Case Studies

Renewable Energy in Civil & Structural Engineering


Civil and Structural Engineering


Related Services

Structural Engineering

People To Contact

Overview of service

ORS is currently engaged in numerous projects in the area of renewable energy, from the early design to the construction stage.

Clients range from developers of large-scale energy generation projects to small-scale local energy users.

One example is in the design of infrastructure for solar energy generation projects. Entrust recently engaged ORS to carry out a preliminary design of a 20m span bridge across the Silver River in Co. Offaly. This bridge was required to give access to lands for the development of a large solar farm development.

A site inspection and walk-over were carried out with the project owner to better understand the site constraints and identify potential locations for the bridge. As this was to be part of a new internal project track network, there was some flexibility in locating the bridge as opposed to the site being pre-determined by an existing road network.

Design information provided to ORS included topographical information in the form of a Digital Surface Model (DSM) and Digital Terrain Model (DTM) for the general area. A preliminary flood risk assessment was carried out by the client and provided to ORS for review. After some design iterations, a design was provided to our client which exceeded their needs and approved by the consenting authority.

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In terms of services provided to smaller-scale clients, ORS has recently completed structural reviews of a number of Dublin City Centre buildings where there was a need to review the intention to mount solar panels on existing roofs from a structural point of view. Investigations have been carried out for the HSE at Phoenix Care Centre, Grangegorman and for the Communications Workers Union at 575 North Circular Road, Drumcondra.

In many cases, these buildings have been constructed in a single phase and can be readily assessed based on engineering design drawings provided by the client. However, in one recent project, a building under review had been extended twice. The result was that three different roof structural arrangements had to be assessed before an opinion on the additional loading could be offered to our client. The review of this building led to a recommendation to allow solar panel loading within two distinct areas but to avoid loading in a third area due to the presence of a single-skin metal deck unsuited for the intended panels.

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Project challenges

Civil & Structural Solutions

In terms of developing new infrastructure to facilitate access to lands, specific challenges at planning stages often include unknown ground conditions and working to the requirements of relevant authorities and agencies such as Inland Fisheries and the Office of Public Works.

Handling large spatial-based data such as DTM and DSM files can be challenging; however, this was overcome through data processing by our experienced technicians to provide engineers with workable file formats. This challenge can present itself when site-wide surveys are carried out to inform wide-scale civil engineering decisions and are later applied to localised study areas.

Based on experience and existing relationships with external agencies, we were well placed to develop suitable concept designs to provide the client with a robust design suitable to incorporate into planning applications.

Challenges in assessing existing roof structures are often centred on unknown roof construction unless opening-up works are carried out. Also, in order to assess loadings for solar panels, clients will need to provide proposed panel supplier technical information and there are challenges here in ensuring loads provided account for all possible scenarios, including permanent, snow and wind loading. Finally, agreeing on a means of transfer of load through the roof without unduly impacting waterproofing details is an area that needs to be considered. Solutions to each of these challenges are driven by ORS, informed by a practical approach with minimal intervention in the building structure, even in cases where strengthening works are deemed necessary.


Key Contacts

  • David Mc Cormack Director
    Group 8501 2
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    David McCormack


  • Mark Heslin Civil Structural Lead
    Group 8501 2
    View Bio
    Mark Heslin

    Associate and Civil & Structural Engineering Lead

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Talk to A specialist

Great projects start with great relationships. Have a project in mind? Contact us.

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Business Park, Mullingar,
Co.Westmeath, Ireland.
N91 W5NN

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Eyre Square,
H91 HY51

Office 4, Spencer House,
High Road, Letterkenny,
Co. Donegal,
Ireland. F92 PX8N

Republic of Work,
12 S Mall,
Centre, Cork,
T12 RD43

ORS has satellite offices in Newry and Maynooth.

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