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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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    RPS Success at Irish BIM Innovation Awards 2016

    11 November 2016

    RPS Success at Irish BIM Innovation Awards 2016

    The BIM Innovation Awards produced and managed by CitA in association with Irish Building Magazine and proudly supported by BIMIreland.ie saw RPS receive the judges’ special commendation for their work on the M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvement Project in Scotland.

    (L to R) – David Philp (Judge), Claire Penny (Judge), Mark Costello (RPS), Ruth Staunton (RPS), Alistair Heanen (Amey), Christy O’Sullivan (RPS), Alan Hore (CitA)

    There were four winners on the night:

    Chiswick Community School – JJ Rhatigan & Company

    Wellcome-Wolfston Centre for Experimental Medicine – Ostick & Williams

    BIM to FM on Schools Bundle 4 – BAM

    M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvement Project in Scotland – Ferrovial/Lagan/Amey/RPS

    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.

    This £500m project will complete the motorway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh, creating better connectivity, improving safety, cutting congestion and reducing journey times. It involves a 12km section of new dual three-lane motorway and upgrades to 16km of the existing motorway.

    The project includes significant improvement works at Raith Junction under live traffic conditions. This element alone involves construction of a new 600m long underpass below the existing roundabout, realignment of the existing roundabout, five new bridges and pedestrian / cycling facilities.

    An integrated team approach has been adopted to cover the whole asset lifecycle. BIM has been used as the platform for this integration. An ‘M8 BIM Committee’ which comprises representatives of the designers, constructors and operator has driven collaboration and integration across the entire project team and has brought value to all parties.

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

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

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    RPS Scoops Two Awards at Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2016

    07 November 2016

    RPS Scoops Two Awards at Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2016

     
     

    RPS won two awards at this year’s Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards on Friday night. The Network Innovation Competition (NIC) Robotics Project was awarded the Technical Innovation Award and the Corrib Project – Onshore Gas Pipeline won the prestigious Outstanding Engineering Project of the Year 2016.

    PJ Rudden (RPS), Jim Mulcair (Roadbridge), Michael Nolan (Transport Infrastructure Ireland – award sponsor), Ronan Deasy (Shell), Ciarán Butler (RPS), Pat McAndrew (BAM) and Caroline Spillane (Engineers Ireland). (Image: Engineers Ireland)

    RPS in partnership with client Shell E&P Ireland Ltd and two major Irish contractors Roadbridge and BAM scooped the main award of the evening, which was decided mostly (80%) by a public vote.

    The Corrib Project development is a critical piece of national infrastructure producing much of Ireland’s future gas supplies over the next 15 to 20 years. One of the largest infrastructure projects in the state’s history, it was designed and constructed to the highest international safety, technical and environmental standards. It cost approximately €3.5 billion and will contribute some €6 billion to Ireland’s GDP.

    The Corrib tunnel is the longest tunnel constructed in Ireland and the longest gas pipeline tunnel in Europe. This was achieved in an area of outstanding natural beauty with many environmental designations (SAC, SPA, NHA, Ramsar). In 2007, RPS was appointed by Shell E&P Ireland Ltd to commence an innovative pipeline route selection process and comprehensive local community engagement on alternative routes which met the requirements of the Aarhus Convention on Public Participation in Decision Making, even before these requirements became law in Ireland five years later in 2012. The Corrib project created a benchmark in gas safety and particularly in managing and communicating societal risks.

    The Technical Innovation Award was awarded to RPS in partnership with Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) and US company ULC Robotics for the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) Robotics Project, which was completed in 2015. This 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.

    Graeme Cleeton (ULC Robotics), Maurice Buckley (NSAI – award sponsor), Ciarán Butler (RPS), PJ Rudden (RPS) and Caroline Spillane (Engineers Ireland). (Image: Engineers Ireland)

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

    “We are delighted with the national and international recognition that both of these awards give us” stated PJ Rudden, RPS Project Director for both projects. “In close collaboration with both clients and project partners, these two projects in Ireland and UK will create reliable new gas infrastructure that will reduce costs, increase security of supply and provide wide ranging environmental benefits” he added.

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

    Ciarán Butler
    E: ciaran.butler@rpsgroup.com

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    EU Commission reappoints RPS to manage European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards

    02 November 2016

    EU Commission reappoints RPS to manage European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards

     
     

    The EU Commission has reappointed RPS to manage the European Green Capital (EGC) and European Green Leaf (EGL) Awards for the coming years.

    Bristol – EU Green Capital City 2015 (Image: Chris Bahn – courtesy of EU Commission)

    The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations greater than 100,000 are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award. The European Green Leaf is open to cities of between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.

    To date, nine cities have won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017) and Nijmegen (2018). Each award is made two years in advance of the designated year to enable cities to adequately plan to celebrate their year with international sustainability conferences, festivals and other events involving international urban networks.

    Three cities have won the European Green Leaf award to date. In 2015 - the first year of the competition - Mollet del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) both received the award. The European Green Leaf Award 2017 went to Galway.

    Award winning cities must have a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, be committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development and act as future role models to inspire other cities.

    By 2050, it is estimated that four out of five Europeans will reside in towns and cities. But cities also embody many of the environmental challenges facing modern society such as congestion, pollution, water shortages, waste issues and the demand for public spaces. As a result municipal and city authorities are compelled to look for innovative and often ground breaking solutions.

    Each entrant city is judged by a panel of international experts in twelve indicators areas: climate change mitigation and adaptation, local transport, green urban areas, nature and biodiversity, ambient air quality, quality of acoustic environment, waste production and management, water management, waste water treatment, eco innovation and sustainable employment, energy performance and integrated environmental management.

    Cooperation and partnerships between authorities, citizens, business, educational and other stakeholders aimed at developing and improving urban living conditions are paramount to success.

    In the winning cities to date there is evidence of increased tourism, international profile, new jobs, more emphasis on environmental projects, boost in local pride and belonging and increased public funding. There is also momentum to continue environmental improvements and access to the EGC and EGL Networks which are set up.

    'The European Green Capital award now in its ninth year celebrates good planning for good urban living. And good urban living should not be restricted to big cities and towns.' stated Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. 'Think of our whole strategy as being like a tree. The Green Leaves are the smaller cities and towns, the branches are the Green Capital and bigger cities and the trunk is the European Commission providing the solid base from which we can grow these initiatives' he concluded.

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

    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Shortlisted for Irish BIM Innovation Awards

    27 October 2016

    RPS Shortlisted for Irish BIM Innovation Awards

     
     

    RPS has been shortlisted under the Design Category for the upcoming Irish BIM Innovation Awards for the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on the €600M M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project. This major transport infrastructure project completes the M8 motorway link between the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

    M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvement Project

    The Irish BIM Innovation Awards hosted by CiTA in association with Irish Building Magazine will be held on 10th November in Dublin following a conference earlier in the day which will include presentations from all shortlisted entrants alongside keynote speakers. The awards seek to capture the capability of the Irish construction industry to respond to the increased future requirement for BIM on Irish construction and engineering projects.

    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.

    RPS/Amey led the BIM design process on the Raith Interchange – an extremely complex junction which involves the maintenance of heavy live traffic flows during construction and within a very restricted space. Earthworks involved a propped secant pile cutting in loose sand and gravel and under artesian conditions. Located in a flood plain this presented significant flotation problems, requiring a dense array of ground anchors secured into bedrock.

    RPS has produced a fully coordinated and federated model for alignment, structures, drainage, utilities, temporary works, signage, road markings and lighting. This BIM model was an invaluable design co-ordination tool while working through all these complexities and represents the first large scale implementation of Level 2 BIM on a major infrastructural project in the UK. The project has also been selected as an exemplar for the definition of the Scottish BIM Mandate due in April 2017.

    We are now extending BIM from the design stage through the construction stage, creating lifecycle engagement and enriching the model with data to make it useful for future maintenance and operation. This capacity is 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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    Two RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2016

    12 October 2016

    Two RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2016

     
     

    The shortlist for the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2016 was announced last Friday and the shortlist includes two RPS projects this year.

    Construction of the Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline (Image courtesy of: Shell E&P Ireland Ltd)

    The Corrib Project – Onshore Gas Pipeline has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Engineering Project of the Year 2016 and the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) Robotics Project has been shortlisted for the Technical Innovation Award.

    The Outstanding Engineering Project of the Year will be decided by a public vote and scoring by a judging panel – people can vote for their favourite project here. Voting closes on Friday 21st October at 5pm.

    The Corrib Project development is a critical piece of national infrastructure producing much of Ireland’s future gas supplies over the next 15 to 20 years. One of the largest infrastructure projects in the state’s history, it was designed and constructed to the highest international safety, technical and environmental standards. The Corrib tunnel is the longest tunnel constructed in Ireland and it is the longest gas pipeline tunnel in Europe. This was achieved in an area of outstanding natural beauty with many environmental designations (SAC, SPA, NHA, Ramsar). From 2007, it involved an innovative route selection process and comprehensive public consultation which met the requirements of the Aarhus Convention on Public Participation in Decision Making even before these requirements became law in Ireland five years later in 2012. The Corrib project created a benchmark in gas safety and particularly in managing and communicating societal risks.

    The NIC Robotics Project for Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) comprised the design, manufacture and field testing of new inspection and repair robots in gas pipelines. These robots use sensor technology to measure wall thickness, corrosion, stress and strain. They were successfully tested in live gas mains in London in November 2015.

    Field testing of robot on live gas pipeline

    The breakthrough robotic systems were developed to allow gas utilities to identify mains condition and extend the life of large diameter cast iron pipeline infrastructure. Their use will allow pipe inspection and joint repair operations to take place with minimal disruption to customers, with fewer traffic restrictions and no gas flow restrictions required. RPS was appointed in 2014 to provide technical services to SGN, to support the industry-leading innovation project developing robotic platforms and solutions for the gas industry in partnership with ULC Robotics.

    The winning projects will be announced at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards ceremony in Dublin on 4th November.

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

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    Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Annual Conference 2016

    11 October 2016

    Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Annual Conference 2016

     
     

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

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

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

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

    CIF Panel Discussion with Annette Hughes DKM Economists, Ian Howard Kerry Food Group, Dr. Edgar Morgenroth Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin, and PJ Rudden, RPS. (Image: Cormac Bradley)

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

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    RPS Presents UCD Gold Medal for Civil Engineering

    23 September 2016

    RPS Presents UCD Gold Medal for Civil Engineering

     

    RPS Regional Director Padraic Brennan presented the RPS sponsored EGA Gold Medal in Civil Engineering to Minjie Liu on Conferring Day in early September. This medal is awarded every year to the graduate who obtains 1st place in the Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering.

    Image: University College Dublin

    “RPS is very pleased to recognise Minjie’s academic excellence. We are also looking forward to offering ten internships this autumn to UCD 5-year Master students with a view to graduate recruitment. We have been grateful for the high quality students that we employ each year from UCD and other third level colleges” said Padraic Brennan.

    RPS is one of Ireland’s leading multidisciplinary consultancies providing services to the public and private sectors in planning, transport, water, energy, commercial, industrial, healthcare, education, waste management and project communications.

    Contact:
    Padraic Brennan
    E: padraic.brennan@rpsgoup.com

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    RPS Delivers Ireland’s Programmes of Measures for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

    04 August 2016

    RPS Delivers Ireland’s Programmes of Measures for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

    In July 2016, RPS completed Ireland’s reporting of its Article 13 Programmes of Measures for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

    The Programmes of Measures are required to establish actions and measures to assist with meeting Ireland’s environmental targets established as part of the Directive and leading to achieving or maintaining Good Environmental Status (GES) of Ireland’s marine waters.

    RPS also delivered the Article 19 public consultation on the Programmes of Measures, including three open-days and preparation of a summary report which forms an essential part of the EU Commission’s requirements.

     

    Since 2012, RPS has been engaged by the Marine Institute and Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) to assist with the implementation of the MSFD in Ireland. Over this period, RPS has delivered Ireland’s:

     

    Initial Assessment and public consultation

    Monitoring Programmes and public consultation

    Programmes of Measures and public consultation

    Marine Atlas (http://atlas.marine.ie)

     

    Ireland’s MSFD reports are available on the DECLG website.

    The MSFD requires EU Member States to develop a strategy to achieve or maintain GES in their marine waters by 2020 at the latest. The aim of the Directive is to protect Europe’s marine waters by applying an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities while promoting the sustainable use of the marine environment for present and future generations.

    Contact:
    Gareth McElhinney
    E:gareth.mcelhinney@rpsgroup.com .

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    RPS and Ecofys in NW Europe Offshore Grid Appraisal

    27 July 2016

    RPS and Ecofys in NW Europe Offshore Grid Appraisal

    RPS and Ecofys have been tasked by the European Commission (DG ENERGY) to prepare an environmental baseline study of renewable energy sources, energy storage and a meshed electricity grid in the North and Irish Seas.

    The study is particularly focused on opportunities for coordination between Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. The development of the offshore energy grid in the North and Irish Seas can play an important role in delivering on EU renewable energy and climate change commitments.

    The study includes a Regional Plan which identifies opportunities for a meshed grid which if constructed, would connect clusters of wind farms to offshore hubs which would in turn connect to various countries and each other reducing the need for individual radial connections.

    Two key aspects of the study are data collection and stakeholder engagement. RPS, using in-house GIS resources, has been engaged in accessing and compiling data registers and a data catalogue to support desktop research into the baseline conditions. The project team has also undertaken significant consultation with the target Member States to elicit feedback on the Regional Plan and the scope of the baseline study. This has included a workshop hosted by the project team in Brussels. Stakeholders have also been invited to leave feedback on the draft Scoping Report and different 2030 grid scenarios presented in support of the Regional Plan. To promote the stakeholder engagement and to provide a portal for information exchange, a project website BEAGINS (baseline environmental assessment for the grid in the Irish and North Seas) has been established.

    The findings will be available online as a resource which can be used to inform developers about environmental assessments for this type of infrastructure and thereby enabling the early incorporation of environmental implications into future plans and projects.

    Contact:
    Antonia Gaughran
    E: antonia.gaughran@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Ecologist joins Irish Brent Goose Research Expedition to Iceland

    12 July 2016

    RPS Ecologist joins Irish Brent Goose Research Expedition to Iceland

    Colin Heaslip, Project Ecologist in our Galway office, was recently part of a four-person research expedition to Iceland studying light-bellied geese (Branta bernicla hrota).

    Colin has been involved with the Irish Brent Goose Research Group for the past three years, including leg-band reading and canon-netting fieldwork in Ireland.

    The expedition involved traversing along the west coast of Iceland to various hot-spots which the geese tend to prefer and attempting to re-sight leg-banded individuals. It increases the knowledge base of the species and assists in ongoing research with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and University of Exeter Ecology Department. The Irish fieldwork site used for cannon-netting this year saw, in addition to the regular leg-banding work, 20 GPS collars used for the first time to gather further information about the movements of the geese. Five of these were re-sighted by the expedition team in Iceland and the data from the collars was downloaded using a specially constructed data receiver.

    Branta bernicla hrota
    Image: Shutterstock/Emi

    Light-bellied brent geese breed and spend their summers in the High Western-Canadian Arctic. They set out on one the longest migrations of all the Western Palearctic goose populations, crossing the Greenland ice-cap, staging at sites in Greenland and Iceland before crossing the North Atlantic to Ireland and some can be seen on the north coasts of France and Spain.

    The research is primarily carried out by colour marking caught birds with individual colour/number combinations and recording each re-sighting which is submitted to the sightings database and provides vital information about the behaviour of the birds and the associations they have with various habitats.

    The 13 year-long study is a collaborative effort between the University of Exeter, the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and the Irish Brent Research Group which involves active monitoring of the behavioural patterns and migration routes taken by the species during their lifecycle.

    Contact:
    Colin Heaslip
    E: colin.heaslip@rpsgroup.com

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    Skibbereen Flood Relief Project Underway

    14 June 2016

    Skibbereen Flood Relief Project Underway

    The contract for Skibbereen Flood Relief Project was signed last week by Cork County Council. This project when completed will ensure that priority areas in the town will be protected from the severe floods experienced over recent decades.

    Brendan Brice and Grellan McGrath, RPS (far left) with Minister for State at the OPW Sean Canney and members of the OPW, Cork County Council, Jons Civil Engineering Ltd at the formal contract signing (Image: Cork County Council)

    RPS has a long standing appointment from Cork County Council in relation to a Road, Traffic and Flood Relief Study for the town of Skibbereen, Co. Cork. This study identified the need for major improvements to the town’s road network, sewerage collection and treatment system, surface water drainage and flood risk reduction infrastructure.

    RPS, working closely with Cork County Council, has been responsible for the planning, design, environmental assessment and project delivery of all aspects of the Study on a phased basis in line with budgetary constraints. Significant infrastructure provided to date has included the construction of new bypass road, sewerage collection system, surface water drainage network and wastewater treatment plant. The estimated capital expenditure to date is in excess of €40M.

    Works will begin this month on the €15.8M contract between Cork County Council and Jons Civil Engineering Ltd. The project includes tidal and fluvial flood prevention work on the River Ilen and on three tributaries flowing through Skibbereen – the Caol, Assolas and Glencurragh. It is designed to provide a 200-year flood prevention, protecting over 300 homes and businesses in Skibbereen and surrounding areas. Skibbereen has suffered considerably from a long history of flooding, most significantly two major events occurred in 2009.

    The project, designed by RPS, includes the construction of 2.9km of new flood walls, 4.2km of embankments, as well as new culverts, the replacement of old culverts, new stormwater pumping stations, works at John F Kennedy Bridge and associated drainage works.

    RPS is responsible for both the on-site supervision and administration of this contract and has deployed a team of Resident Engineers to supervise the works in Skibbereen which is due to be completed in early 2019.

    Contact:
    Brendan Brice, Technical Director
    E: brendan.brice@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Director Honoured by ICE

    27 May 2016

    RPS Director Honoured by ICE

    RPS Director, PJ Rudden was recently honoured with the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Irish Branch of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) for his pioneering work on infrastructure and waste planning in Ireland.

    The early part of PJ’s career, after graduation from UCD (Hons), was spent with Dublin Corporation, now Dublin City Council. He was a founding partner of MC O’Sullivan’s Dublin office, later to become RPS and in this capacity he has undertaken some very significant infrastructure projects in the areas of waste, energy and infrastructure.

    Among his major infrastructure projects were the Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline, the Dublin Waste to Energy project at Poolbeg, the Irish Scottish Offshore Renewable Energy initiative (ISLES) and the Gas Pipeline to the West. Additionally, he has led most of the regional waste management strategies and plans for the last 15 years. Further afield, in Europe, he was the Director of the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Secretariat from 2010 to 2015. He is currently engaged in infrastructure planning and development in both the UK and Ireland.

    To colleagues and clients alike, PJ is synonymous with civil engineering in this country and his influence has not only manifested itself in projects undertaken by RPS teams led by him on behalf of a wide variety of local, national and international clients, but also in his contributions to the engineering community in terms of being President of Engineers Ireland in 2011/12 when he also championed the initiative to promote the teaching of STEM subjects at second level. He was the winner of the Inaugural Distinguished Graduate Award in UCD in 2002 and is currently serving his second two-year term as President of the UCD Engineering Graduates Association (2012 – 16).

    The award was presented to PJ on the occasion of the ICE Republic of Ireland’s Annual Dinner on Friday 13th May by ICE Republic of Ireland Branch Chairman, Kevin Sheridan, who said that he and his ICE colleagues were very proud to acknowledge PJ’s eminence in this field and his outstanding achievements.

    PJ Rudden responded “These projects were a great overall RPS team effort from various offices and disciplines – planning, engineering, environment, project management and communications. The provision of modern infrastructure is the lifeblood of the economy in terms of increasing national growth, investment and jobs.”

    The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is the oldest and largest professional body of engineers in the world with over 91,000 members.

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

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    Ireland's Largest Port Infrastructure Project Secures Permission

    11 May 2016

    Ireland's Largest Port Infrastructure Project Secures Permission

    An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project – the largest port related infrastructure project in the history of the Irish State. The project will enable Ireland’s premier port to double its trade capacity to 60 million tonnes per annum by 2040. It will also enable the largest cruise liners in the world to safely berth in the River Liffey Channel at the heart of Dublin City.

    The project involves the creation/rehabilitation of 3km of quay walls, new berthing facilities and a capital dredging scheme which will deepen the navigation channel within Dublin Bay to a ruling depth of -10m CD.

    RPS was commissioned by Dublin Port Company to develop and deliver the €230million ABR Project through the feasibility and planning stage. This involved engineering design and preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and Habitats Directive Assessment. RPS expert witnesses also took a lead role in the successful Oral Hearing.

    The project was particularly challenging as there were a number of major environmental, archaeological and engineering issues to overcome including legacy contaminated sediments, historic quay structures designed by the renowned Victorian Engineer Bindon Blood Stoney and the fact that Dublin Port lies adjacent to a number of European designated Natura 2000 sites including the South Dublin Bay and Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area, North Bull Island Special Protection Area and the Rockabill to Dalkey Island candidate Special Area of Conservation.

    RPS carried out extensive environmental impact assessments to determine the impact of the proposed ABR project on the qualifying interests of the Natura sites and Annex 1 species which included over-wintering birds, terns, harbour porpoise, migratory salmonids, lamprey and reefs.

    The planning application, supported by an Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement, was submitted to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. The successful granting of planning permission has allowed Dublin Port Company to advance the project to the construction phase. RPS are continuing to support Dublin Port Company in securing other statutory consents required including a Dumping at Sea Permit from the EPA, an Industrial Emissions Licence also from the EPA and a Foreshore Licence from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. RPS is also engaging with Dublin City Council to seek approval for the ABR Project’s Construction Environmental Management Plan.

    RPS is delighted to have recently secured a further six year environmental monitoring contract from Dublin Port Company thereby maintaining RPS’s involvement in the ABR Project throughout the construction phase.

    The ABR Project is being led by the RPS team based in Belfast with support from colleagues in Dublin.

    Contact:
    Alan Barr
    E: alan.barr@rpsgroup.com

    Ruth Barr
    E: ruth.barr@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Procures New Aviation Fuel Storage Capacity at Dublin Airport

    04 May 2016

    RPS Procures New Aviation Fuel Storage Capacity at Dublin Airport

    Image courtesy of daa

    Dublin Airport has shown significant growth in passenger numbers in recent years, with a 15% increase in 2015 translating to 25 million passengers passing through its portals. As a consequence, additional aviation fuel storage facilities are now required.

    Dublin Airport Authority (daa) and Spanish aviation fuel specialists, CLH, have announced a project to redevelop the existing fuelling facilities at Dublin Airport and extend the fuelling network across the airport apron to ultimately provide direct fuelling facilities at each of the operating piers of the airport.

    CLH’s appointment on a 20-year concession to Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) contract for the redevelopment of the existing facilities and the new infrastructure works follows an 18-month procurement process developed and managed by RPS and their aviation fuel expert partner, eJet International Ltd., based in Exeter, in tandem with daa and their legal advisers, Arthur Cox.

    The existing capacity of the three-tank fuel farm will be increased by a factor of six, to 15,000m³, with the construction of three new tanks while two of the original three tanks will be refurbished to provide water storage for firefighting and a separate facility for the storage of foam will be developed. New building works within the fuel farm will include a new vehicle service building and new premises for the operators of the fuelling facilities and the into-plane agents who are responsible for the physical delivery of fuel to the aircraft from the fuel farm.

    Following this announcement, CLH will embark on the detailed design of the new facilities in accordance with specification and design code guidelines specified by RPS / eJet with construction expected to last between 2 and 2½ years. RPS and eJet will provide a design review and construction inspection regime for the design and build phase of the project respectively and will report to daa on the progress of the works.

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

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    Saeed Khan achieves Chartered Geographer Status as a Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

    12 April 2016

    Saeed Khan achieves Chartered Geographer Status as a Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

    Saeed Khan, Senior Associate and GIS Manager Ireland, has become Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in London and has been awarded Chartered Geographer (CGeog) status, specialising in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). There are currently about 600 Chartered Geographers worldwide.

    CGeog is the only internationally recognised professional accreditation for those with competence, experience and professionalism in the use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills in the workplace. The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) is a world leading learned society and professional body that has been advancing geographical science and supporting its practitioners since 1830. The RGS is the largest and most active of the scholarly geographical societies in the world.

    The award recognises Saeed’s achievements having worked with GIS for over 15 years. He has a Masters Degree in Geographic Information Systems from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a Post Graduate Diploma in the Management of Technology from Dublin Institute of Technology. Saeed has delivered GIS and mapping support to multidisciplinary teams on major engineering and environmental projects and has successfully fulfilled the role of GIS Manager on projects such as The Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES), Dublin Region Water Supply Project and the Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline project. His passion for geographic information management has consistently brought innovation, added value and efficiencies to projects and has been cited as key to decision-making by a range of clients.

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

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    New Wastewater Treatment Plant for Dunlavin

    18 March 2016

    New Wastewater Treatment Plant for Dunlavin

    Image: Niall McGovern / GEDA

    The recently completed wastewater treatment plant in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow is now fully operational and delivering a higher level of wastewater treatment for the community and local businesses.

    The project provides a modern wastewater network capable of meeting all current and future needs, while meeting all current environmental standards.

    RPS prepared a preliminary report for Wicklow County Council in 2006 on the rationalisation and upgrading of wastewater treatment facilities in Dunlavin. This involved an appraisal of two existing treatment facilities, which were in poor condition, and recommendations for a single treatment plant with preliminary design and process options. It also included mapping and modelling of the sewer network to identify future upgrading and extension options, as well as any requirements for separation of foul and surface water systems.

    RPS recommended a new wastewater treatment plant for 2,400 PE, expandable to 3,600 PE on a site adjacent to one of the two existing plants. One of the old plants was to be replaced with a pump station to transfer flows to the new plant. Due to the low assimilative capacity of the local stream, the outfall had to be relocated 5km downstream, with the effluent pumped along this length.

    RPS prepared tender documents in 2013 and the €4.3m design & build contract was awarded to Geda-Ovivo Joint Venture. The new treatment works is now fully operational, protecting and maintaining the water quality in the River Greese.

    Under a separate smaller contract, a new surface water collector pipe was also installed in the main street to reduce flows to the new treatment plant. The watermains in Dunlavin were also rehabilitated.

    Contact:
    Aoife Carty
    E: aoife.carty@rpsgroup.com

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    Gerry Carty Addresses National & Regional Conferences on Infrastructure

    14 March 2016

    Gerry Carty Addresses National & Regional Conferences on Infrastructure

    Gerry Carty addresses the National Infrastructure Summit

    Gerry Carty, Managing Director of RPS in Ireland has recently presented at two Infrastructure conferences. He spoke at the Sunday Business Post National Infrastructure Summit in Dublin on 3rd March and at the GMIT International Infrastructure Management Day in Galway on the 8th March.

    Infrastructure planning and development is a key issue for Ireland at present - our investment in infrastructure, as a percentage of GDP, does not compare well with our EU contemporaries. Infrastructure planning in Ireland also tends to follow political cycles, with no overarching process for assessing long term national infrastructural needs and priorities.

    Warren Phelan, John Shalloe, Grellan McGrath & Michael Noonan (all RPS) also attended the Summit
    Images: Maura Hickey / Sunday Business Post

    While a €27 billion capital programme ‘Building for Recovery 2016 – 2021', was announced in September 2015, this may well be reassessed by a new government and does not address many of the significant deficits already identified. The next government faces the real challenge of investing strategically to fill infrastructure gaps, maintain and develop nationally critical infrastructure, as this will be key for our continued growth and economic competiveness.

    Speaking at both conferences, Gerry has called for the establishment of a National Infrastructural Council to bring long term vision to critical infrastructure planning in Ireland.

    ‘A National Infrastructural Council is required to provide expert and independent advice to government on identification of national infrastructural priorities and the investment required to ensure that we have fit for purpose infrastructure. The Council should be established on a statutory basis. In the UK, the recently established National Infrastructure Commission carries out a similar role, engages in consultations with the public and identifies priorities for government. National infrastructural needs assessments should be completed in Ireland at five year intervals to identify sustainable, affordable priorities that bring identifiable benefits. In addition to managing the innovative web-based service, RPS has also led the development of the FreeTrade Ireland App, one of the first smart phone services developed and funded by local authorities in Ireland.

    Improved communication on how needs are prioritised and the benefits of investment in priority areas is essential to overcome the perception that the public have little or no input and address the widening gap between the promoters of projects and the public. Achieving a broad public and political consensus on priorities is an essential step in delivering much needed infrastructure in a timely and efficient manner. As an island nation we must progress the infrastructure that supports high quality public services and investment to retain our well educated workforce and employment in Ireland’ said Gerry.

    Gerry also talked about the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and collaborative working and addressed the need for timely and accurate stakeholder communication on major infrastructure projects, to build trust, reach consensus, avoid project delays and cost overruns.

    Contact:
    Gerry Carty
    E: gerry.carty@rpsgroup.com

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    FreeTrade Ireland Shortlisted for Green Technology Award

    10 March 2016

    FreeTrade Ireland Shortlisted for Green Technology Award

    FreeTrade Ireland, the reuse website managed by RPS, has been shortlisted for the Green Technology Award 2016.

    The Green Awards, now in their 8th year, celebrates excellence in sustainability and environmental awareness among Ireland’s green organisations and individuals. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 14th April.

    FreeTrade Ireland is a national waste prevention and reuse service with benefits for households, communities and businesses. The initiative is free, accessible and facilitates a longer life for valuable items. Users of the service can pass on unwanted items saving the hassle and cost of travelling to a local recycling centre or of hiring a skip. This is truly a prime example of the new ‘circular economy’ in action using an online platform and social media.

    The service is funded under the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme and is promoted by the local authorities around the country. It has been in operation nationally since July 2010 and has over 54,000 users. The service has enabled the reuse of more than 102,500 items diverting in excess of 1,200,000 kg away from landfill through reuse and saving its users more than €9 million. In 2015, FreeTrade reached the milestone of 100,000 items reused since it began life as a Dublin based service in 2006.

    In addition to managing the innovative web-based service, RPS has also led the development of the FreeTrade Ireland App, one of the first smart phone services developed and funded by local authorities in Ireland.

    Contact:
    Brian McIntyre
    E: brian.mcintyre@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    27 January 2016

    RPS Awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    RPS has been awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification by BRE Global, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients.

    RPS BIM Director Mark Costello is presented with individual and company certification by Guy Hammersley and Paul Oakley of BRE (Image: BRE Global)

    BRE Global is a UKAS accredited certification body that assesses a business, its BIM policy and capability as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91. It also assesses its ability to meet the requirements of an employer and carry out a BIM capability assessment. The scheme has been designed to enable BIM certified businesses demonstrate their compliance with the PAS91-2013 section 4.2 and avoid having to provide evidence of competence each time they tender.

    The certification process involved an online application, followed by a desktop assessment and an onsite audit to confirm compliance.

    BRE Global undertook an audit at our Galway office in November 2015 and successful certification was confirmed earlier this month. Mark Costello, Director of BIM at RPS was presented with the certificate at BRE head office in Watford last week. “This is a significant achievement and recognition of progress made by RPS in delivering projects in a Level 2 BIM environment, as required by many of our clients and ahead of the UK Government mandate of April 2016” said Mark.

    Mark was also presented with his individual certification for BIM Level 2 Certificated Practitioner. This certification scheme provides ongoing, independent, third party assessment of BIM practitioners and assures clients that they will receive a high quality service. Mark has successfully completed the Project Information Manager and Task Information Manager examinations and follow-up audit to show compliance.

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

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    RPS Awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    27 January 2016

    RPS Awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    RPS has been awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification by BRE Global, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients.

    RPS BIM Director Mark Costello is presented with individual and company certification by Guy Hammersley and Paul Oakley of BRE (Image: BRE Global)

    BRE Global is a UKAS accredited certification body that assesses a business, its BIM policy and capability as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91. It also assesses its ability to meet the requirements of an employer and carry out a BIM capability assessment. The scheme has been designed to enable BIM certified businesses demonstrate their compliance with the PAS91-2013 section 4.2 and avoid having to provide evidence of competence each time they tender.

    The certification process involved an online application, followed by a desktop assessment and an onsite audit to confirm compliance.

    BRE Global undertook an audit at our Galway office in November 2015 and successful certification was confirmed earlier this month. Mark Costello, Director of BIM at RPS was presented with the certificate at BRE head office in Watford last week. “This is a significant achievement and recognition of progress made by RPS in delivering projects in a Level 2 BIM environment, as required by many of our clients and ahead of the UK Government mandate of April 2016” said Mark.

    Mark was also presented with his individual certification for BIM Level 2 Certificated Practitioner. This certification scheme provides ongoing, independent, third party assessment of BIM practitioners and assures clients that they will receive a high quality service. Mark has successfully completed the Project Information Manager and Task Information Manager examinations and follow-up audit to show compliance.

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

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    Corrib Gas Now Flowing to Power Irish Homes and Businesses

    08 January 2016

    Corrib Gas Now Flowing to Power Irish Homes and Businesses

    On 30th December 2015, gas started to flow from the Corrib gas field for the first time. The Corrib field is located 83km off Ireland’s north west coast in the Atlantic where the sea is over 350m deep. The natural gas is transported through a 20 inch pipeline to Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal in Co. Mayo, where it is processed and transferred into the Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) network to power homes and businesses across Ireland. This is the first supply of gas from Irish waters since the Kinsale field off Cork was depleted many years ago. In the meantime, Ireland has been supplied with gas from Scotland.

    Image: Eamonn O’Boyle

    RPS has been working with Shell E& P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) and its partners since 2007 to reconfigure and deliver the onshore pipeline between the offshore section and the gas terminal. The onshore pipeline element is 8.3km long; approximately 4.6km is within a segment lined tunnel. Our multidisciplinary team has provided planning, engineering, environmental and local stakeholder communications services.

    Ciarán Butler, RPS Project Manager on this key infrastructure project said “This is the culmination of many years of work by SEPIL and its partners at every level. RPS played an important part in the project by dealing with many of the key challenges that arose over various stages since 2007. This could not have been achieved without an excellent working relationship with SEPIL and a huge commitment from the RPS team across disciplines and offices. RPS can be proud of our significant contribution to the delivery of this major project of strategic national importance.”

    As well as producing a comprehensive environmental impact statement, securing the necessary statutory planning approvals and managing a lengthy public consultation process, RPS also undertook wayleave negotiations with local landowners. Our team was responsible for detailed design of geotechnical, civil, structural, drainage and surface water treatment elements for construction of the onshore gas pipeline and tunnelling compound. RPS also provided health and safety services as Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP).

    At peak annual production, the Corrib gas field is expected to produce around 260 MMscf/d of gas, which is 45,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Ronan Deasy, Managing Director of Shell E&P Ireland said: “We are pleased to have completed the development of this unique project and to bring the Corrib field on stream. I would like to pay tribute to all those who contributed to delivering this critical energy project, which will continue to bring benefits to the region and the country for years to come.”

    Contact:
    Ciarán Butler
    E: ciaran.butler@rpsgroup.com

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