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    Engineering Project of the Year nomination for RPS’ Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation

    17 October 2018

    Engineering Project of the Year nomination for RPS’ Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation

    The Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation project, designed by RPS, has been nominated for the Engineering Project of the year at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2018.

    Rewarding Excellence

    Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, held in association with ESB, are presented annually to recognise the achievements of Engineers who have demonstrated exceptional engineering skills in their work. The Engineering Project of the Year Award recognises the highest level of achievement in the engineering field and provides peer recognition of outstanding engineering work, be it a large or small project.

    A Public Vote

    The Engineering Project of the Year is awarded following a public vote by the Irish public for what they consider to be the best project. The deadline for voting is Midnight, Friday November 2nd.

    Vote for RPS in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards

    Rehabilitating the Runway

    Having been retained by Shannon Airport Authority, RPS carried out a detailed design, tender and site supervision programme for works on the 2,400m of Ireland’s longest runway with the support of a contracting partner Lagan Asphalt. RPS used its extensive aviation experience to design an economic and grooved marshall asphalt runway, complete with new sustainable LED aeronautical ground lighting.

    RPS point cloud scan survey of Shannon Airport Runway

    Innovative procurement and contractual arrangements were employed to ensure that the project was completed within very tight night time possession windows and project delivery timelines.

    The success of the project, which included the laying of approximately 60,000 tonnes of asphalt in tight night time windows over a six-month period, has set the benchmark for runway rehabilitation projects in Ireland. The programme of work was delivered ahead of time and within budget.

    The NEC 3-Option B contract and ECI process employed by RPS on the Shannon project was very successful and has since been followed by Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) for their current runway rehabilitation. This demonstrates its status as a robust and capable process that future projects can adopt.

    Impact of the project

    The completion of this project will ensure continued safe aviation operations at Shannon Airport for the next 25 years. This is a huge economic boost given the €3.6 billion in economic activity the airport underpins in the region.

    Economic impact of Shannon Airport Runway Rehabilitation
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    RPS authors national Plastics Packaging Strategy

    25 September 2018

    RPS authors national Plastics Packaging Strategy

    RPS has prepared a national Packaging Recycling Strategy for Repak to assist with the achievement of the European Plan on plastic packaging in the Circular Economy. The Strategy was published on 19th September 2018 at an event attended by 180 attendees.

    Under the European Commission Plan, Ireland must increase reuse and recycling of plastics from 36% of all plastic packaging waste to 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030. To achieve these new reuse and recycling targets, waste plastic packaging recycling in Ireland will have to increase from 98,238 tonnes to circa 175,824 tonnes by 2030.

    The 48-page document contains 35 proposed actions and highlights the significant challenges in meeting the 2030 targets. It acknowledges that the issue is complex and that there are gaps in the information between the EPA Plastics Packaging Waste Data and Repak’s member data, requiring a new and dynamic policy environment.

    Key actions recommended in the report are that government would establish a plastic packaging working group and for Repak to review its member’s fee structure so that placing items that are easier to recycle on the market will be incentivised. It recommends that a national communications committee be established so that messaging on how to recycle is consistent and co-ordinated throughout the country.

    Significantly, the document proposes a ‘Plastic Pledge’ for Repak member companies, committing producers to reducing their complex packaging, using more recyclable material in their packaging and embracing eco-design when introducing new products. The report also recommends the establishment of an eco-design workshop for new plastic products, as 80% of the sustainability of a plastic product comes from the design.

    Repak’s strategy aims to assist Ireland in meeting its EU targets and support the circular economy in a cost-effective manner, while promoting the design and production of plastic products that optimises use and recycling. Repak estimates that it will require €200 million of investment across the public and private sectors to achieve the recycling targets over the period of the strategy.

    The two-phase plastics strategy prioritises better design of plastics packaging, increased reuse and recycling, advocates for better consumer education and calls for improved data flows and evidence.

     

    Phase 1 (2018 to 2020) proposes that all stakeholders should work on closing information gaps and adopt a framework for implementable actions. Phase 2 (2021-2030) will see Repak publish a fully-costed revised detailed strategy recommending further measures to meet the targets, based on further evidence based on evidence gather in the initial phase.

    Contact:

    Olivier Gaillot
    E: olivier.gaillot@rpsgroup.com

    Conor McGovern
    E: conor.mcgovern@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS showcased as a Giant by TV series

    11 September 2018

    RPS showcased as a Giant by TV series

    RPS interviewed on Ulster Giants – catch it on ITV hub.

    The keenly anticipated Ulster Giants episode on 3D and VR technology screened in Northern Ireland last night and is available to view on ITV hub here: https://www.itv.com/utvprogrammes/ulster-giants/ulster-giants-episode-8 .

    The television series celebrates ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) 200 and Northern Ireland’s civil engineers. This last show highlights how cutting edge technology like 3D Imaging and Virtual Reality is being used to help civil engineers and designers plan with ever greater efficiency and safety.

    In this episode, RPS’ Marketing and Graphics Manager Stephen Henderson and Managing Director Michael Shaw speak to the program’s presenters on our use of technology, Immersive Modelling and Innovation discussing how these technologies aid our engineers, planners and scientists.

    RPS Marketing Manager Stephen Henderson takes a virtual look at project design

    Stephen Henderson

    See also: Remastering the future: bringing virtual reality into design projects

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    €23.5m contract signed for major Dinish Island quay extension

    04 September 2018

    €23.5m contract signed for major Dinish Island quay extension

    Image: Pedersen Focus

    The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., attended RPS offices in Cork for the signing of a contract for a €23.5 million, 216m long quay development project and associated works on Dinish Island, Castletownbere. Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed and maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

    In addition to doubling of the Dinish Island facility through the provision of 216 metres of extra landing berth, the project will deliver approximately 2.2 acres of highly usable reclaimed quay storage area, two new major breakwater structures at the entrance to the harbour, the dredging of the navigation channel to -6.5mCD and the dredging of a berthing pocket to -8.5mCD to further facilitate landings by vessels up to100m length overall (LOA).

    RPS has been the lead consultant for DAFM throughout the planning, design and procurement phases of this project. The multi-disciplinary service delivery has been led by the Belfast maritime team with various other teams from the Belfast and Cork offices providing specialist PSDP, environmental and planning services.

    Welcoming the signing of the contract with contractor L&M Keating Ltd, the Minister said “This is a very significant investment for the South West and will be a big boost to the Beara Peninsula and West Cork in general. The Project will double the workable quay space on Dinish Island in Castletownbere and will enable significant expansion in fish landings, on shore processing and general marine activity at this major port.

    The project now enters an 18 month construction phase which will be administered and supervised by RPS.

    RPS’ Mark McConnell, Director, Maritime Infrastructure & Ocean Energy and Maria Lombard, Director, Planning Environment attend the signing of the Dinish Quay Extension Contract.

    Contact: Mark McConnell, Director - Maritime Infrastructure and Ocean Energy
    E: mark.mcconnell@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    26 July 2018

    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    RPS progresses construction of motorway M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy

    The €400 million M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy PPP project in County Wexford linking Dublin to Rosslare and the South East Region comprises a new four lane motorway from the end of the Gorey Bypass at Clogh to the townland of Scurlockbush, south of Enniscorthy. The scheme also includes a bypass of the N30 to the west of Enniscorthy and a link road to the N80. It will provide a high quality, safe link within the South East region and ease congestion bypassing Ferns, Camolin and Enniscorthy.

    M11 Enniscorthy JV (BAM / Dragados)

    RPS, as part of an RPS/Arup Joint Venture, is providing Designer and PSDP services to M11 Enniscorthy Joint Venture (BAM/Dragados) who are the Construction JV for the project. RPS has overall design responsibility for the northern 21.5km section of the main motorway. Our remit includes two grade separated interchanges at Frankfort and Ballydawmore (N30/N80 link), one railway crossing, 10 road overbridges, two road underbridges, 20 accommodation underpasses and 21 large box culverts. RPS is also providing the Project Ecologist services for the construction stage.

    The new route will include the provision of approximately 27 km of motorway. Approximately 8 km of single carriageway will also be constructed to bypass Enniscorthy to the west and a further 4 km of dual carriageway link road will connect the existing N11 / N80 junction north of Enniscorthy to the M11 mainline. The project includes two grade separated junctions, three major bridges (over rivers and railway line) and various road overbridge and underbridge structures.

    The preparatory works for the new road pavement, including the earthworks, drainage and ground improvement layers, have now been completed. Work is now commencing on the actual pavement works on M11, N30 and N80 Link Road, and in constructing all the local side roads that cross over or under the mainline.

    The new Slaney Bridge, the longest on the project and crossing both the River Slaney and the Dublin-Wexford railway line, has seen huge progress in recent months. A timelapse video by Wexford County Council (view here) shows the installation of the 12 steel beams, most of which were lifted at night to avoid disruption to train services. Currently the steel reinforcement of the deck is being prepared and the concreting of the deck will be performed in five stages covering a total surface of 3,600 square meters.

    The project involves construction in greenfield locations and in semi-urban areas, with adjacent housing, commercial and industrial premises and other infrastructure in some locations. The project crosses the Slaney River Valley, which is designated a candidate special area of conservation (cSAC) and proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA).

    Contact:

    Michael Noonan
    E: michael.noonan@rpsgroup.com

    Mark Condron
    E: mark.condron@rpsgroup.com

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    Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport

    17 July 2018

    Rehabilitation of Runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport

    RPS recently project managed the rehabilitation of runway 06-24 at Shannon Airport. In 2017, Shannon Airport carried out the resurfacing of 75 per cent of its main runway, within extremely tight night-time possession windows. The €14 million investment ensures the integrity of the runway for the next 20 years.

    Image from the point cloud scan survey, which RPS carried out over five nights in early 2016.

    Shannon Airport is located adjacent to the Shannon estuary. Its main runway known as – 06-24 – at 3,199m in length, is the longest runway in Ireland and is capable of handling all aircraft types. In 2017, the airport handled 1.74 million passengers. The airport is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no curfews, slots or noise restrictions.

    Commercially, Shannon airport is part of Shannon Group plc. It is operated by the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA). In 2012, SAA split from Dublin and Cork airports and operates as a stand-alone company. In order to finance the vital runway rehabilitation works, Shannon Airport arranged a loan facility from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

    The first phase of the runway rehabilitation process was the completion of a pavement evaluation survey. This was carried out in 2015. The survey concluded that the runway was structurally acceptable, taking into account future design traffic.

    RPS Group arranged for a surveyor to carry out a detailed topographical survey. The availability of access to the runway for a detailed survey was extremely limited. Given the tight window of availability, RPS chose to carry out a point cloud survey of the runway, over five nights, in early 2016.

    The Porous Friction Course (PFC) and underlying asphalt material, which extend to approximately 75 per cent of the runway length, were in excess of 30 years old. Both these material layers had already exceeded their intended design life. The preferred technical paving solution was Grooved Marshall Asphalt (GMA).

    The essential requirements for the project were to:

    Produce a runway with adequate pavement bearing capacity for a lifespan of 20 years;

    Create a runway surface with a uniform surface and good wet friction characteristics for landing aircraft;

    Provide good crack resistance so as to minimise any future foreign object debris (FOD) risk, and;

    Provide new energy-efficient LED aeronautical ground lighting (AGL) for the CAT I edge lighting and the CATII lighting.

    Other key features of the design included laying new cabling and installing new lighting pots for the replacement LED AGL. The drainage channel and gullies along the edge of the runway had to be reformed and rebuilt.

    Work on the runway commenced before the end of April 2017. The contractor had, on average, 90 workers and 70 vehicles at work every night. The available work window was between 11.30pm and 4.30am, five nights a week, from Tuesday to Saturday.

    Work had to cease at 4.30am every morning so as to allow for a FOD safety sweep of the runway. It was inspected and then formally handed back to air traffic control prior to the landing of the first transatlantic flight from New York at 6am.

    The pavement overlay was laid in three layers: base, binder and wearing course. The contractor laid only one type of course per night, so as to avoid any confusion with respect to material types.

    The upgraded runway was completed by the end of September 2017, ahead of schedule and under budget.

    Contact:

    Eoin Colgan
    E: eoin.colgan@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Ecologists supervise the construction of the Connemara Greenway

    10 July 2018

    RPS Ecologists supervise the construction of the Connemara Greenway

    The Connemara Greenway Project is a 56km walking/cycle track on the dismantled Galway to Clifden railway line from Oughterard to Clifden.

    From Left: Kurt Lydon (Galway County Council), Colin Heaslip and Shelia Murphy (RPS) and Seamus Walsh (Galway County Council)

    The greenway project has been developed in an extremely sensitive location, running almost entirely through European Sites (SACs and SPAs). It required extensive surveying and assessment of impacts to seven Annex I habitats and five Annex II species.

    RPS has been providing environmental consultancy services to Galway County Council since 2011. Our team has prepared the constraints study, environmental impact statement, natura impact statement and planning application which was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in May 2012. The project also required considerable consultation with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, landowners and members of the public.

    Paula Kearney, Chartered Ecologist with CIEEM and RPS Project Manager, was an expert witness at the Oral Hearing in December 2012. Consent for the greenway was granted in March 2013.

    Due to the environmental sensitivity of the receiving environment, RPS Ecologists Sheila Murphy and Colin Heaslip were appointed as Ecological Clerk of Works for weekly monitoring during the construction works.

    The project is being driven by local community groups in Clifden, Recess and Oughterard with support from Fáilte Ireland, Galway County Council and Forum Connemara Ltd. The recently completed 6km section of the route between Athry and Cloonbeg, was opened on Monday 28th May by Galway County Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion.

    RPS is currently providing expert environmental consultancy services on a number of other national greenway projects including the Lough Leane Loop Trail, the North Kerry Greenway and the Galway to Oughterard Greenway.

    Contact:

    Paula Kearney
    E: paula.kearney@rpsgroup.com

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    Planning Permission Granted for M28 Motorway in Cork

    06 July 2018

    Planning Permission Granted for M28 Motorway in Cork

    An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the €220m M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Project in Cork. Since early 2014, RPS has worked on behalf of Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to bring this key infrastructure project through route selection, design and statutory approvals stages.

    Route Map – M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Project

    This Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) project is important for the development of Cork City, facilitating the relocation of Port of Cork’s container terminal from Tivoli on the northern bank of the River Lee to Ringaskiddy. This in turn will free up their lands in the city for residential and commercial development. The project will increase the capacity and safety of the route which links Cork City to Ringaskiddy.

    The project, which will run from the Bloomfield Junction on the South Ring Road to Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour, involves the construction of 10.9km of mainline motorway from Bloomfield to Barnahely. It also includes 1.5km of mainline single carriageway ‘protected road’ from Barnahely to east of Ringaskiddy; 4.8km of new and realigned regional and local roads; as well as one full grade-separated interchange, three partial grade-separated junctions and three at-grade roundabouts. Four new underbridges are also required to allow the M28 pass over existing roads. The project will provide footpaths and cycle facilities for local communities and includes a new Service Area within the Port of Cork lands at Ringaskiddy that will primarily serve as a refuelling and rest area for commercial vehicles.

    RPS has provided planning, environmental and engineering design services. We have prepared the Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement and provided Expert Witnesses at the Oral Hearing on road geometry; surface water drainage; traffic and transportation; landscape and visual; air and climate; noise and vibration; terrestrial and aquatic ecology; socio-economic and community; agricultural land uses; soils, geology, hydrogeology and material assets.

    The preferred route has been contentious as both the northern and southern end of the mainline are routed close to residential areas. With local communities concerned about potential noise impacts, our acoustic experts undertook extensive noise monitoring, route and option assessments based on acoustic and vibration sensitivities. Our route noise modelling identified mitigation requirements and included design of mitigation measures including barriers.

    Contact:

    Liam Barry
    E: liam.barry@rpsgroup.com

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    23rd June: International Women in Engineering Day

    27 June 2018

    23rd June: International Women in Engineering Day

    International Women in Engineering Day 2018 was held on 23rd June last. To mark the occasion and celebrate the diverse range of opportunities the industry offers, some of our inspiring engineers were interviewed on RPS Reflections.

    Katarzyna Nikonowicz (Dublin), Brenda McEvoy (Cork) and Méabh Connolly (Galway) all participated and offered some insight in to life as an engineer.

    Katarzyna discusses family influences, the importance of practical experience and the benefits of seeing her water infrastructure projects progress: “I am always building my experience and taking on more responsibilities; I take my experience from one project and bring it to add value to the next project. Although the projects may often seem similar, each of them is unique.”

    Brenda talks about her work for the EU Commission on the European Green Capital Award as well as the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project and the value of communication: “I think clients expect us, as scientists and engineers, to be able to communicate our projects to the public. The softer skills like communication in engineering are sometimes undervalued but often they are the elements of projects our clients can really relate to. On a broader level, skills like communication also help the public to understand the work that engineers do. This is also very important for inspiring our engineers of the future.”

    Méabh discusses the switch from site to office and her involvement in major transport infrastructure and structural projects: “I like working on big projects and physically seeing the change they bring about. On a recent trip to London, I drove on the M18 to Shannon and flew into Terminal 2 at Heathrow. They are both landmark projects that I spent a number of years working on in different capacities.”

    When asked about gender balance in engineering, all three noted that they see themselves as engineers and not ‘female engineers’. Gender has not been a defining aspect or held them back during their studies or career. Rather than promoting engineering to girls specifically, the general consensus is that we should be promoting the profession generally and building understanding of the diverse work that engineers do.

    “I think visibility of a diverse engineering population is important so people don’t feel they are ‘going against the grain’ in becoming an engineer. I didn’t really realise how few women were in civil engineering and construction until I became involved myself but it has never been a problem.”
    Méabh

    “Certainly, I would like to see more women in construction, but women who are truly interested in the field, and not just to even the ratio.”
    Katarzyna

    Read articles in full on RPS Reflections

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    RPS Dublin & Cork offices achieve BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    30 May 2018

    RPS Dublin & Cork offices achieve BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification

    The Dublin and Cork RPS offices have been awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification by BRE Global today, following a successful audit process. We are now certified across all regions, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients.

    RPS staff are presented with certificates (left to right): Ronan Kenny, Michal Otreba, Mark Costello, Paul Oakley (Director BIM BRE), Bryan Coyle, Lisa Haverty

    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 onsite audits over two days in April to confirm compliance.

    This certification was awarded to our Galway office back in November 2015, and the latest certifications recognise huge progress for RPS in achieving the standard nationally.

    “It is a great achievement for RPS to have extended this accreditation across all Irish offices. Staff in Dublin and Cork completed our RPS / GMIT multi-award winning Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM last autumn and have now demonstrated to BRE Global that we have the systems and expertise across our Irish offices to design major building and infrastructure projects in Level 2 BIM for our wide range of clients.” said Mark Costello, RPS Director of BIM.

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

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    Robotics Innovation Project Highly Commended at NCE100 Awards

    24 May 2018

    Robotics Innovation Project Highly Commended at NCE100 Awards

    RPS and SGN were Highly Commended at last night’s NCE100 Awards at the Troxy, London for the multi-award winning SGN NIC Robotics Innovation project. RPS staff from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands attended.

    Andre de Wit, PJ Rudden, Michel de Vre, Richard Bingham and Daniel Hogan

    We were shortlisted in three of the event’s award categories:

    Smart Operator award for the SGN NIC Robotics Innovation project with SGN and ULC Robotics for the design, realisation and field testing of robotic engineering solutions for non-intrusive repair and maintenance in live gas mains.

    Innovation in Project Management award for our Digital Construction consultancy achievements and innovation including our Virtual Reality representations of civil engineering and development projects, and wider client and public engagement.

    Excellence in Climate Resilience Award for the Tree Aid Bongo River Trees project where we funded and provided pro bono services to help realise a sustainable water management and replanting solution and management program.

    PJ Rudden, RPS Director Marketing and Gas attended from Dublin for the SGN Robotics project, joined by Richard Bingham, RPS Associate and Daniel Hogan, RPS Senior Scientist from Belfast on behalf of Stephen Henderson, RPS Marketing & Graphics Manager, and Dr. Mike Shaw, RPS Managing Director Northern Ireland for our Digital Construction services, and Project Leaders Michel de Vré and André de Wit from our Amsterdam and Leerdam offices respectively for the Tree Aid Bongo River Trees project. This was a huge project contributed to by a range of engineering, environmental, mapping and ecology professionals from across our UK and Dutch offices including Richard Bingham and Daniel Hogan.

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

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    RPS Receives ISO 27001 Certification from NSAI

    09 May 2018

    RPS Receives ISO 27001 Certification from NSAI

    RPS IT Directors Connie Wiseman and Donogh McGrath were presented with RPS Ireland’s ISO 27001 accreditation certificate by Minister of State Pat Breen TD at an official ceremony at National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) headquarters in Dublin last week.

    Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection; Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive; Connie Wiseman and Donogh McGrath, RPS IT Directors (Image: NSAI / Conor McCabe)

    With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force later this month, becoming certified to this world-class standard for information security is a significant step in proving our compliance.

    The ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system. It provides organisations with a robust framework to manage their information – both on and offline. Our Irish offices worked through the planning and implementation of the system in 2016 and 2017 and following a successful audit by the NSAI in late 2017, we were recommended for accreditation.

    ISO 27001 can provide a basis for evidence of compliance with the GDPR and provides a pathway to compliance regarding risk assessment, breach notification and asset management. GDPR will apply across all EU Member States from 25th May and has significant implications for businesses operating within the EU market.

    Connie Wiseman, RPS IT Director said “This is a huge achievement for RPS. It puts us in a strong position as we approach the GDPR deadline of 25th May. Achieving ISO 27001 certification is confirmation for our public and private sector clients that we can deliver and manage their projects securely.”

    Key to implementing the new system was communicating to staff that every RPS employee is responsible for information security. The process has involved changing habits in relation to information security and implementing procedures across all offices to protect sensitive information and personal identifiable information (PII) in line with GDPR. Project managers and teams follow improved procedures to ensure the security needs and expectations of all the stakeholders on their projects are considered and all PII is protected.

    “While the GDPR is the largest overhaul of data privacy in decades, it is important that businesses do not fear it. Indeed, for Irish companies, being able to demonstrate compliance with the Regulation will offer competitive advantage in domestic, European and International markets.” said Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

    Contact:
    Connie Wiseman
    E: connie.wiseman@rpsgroup.com

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    2018 Public Sector Award goes to the EU Commission for European Green Capital

    01 May 2018

    2018 Public Sector Award goes to the EU Commission for European Green Capital

    The European Commission has won the 2018 Public Sector Magazine Award for its European Green Capital Award initiative. It was presented recently in Dublin to DG Environment Director General Daniel Calleja Crespo by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD.

    DG Calleja was accompanied by RPS who is the EU Commission Secretariat for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA). The Secretariat is responsible for the technical, environmental and communications management of the awards.

    Pictured at the award presentation in Dublin Castle: PJ Rudden RPS Director, Minister Eoghan Murphy TD, Daniel Calleja Crespo Director General DG Environment, and Louise Connolly RPS Project Manager (Image: Paul Holmes Photography)

    The Award was made to the EU Commission for its 10 years in initiating and growing the success of the European Green Capital Award. This is an annual award set up by the EU Commission in 2008 for a city that excels in sustainable urban living, has ambitious future goals and is capable of acting as a role model for other cities. RPS has been secretariat for 7 of the last 10 years.

    The European Green Capital Award (EGCA) is open to cities with a population over 100,000. Due to its success a similar competition, the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) was created in 2015 for cities with populations of 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants.

    Since 2008 there have been 10 EGCA winning cities – Stockholm, Sweden (2010); Hamburg, Germany (2011); Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain (2012); Nantes, France (2013); Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); Bristol, UK (2015); Ljubljana, Slovenia (2016); Essen, Germany (2017); Nijmegen, Netherlands (2018) and Oslo, Norway (2019).

    To date there have been five winners of the European Green Leaf drawn from five Member States. The cities of Mollet del Vallès, Spain and Torres Vedras, Portugal were awarded the Green Leaf Award in 2015, Galway, Ireland, in 2017 and Leuven, Belgium and Växjö, Sweden, in 2018.

    Cities are initially technically assessed by an international panel of experts on 12 environmental indicators for the EGCA and six topic areas for the EGLA. Shortlisted cities then present to an international Jury chaired by the European Commission with members drawn from representative bodies including the Committee of the Regions, Covenant of Mayors, European Parliament, Eurocities, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

    ‘This annual competition among cities has grown to be a very significant environmental initiative across the Member States from north to south and from east to west’ says Director General Daniel Calleja Crespo.

    ‘Each city has its own unique character and environmental problems to address but by sharing these issues and solutions that learning is transferred from city to city. Examples of issues addressed include the need to adapt to future climate change, to better manage our water resources and transform waste management into circular economy solutions. This Award celebrates the many cities who have entered the competition, have been shortlisted and who have won – all of whom are determined to exchange ideas, learn more sustainable practices, to inspire others and to collaborate in the future as a network of European cities’ he concluded.

    To date some 86 cities have entered the awards drawn from 26 Member States which indicates a high level of engagement over the past 10 years. We will continue to build on this enthusiasm of cities to be leaders of urban sustainability and to inspire other cities.

    The European Green Capital 2020 award winner will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in June 2018 from a shortlist of three cities – Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland) and Lisbon (Portugal).The European Green Leaf 2019 award will also be announced at the same event in Nijmegen.

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

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    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    10 April 2018

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    The M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project in Scotland has won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2018 for Overseas Projects (Large). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner in Dublin on Friday last.

    ACEI President Tony Horan with Joint Winners of the Overseas Award – William McGrath, Eamon Cox & Willie Madden (RPS). (Image: Chris Bellew, Fennell Photography)

    This £500 million project upgrades the core of Scotland’s motorway network. By improving connection times between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it will boost Scotland’s economy, as well as reducing emissions and improving road safety. The project comprises a new three-lane motorway between Baillieston and Newhouse to complete the M8, upgrades to the M73 and M74, and the upgrading of one of Scotland’s busiest junctions – the Raith Interchange.

    RPS staff celebrate award success at ACEI Awards 2018: Mark Condron, John Shalloe, Eamon Cox, Tim Patterson, Michael Noonan & Gerry Carty

    RPS acted as the contractor’s designer (to Ferrovial-Lagan) on behalf of Transport Scotland for this major DBFO project. RPS undertook detailed design of highways, bridges, other highway structures, geotechnical and lighting. Our design team faced a unique engineering challenge at Raith Interchange, which required upgrading within a very confined footprint, under live traffic conditions with over 100,000 vehicle movements per day. We designed a new elevated free-flow rotary above the existing roundabout and an underpass beneath it – all in a flood plain, adjacent to an area of environmental sensitivity, coupled with massive artesian pressures and variable ground conditions. As parts of the project are located within a flood plain, detailed drainage design included a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), with ponds designed to cater for the 1 in 100-year storm plus climate change.

    RPS also pioneered the use of building information modelling (BIM) technology on this project, achieving the first largescale implementation of Level 2 BIM on an infrastructural project in Ireland or the UK.

    “This design team of civil, structural and traffic management engineers, hydrogeologists and environmental scientists have worked collaboratively to achieve the optimum solution on this complex project – for the client, the local communities and the environment.” said Christy O’ Sullivan, RPS Project Manager.

    The M8 / M73 / M74 project was completed on time and within budget. Some key project figures include:

    25KM of carriageway built and upgraded

    418,000 trees and shrubs re-planted

    16KM of footways/cycleways

    43 new structures

    95% of on-site materials were recycled

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

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    Three Awards in Three Weeks for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    27 March 2018

    Three Awards in Three Weeks for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    Following recent success at the HR Leadership & Management Awards, the GMIT / RPS collaborative approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM) Education received another two awards last week.

    On Wednesday, GMIT / RPS won the Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment Award (DELTA Award) in the Engineering / Construction category for using a collaborative academic-industry reciprocal learning framework to establish GMIT as an international leader in Building Information Modelling (BIM) education and campus management.

    On Friday night, GMIT / RPS were awarded the Third Level Course – Postgraduate, Special Purpose or Distance Learning Award at the Irish Construction Excellence Awards (ICE Awards).

    Speaking after the ICE Awards, Mark Costello, RPS Director of BIM said “These awards are further recognition of the collaborative approach taken by RPS and GMIT in developing the Level 8 Higher Education Programme in BIM. BIM is now an integral part of the RPS design process for the delivery of large building and infrastructural projects. Our innovative approach to education and training is facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.”

    Karol Friel (Topcon) presents Third Level Course Award to Gerard Nicholson GMIT, Jim O’Connor GMIT, Willie Madden and Mark Costello (both RPS). Image: ICE Awards / Conor McCabe Photography

    ICE Awards

    The Irish Construction Excellence Awards (ICE Awards) recognise performance excellence in Ireland’s construction industry, highlighting achievements across a full range of construction disciplines and project categories. The winners were announced at a gala event in Dublin on Friday night and presented by Anna Geary, broadcaster and GAA star.

    DELTA Award Winners (l – r): Andrew Forde NUI Galway, Gerard MacMichael GMIT, Jim O’Connor GMIT, Mary Rogers GMIT, Gerard Nicholson GMIT, Mark Costello RPS, Prof. Sarah Moore National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. Image: DELTA / T&L

    DELTA AWARD in Engineering / Construction

    The inaugural DELTA awards were organised by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and highlighting project teams that have had an outstanding impact on teaching and learning in higher education. Only 18 out of 48 expressions of interest were shortlisted from Phase 1 (June 2017) by an international review panel. Entries were then judged across the five key criteria of Excellence, Exceptionality, Impact, Communication and Authenticity to the Discipline. The awards were presented by the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. to projects that demonstrated outstanding commitment to enriching teaching and learning in their disciplines and preparing graduates for the working world.

    Since 2013, over 80 RPS staff have been upskilled on this programme which has allowed RPS to remain at the forefront of our industry.

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

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    Excellence in Education & Training Award for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    12 March 2018

    Excellence in Education & Training Award for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    The GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM was awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the HR Leadership & Management Awards 2018 in Dublin on Thursday night.

    This award is in recognition of the collaborative academia industry approach taken by RPS and GMIT in developing the Level 8 Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling.

    Shirley Comerford, Head of Strategic Human Resources, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) presents Excellence in Education & Training Award to Mark Costello, Gerry Carty (both RPS) & Mary Rogers (GMIT)

    In response to key changes within the construction industry, RPS recognised the need for a significant step change in our approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM). This applied across the board in all our business sectors.

    BIM is now an integral part of the design process for the delivery of large building and infrastructural projects in RPS. Since 2013, over 80 RPS staff have been upskilled on this programme which has allowed us to remain at the forefront of our industry. This innovative approach to education and training is facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.

    Launched in 2015, the HR Leadership & Management Awards are vital to promote HR, as they allow innovation and achievement to shine. Other winners on the night included Google, Lidl, Beaumont Hospital, Dalata Hotel Group and Bank of Ireland.

    HR Leadership & Management Awards 2018 Winners (Images: HR Leadership & Management Awards)

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

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    RPS Engineers Interviewed in Engineers Journal

    08 March 2018

    RPS Engineers Interviewed in Engineers Journal

    As part of Engineers Week 2018, three RPS engineers were interviewed by Ireland’s Engineers Journal on their reasons for choosing engineering as a career, what excites them about being an engineer and the challenges facing future engineers. The full article can be viewed here, but it is summarised below.

    The path to engineering

    Speaking about when she started to think of becoming an engineer, Louise Campion, Project Engineer in our Dublin office, noted that creativity and curiosity are at the core of how she perceives the world around her and perhaps she has always been an engineer at heart. “However, it was in secondary school that I took the first formal steps towards engineering. While the subject itself was not offered at the secondary school I attended, I chose science and art for my Leaving Certificate subjects, believing that engineering is a combination of these two schools of thought (and I wasn’t wrong!)” she added.

    Kieran Garvey, Associate in our Galway office explained how he was influenced by seeing infrastructure development around him in Ennis, Co. Clare in the early 1990s: “Watching these projects progress and seeing how they changed the built environment around the town really was a major influence on my decision to choose civil engineering.”

    Alison Delahunty, Project Engineer in our Cork office explains that she was unaware of engineering until she was 17. She attended an all-girls secondary school where the focus for third level education was on nursing and teaching. Given her enthusiasm for maths, physics and geography and her interest in architecture and impressive structures outside of the classroom, a brief chat with an external career guidance counsellor set her on the path to engineering. Alison noted however, that choosing engineering “was a risky decision at the time due to the decimation of the construction industry in Ireland. However, I was certain it was a solid career choice and I was comforted by the fact that a qualification in engineering travels well and is a pathway into many other disciplines.”

    Engineering – different from initial expectations?

    Asked about how his career has differed from his initial expectations, Kieran talked about his early career with RPS working in landfill and waste management infrastructure which he had never envisaged. “I really enjoyed it, however. So much of the early learning was ‘on the job’, which was hugely refreshing. Like most projects in civil engineering, it relied on the integration of various disciplines: geotechnical, drainage, roads, environmental management and so on – affording me good exposure to these fields.”

    Alison had not foreseen how the title of your engineering degree does not limit you to that one aspect of engineering, “the basics of problem solving stand to you across many fields within the industry. For example, having initially qualified as a civil and environmental engineer in 2012, I have since been involved in utilities design, flood risk assessments, temporary works design, structural design, geotechnical design and health and safety.”

    Louise talked about the variety of work and diverse stakeholder networks and all the other skills required of an engineer delivering projects that impact local communities as well as contributing to national or international strategy. “Engineering has diverse applications and the success of projects relies on multifaceted teams and collaborative input. As a professional in this field, I am not just an engineer – I am a planner, a designer, a scientist, a social entrepreneur and an advocate for environmental sustainability”, she concluded.

    Most interesting aspects of engineering?

    Asked about the most interesting aspects of engineering, our engineers talked about the variety of work, collaboration with project teams to deliver projects from concept to construction and the continually evolving sector. Alison noted how engineering provides new challenges every day, “you’re presented with a problem and you use your knowledge and common sense to produce a solution that is safe, functional and aesthetic.”

    The next five years

    When questioned on the exciting aspects of engineering over the next five years, all our engineers talked about advancements in technology. Kieran referred to BIM and the opportunity to develop new skillsets to plan, design, visualise and construct our projects more efficiently. Alison looks forward to the development of geotechnical engineering in Ireland as the industry realises the benefits of targeted ground investigation in informing the design process. Louise mentions the move towards a smarter, more sustainable and resilient future. “I see these challenges to include mitigating and adapting to climate change, ensuring energy security from indigenous resources, and the transition to a technology-driven economy which decouples GHG emissions from economic growth”, she added.

    Would you recommend a career in engineering?

    When asked this important question for many young people during Engineers Week 2018, our three engineers were 100% positive in their responses.

    “Whether you love to crunch numbers or are more interested in contributing from a strategic level, engineering is so diverse, offering excellent opportunities for a career … If you are curious about the world around you and how you can shape its future, then engineering is for you.” Louise Campion

    “Engineering, in all its forms, helps the world to function, from transport to energy to water and the digital economy. It offers a wealth of opportunities. Also, it is a well-respected degree and will stand to you if you decide to pursue a career outside of the engineering spectrum.” Alison Delahunty

    “An engineering qualification will present you with opportunities in areas that you may never have considered. Talk to as many qualified engineers as you can across different disciplines to get a feel for what we do. Don’t get hung up thinking about how the economy may be performing by the time you qualify – these are all just cycles that no one can really predict. So if you’re keen on engineering, go for it.” Kieran Garvey

    Engineers Week celebrates the world of engineering in Ireland. The week-long festival is an annual event coordinated by Engineers Ireland STEPS programme and funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme Call. Engineers Week 2018 (24th February – 2nd March) aimed to inspire young people to explore engineering as a career and highlight the diverse opportunities available.

    There is no doubt that budding engineers will have been inspired and enthused by the positive stories of these three RPS engineers.

    Contact:
    Kieran Garvey
    E: kieran.garvey@rpsgroup.com

    Louise Campion
    E: louise.campion@rpsgroup.com

    Alison Delahunty
    E: alison.delahunty@rpsgroup.com

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    ICE Presidential Visit to Dublin

    23 February 2018

    ICE Presidential Visit to Dublin

    Last week, Professor Lord Mair, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the UK visited Ireland and was hosted by RPS’ Cormac Bradley, Chairman of the Republic of Ireland Branch of the ICE.

    ICE ROI Chairman Cormac Bradley (RPS) is presented with commemorative medal by ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair
    Future Engineer, Ayo Sokale at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility at Poolbeg
    To mark the 200th year of the ICE, this year’s Presidential Visit to Ireland extended over three days. It involved a full itinerary of lectures, project visits and the presentation of Lord Mair’s Presidential Address in Engineers Ireland. Lord Mair was accompanied by Ms Ayo Sokale, a young graduate engineer who was selected as one of eight Future Leaders who accompany the ICE President on his visits to the regions and countries where ICE engineers are working.

    Given the historic significance of the visit, the focus was on celebrating engineering in Ireland over the last 200 years. Four heritage themed lectures were scheduled for the visit. Michael Phillips, former Dublin City Engineer, presented on Engineering in Ireland in the 19th century covering the development of railways, canals, harbours, buildings and bridges. Rob Goodbody, an historic buildings consultant and writer presented on Dun Laoghaire Harbour which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017. Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist with the ESB gave a lecture on the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Scheme which transformed the Irish economy of the time. Finally, author and publisher, Fergus Mulligan presented on the life and times of one of the giants of Irish engineering – William Dargan. One of the infrastructure assets that we enjoy today, nearly 1300km of railway line was originally laid by Dargan who had close to 50,000 people working for him in the 1840s.

    The itinerary included site visits to the new Dublin Airport Fuel Farm project and the Dublin Waste to Energy project at Poolbeg, where a presentation was given by RPS’ PJ Rudden on the evolution of waste policy in Ireland. The group received a tour of the facility where 1800 tonnes of waste are processed daily. This project was planned and procured by RPS as consultants to Dublin City Council.

    To celebrate the ICE bicentenary during the ICE President’s visit, Lord Mair presented a number of commemorative medals – reproductions of the medal struck in the 1840’s to celebrate the completion of the first tunnel under water, the Thames Tunnel by famous UK Engineer Brunel. Medals were presented to Cormac Bradley, as well as Michael Phillips and PJ Rudden, both ICE Fellows and former Presidents of Engineers Ireland.

    The key event of the visit was President Professor Lord Robert Mair’s Presidential Address, tailored to his Irish audience and his visit over the previous two days. The address was titled “Transforming Infrastructure, Transforming Lives – Building on 200 years” and noted that while we need to celebrate the engineer of the past, we also need to redefine the future of society with smart infrastructure. The engineer of the future has a multitude of challenges. The next generation of civil engineers can transform lives the way the engineers of the past did.

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

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    ISO 27001 Accreditation for RPS Ireland

    11 January 2018

    ISO 27001 Accreditation for RPS Ireland

    RPS Ireland has received ISO 27001 accreditation from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).

    RPS IT Director Connie Wiseman

    The ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). Our Irish offices have worked through the planning and implementation of the system over the past 18 months. The NSAI undertook a two-stage audit of the four ROI offices in late 2017 and recommended RPS Ireland for accreditation.

    ISO 27001 can provide a basis for evidence of compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply across all EU Member States and has significant implications for businesses operating within the EU market.

    Connie Wiseman, RPS IT Director said “This is a huge achievement and the culmination of many months of work for the IT team here in Ireland and staff throughout the offices. The timing is great and puts us in a strong position as we approach the GDPR deadline of 25th May 2018.”

    Key to implementing the new system is communicating to staff that every RPS employee is responsible for information security. The process has involved changing habits in relation to information security, from locking workstations when stepping away from the desk, to locking laptops away at the end of the day. A clean desk policy has been implemented across all offices to protect sensitive information and personal identifiable information (PII) in line with GDPR. It has required changes to our project filing system and numerous new privacy and security controls. Project managers and teams follow new procedures to ensure the security needs and expectations of all the stakeholders on their projects are considered and all PII is protected.

    Information security and protection of personal data is a top priority for our public and private sector clients as the GDPR deadline approaches. Achieving ISO27001 accreditation is confirmation that we can deliver and manage their projects securely.

    Contact:
    Connie Wiseman
    E: connie.wiseman@rpsgroup.com

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