David McHugh, ACEI president 2021-2022 presented certificates on Friday, September 2, to the award winners at a gala dinner in the Shelbourne hotel, Dublin. ACEI congratulates all the award-winning firms on their well-deserved accolades. 

The Award Winners were:

Nicholas O’Dwyer wins Project of the Year

Nicholas O’Dwyer is one of the longest established consulting engineering firms in Ireland, celebrating our 90-year-old anniversary this year. Having joined the RSK group in 2020 we can now call on over 10,000 engineering and environmental colleagues from around the world, to support our clients in delivering a more sustainable future.

We work in many sectors including, water, wastewater, climate resilience, power and renewables, telecoms, transportation and the built environment; providing professional engineering, environmental, planning, project management and contract advisory services around the globe.

Operating in more than 16 countries internationally we are an Irish based company with worldwide ambition. Building on our track record of successfully delivering important infrastructural works we were delighted to have received three awards at this year’s ACEI Engineering Excellence awards ceremony. It was a 100% return on the projects we submitted and a great reflection on the talented people working on our teams.

Project of the Year – Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Scheme: Provides treatment for a 65,000 PE population previously discharged untreated to Cork Harbour. It includes 36km of sewers, 20 pump stations, and twin rising mains laid beneath the estuary.

Significant works were required in poor ground close to old buildings. It was a complex project for which the consultant provided a high level of skill in engineering design, planning, consultation, and approvals, and it has had a significant environmental benefit for a wide community. The use of innovative treatment technologies and the recovery of methane to provide power for the treatment plant are considered highly sustainable design features.

Project Management Category – Vartry Water Supply Scheme: The project comprises a 4km piped replacement of the Callowhill Tunnel, an 80-megalitre/day treatment plant and an 160 megalitre storage reservoir supplying 200,000 consumers. It had numerous stakeholders and interest groups coupled with critical interfaces including live water treatment facilities, live storage reservoirs, SACs and Grade A dams.

The consultant prepared a detailed Stakeholder Engagement Plan which was effectively coordinated by the project team. It was a highly complex and critical project which would not have enjoyed the ultimate success that it did without expert engineering project management.

Overseas Category – Monrovia Raw Water Pipeline Project, Liberia: This project brought about a sustainable improvement in the water supply of Monrovia, the Liberian capital of one million inhabitants, who now benefit from improved drinking water quality and reliability.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were at the heart of this project which involved 5km of a 1.2m diameter pipeline from an existing dam to a water treatment plant.

The project involved many technical and logistical challenges, made more complex by Covid-19. These challenges were overcome by teamwork and technology such as cloud- based systems, tablets and drones which were used to monitor the works and link Dublin HQ and site teams. The decision of the project team to remain on site during the pandemic was particularly laudable, and highlighted the sense of purpose that drove this project. 

O’Connor Sutton Cronin: Structural Category-Large Projects for Project Fitzwilliam

We in O’Connor Sutton Cronin, together with our client ESB and the entire project team are extremely proud to receive the recognition of the ACEI Award 2022 in the Structural Category-Large Projects for Project Fitzwilliam.

This project, designed as a collaboration between Grafton Architects and O’Mahony Pike with structural and civil design by O’Connor Sutton Cronin and constructed by PJ Hegarty & Sons as Main Contractors, has delivered a unique redevelopment of a city block located with the historic Georgian Core of Dublin.

The development replaced the 1960s built ESB offices on a brownfield, city centre site and required the careful demolition of existing structures adjacent to existing protected structures.

The main portion of the Project Fitzwilliam Development was split into two blocks over a common basement with No 27 Fitzwilliam (Block B) forming the New ESB Head Office and No 28 Fitzwilliam (Block A) a speculative office development.

The project consists of a five- to seven-storey reinforced concrete flat slab structure over double, and part triple, level basement providing c.30,000m2 of office accommodation in an overall development of c.42,000m2. The second portion of the development comprised the renovation of 9no. Georgia structures on Mount Street Upper which have been renovated and restored with a mixture of residential and office use for same.

A detailed site investigation for the project was undertaken to assess the prevailing ground conditions on the site, highlighting a marked variance in rock levels across the site.

A review of 1757 Rocque historical mapping for the city identified an historical quarry, explaining the reason for variance in rock levels and giving the origin of the name Rock Lane to the access off Baggot Street. In response to this, the sub-structure consists of two distinct foundation solutions with the northern portion of the site consists of a foundation slab bearing directly onto bedrock with the presence of the historical quarry to the south necessitating a piled foundation solution.

The project includes a number of innovative and novel uses of concrete in the form of vierendeel trusses. The first of these are used to provide a two-storey high 18m wide structural block with a clear span of 15m over a triple height/part four storey height space underneath.

This block consists of two vierendeel trusses integrated into the outer walls of the space with downstand beams at third points across the width of the block to limit the load onto the vierendeels.

The aspect ratio dimensions of the horizontal and vertical elements of the trusses are co-ordinated with the precast facade elements with the edges of the concrete offset from the facade elements by a consistent dimension to allow for the window frames and finishes.

The same engineering principles were adopted in two of the rear courtyards facing onto James Street East, but with the trusses acting as cantilever of up to 7m in this area and supporting 3 storeys about the double height structure.

Design quality was a key objective in the client brief for the Project Fitzwilliam development. The building has been designed to be sympathetic to its setting but to display proudly its fabric in the form of exposed concrete finishes internally with a mixture of hand-laid brick and precast concrete externally.

The architectural and structural design along Fitzwilliam Street sought to use brickwork as a primary load bearing element, as opposed to a cladding element as would most commonly be the case in modern construction, to complement the setting of the development. 

GDCL Consulting Engineers

From its original inception in 1991, GDCL Consulting Engineers has evolved as a provider of civil/structural engineering organisation with local and international clients across a variety of construction projects.

Among its list of accreditations, GDCL has achieved BIM Level 2 accreditation (ISO19650-2) and has a proven track record producing fully integrated BIM models for large scale multidiscipline projects, WuXi Biologics being an excellent example of this.

WuXi Biologics Project, Dundalk, Co Louth: The completed WuXi Biologics development represents a €350m+ investment at a 50 acre (approx.) greenfield site, near Dundalk, Co Louth.

The plant is the first for WuXi outside of China and with a gross floor area of more than 48,000 square metres, it is set to become the world’s largest single-use biologics manufacturing facility.

Project Team – Design: IPS-Integrated Project Services (IPS) was appointed as project manager and design team leader in 2018. IPS provided engineering design services for process, mechanical/electrical, building services, electrical/instrumentation controls and process architecture.

IPS Integrated Project Services (IPS) also provided scheduling, cost control, and PSDS. STW provided architectural design for shell and core. GDCL Consulting Engineers provided all civil/structural design and acted as the BCAR ‘Design Certifier’ for the overall project.

Project details: There are four main buildings all of which steel framed. These are the Production Building, the Laboratory /Administration Block, the GMP Warehouse (including cold storage) and the Central Utility Building (CUB).

There are also a number of ancillary structures, including site-wide pipe racking, site security building, ESB substation and switch room, fire pump house, and the wastewater treatment plant.

Construction commenced in January 2019. The project statistics are impressive: The civils/site works involved excavation/moving more than 200,000 tonnes of soil and included installation of in excess of 4,000m of underground services. A stormwater attenuation pond (volume = 2,400 cubic metres) was designed to regulate post-development discharge of stormwater from the site.

In excess of 2,900 cubic metres of concrete was poured, about 7,500 tonnes of structural steel framing were erected, more than 66,000 square metres of metal deck flooring laid, and more than 9,000 square metres of cladding/glazing installed. At peak site activity the project employed more than 2,000 construction workers. The facility will create more than 400 jobs when in full production. 

WuXi Biologics Dundalk: Project team


  • Client:                                                   WuXi Biologics
  • Project managers:                                IPS
  • Process design:                                   IPS
  • MEP design:                                        IPS
  • I&C design:                                          IPS
  • Process architecture:                           IPS
  • Building architecture:                           STW Architects
  • Façade consultant:                              Billings Design Associates
  • Planning consultant:                            John Spain Associates
  • Fire consultants:                                  MSA
  • Environmental consultants:                 AWN Consulting
  • Geotechnical engineering:                  AGL Consulting Engineers
  • Traffic consultants                               NRB Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape architecture:                     Cameo
  • Civil/structural:                                    GDCL Consulting Engineers


  • Construction managers:                Jacobs Engineering
  • Enabling and civils contractor:       Wills Bros
  • Steelwork contractor:                    Kiernan Structural Steel Ltd
  • Buildings contractor:                      PJ Hegarty Ltd
  • Buildings contractor:                      Collen Construction
  • Cladding and roofing contractor:   SIAC
  • GSI contractor                               Ground Investigations Ireland Ltd
  • MEP contractor:                             Mercury Engineering
  • MEP contractor:                             Jones Engineering
  • MEP contractor:                             Kirby Group
  • MEP contractor:                             Dornan Engineering


  • Assigned certifier:                           Michael Kavanagh (Jacobs Engineering)
  • Builder:                                            Denis Hannon (Jacobs Engineering)
  • Design certifier:                               Greg Daly (GDCL Consulting Engineers)

TOBIN Consulting Engineers

With a proven track record extending to 70 years, TOBIN Consulting Engineers is a multidisciplinary company, operating across four separate operating divisions including civil; design build; water, building and infrastructure; environment and planning; and roads and transportation.

Employing in excess of 135 people, TOBIN Consulting Engineers continues to be the first port of call for a raft of discerning local authorities, government departments, state bodies, architects, private developers and building contractors.

We are delighted to have received the 2022 Association Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Innovation Award for the NUI Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome in Bekan, Co Mayo, and we are particularly proud of our role as project manager for the world’s largest sports air dome.

Innovation is a cornerstone of our business, where we are always considering how we might apply existing technologies to new problems or harness the efficiency of new technologies to existing projects.

The University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome represents innovation in its most literal sense. Innovative thinking, design, planning, and execution has led to the creation of a new, state-of-the-art multifunctional facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world and will be used by thousands of people each year.

A traditional fixed structure approach would not have been cost effective given the size of the facility that the client wanted to bring to life. Instead, research was conducted for innovative solutions which led to the conclusion that the optimum facility for the area would be an air dome.

We applied established construction techniques associated with GAA synthetic pitch construction with new inflatable air dome technologies utilised internationally, in order to achieve weather protection, heating control and integrated lighting standards in a single structure.

With more than 200 events cancelled annually due to adverse weather in the area, the Air Dome has provided the local community with a facility to host games and trainings year-round. The double layer inflatable membrane has been engineered to adapt to weather conditions and, when fully inflated, can withstand in excess of 100 kph winds.

Although dome technology is already used worldwide, the magnitude of this development, coupled with the unique requirements of Gaelic games, posed various hurdles that had to be overcome and which ultimately led to the achievement of the air dome being the first of its size globally. While dome structures are usually temporarily inflated and deflated for use, the air dome in Connacht is designed to remain inflated all year round.

The inflatable structure, comprised of Grade 5 Canvas, is anchored to a metre-high concrete perimeter beam around the site, with three platform stations used to inflate the dome and to keep it in place.

The air fans that inflate the structure are powered by electricity which are backed up by diesel generators in the event of a power failure. These generators in turn are backed up with another generator and fan as a precautionary measure.

With its highly energy efficient design, keeping the dome inflated requires the use of only one air fan and running costs for the inflation of the dome are approximately €150 per day, with PV panels offsetting energy costs.

The provision of this air dome is one of vital importance to an under-resourced region of Ireland and not just for the sporting community. This facility will provide state-of-the-art equipment and increase regional capacity to work with the wider social community including minority, disadvantaged and marginalised groups which is of great importance to the local and wider communities. 

Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald is a global engineering, management and development consultancy focused on guiding our clients through many of the planet’s most intricate challenges.

We are an employee-owned company with a global turnover of over $2bn. Worldwide we employ more than 18,000 people, delivering projects in more than 150 countries and out of 180 offices across the globe.

Figure 1:View of flood storage area including dam and penstocks

We have been in existence in Ireland for more than 50 years and operate across multiple sectors, including transportation; built environment; process and building services; water; environmental; and energy and have about 200 full-time permanent staff based in our Cork, Dublin and Belfast offices.

Recent projects of note in Ireland include the New Ross Bypass featuring the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, which won the ACEI Project of the Year in 2020.

In 2014, the Office of Public Works (OPW) appointed Mott MacDonald as consultants for the Clonakilty flood relief scheme. The works included a flood storage area upstream of the town to protect against fluvial flooding and new reinforced concrete and sheet piled flood defence walls along the riverbank, together with storm sewers, pumping stations, flood embankments and five existing bridge upgrades. The scheme was constructed by Ward and Burke Construction Limited at a cost of €21m.

Figure 2: Flood walls under construction along Kent Street

The use of a flood storage area, containing flood waters in an area of pastureland not previously prone to flooding, thereby protecting more vulnerable areas in the town centre, is somewhat unique on this scale in Ireland. 

The flood storage structure comprises a 500m long earthen embankment up to 5m high, with a central reinforced concrete flow control structure, controlled by remote water-level monitoring systems.

The overall design of the scheme is such that the construction of the flow control storage area reduced the requirement for hard engineering interferences downstream. 

Without this innovation, the fluvial flood defences would have extended over 1.5km of the river and would have required the canalisation of 1km of natural riverbank with walls up to 4m high being required in the town centre. Furthermore, the flow control structure was designed to be adaptable to future climate change.

Figure 3: Flood walls completed along Kent Street

In addition to the flow control structure some 550m of tidal flood defence walling was constructed in the town centre, much of this close to listed buildings. 

Approximately 785m of sheet pile walling was installed along the perimeter of Clonakilty harbour which is a special area of conservation, a special protection area, and proposed natural heritage area.

Three pump station sumps were constructed in the town centre using caisson methods. Each sump was 4m diameter and approximately 4m deep. 

Two were in car parks, however the third was located at a busy street junction necessitating the relocation of major services. A 1.5m diameter 3.3m deep package pump station was also installed under one of the streets. Furthermore, an upgraded road drainage network was installed in parts of the town centre to convey flows to the new pump stations.

The completed scheme now protects 150 vulnerable homes, 142 vulnerable businesses, and 420 vulnerable persons from flooding.