Category Archives: Article

Greg Traynor — An Appreciation

Greg Traynor
1940 – 2019

The Traynor name has been prominent in the industry since Greg’s father (Noel Snr)followed a career in all aspects of building services engineering further to an apprenticeship in a major contractor’s office in Dublin in the 1930s. Noel Snr subsequently moved to Northern Ireland during World War II, designing services for American bases and hospitals, returning to Dublin after the war to build the new sanitoria with the Department of Health. Greg qualified from UCD in Mechanical Engineering and Building Services Engineering in Southbank Polytechnic (now Southbank University). He followed his father into consulting engineering and lived and worked in London and San Francisco. Much of this international experience was incorporated into innovative designs, particularly in industrial projects, on his return to Dublin.

Noel Snr and Greg founded the practice of JN & G Traynor & Partners in 1974 and over the next 38 years – until his retirement in 2012 – Greg enjoyed the challenges, the innovations, the latest technologies and more importantly, the people who worked in all areas of the industry. Greg’s brother, Noel Jnr, and his sister, Michaele, also spent time in the practice.

I began working in the practice in 1995. It was immediately apparent that if you had a problem with a job and a spot of reassurance or lateral thinking was required, a conversation with Greg would either solve the issue or give you the confidence that you were making the correct decision. I recall one incident in which I was given the task of designing an escape route pressurisation system for a large multi-storey building. Greg was away at the time and I spent two days poring through the relevant British Standards and estimating the size of air gaps between landing doors etc.

The client was on the phone every  couple of hours looking for the fan size and panic had set in. Greg arrived back late on the afternoon of the second day and, after the customary “Allo Allo Allo” delivered in a deep baritone voice, was met with panic from me and the client on the phone frustrated and annoyed. At this stage I had about five completely different fan ratings. He calmly asked me “what’s your best estimate at this stage?”. I told him my best estimate and he said “that sounds about right – double it!”. It worked. He adopted this calm approach at all times to all situations. Perhaps this is missing from the industry today.

As stated previously, Greg had a keen interest in people in the industry and enjoyed meeting other consultants, contractors and sales representatives. No matter who you were and whether you came to the offices by appointment or unannounced, there was always a coffee or tea on offer. The conversation at these meetings invariably strayed from the topic in hand into industry scuttlebutt, mutual acquaintances, musicals, literature or one of the vast arrays of interests that Greg found time for while managing a busy practice.

Greg devoted much time to the industry outside of work and sat on many committees of Engineers Ireland and CIBSE Ireland. He was Chairman of CIBSE Ireland in 2000- 2001. His father, Noel Snr, was also Chairman of CIBSE Ireland in 1970- 1972. Greg took a keen interest in the formation of young engineers and always promoted the profession to prospective students. His adoption of low energy technology was ahead of its time and his experimental mind lead him to implement low energy technology (MVHR, LED Lighting & Ground Source Heat Pumps) in the refurbishment of his own house.

The systems were controlled and monitored by a complete building management system and he took a keen interest in the validation (or not) of the manufacturers claims against this measured data. Greg had a keen interest in technology, both in building services technology as well as office technology. The practice was one of the first to adopt CAD systems (Microstation and later AutoCad) and even though the practice had a small staff, regular updates to computer systems and servers were made to the consternation of Noel Snr: “What do you want another one of those boxes for”.

I don’t think the practice actually needed these regular upgrades but each new upgrade brought additional computing power for Greg’s interest in acquiring knowledge by Web researching. We would often divide the workload on a tender with Greg taking charge of the specifications and I designing and drawing. After a number of hours into the work, I would wander over to check a point with Greg but he could not be be disturbed as he would be half way through an academic paper on some obscure topic from an even more obscure American university.

He had  a very high intellect and had a breadth and depth of knowledge that I have never come across before or since. No matter what the problem or issue, work-related or not, consulting the “Oracle” was always the wisest thing to do.

The advent of high-speed broadband into the office brought many benefits but also some drawbacks. Once again, when specifications were being prepared by Greg, the Web would be consulted for details of an air handling unit and ten minutes later the screen would be showing something connected to science, nature or the arts. Greg had a great love of all things artistic and was a member of various musical societies and appeared in a number of shows over the years. He also had a great love of literature and enjoyed using quotes when the opportunity presented itself. When, as a junior engineer,

I had completed a report Greg would wander over and note that he would review the report to add: “Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative” (W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado). His narrative was not confirmed to artistic classics and when a statement was made that “surely the radiator can’t be that size” this was often met with “it is, and don’t call me Surely” (The Naked Gun).

Greg was something of a hoarder of books and magazines of all descriptions. The office had collections of IHVE, CIBS, CIBSE, IEI, Engineers Ireland and ASHRAE magazines dating from the earliest editions. Engineering books and catalogues dating from the late 1800s were also collected. Upon moving out of the office in Lansdowne Terrace in 2008, this collection had to be sorted and decisions made whether to bring them with us, donate them or bin them. A couple of hours into this sorting, we would be merrily filling black sack after black sack.

Checking on Greg’s progress would invariably find him engrossed in a fascinating article from an early edition of a magazine or a concert programme with little or no progress made with the task in hand. We discovered that this work was best carried out when Greg was out of the office and the bags taken away before his return! Greg retired in 2012 and divided he time between Toronto and Dublin. He never lost interest in the industry, particularly the people in it, and each time we met he would ask about the practice, the latest technologies and, most importantly, the industry gossip and who was still “vertical and mobile”. Greg’s passing has left a void in the industry in a place reserved for a true gentleman.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat 

Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl

Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh

Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,

Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú. 

PS: The issue of Building Services News containing this appreciation can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking on the Cover image below Greg’s picture.

CIBSE YEN Ireland … making CPD fun!

Engineers preparing to take to the track in their weather-proof kit during the recent COBSE YEN Ireland CPD event at Glen Dimplex

The Zeroth Energy System is an innovative community heating network particularly suited to apartment complexes. It contains heat pump technology and utilises a refrigerant-free, water-to-water energy loop to provide heating, cooling and hot water. The unique design and operating temperatures allow a broader range of heating or cooling equipment to be used compared with current building design practice.

The site trip and CPD presentation involved a classroom-type interactive presentation followed by a tour of the purpose-designed, apartment-style demo installations. However, it was a site visit with a difference. It was not death by Powerpoint but rather a workshop format with the 16 young engineer participants divided into teams who competed for points based on the Zeroth presentation.

Scores were allocated and recorded at the end of the “workshop” element, and then carried over to the go-karting competition at the WhiteRiver outdoor go-kart racing circuit located just a few minutes drive from the Glen Dimplex complex.

On arrival the group once again assembled into their respective teams and, having been kitted out and briefed on the rules and safety regulations, got down to the serious business of racing. The excitement of the day was multiplied in spades by the fact the heavens opened just as the racing began, making driving conditions on the outside circuit like skating on ice!

The computerised timing system and the individual lap time printouts charted everyone’s progress so there was no possibility of cheating, save for the nudging that occurred on the track. On conclusion of the racing the exhausted participants re-assembled to witness the team scores being tallied and added to the scores from the earlier workshop session to determine the overall winners.

While it may be clichéd to say so, it was not about the winning on the day, the interactive formula of the occasion ensuring that it was all about the taking part … it really was a case of CPD learning made fun.

If you are interested in joining CIBSE YEN Ireland Branch – and participating in future YEN events – contact Ryan Loney at email: rloney@jvtierney.ie

Building Engineering on brink of revolution

Hannah Vickers, CEO, Association for Consultancy & Engineering.

Our industry now stands on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. Led by data and technology, new tools are emerging, including self-monitoring infrastructure, offsite and modular construction, drones and virtual reality which enable engineers to monitor buildings from their desks, and digital design which takes minutes, rather than weeks. All of this is intended to help build the “smart” infrastructure society is demanding, such as more efficient turn-up-and-go transport networks and sustainable, yet affordable housing.

Engineering and technical consultancy remains the backbone of the economy as infrastructure investment is critical to ensure post-austerity growth. In this economic and political environment, our industry is more important than ever before. However, with the demands we are now facing, is our sector, collectively, ready to meet this challenge? It is clear that in order to do so a change is required – not just on a technical or project level, but on strategic, market and industry levels too.

It’s evident that within this new prism there are significant opportunities for firms to improve outcomes and deliver better-quality services for the end-users of infrastructure, but this must be enabled by the actions of the government and private sector clients. They are ultimately responsible for creating the environment which will allow us to bring forward the best the industry has to offer. Exploiting these new technological opportunities will improve the productivity of our sector and its export potential.

I unveiled ACE’s Future of Consultancy campaign in November 2018. This is a multi-year, two-phased campaign which will firstly scope new areas of opportunity, identify and explore new business models for consultancy, and analyse the sector’s changing needs in terms of skills.

Secondly, the campaign will pull together findings from phase one and focus on enhancing existing revenue streams and the development of new ones. We’ll also be looking at piloting tomorrow’s training, apprenticeship schemes and contracts, and creating effective and fit-for-future-purpose industry forums and partnerships to support a vibrant, profitable and sustainable sector.

All of this will help our members, no matter what their size, seize the opportunities that lie ahead of us. However, for this to happen, we will need to build a consensus for change, not just among ACE members, but with wider stakeholder and government bodies too. There are many possibilities open to us in supporting our clients, and we have divided these into three areas based on the asset lifecycle:

Strategic planning and placemaking                                                                                                                     A better understanding of user requirements helps clients to “optioneer” the best solutions, making trade-offs in what they value to get to the best-quality design for a community. An increase in data and digitally-enabled modelling gives consultancy the tools to apply its expertise in a more strategic way, requiring a maturity shift in client mentality away from capital cost to the ultimate objective of defining outcomes. Their willingness to pay for these outcomes enables industry to bring forward more productive solutions such as offsite manufacturing at scale across a programme.

Delivering integrated projects                                                                                                                              This touches on the importance of core disciplines of successful delivery in information management, programme management and production management, but we can go beyond this by exploring our remit as consultancy businesses in integrating funding streams across multiple clients, and perhaps finance across the whole asset lifecycle.

Data-led asset performance                                                                                                                        Combining data and technologies available in both buildings and infrastructure to understand and optimise asset system performance, often against changing user requirements, means bringing to bear our tools and expertise to share learning and optimise the benefits across sectors and clients at a system level.

While these areas themselves are not new, the opportunities we have to support our clients within them will change as a result of the tools and data available to use in a digitally-enabled environment.

The value is in bringing together our collective offer in an integrated way to get the flow of data, products and expertise working around the whole life-cycle, and seamlessly across multiple clients. A truly valuable client partner will understand and mitigate risks, not just on a project but in how assets contribute to the network and in turn the network of other clients.

For large firms this means building on the existing model of mentoring, developing and championing expertise within your firm and your supply chain partners to ensure your integrated offer is a compelling one. For smaller firms it’s about understanding where you add value in this model, often in multiple phases and perhaps in areas of the life-cycle that you don’t currently get invited into.

This collective vision about how we can add value makes for a more compelling proposition for those looking to a future career in the industry. Between us, we offer different corporate environments, employment structures and a variety of work for a fulfilling, life-long career within the industry. If we can develop and articulate a more integrated industry with a vision to an individual, we can find a place within it to suit their needs and ambitions. In turn, this makes us inclusive, representative and sustainable for the future – without a skills crisis.

CIBSE initiative opens exciting workshare horizons

Cian Dowling, Director, Axiseng with Tom Egan, Project Engineer, Winthrop Engineering & Contracting; Mona Holtkoetter, Chairperson, CIBSE Ireland; Kerry Taylor, Design Engineer, Axiseng consulting engineers; and Thomas Sheridan, Project Manager, Winthrop Engineering & Contracting.

The objective is to enhance the experience of the participating engineer and contractor so that they each gain insights into the working practices of the other discipline (contractor/design consultancy), and to expose them to the everyday challenges faced in project management, but from the other side of the fence!

The participants in the inaugural programme are Tom Egan Project Engineer, Winthrop Engineering& Contracting and Kerry Taylor, Design Engineer, Axiseng consulting engineers. The project is Spencer Dock in the north Dublin docklands.

The workshare exchange programme commenced in May and is scheduled to run to the end of July. During this period Kerry and Tom will carry out their normal duties on the project, but will also work in the respective exchange company for one day a week over the course of the three months. To guide and support them within each company there are two mentors – Richard Vaughan, Principal Engineer, Axiseng and Thomas Sheridan, Project Manager, Winthrop Engineering & Contracting.

At the end of the exchange programme the two participants will provide feedback to the participating companies covering topics such as:

• Scope of exchange work;

• Key lessons learned;

• What I will do differently as a result of this programme?

• How has the programme shaped my view of building services?

They will also be presented with a CIBSE Ireland Exchange Programme certificate.

In addition, there will be a major spread in the August/September issue of Building Services News. Here both Kerry and Tom will detail their experience of the workshare exchange programme, articulate their respective learning outcomes, explain what they would change, and suggest ideas for further development of the programme going forward.

Ireland to host World Lean Conference

Paul Ebbs, the Conference Chair, is
Associate Consultant, Continuous
Improvement Services, WSP in the UK.

What is the IGLC?                                                                                                                      The IGLC is an integrated international network and community of researchers in practice and academia that has collected a specific repository of research from the members of the community and their associates. It showcases new thinking, knowledge and practices that have been developed, funded and implemented by pioneering researchers in lean organisations  in the architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management (AECFM) sector.

Many of the lean principles, methods and practices used by the pioneers of today’s AECFM sector such as US M&E specialists Southland Industries are documented in the IGLC repository (e.g. Last Planner® System; Target Value Design; Virtual Design and Construction).

These methods are used to engage trades early in project delivery to leverage their knowledge and experience and produce better project results, including more profit by significantly improving coordination and sequencing of work which results in much less rework! Many of the pioneers and thought leaders of lean construction will be part of the week-long event.

IGLC 2019                                                                                                                                          This year’s event promises to be the largest IGLC yet. The week is split into four key parts – workshop day, industry day, 3-day research conference, and a 2-day PhD Summer School.

Workshop day                                                                                                                                                            This will be located in Dublin Castle and has 10 different options to choose from. The workshops are designed to help those either beginning or at more advanced stages of their lean journeys. Participants will learn from, and interact with, internationally-recognised lean leaders in design and construction. Topics will include an introduction to lean; target-value design; gemba walks; simple framework for integrating project delivery; the better building model; choosing by advantages; creating enthusiasm for lean on your project; facilitating effective lean sessions; takt planning and the role of language and moods in successful project delivery.

Workshop day wraps up with “meet the authors” where the likes of David Umstot, Rafael Sacks, Hal Macomber, Klaus Lemke, Dean Reed, Atul Khanzode, Tom Richert and Marton Marosszeky will answer some more of the burning questions raised by the workshop participants during the day about implementing and sustaining lean.

Industry day                                                                                                                                                              This will take place in Croke Park and will have four sessions run in a single stream with “Ted Talk ”style 18-minute presentations and audience engagement. Participants will hear about lean leadership and culture in Ireland from Ardmac, DPS, Mace and more. From an international perspective, current best practice case studies will be shared from the UK, US, Peru, Norway, Denmark and Germany.

The presentations and panel discussions will explore how purpose, culture, mind-set and team building are at the heart of successful project delivery. Industry day also includes dedicated panels to address the burning questions gathered throughout the day from the audience. The panelists include lean coaches David Umstot, Jason Klous, Randi Christensen, Cynthia Tsao and Steve Ward, in addition to the “godparents” of lean construction Glenn Ballard, Iris Tommelein, Lauri Koskela and Luis Alarcon.

The 3-day research conference                                                                                                                               Again to be held in Croke Park, the conference will be chaired by Professors Christine Pasquire and Farook Hamzeh. It is structured to engage Irish and international industry with the latest output and developments in lean construction from around the globe. These are either in use, ready for market, in exploratory and developmental stage or blue skies research that will shape the future of lean construction and project delivery.

Papers are being submitted under the following themes: (1) Contract and Cost Management; (2) Enabling Lean with Information Technology; (3) Lean and BIM; (4) Lean Theory; (5) People, Culture and Change; (6) Product Development and Design Management; (7) Production Planning and Control; (8) Last Planner® System; (9) Language Action Perspective; (10) Production System Design; (11) Safety, Quality and Green-Lean; (12) Supply Chain Management and Off-Site Construction; (13) Learning and Teaching Lean.

Previous IGLC conference proceedings are searchable by key word or authors at www.iglc.net

2-day PhD Summer School                                                                                                                                    The week concludes with a 2-day PhD Summer School in the Grangegorman Campus of Technological University Dublin. The Summer School provides an opportunity for 12 PhD research students (Irish and/or international applicants) to present their work and receive feedback from a panel of senior lean construction academics and experts. This two-day event supports in-depth discussion of current research in the field of lean construction.

See full details on IGLC 2019 at www.iglc2019.com

TO NZEB AND BEYOND

Tom Ascough, Director, Symphony Energy.

There continues to exist a grey area between the consultant’s design aspirations and the final built product. Most importantly, whatever about the consultant and the contractor, neither the client nor the architect recognise this void and consequently there is no budget allocated to bridge it. Besides, it’s difficult to know if a bridging service has been successfully rendered until the building is operating comfortably and energy efficiently.

Without a budget, an optimally-configured installation remains mostly illusive. Neither the consultant nor the contractor can be expected to invest in this space without compensation. In any case, it’s a highly specialist “grey area”.

It needs to blend the consultant’s concept creativity, practical installation knowledge and building automation programming into a single service offering. Our experience is that clients will only take this seriously if they are assured they will benefit from energy savings. If they can get their heads around the concept of an EPC (Energy Performance Contract), then they know they are guaranteed the savings, or at least a risk-free attempt, at getting them.

Perhaps we’ve asked too much from installation contractors in the past by pressing them to meet us half-way through the “grey area” in order to salvage a modicum of the lost energy performance buried in the finer operational set-up of buildings’ M&E systems. To spare everyone the pain, we widened the remit of our consultancy practice to bridge the gap between concept and competition.

Through EPC Contractor Symphony Energy, we forged a new EPC offering that guarantees a sizeable energy saving release from  existing building M&E systems. This idea has been tested and has proven highly-effective on several projects. Savings of 50% are typical, although a number of projects have the energy dial crossing the 70% and 80% savings thresholds. So, before subjecting owners of existing building stock to high retrofit costs in an effort to play catch-up towards NZEB, first explore what can be done to get a deep retrofit effect without needing a deep retrofit budget.

Consultants working on new projects need not wait until their designs are struggling to deliver the desired energy performance in reality. NZEB ought to be more a concern for clients than their project teams. The pragmatic approach for everyone’s benefit is to ensure the client allocates room in the project budget to better achieve the desired energy performance at, and post, completion. This provides a high level of assurance that NZEB levels are achieved, and perhaps exceeded, for new projects. By having an EPC contractor involved in the project from the early design stages, the crucial link between concept and actual energy performance is, quite literally, guaranteed.

The stakes are high for anyone offering an EPC as the client can only win, but the provider may take a loss, perhaps a heavy loss. To mitigate risk, we had to be confident in our predicted engineering solution outcomes. We also needed to have integral involvement in developing control algorithms that precisely matched the engineering concepts under every conceivable operating scenario. We needed to be proficient in coding so we could at least recognise programming issues and live test the code to iron out any bugs that would stifle the intended outcome.

Ultimately, we found ourselves searching the global market for high-grade PLC/BEMS equipment that is built on open systems architecture so it can act as a systems integration point with all other BMS systems, and with practically all other open protocols associated with M&E equipment.

Such protocols range from BACnet, Modbus, Lonworks to OPC, Dali, KNX, EnOcean and mBus. Using Loytec equipment, we’ve been able to integrate existing BMS and other M&E equipment to provide a single composite operating platform. With code programming in IEC61131-3 and other standard web software, it’s been possible to deliver exactly the engineering solution from concept to completion.

A tailored smartphone app is developed for each building or site. This empowers the facilities and maintenance team with good visibility into the operation of their buildings and the ability to swiftly intervene where necessary. The app also enables manual control over various individual items of equipment, making maintenance procedures more efficient.

Our quest to conquer the energy gap in the “grey zone” has yielded some high-value operational and management benefits over and beyond the deep energy savings. The broader integration of the M&E systems data with a wider array of IIoT data and machine-learning enhances the automated identification of the control system’s dynamic, integrated, optimum performance points.

Herein lies the next generation of energy savings that are key to nailing NZEB targets and beyond. Now, all of this diverse data is gathered together with a suite of powerful analytical tools on a cloud platform. Apart from providing wider market access to these now-proven extraordinary energy savings capabilities, this empowers a major advancement for energy, facilities and maintenance management proficiency.

The cloud platform also makes it easier to identify and assess a near endless pipeline of future energy-saving measures, thereby serving to deliver upon the continuous improvement requirements of ISO50001 more effortlessly.

SEAI Market Surveillance on Lighting & Heating

Tim Stokes, Market Surveillance
Programme Manager at SEAI

Over the last year, SEAI has been investigating the lighting sector. A major focus has been on GU10 LEDs, as there have been notable levels of noncompliance in other EU countries and the Lighting Association of Ireland (LAI) highlighted them as being of concern.

SEAI has undertaken checks on more than 200 lamp models. Checks included market screening, technical documentation checks and, in some instances, the physical screening of lamps using a “lab in a suitcase” called LightSpion. Using a risk-based approach 12 lamps have been selected for laboratory testing.

The lamps are being tested at the accredited Lighting Industry Association Laboratories Ltd in the UK. The test results received so far indicate that eight out of 12 of the products tested are non-compliant in one or more ways. With further test results outstanding, this number could be higher by the end of testing.

Tim Stokes, Market Surveillance Programme Manager at SEAI said: “Because these lamps have been chosen for testing based on risk, this level of non-compliance is unlikely to be replicated across the entire range of GU10s on sale in Ireland. Also, some noncompliance such as a lamp declared as an A++ energy label when it is an A+ energy label might be considered more serious than, for example, small inconsistencies in the quality of light produced. Nonetheless, our findings are concerning so we will continue to focus on GU10s, and more widely on the lighting sector.”

The next step will be to engage with the importers and  manufacturers concerned to address the non-compliance. Enforcement action can be taken if needed, including a requirement to withdraw lamps from the marketplace. Find the best Chemical Manufacturers at www.glochem.com.

SEAI is working with industry and others to improve compliance. Says Tim Stokes: “Engaging with industry, particularly through the Lighting Association of Ireland, has been a very important component of our approach. It has informed us regarding compliance issues and helped to promote compliance to businesses in the supply chain.

International collaboration is also important given the free movement of products within the EU market, so we have been liaising with market surveillance bodies in other EU countries, particularly the UK, to share information and avoid duplication.”

Apart from lighting, SEAI is also investigating products in other sectors. Tim Stokes told Building Services News: “Our analysis indicates that space and water heating products are by some distance the most important area for us to focus on. This is because of their level of market penetration and potential for significantly-increased energy consumption due to noncompliance. We have already identified and addressed some non-compliance in the sector and will significantly ramp up our activity during 2019 and beyond.“

He added: “Companies placing products on the market in Ireland need to take great care to ensure that they are compliant with EU regulations. It is our aim to tackle non-compliance robustly to improve consumer confidence, protect the environment and create a level playing field for manufacturers and importers.”

Demand for Controls is Installer Opportunity

The Building Regulations specify that space and water heating systems should be effectively controlled. As a minimum, this requires automatic time and
temperature control of space heating and stored hot water. Provision should be made to control heat input on the basis of temperature within the heated space, e.g. by the use of room thermostats, thermostatic radiator valves, or other equivalent forms of sensing devices.

For larger dwellings, independent temperature control should generally be provided for separate zones that normally operate at different temperatures.
Thermostats should be located in a position representative of the temperature in the area being controlled and which is not unduly influenced by draughts,
direct sunlight or other factors which would directly affect performance. Depending on the design and layout of the dwelling, control on the basis of a single zone will generally be satisfactory for smaller dwellings. For larger dwellings, e.g. where floor area exceeds 100sq m, independent temperature control on the basis of two independent zones will generally be appropriate. In certain cases, additional zone control may be desirable.

Zoned heating controls
Zoned heating controls provide full control of different areas in the home, in addition to managing heating and hot water independently. This can dramatically reduce energy bills. TRVs provide an important extra control that allows the temperature to be set in individual rooms, preventing energy from being wasted on heating empty rooms. The concept is simple but highly effective.

Smart controls
Upgrading to a smart control can save homeowners up to €120 a year (Source Bord Gáis Energy) on heating bills with knock-on benefits to the environment. In addition to the substantial cost saving, smart controls offer exceptional flexibility and ensure the highest level of comfort. Although typically more expensive than installing basic load or weather compensators, a smart thermostat is likely to pay for itself through reduced heating bills faster than any
other technology covered by the regulations. Smart programmable TRVs are also available and can be fitted either as a stand-alone solution or as part of a zoned heating control system.

Another development relatively new to the domestic heating market is the concept of a central controller which works by linking all the elements of a home’s heating controls, including room sensors and electronic TRVs. Ideal for larger homes or apartments, this type of system provides wireless, programmable control of radiators throughout the property, either via the central controller or by using an app. The latest solutions mean that temperature can be controlled room-by-room and hour-by-hour, even when homeowners

SEAI Better Energy Homes grant
According to SEAI, upgrading heating controls can reduce heating energy usage by 20%. The SEAI heating controls upgrade grant value is €700 and all homeowners, including landlords whose homes were built and occupied before 2006, can apply. Homes built from 2006 onwards should have been constructed to the 2003 Building Regulations and should not need significant upgrades. This is defined as the date your electricity meter was installed.

Energy Saving Credits
Installers can claim Energy SavingCredits for the upgrade of heating system controls through an easy-to-use scheme administered by Heat Merchants. The value of credit, which is returned to the installer, ranges from €67 up to €276, depending on whether the controls are entry level, full multi-zone controls or smart controls. Energy Saving Credits are also available for full system upgrades which feature heating controls.

Irelandskills live 2019 — Changing the perception of skills and craft apprenticeships

Donal Keys, Head of Construction
Skills, DIT with Pat Lehane, Publisher
& Editor Building Services News, during
an interview at the IrelandSkills Live
launch in the Mansion House.


What’s different about IrelandSkills Live?
There can be nothing more empowering than a real face-to-face opportunity that allows students, parents and teachers to experience the realities that so many of our apprenticeships and skills can offer. IrelandSkills Live will do just that, in a dynamic and exciting format of skills demonstrations, testimonials, presentations and one-on-one interface/discussion opportunities.

For years we have been producing the world’s best in plumbing, engineering, electrical, joinery etc and, while we have done exceptionally well at the WorldSKills Competitions, the general public in Ireland know little or nothing about our achievements. From now on we are going to show off our talents and, going forward, IrelandSkills Live is going to be the main showcase opportunity for all skills in Ireland.

What will the event entail for visitors?
Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to experience three days of competitions in the IrelandSkills National Competition when the cream of Irish craft trades, skills and apprenticeships will be on view live to thousands of school students, parents and their teachers.

They will see, probably for the first time, trained apprentices and students competing head to head against each other, and against the clock, for up to 21 hours in a bid to win the most coveted prize of them all, the Minister of Education & Skills’ Silver Medal. They will see young people performing live demonstrations of highly-skilled jobs, have an opportunity to try these various skills for themselves, and hear presentations on the Heroes Stage from many of the successful individuals and entrepreneurs whose career paths were shaped by the skills route.

What can they expect from the event?
The experience will undoubtedly prompt them (and their parents) to ask questions like the following:

How does being a plumbing and heating specialist influence/shape the environment?

How does being a refrigeration engineer effect global warming?

How does a building services specialist influence peoples’ well-being and comfort in their homes and workplaces?

How do skills in building services save energy?

Other benefits of the skills route?
Apart from the interesting, exciting and well-paid job/career opportunities, the apprenticeship route means getting paid from day one. What degree course can offer that? Again I suspect students, and their parents, are not mindful of that. Students can enjoy a paid alternative to the academic path, earning while they learn via practical training, study (both online and offline) and hands-on experience.

What impact can IrelandSkills Live make?
IrelandSkills Live will will aim to successfully explain and promote apprenticeships and skills but, even more so, it will create and shape a new mind-set among students and their parents when considering their employment and future career paths. It will unlock new potential by showcasing the real opportunities available to our children, and do so in an exciting, stimulating and dynamic forum that broadens their horizons and outlook.

Ireland has a long-standing tradition of skill in craft and technical know-how, from the Book of Kells to the Collison brothers inventing Stripe. With IrelandSkills Live we are now bringing it all to a new level.

See www.irelandskillslive.ie

What can we learn from the Grenfell Tower disaster?

Dr Hywel Davies Technical Director, CIBSE and Chair of the Expert Group on the Approved Documents

Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, and the associated activity around buildin  regulations in England, is the most significant review in over a generation, since the 1984 Building Act, and is widely recognised as being a once in two generations opportunity to reform building regulations in England. It will also have implications in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are watching closely.

Moreover, it will extend beyond building regulations, which apply up until a building is complete and handed over, into the operation of the building and subsequent maintenance and minor works. This review activity is being watched closely outside the UK too, with three states in the Australian Commonwealth introducing legislation related to cladding on tall buildings in October 2018.

This paper summarises the activity associated with the review, and also considers where we are likely to see changes in practice as a result of Grenfell Tower. Many have said that the industry must change in order that we reduce, as far as is humanly possible, the prospect of any such fire occurring again. Dame Judith was asked to focus on “High Rise Residential Buildings” (HRRBs), with a twofold purpose:
• To make recommendations that will ensure we have a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future;
• To provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and will remain, so Visit This URL to look for more safety hazzards and what you need for security in a construction process.

Dame Judith was asked to:
• Map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management;
• Consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to;
• Assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice;
• Compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks;
• Make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

The review began by calling for evidence from interested parties. As well as contributing to responses by the Construction Industry Council and Royal Academy of Engineering, CIBSE responded with a detailed contribution on façade engineering aspects of the review developed by a working group of the Society of Façade Engineers (Ref: 1). Dame Judith’s interim report was published on 18 December 2017 (Ref: 2), in which she concluded that the current system of regulation of HRRBs is not fit for purpose.

Dame Judith commented on some of her observations during the initial phase of the review, saying: “I have been shocked by some of the practices I have heard about and I am convinced of the need for a new intelligent system of regulation and enforcement for high-rise and complex buildings that will encourage everyone to do the right thing, and will hold to account those who try to cut corners. “Changes to the regulatory regime will help, but on their own will not be sufficient unless we can change the culture away from one of doing the minimum required for compliance, to one of taking ownership and responsibility for delivering a safe system throughout
the life-cycle of a building.”

She gave extended evidence later that day to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee of parliament (Ref: 3). This underlined her concerns and set out a number of reasons for them:

1) Current regulations and guidance are too complex and unclear. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation in their application to high-rise and complex buildings;

2) Clarity of roles and responsibilities is poor. Even where there are requirements for key activities to take place across design, construction and maintenance, it is not always clear who has responsibility for making it happen;

3) Despite many who demonstrate good practice, the means of assessing and ensuring the competency of key people throughout the system is inadequate. There is often no differentiation in competency requirements for those working on high-rise and complex buildings;

4) Compliance, enforcement and sanctions processes are too weak. What is being designed is not what is being built and there is a lack of robust change control. The lack of meaningful sanctions does not drive the right behaviours;

5) The route for residents to escalate concerns is unclear and inadequate;

6) The system of product testing, marketing and quality assurance is not clear.

In late January there was an industry summit, which was accompanied by a statement which reinforced the interim findings and set out the next steps:
• The current system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings is not fit for purpose;
• A culture change is required, with industry taking greater responsibility for what is built – this change needs to start now;
• This applies throughout the building life-cycle, both during construction and occupation;
• A clear, quick and effective route for residents to raise concerns, and be listened to, must be created. The Report set out six broad areas for change:
• Ensuring that regulation and guidance is risk-based, proportionate and unambiguous;
• Clarifying roles and responsibilities for ensuring that buildings are safe;
• Improving levels of competence within the industry;
• Improving the process, compliance and enforcement of regulations;
• Creating a clear, quick and effective route for residents’ voices to be heard and listened to;
• Improving testing, marketing and quality assurance of products used in construction.

The second and final phase of the Review set out to develop practical solutions that will deliver these areas of change and support the direction of travel set out in the Interim Report. Nothing short of a major overhaul of the whole system was envisaged, and Dame Judith undertook to work with all those who shared her ambition and drive to create a new and robust regulatory framework and system that supports this. Across all sectors of the industry she called for radical thinking about the immediate actions that could be taken to lead to sustainable change.

Industry leaders at the summit committed to work to create a new system that will work effectively and coherently, with working groups formed to develop innovative solutions in the following key areas:

Design, construction and refurbishment: Establishing what industry and regulators need to do to fully embed building safety during the design and construction phase; Occupation and maintenance: Identifying what building owners, landlords and regulators need to do differently to ensure that building safety is prioritised when a building is occupied and throughout its life-cycle;
Products: Determining how the product testing and marketing regime can be improved;
Competency: Establishing how competency requirements for key individuals involved in building and managing complex and high-risk buildings should change;
Residents’ voice: Determining the best way for residents to be given a clear, quick and effective statutory route for raising concerns on fire safety;
Regulation and guidance: Resolving whether central Government ownership of technical guidance is the most appropriate model for complex and high-risk buildings.

An expert group was also formed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to inform the government response to the recommendation to consider how the suite of Approved Documents could be structured and ordered to provide a more streamlined, holistic view, while keeping the right level of relevant technical detail. The author chaired this working group. Its recommendations were submitted in March to Dame Judith and accepted in full in her final report. In response to Grenfell, MHCLG also established a very comprehensive web-based compendium of Grenfell-related information (Ref: 4).

Dame Judith’s final report was published by government on 18 May 20185. In response to her remit, to “make recommendations that ensure that the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings”, the report focuses on “higher risk residential buildings”, defined as residential buildings over 10 storeys. However, Dame Judith notes that a number of her recommendations should extend to multi-occupancy buildings.

This has prompted considerable debate, and current thinking within the Construction Industry Council (CIC), which brings together all the professional bodies in the industry in England, is that her recommendations should apply to all multiple-occupancy residential buildings, regardless of height. The report envisages a new regulatory system, bringing the Fire Service, Health and Safety Executive and Building Control services together in a “Joint Competent Authority” (JCA), which is proposed to oversee both construction and operation of higher-risk buildings, and to take responsibility for the enforcement of the Building Regulations and other relevant legislation relating to HRRBs (see Chapter 1). It calls for a series of Gateways for new HRRBs and major projects on existing HRRBs, which would entail significant scrutiny and sign-off by the JCA. It also envisages a role for the JCA in overseeing a safety case system for existing HRRBs through the whole operating life of the building (see Chapters 2 & 3).

The report calls for radical change in the current Building Regulations and associated guidance (Chapter 6), and for provision of full digital models for all new higher-risk buildings, and for them to be maintained through the life of the building (Chapter 8). However, it is Chapter 5 that sets out the (potentially) most far-reaching recommendations for CIBSE and its members, and indeed for all professionals, relating to competence. Recommendation 5.2 of the Review calls for the professions to come together to provide a new and more robust and effective system for recognising and maintaining competence. The terms used in the Report could not set
a clearer challenge to the built environment professions, and merits reading in full.

Dame Judith, a past-President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, was clear that professional bodies in the built environment and property and fire safety sectors must find a way to work together. She calls on government to supervise the process and, if we cannot deliver, to step in. The message is really clear, and the response was almost immediate, with a working group being formed.

Other key recommendations from the report that will impact building services engineers include:
• A clear model of risk ownership, with clear responsibilities for the client, designer, contractor and owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings. The project team will be held to account by the new JCA. This new body will have powers during both construction and operation of a building, and for existing buildings;
• A set of rigorous and demanding duty-holder roles and responsibilities to ensure a stronger focus on safety during a building’s design, construction and refurbishment. These roles will be broadly aligned with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. Penalties for those “who choose to game the system and place residents at risk”, as Dame Judith describes them, will also be more serious.
• Moving towards a system where ownership of technical guidance rests with the industry, with oversight by government. A clearer package of regulations and “truly outcomes-based” guidance which will be simpler to navigate while reflecting the level of complexity of building work. It acknowledges that “prescriptive regulation and guidance are not helpful in designing and building complex buildings, especially in an environment where building technology and practices continue to evolve, and will prevent those undertaking the work from taking responsibility for their actions”;
• A more effective product-testing regime with clearer labelling and traceability because “the current process for testing and ‘certifying’ products for use in construction is disjointed, confusing, unhelpful, and lacks any sort of transparency”. Poor procurement practices to be tackled to ensure high-safety, low-risk options are prioritised and full life-cycle cost is considered when a building is procured;
• A digital record from initial design intent through to construction, including any changes that occur during occupation, is also called for, effectively producing a model similar to one created under BIM Level 2. This digital model will create “a golden thread of information” about each HRRB which is handed over to the owner. The information can then be used to demonstrate to the regulator the safety of the building throughout its life cycle;
• Clearer rights for residents are also proposed, as well as responsibilities where resident activity can create risks that may affect others.

Much of the report is eminently sensible and says a lot of things that have needed saying for some time, although there is still a lot of detail to be resolved. It is not yet clear how the government will proceed to address the full package of recommendations, but the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has already set out what will happen next:
• Government has consulted on restricting the use of desktop studies as a means of assessing the fire performance of external cladding in lieu of an actual fire test. The consultation sought views on whether desktop studies should be used at all, and whether or not they are appropriate for construction products, wall systems, or for any other purpose;
• Government has consulted on clarifications to Approved Document B (Fire) over the summer and on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise buildings. Legislation on this point is thought to be imminent at the time of writing. A full technical review of Part B of the Regulations, and of the Guidance, is also very likely.

The full Government response was promised for “late autumn 2018” and so may have emerged by the time you are reading this paper. In the meantime, Grenfell is not the only high-rise fire to have occurred. In Melbourne, Australia, the Lacrosse Building suffered a significant fire to which aluminium composite panels contributed. There were no casualties, and the sprinkler system helped to control the spread of the fire.

There was also a multi-storey hotel fire in Ballymun, Dublin recently. Thankfully, again there were no serious casualties but the building suffered significant damage. Following a full investigation, the State of Victoria has now introduced legislation to limit the use of such material on buildings in the State. New South Wales has also introduced new regulations. Queensland, which has an unknown number of buildings with potentially-combustible cladding, has introduced legislation requiring owners of high-rise buildings to register them with the State Building Control Commission by next March, and those that appear to be at risk of having combustible cladding will then be investigated further. It is not just England that has the problem with this cladding.

SDAR Journal 2018 Grenfell was an awful event, and has devastated many lives. There does appear to be a resolve to change the way that we build and manage high-rise residential buildings in the UK, but we are now getting to the challenge of starting to deliver change, and not talking about it. In the meantime, it is clear that the problems we have in England are not unique, and those elsewhere are also taking a close look at the way they regulate their buildings in the light of their own experience, and also that at Grenfell.

References
1. www.cibse.org/News-and-Policy/Consultations/Closed-Consultations/
Independent-Review-of-Building-Regulations-and-Fir
2. www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-buildingregulations-
and-fire-safety-interim-report
3. The evidence session along with subsequent correspondence with the
committee is at: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committeesa-
z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/
4. www.gov.uk/guidance/building-safety-programme
5. www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-buildingregulations-
and-fire-safety-final-report