Case Studies

Cellar Surveys, Dublin City


Civil and Structural Engineering


Related Services

Structural Engineering

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Overview of service

Fitzwilliam Square and Merrion Square are historic Georgian areas in South Dublin City Centre. Dublin City Council (DCC) is working on a project to develop protected cycle lanes along the streets around the squares.

The ORS Civil and Structural Team was appointed to conduct large-scale condition surveys. The surveys involved recording the structural condition of historic basement cellars along a number of busy streets in South Dublin City Centre. The surveys were required as a precursor to the tender process for a new cycle route on Fitzwilliam Street.

The task involved contacting each property’s owner for consent to conduct the inspections and the basement-level survey. All cellar dimensions, projections beyond the kerb line, any structural issues with the brick arches and notable issues with floors and walls were recorded. This constituted a condition record and mapped out the position of the cellars beneath the roads and footpaths to allow planning of services and resurfacing works at street level.

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Farran Mullingar
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To ensure efficiency in the process, the ORS team created a reporting template which captured all information required for each property. This template was shared with DCC prior to commencing the work to ensure the client would be satisfied with the end product.

The team identified typical defects for the client to understand the potential remedial measures required to ensure long-term structural integrity, mainly because construction works are to be carried out within their vicinity.

This exciting project offered a depth of experience in reporting historic structures.

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Castleforbes 3
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Project challenges

Adapting to Covid

This project was carried out during the Covid-19 lockdowns and involved contact with the general public. Many of the relevant premises were businesses. The ORS team was required to seek consent from the owner prior to conducting the surveys. This was challenging as many buildings were unoccupied. ORS split tasks for the team to manage time and efficiently work in line with Covid restrictions. One team member researched and gathered contact details to make appointments as far as practical. Other team members were assigned to the survey work and reporting.


ORS was provided with a list of known cellar locations along the relevant streets. However, the team had the foresight to ask for permission to investigate the presence of any additional cellars. This was challenging as the team had to ensure that all cellars were captured in the final plan. The ORS strategy was to pull all cellar survey results onto one master plan in AutoCAD, allowing for the setting out of cellars at adjacent properties to be compiled based on the dimensions recorded on site. This allowed for a review of gaps or anomalies in the master plan, providing a complete picture of the below-ground buildings to be formed and a much clearer end product for the client.

ORS was required to work to a tight programme on this project. The results of the cellar surveys were used as part of a tender for the more comprehensive DCC development scheme of the Fitzwilliam Cycle path works.


Key Contacts

  • David Mc Cormack Director
    Group 8501 2
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    David McCormack


  • Mark Heslin Civil Structural Lead
    Group 8501 2
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    Mark Heslin

    Associate and Civil & Structural Engineering Lead

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Co. Donegal,
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T12 RD43

ORS has satellite offices in Newry and Maynooth.

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