Tag Archives: building services engineering

Pat Byrne — An Appreciation

Pat Byrne

Pat Byrne

Pat was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and his kindness and good humour were widely known and appreciated by all. Despite working in a tough and competitive business environment, he was a beacon of calmness and serenity.

In all the years I knew Pat I never once heard him raise his voice or lose his temper. He never used bad language and was always unfailingly courteous to everyone he met. Indeed, the closest he came to rebuking me – in spite of the many causes I gave him – was the day he loaned me his car and I returned it with his beloved music collection out of alphabetical order.

Pat was one of life’s optimists and during the different times I worked for him in the early nineties it was a quality we badly needed, and appreciated, as we faced year after year of low growth and increasing competition. At a tough sales meeting he would say “its fine, we will make it work”. We always did and this was in no small part down to Pat’s experience.

His patience and stoicism in the face of adversity was legendary and he passed on his considerable knowledge of the business to all who worked under him. He had a stellar career working for notable companies in the business such as Walker Airconditioning, Cofely, York international and Condair.

But Pat’s business achievements aside, it is his qualities as a man, a friend, a brother, a father and a grandfather that really distinguish him. His son Graham captured these perfectly in his wonderful eulogy for his dad at the funeral Mass.

Whenever I think of Pat I always smile because he was always a man who was in good form, always ready with a joke and certainly, in my case at least, always ready to help a friend when he needed it. Whenever we met his first question was always “how is your mam and dad?”.

Pat could always put matters into context. He knew that while work was important, it was simply a means to earn money to sustain a family life. So often in the business world this is forgotten. Pat never did forget that and, for me, it is as this humane gentleman that I will remember him most.

Philip McEvitt

Wherefore art thou, Building Services Engineers?

Cathie Simpson is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of CIBSE. She is also the owner of Building Simulation Ltd, a specialist company focusing on building investigation using on-site measuring and monitoring, infrared thermography and building modelling.

Cathie Simpson is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of CIBSE. She is also the owner of Building
Simulation Ltd, a specialist company focusing on building investigation using on-site measuring and monitoring, infrared thermography and building modelling.

The works of William Shakespeare are written in a difficult, 16th century language and yet 400 years later are thriving because they are relevant and accessible via a range of media and language. However, I feel this is something that can’t be said for the term building services engineering.

The profession of “engineer” has changed since the heady days of Victorian Brunel and now has a lower and more varied status compared to that of “architect”, “accountant”, “solicitor” or “doctor”. In Ireland and the UK the word engineer has its origins in the word engine. This is associated with oily rags so, is it any wonder that the word engineer describes a range of activities covering everything from those who have artisan skill sets all the way through to those who sit behind desks undertaking highly-complex calculations that enable rockets to land on the moon? Few other professions experience this breadth and variety of their professional description.

But what about the “building services” element … this is where the analogy with Shakespeare resonates with me. Building services was originally about ducts, pipes and wires and, while these are still relevant, they are no longer new and exciting. This is equivalent to 16th century language which just does not connect or create excitement in the 21st century – wouldst thou not agree?

Building services now encompasses so much more and, as economies and communities flourish, the richness and scope of building services is ever broadening and includes lighting, public health, local extract ventilation, façades, renewable energy, sustainability, controls, indoor air quality, health and well-being, resilience, flexibility, etc.

Perhaps it’s time we recognised that we need to use modern language to attract more young people into our profession and go with the flow or, as Shakespeare wrote: “There is a tide in the affairs of men”.

Experiences of a foreign DIT student in Ireland

Revathi Muthul

Revathi Muthul

That said, the confusion then was in choosing the country and college to attend. After a great deal of research about my various options I finally decided on Ireland and DIT. I was so keen on joining DIT that I just waited until I heard from them and did not apply anywhere else. Luckily I got accepted and registered myself in DIT, Kevin Street, in the energy management course.

Like a balloon, I flew to Ireland with lots of hope and looking forward to exploring a new place. The thought of meeting different people and experiencing a different culture also excited me. I arrived in Dublin on 14 September, 2014 and so started my new life. In the beginning it was a bit difficult to adjust to the difference in climate from 35°C in Chennai to 10°C in Dublin. This was my first time away from home and of course I was homesick. But soon I realised that this was my choice and this was all I wanted and I can’t be weak now. I got adjusted to everything in no time.

I was lucky in three things – college, friends and accommodation.

College                                                                                                                                                I started my classes the very next day after my arrival. My class numbered 22 and I was the youngest in my batch. I got to see peoples’ interest towards learning despite of their age. I saw the passion that each of them had for learning rather than simply to get a job. It inspired me a lot.

I selected many interesting modules  regarding renewables and the professors were friendly and helpful. The Students’ Union organised many interesting programmes and events. It took a while for me to adjust to the different education system and to my new environment. In this student life, apart from academics, it was a great opportunity to learn a new culture and traditions.

Friends                                                                                                                                                                            I remembered a famous quote by Mark Twain who said “Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life”. This itself conveys everything. Dublin gave me loads of international friends who can walk with me throughout my life.

Accommodation                                                                                                                                                    Finding accommodation in Dublin is a tough task. I found accommodation close to the city centre sharing with others from India. Though we are from the same country and different states by destiny, we got to know each other. We celebrate all Indian festivals and share our happiness.

Dublin life                                                                                                                                                           People in Dublin are kind-hearted, polite and helpful. Once I got lost on my way to college and asked an old man for help, not aware that he was also new to the city like me. But he made sure that he checked on the maps for my college and guided me. That was really kind of him. I like the way people treat and respect women. Like this, there are loads of memories that are close to my heart. I have been to other counties and I personally like life in the country rather than in the city. Sports impressed me and I found a liking for sports like hiking and other activities that I had never tried back home.

Dublin helped me to improve my skills and also to recognise my hidden talents. I am planning to learn a foreign language. The year passed very quickly and it was the time to get my results. Successfully, I graduated and my dream finally came true on 17 October, 2015. My graduation ceremony was the most awaited moment of my life. I dressed in traditional attire, which is a Sarie, and the only thing missing was my parents. But the best part of the day was that I had a job in hand while I was graduating.

Career                                                                                                                                                                             I was impressed by this host country and decided to seek work here. Finding a job in Dublin is a bit difficult as companies have to sponsor a visa for international students. But everything depends on the efforts you put in and your own luck. I got an opportunity to work on an interesting project for a leading electrical company. I wanted to visit my family before starting my work and planned it in such a way to fly back for a period of three weeks, the very next day after my graduation.

It was such an amazing feeling to go back to India after a year away, and with a masters degree. I am the first graduate to hold a masters degree in my whole family. I felt like I achieved something in life and received a warm welcome from my entire family and friends. The days at home passed just like that and I was pampered with full love and Mom’s food. Nothing is best in the world other than having food prepared by Mom. But now it’s time to fly back to Dublin and to have a new start.

Life in Dublin gave me loads of good memories to look back on and cherish. I took this opportunity to travel and explore the world without any commitment but also to study and learn new things. I recognised my independent nature of living all by myself in a new environment and adapt to diverse situations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, friends and teachers who helped me realise my success. I remember a saying in Sanskrit – “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam” (Mom, Dad, teacher, God). Mom gives birth, Dad comes second as Mom knows that he is best, and teacher comes next to parents. I follow this and respect all three of them in my life. I convey my sincere gratitude to Mr Pat who gave me an opportunity to share my experience in Ireland with the building services community and finally thanks to Dublin for giving me wonderful moments.