Declan Donnelly, ATC, presenting Jonathan Smyth with a cheque for the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin recently. On the right is Paul Martin, CIBSE Ireland. The Capuchin Day Centre is this year’s CIBSE Ireland nominated charity and the contribution was raised at ATC’s open day.
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.
The SDAR* Awards is a joint initiative between CIBSE Ireland and DIT, supported by Building Services News. The awards are unique in that they are intended to disseminate knowledge, encourage research in sustainable design of the built environment, and raise the quality of innovation and evaluation of such projects. Short abstracts (between 100 and 200 words max) for entry into the SDAR* Awards 2019 are now being sought and must be submitted by Monday, 25 February 2019, directly by email to Michael McDonald of DIT at email@example.com.
Entries are required to critically evaluate real-life data, and examine both successes and challenges within leading-edge projects throughout Ireland or further afield. This competition is open to architects, engineers and all professionals involved in construction projects. As the built environment has gained momentum and is delivering many excellent projects, this unique synergy between industry and academia allows greater potential for integration of modern low-carbon technologies and low-energy design methodologies.
The SDAR* Awards competition is intended to create a platform for the growth of applied research in the expanding green economy. Post-occupancy evaluation and similar critical appraisal of low-energy projects facilities the transition from ideologically-driven innovations, sometimes offering poor value, to evidence-based applied research that proves value or identifies weaknesses that the industry can learn from. These successes and failures help inform the professional community across all the building industry disciplines.
From the abstracts submitted by the 25 February 2019 deadline, a shortlist will be selected by peer review, and those selected will be invited to prepare final papers by March 2019.
Candidates that present at the awards also have a chance of publishing their papers in the SDAR Journal arrow.dit.ie/sdar/ This year’s final will take place in March/April 2019 in DIT.
For further information contact: Michael McDonald, DIT. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflecting on the industry since commencing employment as a designer approximately 23 year ago, the biggest change I have encountered is the rapid advances in technology and ICT. The fundamentals of building services design have not changed. However, how we work and communicate has completely transformed in the last two decades
I have seen and been part of this transformation from my humble beginnings in a design office in Mountjoy Square in Dublin (pre- AutoCad!), to VMRA in Dartry Road, then PM Group and onto PM Group’s Shanghai office in China. I am now the Managing Director of our businesses in Asia, and I felt that the best thing I could do for this piece is to share my thoughts on some of the key focus areas to successfully compete in, and deliver, projects in today’s exciting but sometimes unpredictable environment
These are in no particular order, as they may be applicable to various stages of business development and the project execution lifecycle, or to various stages of your own career.
Remain agile and flexible Building services engineers and the supply chain should remain agile and flexible in a very dynamic and changing environment. This may simply mean remaining open to different contracting models such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) or working with contractors on design and build projects; it may even mean an openness to travel for international experience, or work on projects with teams from multiple locations, or in a different sector.
Systems thinking Engineers are best placed to apply a “systems approach” to both engineering design and overall project delivery. Any project can be broken down into a distinct number of systems, many of which will be common from building to building, despite the sector. Focussing on the critical/key systems early can help drive decisions and improve project delivery and efficiency.
The systems approach can also be used to identify key interfaces with other design disciplines and encourage early dialogue and design coordination. Outside of engineering, there is an interesting resource that frequently refer to called the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK – www.seebok-info.org) which provides key knowledge resources and references of systems engineering, organised and explained to assist a wide variety of users.
Lessons learned Always strive to capture and transfer lessons from one project to the next. Also refer to lessons captured from other projects in your organisation. Do this early in the project, before you encounter a repeat issue that could have been easily avoided. Without a robust “lessons learned” system in your organisation, valuable knowledge will be lost across projects as the design team will change, and people move on, but the key issues and challenges remain!
Be open-minded Always remain open to new technologies and innovations, and encourage innovation from all members of your team. Embrace the right technologies and approaches for your business and projects early, including BIM, LEAN, Construction Management IS (Information Systems) etc. However, remember that technology is an enabler, not the answer.
Continuous Professional Development Stay in touch with your relevant engineering institutions, attend conferences and CPD events. Also, there is a huge volume of on-line CPD available. This raises another issue … for many the challenge now is managing your time as we are now “data rich and time poor”, according to a famous quote from Dr Kevin Kelly. It is also of huge importance to mentor and train the next wave of graduates in our industry. As you progress through your career, share your knowledge and experience to build the competencies of those around you.
Culture and communication Our clients, teams and colleagues now consist of a diverse mix of nationalities and cultures. This can actually improve team performance and efficiency based on the differing perspectives of individual team members. However, this requires leadership and mutual respect. Building services engineers also need to integrate into multidisciplinary design teams (often from multiple companies) to deliver projects requiring a huge dependency on soft skills in addition to technical acumen. There is a huge body of knowledge on culture and communications, plus regular seminars and workshops, that might be worth attending if you feel that improvement is needed in this area.
Safety first Last, but by no means least, remember to keep safety at the heart of everything that you do. Think of safety in design and safety during construction. Then deliver safe assets and systems for those who will operate them into the future. In China we say “an quán dì yl” … safety first. Stay positive and watch out for signs of stress. I say this to both employers and employees, particularly on demanding projects. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
The annual CIBSE Ireland golf event took place at Lutrellstown Golf Club recently with Grundfos as this year’s primary sponsor. The event attracted a huge turnout with 25 teams participating and all four-balls teeing off at 1pm in a shotgun start. A special mention goes to Stephen Weir who led the assigned CIBSE Ireland Golf Committee, managed the registration process, and officiated at the scoring. Paul Martin, CIBSE Ireland, presented the prizes on the night.
There were many prizes won on the day including:
— €1,000 holiday voucher draw for hole in one/nearest to the pin on the 6th which was won by Eugene Smith playing with Jones Engineering with a nearest pin shot of 0.87m;
Other opportunities to win were on the 18th for Longest Drive sponsored by Edpac which was won by Paul Kinsella playing with Safeguard;
— Nearest the Pin,sponsored by Wilo, was on the 4th hope and this was won by Liam O’Reilly playing with the McKeon group;
— Along with individual prizes, the coveted PJ Doyle Trophy for the best score was won by Team Jones Engineering.
What made the win extra special is that PJ Doyle, who the Memorial Cup is named after, was an engineer with Jones Engineering Group. He died prematurely in 1989 and the trophy was donated to CIBSE Ireland in 1990 with John Purcell registering the first win in that year. In 2011 the format changed to a team prize, which continues today
Second place in the team event went to Edpac with Calpeda Pumps coming in third.
Teams starting returning to the clubhouse just under the four-hour mark with all reporting a good day … with little or no comment on their score cards! Following showers and refreshments, 100 people sat down in the clubhouse for their meal with prize giving taking place over desert.
See cibseireland.org for full picture gallery.
This year’s CIBSE Ireland annual golf outing will take place at Luttrelstown Castle Golf & Country Club with Grundfos as the principal sponsor. The date is Friday, 7 September. It is a four-man, team event and the format is shotgun start. Bookings are now open but slots are filling up fast.
Luttrellstown Castle Golf & Country Club is situated within the walled estate of Luttrellstown Castle and is a championship parkland course with McKenzie/Steele design. A feature is the links-style bunkers. The course measures over 7347 yards from the championship tees, making it a worthy test for golfers of all levels.
Water is featured on 11 holes, meaning accurate tee shots determine where and how much of the hazard must be crossed. The view from the 15th tee down across the Liffey Valley and Strawberry Beds is spectacular, while the par four 2nd presents visitors with the first glimpse of the castle. A view of a romantic Doric Temple and quaint Boathouse also adds to the appeal of this hole. The stretch between the 12th and 16th holes is the most demanding and it is here most games are won or lost.
It promises to be a wonderful occasion so get booking now at www.cibseireland.org.
The SDAR awards promote collaboration between industry and academic institutions. The idea is to encourage applied research and ensure quality and value in innovation projects. The more research papers and post-occupancy evaluations undertaken, the more sustainable design and energy efficacy in future and existing buildings can be encouraged.
The role of CIBSE in this regard is to facilitate this process and disseminate the findings. The event was opened by Dr Kevin Kelly,Head of the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies and Vice-President, CIBSE, and Michael McDonald. Michael is the event organiser, a member of the CIBSE Ireland Committee and alecturer at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
The expert judging panel consisted of Gerry Farrelly and Dr Avril Behan, DIT and Charles Dunn, RPS and CIBSE Committee. First prize went to Mona Holtkötter of the International WELL Building Institute and Secretary of CIBSE Ireland. Mona’s research on the potential impact of the updated Building Regulations Part L on current building design strategies, using a Dublin city centre office building as an example, was a narrow but deserved winner following her excellent presentation. The title of the paper was The new Irish Building Regulations Part L 2017: the impact on city centre developments. Padraic O’Connor, Building Services Department Manager at Sisk & Son, presented her with a cheque for €1000.
The two runners up (in no particular order) were as follows.
— Influence of the biogas generated on the mixing of UASB bioreactors: Comparison of CFD and experiential results by Camila D’Bastiani of DIT (Ph.D. Researcher);
— A case study into the integration of technological and engineering innovations in a manufacturing/distribution facility to support a sustainable future by Tommy Shannon of Excel Industries.
They each received €250 courtesy of CIBSE Ireland, the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies.
Lighter/Young Lighter competition The second upcoming major event is the CIBSE Irish Lighter/Young Lighter competition. This is well established as a premier national and international lighting competition, and will be accepting abstracts from mid-June.
While the usual protocols were observed at the recent CIBSE Ireland AGM in Dublin, there is no denying that the main focus for the coming 12 months will revolve around the 50th anniversary celebrations. The 50th theme will feature across the entire programme for 2018 but will culminate in the gala dinner to be held on 30 November in the Clayton Burlington Hotel, Dublin (details to be announced shortly).
That said, the celebratory mood will also be used to reinforce the position of CIBSE Ireland as a leading force across building services in Ireland, and to strengthen still further its links with the other representative bodies and associations across construction as a whole.
Engagement with government departments and agencies will also be ramped up, especially on nZEB, NSAI standards and the BIM Council of Ireland. In tandem with that the extensive CPD programme will focus on, and reflect, the critical issues facing the industry. These events take a format that encourages dialogue and the sharing of information, and are also open to members of other professional and representative bodies in the sector.
The CIBSE Ireland “reach out” objective on encouraging new people into the industry will also continue. It has always had strong links with DIT but these have now been extended to WIT and IT Tallaght, with plans for a more proactive engagement with the other ITs and colleges in the pipeline. To that effect it partners with WIT and DIT for their respective student awards, and with DIT for the Young Lighter and SDAR Awards. It also co-publishes the SDAR Journal with DIT.
On the social front there will be the annual 5-a-side football tournament and of course the CIBSE Ireland Annual Golf Outing which will be held in Luttrellstown Golf Club on Friday,7 September 2018.
While ostensibly CIBSE Ireland’s 50th celebrations, it is also a celebration for the entire building services sector. The reality is that, throughout the last half-century, the activities of CIBSE Ireland, and that of its members, have always mirrored what was happening in the industry as a whole. So, it is a time of celebration for all.
The business end of the visit involved a special briefing by Hywel to senior Government officials in relation to the probe being conducted into Grenfell fire disaster, and the report being prepared. The probe is led by Dame Judith Hackitt with the interim report already released. See: (www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-report-from-the-independent-recovery-taskforc). Hywel also had a separate briefing meeting with the RIAI.
On the social side Nial Bourke and David Doherty of T Bourke hosted Hywel, a proud Welsh man, as their guest to the rugby international in the Aviva stadium. Even with the result Hywel was in great form and has promised to return to Ireland to update everyone on the Grenfell final report, and to join us for CIBSE Ireland’s 50th anniversary dinner in the Autumn.
Schools visit to promote building services engineering On the broader front, and to coincide with Engineering Week, Paul Martin and Mervin Doyle toured a number of schools in the Waterford region to try and get primary and secondary school children to consider building services engineering as a career. Mervin is a lecturer in the Waterford Institute of Technology in the degree in Building Services Engineering, and the Masters in Sustainable Engineering.
Their tour started in St Declan’s Primary school where Paul was a student over 30 years ago. They met Paul’s old teacher, Gerald Fitzgerald — still teaching despite having taught Paul for over three years — and Paul spoke to the children about sustainability and the environment. He concluded his presentation by showing them the latest Nisan Leaf electric vehicle kindly provided by John Flood of Nissan Dungarvan dungarvan.nissan.ie/
From there Mervin and Paul ventured into their old secondary school, De La Salle. Here they spoke with 4th and 5th year students about the WIT courses in building services engineering, and the related employment and career prospects. Much to Mervin and Paul’s disappointment, neither Derek McGrath (Waterford hurling Manager), nor Kevin Moran (Waterford senior hurling captain) were teaching that day … they were relaxing after hammering Cork in the league.
From here they went to St Paul’s School where again they spoke to over 50 students. Mind you, here the students were more proactive and there was some lively debate when they asked of Paul and Mervin: “who earned the most money”; “who drove the newest car”; and “who had the handiest job”. As CIBSE Ireland Chair Paul claimed the right to answer and said Mervin to all.
For more information about the Degree and Master (Part and full time) courses in WIT visit:—www.wit.ie/schools/engineering/building_services www.wit.ie/courses/school/engineering/PostgraduateEngineeringDepartment%20of%20Built%20EnvironmentFull%20TimePart%20Time/msc_in_sustainable_energy_engineering
Met up with Paul Martin early this morning and, as he entered the meeting room full of industry representatives and many of his SEAI colleagues, our collective jaws dropped. Paul’s trademark shoulder-length golden locks have been cropped to reveal a much younger-looking, cherubic profile.
Paul just would not be drawn on the reason for the dramatic hair style change but he assured all and sundry that, unlike the the Biblical Samson, has has not lost his strength along with his hair. When asked whether it was Delilah or merely the barber who had done the deed, he made his excuses and left!