Steppingintotheworldofscienceandengineering - Engineers Ireland

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Engineers Ireland A SPECIAL REPORT



Editor: Madeleine Lyons Phone: 01 675 8000 Fax: 01 675 8037 email: [email protected]


Engineers will be central to recovery A career development programme could help make Ireland a world centre of engineering excellence, writes Dick Ahlstrom, Science Editor


RELAND COULD become a world centre of excellence for all types of engineering, and it would put engineering disciplines at the centre of Ireland’s economic recovery. So argues John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland, the representative body for engineers across the island of Ireland. His rationale is driven by a new careerdevelopment programme that will improve the skill sets of graduate engineers and raise the bar for those seeking to become chartered engineers. “I think Ireland could establish itself as an engineering centre of excellence and market that around the world,” he says. “It

would mean we would have to raise our game.” Even without the international dimension Power refers to, engineering is central to the technological world in which we live. It is also central to the company formation and job creation efforts that will come into play when the world financial picture begins to turn. “Engineering is fundamental to economic recovery because the job creation is going to come through areas involving engineering,” Power says. “There are huge opportunities out there.” This is not an idle boast. Engineering disciplines are central to many of our most active manufacturing and export sectors. It is also a reflection of the varied careers that can flow from studying engineering at third level. Biomedical engineering is an example, central to medical device design, and production, computer and software engineering and electrical and electronic engineering that produces the hardware needed to deliver modern computers and mobile phones. The “traditional” engineering specialisations are there of course: civil and mechanical engineering,

environmental and materials engineering. All of these contribute to society and the economy and in the process help our struggling economy, Power believes. He points to developments in the biomedical sector. “Huge advances are coming directly because of the detailed collaboration between engineers and medical researchers.” Job retention and creation over the next number of years will be largely in the engineering and wider technology sectors, he says. The engineering profession must be brought centre stage in Ireland’s recovery. Failure to do this could unnecessarily prolong the current economic downturn. Engineers Ireland is an all-Ireland body with 23,000 registered members here and also in chapters in the UK and the Middle East. “We are thinking of establishing branches in Australia and western Canada,” Power says. Irish engineers can practice in many countries because of agreements on the standards required to become a chartered, or in some jurisdictions, a professional engineer. “We have mutual recognition

agreements around the world.” The body represents engineers’ interests but is also the assessment body for engineers who seek to become chartered. It is also responsible for assessing the curriculums associated with engineering degrees. Chartered status is the only recognised assessment of competence, according to Power. “It is important we are seen to uphold standards in the profession,” he says. The chartering system is coming in for change however and it is this change that prompts Power to suggest Ireland as an engineering centre. Currently engineers applying for chartered status must have a level 8 degree, have a minimum four years experience but, more typically, over six years, they must write a dissertation and finally face an interview with three peer engineers. “It is a real demonstration of competence among your peers,” he says. Yet from next year, chartered status will require a Masters degree at least. “This is a huge change. Courses are being developed to accommodate this,”

Power says. “It is a statement of our commitment to improving quality and standards.” One challenge faced by Engineers Ireland and by the science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas generally is our national “problem” with mathematics. Having a good grasp of mathematical concepts is central to completing an engineering degree. Yet too many students shy away from maths and engineering, believing it to be too difficult for them. Unfortunately parents can reinforce this, encouraging their children to choose careers in other areas perceived to be easier to succeed in. Power acknowledges the problem. “We don’t nearly have enough people going on for honours maths at second level,” he says. Yet these skills are not only needed for engineering, they are needed for the sciences and business and aside from formal studies, maths will follow us through life. “We have to get rid of this artificial barrier that says that mathematics is difficult.” Engineers Ireland is working to this end, with a commitment to student education. Since 2000 it has

“Job retention and creation over the next number of years will be largely in the engineering and wider technology sectors,” says John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland

The beauty of it is, engineers are trained to be problem solvers and every company needs problem solvers

run the STEPS programme in collaboration with the Discover Science and Engineering programme. As part of the scheme Project Maths worksheets have been developed along with materials for maths teachers to help them in their teaching role. Engineers Ireland provides free maths tutorials to students in Cork, Dublin and Galway every Saturday during the academic year with the training provided by volunteer chartered engineers. “We also provide volunteer engineers who visit schools to highlight the benefits of higher level maths which is not only important to an engineering career but to all other careers also,” Power says. This engagement with students helps to improve student understanding of the variety of career options available with engineering. Students and parents need to realise that holding an engineering degree does not demand the student remain in engineering. “The beauty of the engineering qualification is that we are trained to be problem solvers and every company needs problem solvers. Because of this we tend to be more

adaptable than most other professionals. With an element of upskilling and retraining, an engineer has the capacity to adjust much faster than people with other qualifications,” Power believes. Those that do remain in engineering make a considerable contribution, and yet how many of us realise this? “We are victims of our own success in a lot of ways because I think engineering is largely taken for granted. Every moment of every day engineering is all around you. People don’t necessarily appreciate that,” he says. November 9th is one of the few days of the year on which the work of Ireland’s engineers is fully recognised through the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards. “They are a celebration of the engineering profession in Ireland, the one night in the year where we laud the skill and creativity of the engineer,” says Power. The projects nominated span tourism, communities, local economies, water infrastructure, local trade and education, and as Power points out, “they can’t happen without engineering.”

Stepping into the world of science and engineering The STEPS programme helps raise students’ awareness of engineering as a career choice, writes Barry McCall

Careers in engineering provide both diversity and opportunity and there is growing evidence that parents are starting to recognise the importance of maths to their children’s education. Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme was established in 2000 to encourage primary and post-primary students to explore the world of science and engineering. The value of the programme has been formally recognised by the Government and is a key element of the national Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) programme. STEPS works in a strategic partnership with DSE and is

managed by Engineers Ireland with the support of the Department of Education and Skills, Science Foundation Ireland and a number of major engineering employers. The programme encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics while also promoting engineering as a career choice. Its goals include encouraging a positive attitude towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics; introducing to students their relevance to industry and everyday life; raising

a positive awareness and understanding of engineering as a career choice; promoting a greater understanding of the role and contribution of engineering in society; and highlighting the advantages, diversity, opportunities and excellent rewards offered by a career in engineering. This is part of Engineers Ireland’s support for the Government’s drive to create an innovation economy by encouraging greater participation in the sciences. Every year, the STEPS team arranges hundreds of free school visits, linking up volunteer engi-

neers with local schools and equipping them with an engaging, interactive presentation about engineering. This involves members of Engineers Ireland giving more than 5,000 hours each year to working with students in classrooms to improve the understanding of and appreciation for maths and engineering as a career. Each engineer who visits a school will be equipped to give a presentation to facilitate an informative and interactive session in the school. Schools wishing to avail of a visit can simply log on to the website and register their

interest. Engineers Ireland then arrange this through their local contacts. A key element of the STEPS programme is Engineers Week, an annual celebration of engineering in Ireland, which comprises a week of events and activities across the entire island, involving students, teachers, engineers, parents and the public. The next Engineers Week runs from February 25th to March 3rd, 2013. Engineers Week 2012 saw more than 25,000 participants in almost 300 events nationally and it is hoped to exceed these numbers in 2013.

Every year the STEPS team arranges hundreds of free school visits

In addition, Engineers Ireland runs free maths tutorials throughout the year in its head office in Clyde Road and in other locations around the country. These are attended by hundreds of students throughout the year. The tutorials are then posted online and students are able to log on and view them at a time that suits. Finally, Engineers Ireland also offers a series of talks and downloadable information which they provide to teachers to give tips for maths teaching and/or information on a career in engineering and what that involves.

Engineers Ireland would like to thank the following for their continued support of the engineering profession


In association with

ESB Beale and Company EPA Griffiths & Armour

NRA NSAI Shell E&P Ireland SIAC Construction


Friday, November 2, 2012




THE ETIHAD Skyline Croke Park Stadium is a unique adventure experience now open at Croke Park that allows the public and visitors an opportunity to walk on high across the stadium roof whilst taking in panoramic views of Dublin City and unique views of the stadium itself. The project was designed and built for the GAA by SIAC Butlers Steel. Installed on the existing structure of the Cusack, Hogan and Davin Stand, the Etihad Skyline consists of a series of connected steel-framed trussed bridges spanning between the main roof trusses. The project is open all year round and, in the short time since opening has become one of the capital’s most popular attractions. The project also featured prominently as part of the route for the London 2012 Olympic Torch run. The subtle form and appearance of the finished Etihad Skyline belies the engineering complexity of the project which proved to be an exciting and quite challenging one. Inventive engineering design was required to facilitate the load constraints of the existing structure as well as catering for the planned installation methods and sequence. HorganLynch Engineers and Shane Santry Architects were engaged by SIAC Butlers Steel as designers for the project. The project was fast-tracked from the start with May 18, 2012, set and achieved as the completion date. Some two weeks after the completion of the skyline project, the eyes of the national and

international media were due to focus on the result as it was included as part of the route for the London 2012 Olympic Torch run. The SIAC design and build team, engaged by the GAA in February 2012, were charged with taking the design from a concept to full completion and handover in just 16 weeks. The design and construction of the Croke Park Etihad Skyline Project sets a benchmark for engineering projects of this type and for Irish engineering as a whole. The project is the first of its kind to be constructed in Ireland and one of the few similar systems worldwide to be constructed in a live stadium environment. Through utilisation of a threedimensional steel modelling system and drawing much inspiration from the emerging trend of building information modelling, SIAC Butlers Steel and the design team were able to plan the complex design, fabrication and construction of the project including detailed scheduling as a whole rather than the sum of parts approach. This proved essential to the timely completion of the project. Overall the project pursued engineering excellence throughout the conception, design and construction phases and has resulted in a unique opportunity for engineers and the public to walk over a significant structure, at a location embedded deeply in our national culture, as well as affording access to a panoramic view of our capital’s cityscape. – JOHN HOLDEN

Construction looks to rebuild after major shock A

Ireland’s construction industry has borne the brunt of the economic collapse, but the foundations of the future need to be laid now, writes Frank Dillon

T THE PEAK of the boom, construction activity was worth more than ¤38 billion and represented about 23 per cent of our GDP. It was also a huge source of employment, with more than 269,000 jobs. Current estimates from the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) suggest that construction activity will be worth around ¤8 billion this year and that employment has declined to around 98,800.

The housing market provides further evidence of the decline. In 2006, we build 93,400 houses and while that figure was huge and unsustainable the drop off in activity has been dramatic. In the first half of 2012, a mere 3,929 units were built, the lowest level since records began in 1970. The main action that the Government has taken to help the sector so far is a ¤2.5 billion stimulus package in addition to the usual public capital

expenditure programme. “This package was badly needed and it will have a major impact on the industry – once it comes online. The problem with it is that it will take another year or so before any of these projects reach construction stage, and they will then be spread out over many years,” says Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF. In 2008, the State was devoting ¤9.1 billion to capital spending. This year the targeted spend has

Chartered Engineers

fallen to ¤3.6 billion, a fall of ¤5.5 billion. “Despite the huge drop in capital spending in recent years, the Government still decided to knock another ¤755 million off their original projected capital budget. A further ¤550 million has also been cut from the 2013 capital spending allocation,” Parlon notes. Another huge problem in the industry is the black economy. The CIF recently undertook a survey of its members on this issue. It found that 76 per cent of construction companies have come across black economy operations in the last three months and almost 20 per cent of construction companies believe that black economy activity in the construction sector has grown by more than 100 per cent since the downturn began. While those firms heavily exposed to the housing and public infrastructure markets have suffered most, there has been a general decline in construction activity across the boards, affecting all companies in the wider sector from architecture and consultancy practices through to construction sub-contractors. One firm that has had a sharp adjustment is SIAC. According to its chief executive Finn Lyden, it has reduced headcount from a peak of 1,250 to 480 now. “It’s a question of cutting your cloth at the moment. There has been a huge fall-off in activity in areas such as indigenous businesses, shopping centres and even multinationals. There’s also a slowdown in public-private partnership activities against the backdrop of the fiscal crisis. The uncertainty and fact that Ireland is still in recovery mode has led to a fall in international investment in that area too.” Lyden says that a major concern is that the skill-base developed in the boom years could evaporate. “We have a fantastic skill set in our industry – as good as you will get anywhere – and projects such as the motorways, the Aviva stadium and the Convention Centre serve as an example of the capability that we have. It’s vital that we maintain as much of that as possible as the industry shrinks.” SIAC is currently involved in a number of civil engineering projects in areas such as water treatment and in completing the motorway networks especially to remove congestion points such as the Ring Road in Cork. It has also turned to overseas projects, especially the UK. Another company that has illustrated an appropriate response to the challenge is the PM Group. It had a major

exposure to the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector, especially with the life sciences area. The global turmoil in 2008/2009 led to a major slowdown in FDI activity at the time but the company was able to respond by putting an increasing emphasis on its foreign activities which now account for just over half its business. “We had to be nimble and keep our cost base under control so that involved reducing our level of dependency on one region and on one sector and introducing a pay freeze,” says chief executive Dave Murphy. The company ramped up its international activities and now has 21 offices employing more than 1,700 people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Poland has proved a lucrative market and it also been doing a lot of work in Belgium. “Establishing a foreign presence takes a lot of investment and is not a task that should be underestimated. Doing detailed market research in advance is crucial,” he says. Among the projects PM Group has been involved in recently is one to provide detailed design, project management and construction support services for a new $170 million state-of-the-art nutritional facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first of its kind in the region, the 46,000sq m world-class facility was built to the highest building and hygiene standards incorporating the latest in process technology. While the industry here remained depressed, there are some signs that the residential property market is starting to turn with anecdotal evidence that the property market in Dublin has bottomed out and prices may be starting to grow. Ultimately, this will help the construction industry as demand outstrips supply. In addition, foreign direct investment projects continue to flow at a steady rate and in recent weeks there have significant announcement of indigenous company expansions such as Kerry Foods new food research facility in Kildare.

There are some signs that the residential property market is starting to turn

Empty unfinished apartments and offices at The Boulevard near Beacon Square in Sandyford, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lessons from the boom Mistakes were certainly made in the heady days of the boom. According to Graeme Tinney, director of Griffiths & Armour Professional Risk, a professional indemnity adviser, speculative residential development, where the challenge was to build bigger and faster than ever before, was one of the key problems. “The industry was overstretched and in certain cases firms were taking on projects that were simply beyond their level of competence. There was a failure to invest in top of the line consultancy, with engineering and architectural services being relegated to a commodity purchase. If we have learned anything from the mistakes of the past, it must be the need to make wiser decisions based on sustainability rather than short-term cost savings.” Tinney notes that significant changes are coming with a new Building Control regime, the proposed enactment of the Construction Contracts Bill and amendments to health and safety legislation, for example. “In our experience, engineers and the bodies representing the profession have been leading the way in promoting a safety culture within the industry.” According to Stephen Chessner,

of law firm Beale & Co, the boom showed up the deficiencies in the Irish planning system including inappropriate zoning of land which has led to the half-finished ghost estates on the fringes of our towns and villages; too many one-off rural developments without mains drainage and the corruption shown in the various planning tribunals and recent prosecutions. The second main lesson from the boom was the lack of a robust system of building control, the most striking current example of which is Priory Hall, he says. “The problem was one of developers in a hurry cutting corners and no proper oversight. This issue is now being addressed (in part) by new Building Control Regulations which will bring in compulsory certification of design and construction. It may be a case of closing the stable door – but it’s better late than never.” Looking forward, he says it is important to focus relentlessly on quality in design and in construction. “As construction lawyers, much of our current work comes out of construction defects. Most of these were avoidable. Similarly, many of the disputes we handle would not have arisen if the parties had put in place proper contracts at the outset. Too often it was a case of more haste less speed,” he says.

‘It was all the more difficult due to the fact it was a brownfield site’

Bringing dreams to life for me and you


GREG HANNA ESB International

As a senior consultant engineer and manager of the Protection, Control, Automation and Telecommunication group within the high voltage department of ESB International, Greg Hanna’s areas of expertise include high voltage substation design and project management. He put these skills to great use when he worked as project manager on the task of preparing for the closure of Poolbeg Units 1, 2 and 3 and upgrading the existing 220kv substation. What added to the complexity and difficulty of the project was the fact that the

station remained live during the entire project, and continued to make a considerable contribution to Ireland’s overall electricity supply. Hanna graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1999 with an honours degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and has worked with ESB International since then. “The challenge was that some of the technology would have gone back to the 1960s and we had to merge it all together and transition seamlessly,” he explains. “We started in 2007 and finished

in 2010 and it was all the more difficult due to the fact it was a brownfield site. Many of the business districts in Dublin are supplied by the site, and it was on a very large size and scale.” More than 60 engineers and technicians worked on the live project, and there was only one minor injury – a grazed hand when a drill bit splintered. “I am delighted with the nomination,” said Hanna. “It is a recognition of where I am at. Whatever about internally, to get this recognition from an external perspective is a great honour."

Friday, November 2, 2012




Renewal of State energy Renewable energy offers Ireland many opportunities. The energy ‘trilemma’ is not just about a green agenda but rather adequate planning, writes Dick Ahlstrom Ireland has embarked on an ambitious programme to develop indigenous sources of renewable energy. For once our fickle weather may prove a boon, with some of Europe’s best locations to capture wind and wave energy. The challenge is to be able to deliver these alternative renewable resources at a cost that can compete with conventional sources of electricity. Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte recapped where Ireland expects to be by 2020 while addressing the 4th International Conference on Ocean Energy two weeks ago. “Renewable energy is central to Ireland’s energy policy,” he stated. The Government had embarked on a National Renewable Energy Action Plan that set targets for dealing with overall energy demand. The goal is to source 40 per cent of electricity demand, 10 per cent of transport energy and 12 per cent of heating from renewable sources by 2020. This would mean that 16 per cent of Ireland’s total energy consumption by that time will come from renewable

Ireland has a major opportunity to become an energy exporter through the harvesting of our indigenous wind and wave energy resources, says ESB chief executive, Pat O'Doherty Photograph: Aquamarine Power

sources, in line with targets set under the EU Renewable Directive. The move towards renewables is only part of a much wider agenda, the complete decarbonisation of society. The EU wants to have a carbon-free energy supply by 2050, although it has yet to establish how this is going to be achieved, said chief executive of the ESB, Pat O’Doherty. “The whole strategic direction is going to be driven by carbon and carbon policy and the decarbonisation of society,” O’Doherty said. The drive towards decarbonisation provides Ireland with a major opportunity, to become an energy exporter through the harvesting of our indigenous wind and wave energy resources, he believes. We now have two electricity interconnectors with the UK, one linking Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the second the new 500 megawatt interconnector opened in September by EirGrid. These can supply Irish consumers with “base load” electricity from coal and nuclear plants in Britain when demand is high here. Yet Britain must also increase its levels of renewable energy use and Ireland can supply this at other times of the day. The carbon agenda, the high cost and security issues related to oil supplies and the huge investments needed to supply power mean we are moving into uncharted territory in terms of energy supply. “We are now on the cusp of major change in this industry,” Mr O’Doherty says. Decisions made this year will have implications 20, 30 even 50 years hence. “When you are making deci-

We are now on the cusp of major change

sions like this you are making significant investments and getting a return over a very uncertain future,” he said. For this reason the industry often refers to the “trilemma” of the energy sector. The three dilemmas include the cost of the energy produced, the security of the energy supply and the environmental impact. “These three things pull in three different directions. Getting the optimum from it is the challenge,” he says. He sees Ireland’s energy future as being a mix of sources, accompanied by a shift towards electric transport, at

‘Many companies are interested in different ways of administering drugs’ Originally from Navan, Co Meath, Eoin SHORTLISTED CHARTERED ENGINEER Bambury is a principal engineer with Crospon in Galway. Perhaps somewhat unusually, his engineering project has yet to be fully realised, and is still at a pre-clinical stage. Should it succeed, though, the Janisys drug delivery system has the ability to substantially enhance the lives of a huge number of people worldwide. Loosely based on ink-jet technology developed by Hewlett-Packard, the technology enables painless, controlled EOIN BAMBURY release of one or more liquid drugs Crospon from a single patch applied to the skin.

The Janisys system delivers medication intradermally – or just below the surface of the skin. It can be activated by the client or run on a sequential basis, where for example the technology fires a little of a drug into the body over a period of time. “The drug is delivered through the outer layer of the skin via micro needles, creating pathways so small they don’t reach the nerve so you don’t feel any pain,” explains Bambury. “It could be a real game changer and many companies are very interested in different ways of administering drugs.”

Bambury graduated from Dublin City University in 2000 with a BEng. in Mechatronics Engineering, and having worked abroad for several years, returned in 2006 to join Crospon. As well as working on drug delivery technologies, he is part of a group working on gastro-intestinal hollow organ functional imaging. He says the nomination is an honour. “When you go into industry, and if you are with the same company for a number of years, it is nice to get a validation like this. It tells you that you are on the right career path at least.”


The Michael O’Shaughnessy Bridge is a new pedestrian/cycle bridge spanning the Eglinton Canal on the campus of NUI Galway. Funding was provided by both NUI Galway and Galway City Council to build the amenity, which is an integral part of Galway City Council’s Greenway project. This project aims to create a riverside walkway opening up the River Corrib and its canal network to the public. When completed, it will allow the public to walk from Galway Harbour heading north, crossing the River Corrib and the Eglinton Canal onto the NUI Galway campus following the west bank of the River Corrib to Dangan. The Michael O’Shaughnessy Bridge is a very important, integral link in this Greenway project. Michael O’Shaughnessy was an Irish Engineer who graduated from Queens College (now NUI Galway) in 1884 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He went on to become the City Engineer in San Francisco from 1912 to 1932. He

was responsible for overseeing several major projects in San Francisco including the commissioning and design of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. The new bridge in Galway named after him is a bar-stayed bridge, similar in appearance to a cable-stayed bridge. It has an overall length of some 48 metres. The deck is 3 metres wide and is designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists. The pylon that supports the deck has an overall height of just over 13 metres. The minimum clearance above average water level is 1.2 metres. The design had to take account of several conflicting challenges. For example, any site along the Eglinton Canal was always going to present environmental challenges in view of the sensitive nature of the site and its proximity to the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation (SAC). NUI Galway encourages all forms of water-based sporting activity particularly rowing and kayaking and provision had to be made for these activities. The Eglinton

Canal quay walls are listed on the Record of Protected Structures so any interference with these had to be kept to a minimum Very careful consideration was also given to the matter of bridge lighting. In this case the Consulting Engineers, Ryan Hanley, opted to design the main deck lighting using low energy LED light strips placed flush on the underside of the parapet handrail. This is an effective, efficient solution as the light is directed where it is required on the bridge deck while at the same time minimising light pollution or direct glare from the light fittings. This results in a very effective lighting system which adds to the bridge aesthetics and also enhances the surrounding area. A high-quality paint was used to maximise the time to repainting. The bridge deck is supported by stainless steel rods. The bridge parapet railing was also made using stainless steel – all to minimise maintenance costs. – JOHN HOLDEN

least for mass transit and cars. By 2030 he expects to see a “flexible base load” here. This will be made up of one third combined cycle gas power plants, one third renewables, mainly wind, and one third clean energy from technologies that have not yet been fully commercialised. These could include wave energy, solar power and even from a new generation of nuclear from the UK via the interconnectors. Ireland’s energy future will also likely see more electricity interconnectors with the UK but also with the Con-

tinent via France, says Dr Michael Walsh, electricity transmission company EirGrid’s director of corporate affairs and strategy. EirGrid continues to test and adjust the new 500 megawatt east-west interconnector commissioned in September. A study two years ago indicated there was “significant benefit in further connections between Ireland and GB and France”, says Walsh. It opens up an opportunity to export green energy, in the process helping the UK and France to meet renewables targets set by EU directive.

Tidal turbines bring clean, green energy from the oceans The era of clean, green energy from the oceans is upon us with the announcement late last month of a major ocean-based power generation scheme to be based off the Antrim coastline. OpenHydro, a company that designs and builds underwater turbines, joined with Bord Gais to win a contract to deliver a 100 megawatt tidal energy farm that should be completed by 2020. People are familiar with above ground windmills for electricity generation but less so with underwater turbines. These use the twice daily seawater flows as the tides advance and recede to deliver green, renewable energy. The two companies formed Tidal Ventures Ltd and won a contract to deploy tidal turbines from the Crown Estate. The project will form part of Northern Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan. OpenHydro is an Irish company set up by Irish businessmen Brendan Gilmore and Donal O’Flynn. They began looking at tidal turbine power back in 2004 and then acquired the exclusive rights to a turbine prototype originally developed in the US to set up OpenHydro. They have since advanced the design and OpenHydro became the first company to deploy a tidal turbine for test at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. It now has a commercial scale tidal turbine proven to deliver electricity and link to the national grid. It is building tidal projects in France, Canada, the UK and US, the company said. Today the company has 90 full-time employees based in Dublin and in Greenore, Co Louth. The Dublin headquarters handles administration and sales, while its technical centre in Greenore has about 80 staff who are involved in technical, engineering, operational and manufacturing activities. The company is fully funded and has raised more than ¤80 million in equity since 2005, it said. This has supported the ongoing research, development and deployment of its technology. The ratings on its turbines vary depending on size and water flow characteristics. A 10 metre turbine can produce about a megawatt of power while a 16 metre turbine pushes this to 2.2 megawatts. A collection of turbines will be deployed on an offshore “farm” off Antrim to deliver a targeted 100 megawatts directly to the Northern Irish power grid, the company said. A key issue is the overall installation cost versus the value of the electricity delivered. OpenHydro is working towards a cost of energy that is at least comparable to that of offshore wind farms, a company spokesman said. – DICK AHLSTROM


Friday, November 2, 2012




The Portrane, Donabate, Rush & Lusk Waste Water Treatment Scheme will result in modern sewerage infrastructure for the four towns covered. It is focused on the protection of the Rogerstown Estuary, the local bathing waters and shellfish waters. On implementation of the full scheme, Fingal County Council will be closer to meeting the requirements of the EU Water Framework and Bathing Water Directives and achieving a high standard of water quality in the Rogerstown Estuary and adjacent coastal waters. This scheme positively contributes to the lives of the local people in the four communities. In fact, its effects can probably be said to be more farreaching, in that an improvement to the local ecology and environment generally will have a knock-on effect in other nearby communities. According to project engineer John Mulcahy of Fingal County Council, the project has many benefits including the elimination of existing final effluent discharges into the Rogerstown Estuary; the minimisation of overflows caused by wet weather conditions; improvements to the water quality off the Portrane coastline; protection of the designated environmental areas in the locality; the enhancement and protection of the amenity value of the general coastal area including beaches, coastal walkways and local golf clubs. It will also help provide modern wastewater infrastructure to meet the current and projected future demands of the four communities and enhance the capacity for future residential and commercial development within the catchment served by the scheme. The first major construction contract under the scheme has just been completed. This comprised 6km of gravity mains, three main pumping stations in Whitestown in Rush, Donabate and Portrane plus an associated 5km of pumped mains, two crossings of the Rogerstown Estuary by no-dig methods, a

65,000 population equivalent treatment plant and a 1km long sea outfall. The construction contract was tendered at ¤31 million with an overall project cost estimate of ¤45 million and was completed on time and within budget. “It was originally intended to have two waste water treatment plants but by bringing a pipeline across the estuary we were able to reduce this to one,” says Mulcahy. “We completed the pipeline without any digging or disturbance to the marine environment and this was very important. It did involve significant additional expense but the Rogerstown Estuary is a special area of conservation and this had to be respected.” Another innovative facet of the project is the odour treatment measures used. “While the plant is located in a fairly isolated area, St Ita’s Hospital is nearby,” says Mulcahy. “We were concerned about the odours from the plant causing a nuisance to people in the hospital so we covered in all elements of the plant and applied odour treatment measures to each of them as well.” The project is being carried out under a design, build and operate (DBO) contract by a joint venture of AECOM and SIAC. “Overall the contract is 22 years in length,” Mulcahy explains. “The first two years was for the construction element and the next 20 is the operational element. We set the overall parameters for the scheme – that it has to be capable of providing wastewater treatment to a certain standard and to certain specifications for 65,000 people – and they come up with the detailed design, construction and operation proposal. “AECOM has a proprietary batched reactor system which is ideal for this type of project. The project has been operational since May and all testing has now been completed and it’s about to go into full operation.” – BARRY MCCALL

‘It brought back life to the city centre’ As Dublin City Engineer since 1998, Michael Phillips has overseen dramatic improvements in the capital writes Ronan McGreevy

Politicians make the decisions. I would like to see the engineers getting involved or recognised as part of the decision-making process

The completion of the interurban network has been one of few positive legacies of the Celtic Tiger. Completed in 2010 and linking Dublin to Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway with the M50 has transformed the roads network. Though Dublin is now linked to all the major population centres by good roads, the road network itself is not completed. The National Roads Authority is still active in developing a roads network albeit on a dramatically smaller scale. NRA chief executive Fred Barry has likened the completed interurban network as linking the spokes of a wheel to the centre. Now the task is to link the spokes to each other. As part of the Government stimulus package announced earlier this year, a public-private partnership programme will see the delivery of the N17-N18 Gort-Tuam project which will consist of 57 kilometres of motorway. It will link Galway city to Shannon Airport by motorway. The Newlands Cross flyover and the Arklow-Rathnew project, which will be two combined works in different places, have also been put out to tender. The N5 has been identified as a road which badly needs upgrading. Among the projects expected to start soon are the N5 Ballaghaderreen bypass in Co Roscommon; that’s due to start next month. Also starting next year will be the M11 Gorey-Enniscorthy and the N25 New Ross bypass. The Tralee bypass N22/N69 will open next year along with the N40 Cork Southern Ring Road which is being upgraded to create the equivalent of the M50 for Cork. All these projects will be welcomed by motorists, but the focus for the NRA has moved from motorway building to maintenance of the existing network. “We’re concentrating on maintaining the investment that has been made over the last 10 years. It is a critical focus,” said NRA chief executive Fred Barry. “There is no point in building ¤8 billion worth of motorway without maintaining it properly. You have to operate the network that exists. We never had a motorway network before. That is a big shift."


HEN Michael Phillips was elected president of Engineers Ireland at the end of May, he was the first Dublin City Engineer to be elected to the position for 55 years since EJ Burke. The city has expanded beyond recognition since 1957 to become a world-renowned city of some 1.5 million people. The challenges of a growing population are legion. It is estimated that the Greater Dublin Area will have 1.75 million people by 2016. The engineering profession has also changed. When EJ Burke was the president, there were only five recognised engineering disciplines; there are now 14. Phillips began his career on the Grand Tunnel Scheme in Dublin in the mid-1970s. After spending years working in Nigeria, he returned to Ireland to become a local government engineer and has been the Dublin City Engineer since 1998. The 14 years of his tenure has seen incredible changes in the city. They include the building of such infrastructure as the Dublin Port Tunnel and the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Works, the expansion of the city into the Docklands and the repopulation of once-derelict areas of the city centre. When asked what he is most proud of, he cites the “whole upgrading of life in the city centre” which has turned unsightly areas into living, breathing communities. The reversal of the city centre decay happened in the 1990s and 2000s and the population has doubled from 70,000 to 150,000. “It brought back life to the city centre which is what city life is all about,” he said. Two new bridges, the James

Corrib gas field – a major challenge The controversies over the Corrib gas field have tended to obscure the fact that it is one of the biggest private-sector engineering projects ever attempted in Ireland. The bringing ashore of gas from a field more than 80 kilometres out into the Atlantic is a logistical challenge in itself, but the final nine kilometres from where the pipe makes landfill to the processing plant at Bellanaboy is a different order of magnitude. Five wells have been drilled and made ready for production at the Corrib Field. The laying of pipes under the seabed began in 2009 and was postponed because the pipe-laying vessel was damaged in high seas. Some 7,000 pieces of pipe are now under the seabed waiting for gas to be pumped. The next phase will be the most difficult both from a logistical and security point of view. It will involve the digging of a 4.9 kilometre sea-tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay. The tunnel boring machine, nicknamed by the company

Development of road network must continue

workers as Fionnuala, has arrived at the Aughoose tunnelling site and the company expects to begin tunnelling before the end of the year. It will take approximately 15 months to complete. Paul Hughes, tunnelling lead at Shell Ireland, says getting the site ready has been a “significant piece of work” which involves preparing the ground and then putting in place the facilities and equipment required to support tunnelling. “The tunnelling project has brought together a huge amount of expertise of different kinds, from those who have worked on straightforward construction sites to highly-specialised tunnel operators,” he said. “It has been a major team effort to get to the point where we are almost ready to start tunnelling and an equally large and cohesive team will be in place during the tunnelling phase itself.” Once it comes ashore, gas from the Corrib Field will be processed at Bellanaboy gas terminal.

Joyce and Samuel Beckett, were built and the Luas was completed. He believes it is important that people need to continue coming into the city to live, shop and work. “Balancing all the different forms of mobility in a medieval city is the biggest challenge for us,” he said. “When the economy picks up we have to have plans in place to manage that growth.” The most immediate priority will be to ensure that traffic flows freely in the city while the Luas interconnector is built starting next year through some of the busiest parts of the city. Whatever transport future the city has will not involve more cars, he believes. He has also had to contend with some severe flooding in different parts of the city especially in the Ringsend area in 2002 and the big freezes that bookended 2010. It is a massive job which goes largely unnoticed by the public. As he said in his recent president’s speech, a citizen goes to bed where outside the public lights keep the streets lit and safe. They wake up and have their shower, walk outside and the streets are clean and maintained. They drive on roads maintained by engineers and stop at traffic lights operated by engineers. All of these things they take for granted except when they are not provided. “It is a testament to the quality of those services that they largely go unnoticed,” he said. When things go wrong, as they seem to do with more frequency because of adverse weather, an emergency planning team has been set up with a control centre which assists in gathering information and validating information as the situation unfolds. By definition engineers have to think long-term. Strategic projects such as bridges, tunnels and roads have to last into perpetuity. In order to cope with infrastructural changes, a project support office was set up in Dublin City Council. It set up standards and procedures to be followed. As a result over a ten year period no project was abandoned due to improper procurement. He says that many of the issues facing the world most notably climate change will need an engineering solution. Diverting water from the Shannon to satisfy Dublin will present not only engineering challenges, but also political ones as many people in midlands areas say the ecology of the area will be affected. “We have enough water at

present to keep us going, we have to ensure adequate water for technology companies if they need large amounts of it, similarly with pharmaceutical ones,” he says. “That is why we are looking for water from the River Shannon. It only means taking three per cent of the water from the River Shannon. It will generate a lot of jobs. If the people from that part of Dublin can get jobs in Dublin rather than emigrate, that’s a bonus.” Mr Phillips believes engineers are historically poor at communicating with the public and many fears about infrastructure occur because the safety factors are not explained properly. Though others such as politicians, public legislators and environmentalists also have a role, he maintains that engineers are the best equipped to take the lead. To that end it is not enough that engineers receive an engineering education, they must also have the confidence to assume responsibility, be competent communicators and be capable of managing multi-disciplinary teams of experts, he says. He acknowledges that engineers have not always been good at communicating. “We have to try and find the right solution for that,” he said. He also wants engineers to becoming more involved in the

A boy jumps from the Samuel Beckett Bridge, one of a number of spectacular infrastructural developments in Dublin in recent years, and inset, president of Engineers Ireland, Michael Phillips. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

political arena both directly through politics and through the influence they exert on politicians. Engineers are conspicuous by their absence at the top of Irish politics, two of the few exceptions being the Labour TD Dominic Hannigan and Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune. When asked who the last Irish engineer was who was a member of the cabinet, he cites Senator James Dooge in the 1980s and

even he had to be co-opted into the Seanad. “Politicians make the decisions. I would like to see the engineers getting involved or recognised as part of the decision-making process. Everything we do is evidence-based data. “One of our strengths is longterm planning and politics is not conducive to that at times. We can live with that if the short-term decisions fit into the long-term vision.

“We need to get out and talk about our value to society especially with climate change and increased population growth globally.” He said engineers make a real difference to mankind, they add value and are at the centre of all human development. “We are the natural leaders and let us never be afraid to assume that responsibility. Leaving it to others alone is too risky,” he said.

‘Picking the type of people involved in the management was key’ SHORTLISTED CHARTERED ENGINEER

EOIN O’DONOVAN Bord Gáis Energy

Back in 2008, Eoin O’Donovan made the switch from working in the pharmaceutical industry to renewable energy. It was a time when the first large-scale wind farms were beginning to come on stream in Ireland, and O’Donovan subsequently joined Bord Gáis Energy in 2010 and became responsible for developing the wind operations team at the company. The processes he learned in his previous career in making savings and efficiency improvements were later applied successfully to his work in the renewable sphere. “The overall philosophy I’ve tried to implement wouldn’t be typical for the industry we are in,” explains O’Donovan. “Essentially, I was

tasked with putting structures in place so that we could successful mange a rapidly growing and sometimes underperforming wind farm portfolio.” From being responsible for five wind farms in 2008, he is now working across 13 operations nationally, and the step changes he has applied have led to significant revenue increases. “Back in 2008, we were losing a lot of revenue due to underperformance and so we used data collection in order to be able to spot failure patterns and common defects. It meant we could actually go after priority issues on wind farms and improve performance. Within 24 months, this led to revenue increase.”

As well as applying a range of manufacturing skills to the renewable sector, including work practices in relation to compliance, reliability and maintenance, O’Donovan says another key factor was in appointing and managing staff. “Picking the type of people involved in the management was key. It was important in assessing their backgrounds, the type of skill sets they required and then managing these diverse teams to ensure they all worked together. “These were all things I learned in previous roles which helped enormously in the swiftly changing environment of renewable energy.”

Friday, November 2, 2012



ExcellenceAwards SHORTLISTED ENGINEERING PROJECT Titanic Belfast, Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast RPS, AECOM AND HARCOURT CONSTRUCTION Built to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Titanic Belfast building was commissioned as the iconic centrepiece of the Titanic Quarter Regeneration Project, which encompasses 75 hectares of former industrial brownfield lands to the south of the River Lagan in Belfast city centre. The building houses an exhibition space, which tells the story of the Titanic, along with banqueting halls and function rooms that can accommodate up to 1,000 diners. “The Titanic was built in the Harland & Woolf shipyard which at the time was the largest in the world, employing 11,000 people,” says Michael Shaw of project engineer RPS. “During the 1970s and 1980s, it went into decline in common with many other industries and employment fell to just 300. This released 185 acres of prime development land. Harcourt Developments bought the land with the vision of regenerating it as the Titanic Quarter. “The project architect believed that Belfast should have its own Guggenheim Museum or Sydney Opera House and he wanted to design an iconic building that would compete with those and help bring inward investment to Belfast.” Planning began in earnest on the public-private-partnershipfunded building in 2007, just as the global recession was beginning. But the challenge of constructing the £97 million building had to be met as there could be no slippage in the completion date of April 2012 as that marked the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. The resulting 14,000sq m (150,695sq ft) building certainly

Environment is in the balance Environmental issues are increasingly to the fore in the planning of engineering and construction projects, writes Frank Dillon


NGINEERING and construction projects, by their nature, have always had a significant impact on the environment. Increasingly, there is a concern on the part of those planning major projects that environmental issues are addressed at every stage of the process. More stringent environmental regulations and a vocal and increasingly well organised local community sector have ensured that tight attention to detail is vital for those planning projects. Communication is now seen as more critical than ever. “Communication is now an important engineering discipline and is central not peripheral. You can’t start early enough and you can’t communicate often enough,” says Elizabeth Arnett of RPS Group, who have been involved as engineering consultants in major environmental projects including the Corrib gas pipeline. “Proper engagement is about getting away totally from the old philosophy of ‘announce, then defend’,” she notes. It’s about going into communities and finding out what they value in terms of environmental, social and historical assets and starting a proper dialogue. The adoption of the Aarhaus Convention is assisting in the move to a more transparent system. This convention, adopted by 40 countries including Ireland, is designed to ensure transparency in the planning process. It includes the right of access to information, access to the decision-making process and a commitment to environmental jus-

Checking the rising levels of the River Lee in Cork after a flood warning in the city. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision

tice through the judicial system. One of the key bodies charged to ensure that environment standards are upheld is the Environmental Protection Agency. In its major State of the Environment Report published earlier this year the agency describes Ireland’s environment as “a strategic asset to protect and manage for future generations”. It recognises the work of engineers and plays a key role in providing a clean environment essential for our well-being and essential for economic renewal, says the EPA’s Brendan Wall. “A challenge for engineers is ensuring that engineering projects comply with all the legal commitments in relation to environmental legislation. Engineering project managers have to be familiar with complex legislation that can include environmental impact assessment, applications for licences and relevant emission standards,” he says. Waste water treatment is an example of an area where substantial and sustained investment is needed to meet Ireland’s EU commitments. At the same time, standards are getting tighter for discharges arising from the need to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. In the current economic climate, new build projects may not always be feasible and a real technical challenge here for engineers is to optimise the performance of existing

waste water treatment plants. “This work will involve engineers using and developing a range of skills to implement best practices for operation and maintenance, resource efficiency and the development of online control systems in order to modernise the operation of older plants to meet today’s environmental standards,” Wall says. Engineering projects in many cases are environmental projects in their own right. Projects in this category include the provision of waste water treatment plants, drinking water treatment plants and engineered landfills. In these instances specific environmental protection requirements will be set in regulations or by the regulatory authority in the licences or permits. Meeting these requirements, within the timeframes set, is a challenge that comes with any of these engineering projects. There is a real opportunity now for engineers to meet these challenges in optimising our existing waste water and water treatment infrastructure and in continuing to play a key role in protecting the strategic asset that is our environment, he says. “The EPA’s day-to-day work involves interaction with engineers responsible for the operation of waste water, drinking water and waste management facilities across the country. Through the provision of advice and guidance on best practice and standards we are working

with engineers on environmental protection. Guidance has been published on our website covering issues ranging from drinking water treatment to waste management,” Wall says. Training is another important aspect of the work of the EPA in this area. “The EPA has been working with the Water Services Training Group to design new training courses and seminars to meet these challenges. Over the past few years, new environmental engineering training has been rolled out to hundreds of local authority staff, covering areas such as drinking water disinfection, management, and water safety plans. The training has played its part in the improvements seen in drinking water management,” Wall notes. Another public body with major responsibilities in the environmental area is the Office of Public Works (OPW). Among its many responsibilities, the OPW is the lead agency for flood risk management in Ireland and it aims to minimise the impacts of flooding on society, households and businesses through sustainable planning, guidance, information and effective measures for areas at risk from flooding. In the delivery of these services, significant efforts are put into the environmental aspects and this has been increasing in recent years. For water management sector activities such as flood risk management, there is now a significant volume of national and European environmental legislation which seeks to balance environmental considerations for all activities, explains OPW’s Conor Clarke. “The OPW carries out environmental assessments for various plans and projects such as: Strategic Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impacts Assessments, Appropriate Assessments and Ecological Assessments. There is widespread engagement and consultation with environmental stakeholders which all helps achieve environmental balance in proposed activities,” Clarke says.

‘The work is always varied, always interesting, always a challenge’ SHORTLISTED CHARTERED ENGINEER

ANGELA RYAN Dublin Region Watermains Rehabilitation Project

Angela Ryan is deputy project manager on the Dublin Region Watermains Rehabilitation Project, a ¤118 million water conservation project covering seven local authority jurisdictions, and a supply network serving 1.4 million people. The aim of the project was to reconstruct 250km of the worstperforming watermains and save 20 million litres of water each day. Ryan so far has helped oversee 120km of reconstruction of watermains, delivering leakage savings of 12 million litres of water per day. These savings have been gained using cutting edge metering technology, boundary validation and pressure management. Ryan helped lead a project team which undertook a pilot study within

a small area where the watermains had been renewed and initial savings were underwhelming. By installing domestic water meters, the team could for the first time assess private domestic leakage and property owners who were previously unaware they had a problem, were informed. More than 10,000 domestic meters have been deployed as part of the project, reducing leakage, increasing knowledge of customer usage and leakage profiles, and providing a better understanding of methods used to calculate leakage. “My father is a telecoms engineer, and as a child on family visits to the park I would get a weekly update on the design of signalling systems and telephone.

As a result, during my teenage years, I vowed never to become an engineer. However, much to my dismay, maths and physics were consistently my best subjects and eventually I bowed to the inevitable.” Ryan is also a member of the Dublin City Council Continuing Professional Development Committee, which focuses on knowledge-sharing and promotion of continued learning across engineering departments. “I have had the opportunity to work on numerous international projects, from designing a bridge in India to a recycled water distribution network in Australia. The work is always varied, always interesting, always a challenge, but very rewarding.”

meets the visual requirements set for it in terms of competing with other famous signature city buildings around the world. The entire external façade is clad in several thousand unique three-dimensional aluminium panels which create an awe-inspiring appearance. This is further enhanced by reflective pools of water surrounding the base of the structure. Advanced computer modelling was used for the design of the facades, which lean out at angles of up to 25 degrees. Along with this complicated geometry and ground-breaking construction it includes a range of sustainable strategies, including combined heat and power microgeneration, 56,000-litre rainwater harvesting, intelligent lighting, and a BREEAM Excellent rating. The building is entered at ground level. Visitors come into the Welcome Hall, a dramatic space which includes a 60 foot high wall covered in folded steel panels the same size as those used on Titanic’s hull. At first-floor height a wide bridge gives access to the start of the Titanic story, with a secondfloor bridge giving access to the exhibition telling the story of the construction of the building. “Education and community were very much to the forefront of the project,” Shaw adds. “It’s teaching people about the past and how to move forward and work together. It’s about making people proud of their heritage and not ashamed of it. “It also helps stimulate interest in all things engineering. This iconic building is helping shape the future for the next generations by telling the story of the past.” – BARRY McCALL


Friday, November 2, 2012



Clusters build new expertise The skills learned in establishing the hubs of Irish industry have an impact here and abroad, writes Suzanne Lynch


VER SINCE the first wave of foreign direct investment began in the 1960s, when mainly US companies were incentivised into Ireland by a combination of tax structures, labour availability and market access, the emergence of geographic and sectoral clusters has been a characteristic of the business landscape in Ireland. Over the last four decades, Ireland has become known for specific geographical locations which have emerged as leading centres for industries on a global scale, bolstered by linkages between companies, third level institutions and international partners. Some of the most successful sectoral clusters have emerged close to the western seaboard and in the south-west, as well as in the capital, where a vibrant technology and digital media cluster has built up in recent years. One of the most vibrant sectoral clusters to emerge has been the biopharmaceutical industry in Cork. The first foreign direct investment in the Irish biopharmaceutical sector began almost 40 years ago when Squibb (now BristolMyers Squibb) became the first overseas pharmaceutical company to locate in Ireland. Since then Ireland has become a key global location for the sector, which incorporates a number of sub-sectors including pharmaceuticals, pharma, biotechnology and medical devices. DePuy Ireland, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, established a state-of-the-art manu-

facturing facility in Ringaskiddy in 1997, followed by a global supply chain centre. In 2005 ‘Campus Ireland’ was set up – a collection of J&J sites located no more than 100 kilometres apart in Munster, and based on the Irish concept of pooling together. This, activity which includes J&J subsidiary Janssen Biologics and Janssen Pharmaceutical which makes active ingredients in Cork, is a concrete example of the cluster effect in action. Similarly, a strong medical devices industry has flourished in Galway, bolstered by big-name US multinationals such as Boston Scientific and Medtronics. The industry has also spawned a number of successful and innovative home-grown start-ups in the medical devices field, many established by former employees of larger multinationals. One example of this is Crospon, a six year old medical devices company which makes tools used by surgeons to correct oesophageal and other problems. Founded by John O’Dea, Crospon is the second start-up set up by O’Dea who has more than 20 years experience in the industry. O’Dea says the scale of activity in the Galway area has been a key reason why Crospon chose to set up in the region. As well as the advantages of having an established infrastructure of serviced sites, public utilities and specialist support services, it is also important in terms of supply chain. “Ultimately, 15 of the world’s top companies in the industry are located within a 60 mile radius of Galway. This has implications for the sub-supply industry also. Most of our suppliers are located in Galway, for example.” The local availability of a critical mass of expertise – in institutions and in other businesses – is also key. While the evolution of sectoral and geographical clusters has been a key characteristic of Ireland’s industrial and R&D activity, and

PM Group PM Group is one of Ireland’s oldest engineering companies. Founded in 1973 by Jim Walshe and Brian Kearney, it celebrates 40 years in business next year. It is one of the country’s biggest employers of engineers, employing 850 people. PM Group specialises in developing large-scale manufacturing plants for some of the world’s largest multinationals, and as a result the company has been closely associated with the development of foreign direct investment(FDI) in Ireland. It is particularly active in the biopharma and food sector, and has been responsible for constructing and developing some of the country’s top sites and data centres. The company has become increasingly international over the last few years. It set up an office in the UK in 1997 and in Poland the following year, it has diversified into the rest of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and has offices in Bangalore, Singapore and Shanghai. Current projects include the design of a major new vaccine facility for GSK Biologics in Belgium, the construction of a Greenfield fibre processing facility in Gdansk, for Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest forestry products companies and a Greenfield infant formula nutritional facility for the Gulf’s biggest dairy company, Almarai in Saudi Arabia. Many of PM Group’s Irish employees have moved abroad with the business. The company employs a range of highly-skilled employees across all engineering disciplines, including architecture, design and construction management. PM Group is involved with Engineers Ireland in the promotion of engineering skills. It contributes to initiatives, such as the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme, which helps to foster an interest in engineering at a school level. Janssen Biologicals Cork, PM Group were the co-engineers of this building. It was named winner of the ISPE ‘facility of the year’ award (2009) in the sustainability category.

Ireland has become a key global location for the sector

central to Government policy, it also depends heavily on the right support services being in place. To this extent, Ireland’s capability in terms of engineering has played a crucial role in the development of both international and indigenous companies in Ireland. As Ireland’s companies, particularly in terms of the foreign direct investment (FDI) presence here, have shifted their focus from being wide-scale manufacturers towards a greater emphasis on R&D and the provision of high-tech products and services, their engineering and construction needs have become more specific and sophisticated. Highscale manufacturing sites in the pharma, food and technology sectors demand a specific suite of support services both in terms of construction and maintenance.

PM Group, one of Ireland’s longest established engineering companies, has specialised in the design and build of some of the country’s top industrial sites for multinationals over the last few decades. The company, together with CRB, designed and delivered a €500 million Greenfield biopharmaceuticals manufacturing site for Janssen in Cork, for example, while a more recent project was a diagnostic devices manufacturing site for Abbott. The services offered by companies like the PM Group, range from site selection and planning permission issues to cost estimates and the full suite of design services, including architecture and construction management. As its chief executive, Dave Murphy, explains, having the

required level of engineering expertise across a range of disciplines is essential. “Thirty years ago that capability simply wasn’t there and a lot of international firms came in and provided the services. Now Ireland can provide all the requirements for companies in terms of engineering. There has been a major sea change in that regard.” As he points out, many of the sites in Ireland are world-class facilities in their field. “For example, data centres, which are particularly prevalent in the ICT cluster in Dublin, demand very specific skills in terms of electrical designs. Energy efficiency, for example, is a huge issue for data centres, so having the required heating and ventilation technology in place is of crucial importance.” Aidan Harney, director of Con-

tinuing Professional Development (CPD) at Engineers Ireland, agrees. He points out that Ireland’s proficiency in terms of engineering competence has played a crucial role in developing our s strong FDI culture as well as fostering indigenous talent. “Having the required level of technical and non-technical skills and being able to display this is hugely important, both in terms of winning contracts abroad and tendering for work domestically.” To this end, Engineers Ireland has a wide-ranging suite of continuing professional development courses and qualifications in place, some of which are accessible online. As well as its CPD accredited employer standard, it also runs specialist diplomas and qualification in topics such as project management

and finance. Having those qualifications and marks of assurance in place is crucial for engineering companies who want to compete at the highest level and diversify internationally. Many Irish engineering companies are successfully competing for contracts abroad, building on the experience they have garnered over the last few decades in Ireland. According to Dave Murphy, PM Group’s experience in delivering large-scale projects for some of the world’s biggest multinationals in Ireland has opened doors elsewhere. “Many of our international contracts are with companies who we already worked for in Ireland. In other words, what we’ve done is grow the capacity here and export that knowledge to other regions.”

‘We had a trial of over 4,000 people when it was still a construction site’



JOHN NOONE Dublin Airport Authority

Clonmel has a long history of flooding. This frequent flooding has led to the deterioration of the industrial heart of the town and has had a negative impact on the lives of people in affected areas. It has also limited the development potential of this regional centre. An extreme flood in October 2004 flooded parts of the town by up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) and led to the Office of Public Works (OPW) appointing Mott MacDonald Ireland to develop a proposal that would protect the urban area from flooding. When the optimum arrangement of flood defences

through Clonmel was determined it was found that the height of flood defences required along the quays to protect the town from the onein-100-year flood event was up to 2.75m above the existing quay. Such a wall would visually cut off the town from the river and would not be acceptable. It was decided to install a 1.2m high reinforced concrete wall along the quay onto which demountable flood defences could be installed to further extend the height of the defences during a flood event. This option means the visual amenity of the river is preserved when flooding is not an immediate

problem. It also means the local authority will have additional hours to install the demountables as the flood level rises against the new wall. One of the unique features of the scheme is the dry bridge. As part of the scheme it was necessary to demolish the old stone bridge that was not very efficient at conveying flow and was in danger of collapse. The old bridge was important to the local community so the Office of Public Works decided to replace the bridge with something special. The new bridge is a beautiful, modern, reinforced concrete structure with glass parapets

which enhance the connection between the community and the river. The glass parapets incorporate etchings which reflect this connection, including some text anecdotes that people from the community had about the bridge and the river. The problem was that the bridge was still not as efficient as it could be so the parapets were designed so that they could be folded flat on the deck of the bridge in a time of flood. This allows flood water to flow over the deck and therefore reduce flood levels upstream. In order to prevent flooding

around the bridge the roads were designed to be sealed off during a flood. The unique feature of this scheme is that the engineers designed a bridge that is supposed to flood in order to reduce flood levels. Costing in the region of ¤40 million, the overall design comprises 3.8 kilometres of flood walls, 3.5 kilometres of embankments, 850 metres of demountable defences, 5.9 kilometres of storm-water sewers, 12 pumping stations and two fish passes. In addition it includes the replacement of three bridges and the strengthening and/or widening

of a further two. Work was substantially completed in August 2012, and so 309 residential properties and 189 commercial properties are now protected from the one-in-100-year flood event. Quite apart from the bricks and mortar impact that the scheme has had on the town of Clonmel, the project has given hundreds of families and businesses the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are protected from the frequent flooding that has been a feature of life in Clonmel in the recent past. – JOHN HOLDEN

The construction and opening of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, is possibly one of the best known and most publicly debated engineering projects in Ireland in recent years. Senior fire engineer John Noone first got interested in engineering when he worked on the Fullerton reservoir in Donegal as a 16-year-old student. As an associate with ARUP, Noone was tasked with delivering aspects of the build of Terminal 2, such as fire safety and construction management. What made his role all the more difficult was working to the defined timelines, and also operating in an economic downturn, which impacted on contractors and others working on the project. In effect, this meant that many of the fire and safety rehearsals and simulations had to be carried out in a way which also allowed the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) conduct their operations and training regimes at the same time. The project had between 10,000 and 11,000 workers employed on it at any one time, and Noone was involved from 2007 right through until 2011. “I came in as fire engineer to help deliver the fire safety strategy for the build and gradually my role evolved into a construction management role,” he says. “The biggest issue was the construction timeline and it was undertaken against the backdrop of a country in recession. “The programme was behind schedule, and the DAA needed for us to finish six months before they could fly out the first flight. We had to come up with a plan that allowed the DAA undertake their work and also allow us undertake our fire safety work. For example, we had a public trial of over 4,000 people when it was still a construction site.” This was the largest project Noone had ever worked on, and he says the experience he gained will be likely to inform much of his work into the future. “The experience was absolutely brilliant and has changed my entire outlook. No project will ever be the same again and I will approach other work in a completely different light.” As to the nomination itself, it has given him some reason to reflect on the project and its success. “I was surprised and delighted to be nominated. It has been a bit of a whirlwind since, but it has allowed me to reflect on some of the achievements and what we have done so far.”

Friday, November 2, 2012





Designing courses for flexible careers Irish engineering education fits the brief with qualifications that travel and are flexible enough to adapt, writes Louise Holden


ATHS and hard hats. That’s the impression of engineering that prevails in Ireland. It’s not only off -putting for many considering career options, it’s also plain wrong, says NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne. “Engineering in the past has been very narrowly defined. People tend only to think of civil engineers, designing bridges and roads. That has changed completely. Every area now from biomedics to gaming involves engineers.” According to Browne, public perception of the role of the engineer needs to catch up with reality if we are to attract more students to the study of engineering. The fundamental role of the engineer is to solve problems and improve the quality of life for people. “It’s a very human activity,” says Browne, a former president of Engineers Ireland. “It involves looking at the way people live and the challenges they face and designing solutions that help. That can stretch from bioinformatics to software design.” Parents and schools need to communicate the flexibility of an engineering degree to students making their CAO choices, Browne maintains. “Engineering is an extremely flexible degree and the quality of engineering programmes in Ireland is second to none.” A decade of investment in engineering research in Ireland has paid dividends in terms of infrastructure, expertise and standards, says Browne. Irish universities and colleges have built up a network of modern facilities and Irish engineering graduates are respected abroad. The sector has also benefited from the evolution of course delivery and research methods. “We used to have to spend a lot of money on labs but the development of virtual learning environments means that students can conduct high level research more cost effectively. This has transformed education for engineers and given our students access to global stand-

ards of research.” Underpinning the development of engineering education in Ireland is a rigorous quality assurance regime devised and executed by Engineers Ireland. Damien Owens, registrar at Engineers Ireland, explains why Irish engineering graduates can compete with the best in the world. “Every college delivering engineering programmes in the country is reviewed by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland. “Engineers Ireland provides accreditation – our criteria are benchmarked against international best practice. We in turn are observed by our international peers who license us for accordance with EUR-ACE. This is a European accord which sets the standards for programmes in engineering. We can only be accredited if we are deemed to be ‘substantially equivalent’ to other accredited programmes across Europe,” says Owens. Engineers Ireland reviews Irish education providers every five years, across a very robust set of indicators. “The Engineers Ireland panel consists of academics and industry

partners. We inspect facilities to establish if they are up to date. We interview staff to ensure that they are qualified and engaged in research. We review examinations and scripts to satisfy ourselves that students are being assessed correctly and that they are prepared for those assessments. “We interview students on the programme and graduates. We interview graduates of other courses who have worked alongside the graduates in question to gather their observations. Finally we interview the employers of the graduates. This is a 360 degree assessment and it is repeated every five years.” Because the work of Engineers Ireland is monitored and accredited by an expanding number of partners; in Europe, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Turkey and Japan; graduates of engineering degrees in Ireland can be confident that they have a qualification that travels well. “Because we are part of the International Engineering Alliance, we are covered by the Washington Accord. This means that an Irish accredited graduate of engineering

Engineering standards for industry Companies that integrate standards into their strategy enjoy competitive advantage and open up new international markets for their products and services. So says Maurice Buckley, chief executive of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). “Recent years have seen a surge in the number of Irish businesses actively participating in international standardisation. “As news has spread of Irish companies winning business by working with their peers at European and international standards meetings, more companies want to be part of this process and NSAI are only too happy to facilitate this through our CEN and ISO membership”, Buckley says. “We depend on standards for everything to run smoothly, but most of the time we don’t even notice them,” says Buckley. “We expect that the seat belt we put on when we get in the car will keep us safe because it is made to a standard. In engineering; bridges, roads, Luas

lines; all are made to exacting standards. Most of the products we encounter in any day and the services we use will all have standards backing them up.” With over 23,000 standards documents in their catalogue including 2,000 published in 2011 alone, Buckley estimates that 50 per cent of the industry participants that worked with NSAI to develop these standards are engineers. “There is a strong link between standards and our sponsorship of the Best Paper or Presentation of the Year Award at the Engineers Ireland Awards 2012. In essence, a standard is traditionally seen as best practice requirements printed on paper. Of course these days they are available in multiple digital formats. For engineers unable to participate internationally we have set up the online portal so Irish business can have an input to the content of the standards that are coming down the line.” – LOUISE HOLDEN

We can stand over what Irish engineers are learning

can enter any of the partner markets knowing that his or her qualification will translate. It eases the process of visa application and makes job hunting much easier.” What all this means for the Irish engineering undergraduate is opportunity. “We can stand over what Irish engineers are learning,” says Owens. The challenge now is to get more school level students to look seriously at engineering as a course of study. The jobs market for engineers remains buoyant. “Civil engineering has been hit by the recession, but there are huge shortages elsewhere,” says Dr Jim Browne. “Employers are competing for software engineers, for example. If you have a basic engineering qualification you can convert it relatively quickly to specialise in a particular area. The nature of the discipline is such that it builds on a set of principles common to all engineers, which are grounded in design and problemsolving.” At post-primary level, Engineers Ireland is working hard to inspire potential young engineers, offering online maths tutorials for junior and senior cycles as well as on-site sessions in Dublin, Cork and Galway ( The STEPS programme also comprises school visits, careers advice and teacher support. “Irish engineering education has taken great strides and we have much to be proud of,” says Browne. “Now it’s time to move away from early specialisation and towards more common entry options that provide graduates with the flexibility to convert their engineering training to the massive breadth of career options on offer.” All the universities and many of the Institutes of Technology offer one or two-year conversion courses for engineering graduates. For a full list visit “The choice of careers at the end of an engineering qualification is much wider than most people realise,” says Browne. “We have to get that message out there.”

The Giant’s Causeway is one of Ireland’s most famous and beautiful natural tourist attractions. The legends surrounding its creation are far more lustrous and attractive than the quite prosaic geologic process that actually formed it and visitors frequently speak of an aura of mysticism surrounding the site. There had been a visitors’ centre on the site up to 2000 when it burned down. In 2005, an international Architectural Design Competition for the design of a replacement was launched. The aim was to find a design which would replace the temporary facilities which were put on the site following the fire in 2000. This was seen as an opportunity to provide an appropriate introduction for the visitor to the coastal landscape of a World Heritage Site. As the site lies within the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), it was a requirement that that the visitors’ centre should be sympathetic to its surrounding landscape and mindful of the existing coastal ridgeline. The brief also stated that the visitors’ centre must be both

Innovation Matters Find out how Ireland is doing, from R&D tax incentives to links with academia... download KPMG’s Innovation Monitor 2012

‘We wanted to achieve facilities that demonstrate world-class acoustics’ SHORTLISTED CHARTERED ENGINEER

DAVID CAWLEY Allegro Acoustics

David Cawley, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from NUI Galway and Master’s Degree in Applied Acoustics from the University of Surrey, has almost a decade of experience in the acoustics, noise and vibration industry. The company he founded, Allegro Acoustics, has been awarded major projects both domestically and internationally, and as well as in his professional life, Cawley is also a very accomplished clarinist, having started at age five. The project he has been shortlisted for involved the acoustic design of the new 11,000

sq m student centre in University College Dublin, which incorporates several different leisure, cultural, educational and performance spaces. The Student Centre 2 opened in June this year and Cawley worked on the project for five years. “I commenced in early 2008 and worked with architects and design teams. There was a 160-seat drama theatre, as well as debating chambers, television and radio studios, swimming pools and other areas,” he says. “We were commissioned because all those areas have an acoustic aspect, and we wanted to achieve facilities that demonstrate

world-class acoustic qualities.” Thus in the theatre no microphones are needed for performers to be heard and in the 50-metre swimming pool the acoustics mean there is a significantly quieter atmosphere than in most pools of similar size. Some of the design means the use of less electronics is required making it a more sustainable method of acoustics into the future. “Being shortlisted for the award is surprising,” says Cawley. “I work in a very niche area and I always thought generic mechanical engineers dominated these things. It means a lot to me to get the recognition from my peers.”

environmentally and financially sustainable, and have a flexible use of space that would allow change over the life of the building. heneghan peng architects won the competition, and a full design team including Arup as structural engineers was subsequently appointed. Planning permission for the project was granted in January 2009, with the completed project delivered in July of this year. “The key thing was to make the architect’s vision come to life,” says Gerardina Guarino of Arup. “The folds in the landscape are reflected in the roof of the building and it has a vanishing point going to zero.” Indeed, not only is the building in sympathy with the surrounding landscape parts of it from some angles are not visible at all from the Giant’s Causeway itself. From one side it has the appearance of a bar code or series of pre-Celtic standing stones, from another angle it disappears into the ground in the distance, and from another all that is visible is the road above and the tunnel that bring visitors to the Causeway. The highest grade of sustainability certification was achieved. GGBS was

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used as an alternative to traditional concrete for the roof. This is a by-product of the steel industry and it reduced the embedded carbon footprint of the building by some 60 per cent. It also uses a passive ventilation system. “Our planning permission did not allow us to have flues and other pieces of kit on the roof so we had to use a passive system which takes into account the mass of the building which loses very little heat,” Garano explains. “We used a ground source heat exchange system for heating and cooling, with the piping going in under the car park. The building also has a design life of 100 years and our client, the National Trust, was very pleased about that.” According to Garano, among the most significant achievements of the project was the co-ordination of the various people involved. “The project required the development of specially tailored design and construction strategies, which were capable of adapting to the complex geometries of the scheme. The result of this creative, problem-solving approach is a building that provides a model for environmentally sensitive development.” – BARRY MCCALL


Friday, November 2, 2012



Proof that engineers do it better The Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards highlight the varied work of Irish engineers and engineering, writes Barry McCall


HE ENGINEERS Ireland Excellence Awards recognise the achievements of engineers and organisations who have demonstrated exceptional engineering skills and made a significant contribution to the engineering body of knowledge in Ireland in the past year. The centrepiece of the awards, which take place on Friday, November 9th, is the Engineering Project of the Year, which aims to raise public awareness of the contribution engineering makes to society. The award is decided by a public vote on seven shortlisted entries chosen by Engineers Ireland. Shortlisted entries have to demonstrate use of sound engineering principles and practices; originality and ingenuity; adherence to budget, schedule and quality standards; actual or potential contribution to the economy; impact on the quality of life of the relevant communities; and significance as a benchmark of Irish engineering. They must also highlight the particular influence or benefit the engineering in the project has on society. This year’s shortlisted projects are Cill Rónáin Harbour, Inis Mór; Clonmel Flood Relief Scheme; Etihad Skyline Croke Park Stadium; Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre; Michael O’Shaughnessy Bridge; Portrane/Donabate/Rush/ Lusk Waste Water Treatment Scheme; and Titanic Belfast. Each of the projects is profiled in this supplement. Public voting opened on October 8th and will conclude next Thursday. The overall winner will be announced on November

9th at an awards ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin. “The standard of entries in 2012 was extremely high, and I’d like to congratulate the seven shortlisted projects which feature an outstanding variety of Irish engineering”, says John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland. “This competition is further proof of the positive impact Irish engineering has on the island and why Ireland needs to produce more engineers who can use their skill to benefit society. All the projects have significantly improved the communities in which they are based, and we now call on the public to get behind their chosen entry and vote to decide Ireland’s Engineering Project of the Year.” The public vote is key, says Fionnuala Kilbane, marketing and communications director with Engineers Ireland. “The contribution to the community made by the project is very important and that’s why it’s a public choice. We want to make the public more aware of the contribution engineering makes to society. If you look at this year’s shortlist you will find the Clonmel Flood Relief Scheme, for example. This is quite local but it is extremely important to the people of Clonmel . . . On the other hand you have the Titanic Belfast and Croke Park projects which are making contributions to the economy and their communities through increased tourism.” And public interest has been high this year. “We have seen communities and entrants using social media to promote different projects,” she says. “Anything that gets the public to engage with the award and with engineering is a good thing.” The overall Engineering Project of the Year is just one of the awards which will be made on the night. Six others aimed at promoting various aspects of engineering excellence and the work of engineers will also be given out. The Chartered Engineer of the Year will be awarded to an outstanding engineer who has successfully achieved chartered engineer status in the 12-month period up to June 2012. “Chartered engineers have to go through an interview panel and we ask the panelists to

Excellence Awards The shortlist BEST PAPER OR PRESENTATION OF THE YEAR Clonmel Flood Relief – civil division – Cyril McCarthy, chartered engineer, OPW – Barry O’Connor, chartered engineer, Mott MacDonald Ireland Dublin Airport Dart Link – Road and Transportation Society – Dick Fearn, chief executive, Iarnród Éireann – Michael Reidy, chartered engineer, Iarnród Éireann Providing Water for Fire Safety – Fire and Safety division – Michael P Lyons, chartered engineer, Michael P Lyons and Associates Making a difference: members of the Young Engineers Society, which has been shortlisted for the Volunteer Group of the Year award

We want to raise awareness of the contribution engineering makes to society

nominate outstanding candidates to go forward for this award,” says Kilbane. The shortlisted candidates are profiled on the preceding pages of this supplement. Technology of the Year is a new award to be presented to an organisation that has demonstrated excellence in technology. It aims to highlight innovation in technology in Ireland that clearly demonstrates a real impact on society as well as an actual or future contribution to the economy. “One of the challenges we face is that people still think of engineers as people in hard hats on building sites,” says Kilbane. “Through the awards we’re aiming to broaden people’s opinions on what an engineering project can be. The new technology category should help to do this and showcase a different side of engineering.” The Engineering Education Award “Best in Class” 2012 highlights developments in Irish engineering education that demonstrate a real impact on students. The award will be presented to a

third-level education institute that has demonstrated excellence in the field of engineering education. The Environmental Infrastructure Award is for the management of one of the following: a solid waste-disposal facility, or a waste-water treatment plant or a drinkingwater treatment facility that demonstrates excellence in the performance of the infrastructure in terms of value for money, treatment performance or waste prevention. The Best Paper or Presentation of the Year is open to individuals who have presented a paper or talk during the 20011/12 lecture season. The Volunteer or Volunteer Group of the Year acknowledges those who have made a difference to the engineering community by giving their support, time and skills to raise the profile of engineering and Irish engineers.

To vote for the Engineering Project of the Year go to, where you will also find short video presentations on all seven shortlisted projects featured here. Voting closes on November 8th.

Learning through Community Engagement – College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI, Galway ENVIRONMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE AWARD Ennis Water Treatment Plant – Clare CountyCouncil/ Mott MacDonald/EPS Upgrade of Erne Valley Group Water Scheme – Cavan County Council/Erne Valley Group Water Scheme/ TOBIN Consulting Engineers Waterford Wastewater Treatment Plant – Waterford City Council/ Mott MacDonald/Anglian Water International

ENGINEERING EDUCATION AWARD ‘BEST IN CLASS’ 2012 Design of Assistive Technology – Applied Technology Department, Dublin Institute of Technology – Enable Ireland, National Assistive Technology Training Service

Tullamore Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sludge Treatment Centre – Offaly County Council/ TJ O’Connor and Associates/EPS/SIAC

Trinity College Dublin all-Ireland MSc in Bioengineering Education – Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, National College of Art and Design

FixMyArea App – Locate Online Limited

Educating Engineers as if they were Human: Civil @ UL – Department of Civil Engineering and Materials Science, University of Limerick

TECHNOLOGY OF THE YEAR EirGrid SmartGrid iPhone App – EirGrid plc

The Open-Centre Tidal Turbine – OpenHydro Group Ltd VOLUNTEER OR VOLUNTEER GROUP OF THE YEAR – Bill Grimson, chartered engineer – Sean Lenihan, chartered engineer – Young Engineers Society – The North West Region

O’Connor Sutton Cronin (OCSC) is an unrivalled international multidisciplinary consulting engineering and project management practice. Founded in 1988 the practice has grown to become one of the leading multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies in the State. OCSC has worked successfully with all major public, semi-state and private sector clients in the Institutional, Commercial, Residential and Industrial sectors. The group has expanded in recent years with offices in Ireland, the UK, Europe, North Africa, Russia and the Middle East to become an International Multidisciplinary Consulting Engineering practice servicing an expanding client base. OCSC provides Civil, Structural, Mechanical & Electrical and Transportation engineering design and consultancy, project management and PSDP services. OCSC is LEED, BREEAM, Low Carbon Energy Assessor, CEEQUAL and ISO 9001, 14001 & 18001 accredited as well as being a CPD award winning consultancy with an untiring focus on continuing personal and professional development. OCSC’s vision is to provide a one-stop shop for fully coordinated multidisciplinary engineering design and project management that constantly exceeds our clients’ highest expectations. We share our passion and excellence for engineering design with our clients on a global stage. Our integrated multidisciplinary consulting service is founded on a reputation for award winning design creativity, engineering excellence and the provision of cost effective solutions without compromise or delay. Our people combine global expertise with local knowledge in a professional, friendly, can-do attitude. Our senior management are hands-on chartered engineers and project managers who are always available to our clients to provide practical solutions to the most complex of problems. OCSC provides its clients with a single point of contact and human experience underlining a defined focus on long term client relationships. TONY HORAN CHARTERED ENGINEER GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR O’CONNOR SUTTON CRONIN

SHORTLISTED ENGINEERING PROJECT Cill Rónáin Harbour Development Inis Mór, Co Galway MICHAEL PUNCH & PARTNERS/BAM CIVIL In recent years the island of Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands in County Galway, has experienced significant growth in tourist traffic. Many want to visit the unique remains of the fort at Dún Aonghasa as well as other historical monuments. Conscious of the social impact of island residents relocating to the mainland in Connemara, and in an attempt to reverse this trend, in 2000 the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commissioned PUNCH Consulting to initiate a project to make the access to Cill Rónáin Harbour safer . Consultation followed through public meetings at which the local group, Coiste Calafort Inis Mór Árainn, played a central role in articulating the wishes of the various interests to Galway County Council. As the project moved through the various stages of planning and design, it quickly became obvious that providing shelter from ocean waves was of paramount importance. The new shelter enabled construction of new quays to provide safe access for all users, including

fishermen who could keep their vessels at a deep water quay, passenger ferries serving tourists and residents alike, cargo service, and of course the RNLI emergency service. The new harbour facility is sheltered by a stone breakwater which is more than half a kilometre long. The harbour within has a marine working area equivalent to twice that of Croke Park. Prior to construction, an innovative largescale physical model was tested in a UK hydro laboratory. This allowed the harbour design to be streamlined to provide the best protection and calmest water with the available budget. All decisions were taken with sustainability in mind. For example, the harbour dredging was designed so that it provided all of the rock and sand filling that was needed for the core of the breakwater and the extensive car park reclamation area. More than 77,000 tonnes of large natural stone blocks, sourced nearby in Connemara, were then used to protect the breakwater and reclamation from erosion . The piers were constructed from large concrete blocks, up to 23 tonnes in weight, cast

off-site and delivered by barge direct from the casting facility which avoided road traffic congestion. Significant safety, security, and environmental monitoring was employed, particularly during the blasting and dredging of the bedrock in the harbour. For example, a marine mammal observer was present to monitor seals and dolphins during blasting works, and a team of archaeologists was present to supervise the dredging works. All in all it, was a most challenging and interesting project. The project construction cost was ¤39 million and it was delivered by BAM Civil in November 2011. The Cill Rónáin harbour development project has brought great benefits in terms of the safe operation of the harbour. Perhaps the most wide ranging benefit of all will be the support to the island community that the new harbour will provide. In doing so, it will also provide protection to the Irish language and the Irish culture on the island, which will benefit all of us, socially and economically. – JOHN HOLDEN