s primary function will be to facilitate large commercial shipping but it has already proved to be ideal for accommodating the rapidly growing cruise liner visits to Belfast.  Almost 40 cruise liners were expected to visit Belfast this season.

    The official opening of the new Stormont Wharf by the Minister for Regional Development took place on 30th June 2009, the day on which one of the world’s largest cruise liners, the Crown Princess, was berthed on the new quay.

    Contact:
    John Wilson, Associate
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914
    E: john.wilson@rpsgroup.com

     

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    Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009

    01 September 2009

    Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009

    The Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge was a spectacular 7,000 nautical mile odyssey around the North Atlantic Ocean and followed the traditional routes taken by sailing ships of a by-gone age.

     

    The race started from the Spanish mainland in April and called at ports in the Canary Islands, Bermuda, United States and Canada on route to the finish in Belfast

    Belfast first hosted the Tall Ships in 1991.  Dedicated mooring facilities for Tall Ships were limited at that time and so Belfast Harbour Commissioners were anxious to provide additional facilities for the 2009 event which would be specifically suited to the range of visiting vessels.

    RPS has been retained by Belfast Harbour Commissioners on many of their maritime development projects and with our expertise in marinas and other berthing facilities we were appointed to the project for the provision of these additional berthing facilities.

    The principal elements of the project were the provision of ten 50 tonne capacity mooring bollards on Queen’s Quay which is now a public riverside walkway adjacent to the Millennium Odyssey Complex and the provision of 250m of heavy duty pontoon walkways in the Abercorn Basin.  The Abercorn Basin is within the harbour redevelopment area now referred to as Titanic Quarter.

    Substantial funding for the £1M project was received from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and it is intended that the legacy of the new facilities will be to attract visiting vessels and ultimately long term berth holders to the heart of Belfast.

    Contact:
    John Wilson, Associate
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914
    E: john.wilson@rpsgroup.com

     

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    Waterford City Flood Alleviation Scheme

    27 August 2009

    Waterford City Flood Alleviation Scheme

    RPS was recently appointed to design Phase 4 of the Waterford City Flood Alleviation Scheme, having worked on all aspects of the scheme to date.

     

    RPS prepared a Preliminary Report in 2001 outlining flood relief options to mitigate against flooding in Waterford City. The preferred solution of flood walls and embankments along the banks of the River Suir and John’s River was presented for public consultation in 2002. In 2003, RPS carried out a study to determine the potential for phasing the works, thus the scheme was divided into 4 separate phases. RPS prepared the Planning Documents, the detailed design, contract documents, tender and are currently supervising the construction of Phase 1 of the project.

    We are also working on preparing the Planning Documents (including an EIS) for Phases 2, 3 and now 4 altogether. RPS has carried out the detailed design and tender documents for the Advance Works on Phases 2 and 3, which has been tendered as a separate stand-alone contract.

    The project includes the construction of approximately 10 km of flood walls and embankments along the river banks (River Suir and John’s River) in Waterford City. Phase 1 of the scheme required an innovative design of approximately 1 km of 1.1 m high glass flood wall (see photographs).

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    M6 Athlone to Ballinasloe delivered on time and under budget

    05 August 2009

    M6 Athlone to Ballinasloe delivered on time and under budget

    An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen T.D. officially opened the M6 Athlone to Ballinasloe on 23rd July 2009. The 19km scheme was delivered on time and under budget at a cost of €210 million.

     

    RPS were contractor’s designer on the scheme, which joins the N6 Galway to Ballinasloe PPP Scheme to the Athlone Bypass and forms part of the major inter-urban route between Dublin and Galway. A joint venture design build contract by SIAC / Wills, the scheme will officially become a motorway on 28th August 2009.

    The project involved the construction of 12 bridges and 4 roundabouts on link roads and will shorten journey times between Dublin and Galway, improve road safety, improve competitiveness and remove 12,300 vehicles per day from the existing N6.

    RPS was responsible for the detailed design, including alignment, drainage, structures and earthworks. We were also involved in traffic management, coordination of road safety audits and consultation.

     

    Construction on the final link between Dublin and Ballinasloe, the 56km N6 Galway to Ballinasloe which RPS is helping to deliver as a PPP scheme, is on schedule for completion by the middle of next year.  This will see the entire National Primary Route between Dublin and Galway upgraded to first class motorway / high quality dual carriageway standard.

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    The Concrete Proof

    31 July 2009

    The Concrete Proof

    RPS engineers award-winning versatile concrete and steelwork designs, securing acclaim for innovation and effective use.

     

    Concrete has appeared in many structural forms since its standardisation1 : through the smooth surfaces of Art Deco architecture, the practicality of post-war housing, the concrete jungle of 1960s-1980s tower blocks, and is now once again enjoying a more widely popular focus, as a new generation of designers celebrate its versatility and strength focussing on sleek, and stylish modern exteriors.

    Above all, concrete is one of the most versatile and resilient building materials, especially in the designs of the last twenty years, where steel skeletons reinforce pre-cast concrete panels. Many modern office and residential blocks use steel frame floors with concrete infill to maximise the strength of a building that covers several storeys. Employed effectively, concrete is a cost-effective, flexible and sustainable material.

    RPS’ award-winning structural engineering designs for concrete buildings have secured much acclaim including a research centre for the University College of Cork2 and the Caladh Mór sheltered harbour development in Inis Meaín, which won the Irish Concrete Society Award 2009.

    The Braid Museum and Arts Centre in Ballymena recently secured the Engineering Excellence award from the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, a commendation in the 2008 RIAI Irish Architecture Awards and was overall winner in the RICS Northern Ireland Awards for Excellence in the Built Environment as well as winning the individual category of Building Conservation.

    Contributing to the urban regeneration of Ballymena, the Braid Museum3 provides a new and exciting modern extension to the existing Town Hall, standing on a site that has been the hub of local civic life for many generations. RPS provided the civil, structural and fire engineering for the project – including the structural design, and the refurbishment modelling for the town hall to provide a new auditorium and stage area with fly tower.

    The foundations comprised traditional pad and strips over the majority of the footprint with a basement provided over part of the site which was constructed using secant piled walls and designed to a Category 4 structural integrity as defined in BS 8102.  The superstructure comprised reinforced concrete beams and columns supporting a mixture of in-situ concrete and precast slabs.  Reinforced concrete was chosen as the main structural material to assist with acoustic damping between the various sections of the building and also to help provide thermal mass to minimise the amount of energy required to heat and power the building as well as its versatility in providing an economical structural solution to a complicated building form.

    The museum offers contemporary conference, tourism and civic facilities with disabled access throughout, including a large main theatre with associated dressing rooms and flexible spaces for workshop and performance use. Described on the Qype online review site as “a welcome addition to Ballymena, .. a really positive change [which] improves the image of the area,” the success of the new centre clearly marks it as the right answer to the civic regeneration of the town, introducing new, modern facilities while improving and restoring the heritage value of the existing listed Town Hall.

    Loughborough University’s new multi-storey car park provides a welcome space-saving solution to balancing the requirement for development land to improve campus buildings, whilst maintaining sufficient car parking facilities. As part of the University’s East Park Campus development plan, the new multi-storey car park replaces several surface-lined car parks, freeing these areas for much needed redevelopment of university buildings which are outdated and do not sufficiently meet the university’s needs.

    The car park uses 500 tonnes of galvanised steel with precast concrete floors and staircases. RPS provided the architectural and CDM services for the hardwearing structure, which is designed for long service, and effective low maintenance. It uses an innovative feature to ensure the building height is kept to a minimum while providing maximum parking space. Universal column sections are employed for both columns and beams and are joined with moment connections and splices to reduce floor depth without any loss of strength.

    RPS provides expert professional services for engineering projects, including civil, structural, and mechanical engineering, design, and planning services.

    Contact:
    Braid Centre:
    Structural & Civil Engineering:
    Michael W Shaw
    T: +44 (0) 28 9066 7914
    E: Michael.shaw@rpsgroup.com

    Loughborough University MSCP:
    Architecture:
    Alan Green
    T: +44 (0) 1902 771 331
    E: alan.green@rpsgroup.com

    CDM:
    Andy Childs
    T: +44 (0) 1636 605 700
    E: andy.childs@rpsgroup.com

    1 1900.

    2 Sustainability Design Award - Concrete Society of Ireland, 2007.

    3 Click here for a virtual tour of the Braid Centre (external site).

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    Engineering Student Awarded Gold Medal

    29 July 2009

    Engineering Student Awarded Gold Medal

    RPS Consulting Engineers Managing Director, Jerry Grant, presents the EGA Gold Medal to Clíodhna Denny, who achieved first place in Civil Engineering in UCD in 2009.
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    Over 20,000 items traded on Free Trade Website

    29 July 2009

    Over 20,000 items traded on Free Trade Website

     

     

    Over 20,000 people have now used the FREE TRADE service on the Dublinwaste.ie website. Since its launch in 2006 by the four Dublin local authorities, there have been over three million visits to Dublinwaste.ie’s FREE Trade service and it has facilitated the reuse of thousands of household items.

    Launched in May 2004 as the cornerstone of the Dublin Waste Awareness Campaign, Dublinwaste.ie aims to educate and raise awareness of waste prevention and recycling among householders in the region. This innovative section of the website is succeeding in facilitating reuse of items in the community and allows people to pass on or pick up unwanted goods in Dublin free of charge. Once registered, users can browse the online database for items or set up an account and start listing their unwanted – or wanted goods.

    Everything from furniture to top soil and toys to mobile homes are up for grabs on the site and the number of items being traded has grown by over 22 per cent in the past year. The Dublin woman who became the 20,000th person to use the service by giving away a beanbag for free is receiving a gift from Dublin City Council to mark the milestone of 20,000 quality goods being saved from landfill and put to good use by new owners.

    RPS maintains and manages the website and its support services for the four Dublin local authorities and hosts extensive information on all aspects of waste management; from waste reduction tips at home, to tips for lowering bin charges and how to make quality compost. The website also features two interactive recycling search engines which guide users to their nearest bring bank or recycling centre. RPS is continuing to expand the functionality and capabilities of the site to increase user interaction.

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    Two Recycling Centres Delivered by RPS Officially Opened in May 2009

    23 June 2009

    Two Recycling Centres Delivered by RPS Officially Opened in May 2009

    Two recycling centres delivered by RPS Galway on behalf of Roscommon and North Tipperary County Councils were officially opened in May 2009.

    Official Opening of Castlerea Recycling Centre, 19th May 2009

    Castlerea Recycling Centre was opened on the 19th May 2009 by Cllr. Michael McGreal, Mayor of Roscommon County Council.  The centre is situated in the IDA Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Castlerea and the facility will serve the town and its environs. The project was delivered under the New Public Works Contracts 2007 with RPS acting as Employers Representative. Glenkill Civil Engineering Ltd. was awarded the works for a contract value of €1.0m and the works were completed in 4 months.

    Official Opening of Roscrea Recycling Centre, 29th May 2009

    Roscrea Recycling Centre was officially opened on the 29th May 2009 by Dr. Joe Hennessey, Mayor of North Tipperary County Council. The centre is located on the Old Dublin Road in Roscrea on a 1.1 ha site. The construction work was carried out by John Cradock Ltd. under a Design Build contract at a cost of € 0.9m with a 20 week construction programme. RPS acted as Employers Representative for the contract.

    Both recycling centres accept a wide range of recyclables and the design of each centre includes an access road, an administration building, a hard-standing area, a WEEE storage shed, lighting, signage and landscaping measures.  Both projects received significant funding under the DoEHLG Regional Operational Development Programme 2000-2006 – Capital Grants Scheme for Waste Management Infrastructure Projects following funding applications prepared by RPS on behalf of both local authorities.

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    New Bridge in Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal Completed

    16 June 2009

    New Bridge in Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal Completed

    The new bridge in Mulroy Bay, in Co. Donegal was officially opened by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen T.D. on 15th May, 2009. The bridge will benefit locals and visitors alike and will provide better access to all local services, hospitals and schools.

     

    RPS worked on Mulroy Bay Bridge in Co. Donegal from the very start, doing the preliminary and detailed design work, the Environmental Impact Statement and getting the project through planning and then supervising the construction of the bridge.  It’s one of the largest bridges in Ireland and it has been successfully constructed in an area of outstanding beauty, an extremely sensitive Special Area of Conservation and a Natural Habitat Area. 

    “In construction terms it was a major engineering feat, using a 'balanced cantilever approach' of progressive construction of individual piers and the subsequent decks hanging off the pier in a balanced format”, says Tony Magee, Structures Director, RPS Group.  “We ensured protection of a unique Salmon farm beside the bridge by protecting and monitoring throughout construction.  The Bay also supports scallops, oysters and mussels. This Class A designated bay is the largest natural habitat of Scallop spat fall in Western Europe.”
      
    The bridge replaces an old ferry that plied the bay to connect two communities up to mid 1960s. It served the entire transport needs of the community, including the local postal service.

    The bridge is a high level and multi-span bridge across Mulroy Bay, County Donegal, with associated approach roads.  The bridge length is 340m and it comprises 5 spans, with a main span of 100 metres. 

    The €17.5m project is the final part in a tourist route travelling westwards from Antrim, crossing Lough Foyle by ferry at Magilligan (Co Derry) to Greencastle (Co. Donegal) and again by ferry across the Swilly from Buncrana to Rathmullan and finally by the newly constructed bridge from the Fanad Peninsula to the Rosguill Peninsula.  Prior to the construction of the bridge, the journey time between the Fanad Peninsula and the Rosguill Peninsula, was up to 2 hours (50km). 

    With the balanced cantilever method, the bridge is built from the piers by means of formwork travellers. The bridge advanced from the top of the piers symmetrically in segments 4m in length (load balancing method) to the mid span where it met the adjacent advancing section and was then 'stitched' together.

    The use of the balanced cantilever construction method, for medium and long span concrete bridges, is recommended especially where scaffolding is difficult or impossible to erect e.g., over deep valleys, wide rivers, live motorways or in this case a tidal bay of extreme environmental importance.

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    Turning Waste Into New Irish Jobs

    09 June 2009

    Turning Waste Into New Irish Jobs

    Minister for Environment launches new Market Development Plan to create jobs from waste currently exported

     

    On 13th May 2009, Mr. John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government launched an innovative €13 million Market Development Programme to develop new markets and help create new Irish jobs by transforming waste into new sustainable products. RPS is managing the implementation of this programme on behalf of DoEHLG through an expert team based in our Dublin office. RPS is tasked with project managing the programme’s key objectives and deliverables, liaising with the DOEHLG, the MDG and stakeholders.

    Targeting entrepreneurs, third level institutions, manufacturers and waste organisations, over the next five years, the Market Development Programme will identify and help develop markets for a variety of waste streams including plastics, paper, metals, organics, glass and wood.

    Ireland exports 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable waste a year.  That’s close to 76% of total recyclable waste generated here - waste that could be reprocessed here at home. 

    A Tender seeking people to conduct demonstration trials using compost in agriculture will shortly be published. This will be of interest to the farming sector and compost producers.  A second Tender to quantify the amount of plastic waste in the country will determine for the first time, the volumes, locations, types and current outlets for a variety of plastics generated in Ireland.  The results will be of particular interest to entrepreneurs wishing to add value to waste plastics.  Further Tenders will follow.

    The Market Development Programme will work with academic colleges and institutions to help ensure that their Research and Development projects address topics of interest to entrepreneurs.  It will also work with scientific bodies and representative bodies like IBEC to ensure the needs of industry are given priority.

    As part of the programme a database of all recycled products in Ireland will also be developed and for the first time, there will be a comprehensive listing of all the products made from recycled materials in Ireland available for people to refer to when choosing to buy new products. A comprehensive database of reprocessors - people who reprocess waste materials adding value to them – will also be published in the coming weeks at www.mdg.ie and will be of great value to people who are seeking to buy reprocessed waste materials and those who are collecting waste materials and looking for outlets to sell them.

    The Programme will also develop “green” procurement programmes to encourage businesses and the public sector to consider buying products derived from recycled materials.  

    Pictured at the launch of the Market Development Programme are (left to right):

    Louise Connolly, Materials Manager, RPS; Olivier Gaillot, Technical Director, RPS; Ray Georgeson, MDP Review Team Chair;; John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Conor McGovern, Organics Manager, RPS and Grace Binchy, Communications Manager, RPS.

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    RPS Wins Three National Awards

    15 April 2009

    RPS Wins Three National Awards

    RPS is delighted to announce that the firm has won three national awards:

    Colm Boyd receiving the Young Professional Engineer of the Year 2009 from Michael McSweeney, President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland

    1. Colm Boyd of the Water Section in Galway won Young Professional Engineer of the Year 2009 from the ACEI (from a shortlist of 3 finalists) – this award was last won by RPS in 2007 by Jennifer Douglas, RPS Dublin Roads.
    1. Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering Project 2009 for M8/N8 Cashel to Cullahill project, part of the Dublin Cork Motorway. This project was led by Michael Noonan, Roads Director (RPS in JV with ROD). This is the top ACEI award and was last won by RPS in 2003 by Gas Pipeline to the West.
    1. The new harbour in Inishmean on Aran Islands (pictured) won the Irish Concrete Society Award 2009 – this harbour was planned and designed by Marine and Harbour Section in Belfast led by Dr. Michael Shaw and supervised with assistance from the Galway office. 

    “The Directors and all of us in RPS congratulate the entire teams working on both projects and Colm Boyd on his outstanding success at being Young Professional Engineer of the Year”, says PJ Rudden, RPS Group Business Director.  “These successes are a great morale boost to all our staff.  They demonstrate just how strong we are in national terms, the quality standards we are achieving and which will stand us in good stead during the current difficult times in our industry.”

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    Water Morphing

    15 April 2009

    Water Morphing

    RPS manages freshwater morphology in Ireland

    A three year National Freshwater Morphology Study has recently been completed by RPS for Ireland’s Water Framework Directive (WFD).

    Morphology refers to a river’s physical form as a result of fluvial processes and the relationship between sediment transport and flow. Prior to the introduction of the EU Water Framework Directive, the morphological condition of rivers was not systematically monitored in Ireland.

    The role of hydromorphology as a supporting element to ecological status in the WFD has presented the need for assessment and management of the physical condition of surface waters. A water body cannot be deemed of High Status unless the morphological (i.e. physical) condition itself is of high status to support it.

    The National “Programmes of Measures and Standards” Study was commissioned through the Shannon International River Basin District Project in 2005 with the overall aim of developing a framework to meet these needs, and inform the River Basin Management Plans. RPS was the lead consultant.

    RPS addressed five main areas associated with morphology of Irish rivers in developing the framework, including:

    • Identification of an appropriate morphological assessment technique for monitoring the morphology of rivers
    • Refinement of the risk assessment methods used in relation to the most significant morphology pressures identified under Article 5 of the WFD (Channelisation and Intensive Land Use)
    • Assessment of the feasibility of remote sensing in morphological assessment
    • Recommendation of an appropriate model for managing morphological change to Irish rivers
    • Identification and recommendation of appropriate measures to address morphology pressures through the river basin management planning process

    A range of field trials, aerial imagery capture, desk based reviews and consultations with river management experts in Ireland and the UK were undertaken to inform the overall study.

    Contact:
    RPS Ireland
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914

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    Climate Crossing

    15 April 2009

    Climate Crossing

    RPS sponsors scheme to help postgraduates in Ireland literally cross borders in their studies.

    RPS is sponsoring a Universities Ireland scheme to help students cross the Northern and Republic borders for their postgraduate study.

    The scholarship scheme awards selected students €15,000 to conduct their studies while living across the border from the nation they normally live in – allowing skills and education to be further enhanced through gaining experience from both of the Irish nations.

    The research opportunities are being run by RPS in partnership with the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, and the CBI Joint Business Council, all of whom are sharing the funding of the scholarship including Belfast and Dublin offices of RPS.

    Applicants for the scholarship must produce an essay outlining how the opportunity will further improve innovative and business partnership understanding in the island of Ireland.

    RPS has a key interest in how the scheme will benefit the areas of sustainability and climate change. Last year’s winner was Natasha McShane, pictured here with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and RPS Director PJ Rudden. Natasha graduated in Town Planning from Queens University Belfast and is now doing a Master’s Degree in Urban Regional Planning in University College Dublin.

    Contact:
    RPS Ireland
    T: +353 (0)1 488 2900

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