• 24 March 2017

Major School Development Programme in Ireland

We are extremely proud of our Ireland team’s appointment as the first external partner to assist the Department of Education and Skill’s site acquisition process. With the intention of implementing a rigorous planning and technical based assessment of potential sites, we will assist the Department in identifying suitable locations and ultimately reduce the average cost and time to deliver these new schools.

With Ireland experiencing continued long term growth in its population over the last 15 years, the Department of Education and Skills has identified the need for new school facilities to meet the needs of expanding communities. Throughout this time, our team has established an in-depth knowledge of the particular requirements for school development projects having completed numerous commissions on behalf of the Department and various education governing bodies.

30 sites throughout the country

We are currently providing civil and structural engineering services for the 2015-2017 Rapid Build Schools Framework which includes; new 750 to 1,000-pupil secondary schools at Balbriggan and Carrigaline; new primary schools at Fermoy, Cabra, Tyrellstown, Mulhudart, Firhouse, Lucan, and Limerick; a temporary school in Firhouse and an extension to the existing school in Charleville.

hub-2This appointment involves early stage planning and design work to obtain a grant of planning for school facilities at 30 sites throughout the country.

Our role has required us to engage with Local Planning Authorities throughout the country to negotiate suitable access, services and utilities provision. In most cases, detailed external works designs were required to accompany the planning applications in addition to Traffic Impact Assessments, Mobility Management Plans and Flood Risk Assessments.

Once planning permission has been granted, specimen designs are then prepared to enable procurement of Design and Build contractors whilst detailed designs prepared by the Contractors’ designers are vetted, and progress on site is monitored.

We were recently re-appointed by the Department to fulfil the same role on the Rapid Build Schools Framework for 2017-2018, this time for the provision of a further 20 projects.

Site Appraisal and Acquisition Team

Another recent appointment by the Department is as a member of a Site Appraisal and Acquisition team. We will work directly with the Department’s Planning Unit to identify viable locations for new schools in areas where the need for these facilities has been identified.

Working with planners and property consultants, the team will assess and rank potential sites that could accommodate the desired facilities. Our role requires initial desk top studies to identify engineering constraints and detailed studies including; engagement with local authority technical services departments, services and utility providers and other third parties, development of sketch scheme layouts, external play areas, site access, drop-off and parking areas. This allows the Department to select the preferred sites for procurement.

Two exemplar new school projects

Kingswood Secondary School_Image courtesy of ARPL ArchitectsKingswood Secondary School and Harcourt Terrace Primary School are being designed to trial new standards for adoption in the future of educational buildings in Ireland. We have secured appointments for full civil and structural engineering services from master planning to completion of construction for both schools, in addition to providing building services consultancy for the Harcourt Terrace project.

The £15m Kingswood scheme is due to commence construction in early 2017 and will provide facilities for 1,000 pupils, while the £8.5m 24 classroom development at Harcourt Terrace is currently at planning stage.

Our future in education

Paul O’Connell, MD of Waterman Moylan, says; “The education sector is likely to continue to provide a steady stream of new work for us over the coming years. The expansion of schools is set to continue, driven by a growing population and the development of new residential communities around the existing major urban centres. Our expertise and reputation should ensure that our leading role in the provision of engineering services on school projects continues.”

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