Award-winning consultancy engineering excellence from BMCE

21 Nov , 2019  

On Friday, March 29th, 2019, Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers were category winners at the 2019 ACEI (Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland) Design Excellence Awards Dinner Dance in Dublin’s InterContinental Hotel, where they were named as winners in the ‘Structures – Medium’ projects category for their outstanding contribution to the refurbishment / conservation project at 14 Henrietta Street, Tenement Museum, Dublin 1. Building Ireland touched base with director Stephen O’Connor to get an insight.

Established in 1970 to promote and recognise project excellence and innovation, the prestigious annual ACEI Design Excellence Awards provide consulting engineers with an opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience. Awards for engineering excellence are presented to ACEI member firms adjudicated to be the best in each of the four categories.

At this year’s awards ceremony in late March, Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers (BMCE) – an established consultancy specialising in all aspects of civil and structural engineering and project management – claimed the ‘Structures – Medium’ award for Tenement Museum, 14 Henrietta Street.

The building at No.14 Henrietta Street forms part of a terrace of the most intact collection of early to mid-18th century aristocratic townhouses in Ireland. These vast houses were divided into tenements from the 1870’s to house the city’s working poor. In 1877, No.14 Henrietta Street was divided into 19 tenement flats with some 100 people living under its roof. 

This project comprised the extensive refurbishment of the building to reflect the history of the house and to include a Tenement Museum. Barrett Mahony acted as civil and structural engineers for the refurbishment project. The key principle was to conserve all of the existing building fabric and where necessary, supplement it with appropriate structural interventions which are sympathetic to the original building.

The works included extensive strengthening of the existing floors and rear stairs. In the case of the floors the original timber joists in some rooms span over 7.5m and had sagged significantly over time. The floor capacity was assessed and structural interventions were required to increase the strength and stiffness of the floor plate. Similar strengthening works were carried out to the rear timber stairs which were particularly challenging due to the existing stairs dimensions and profile. 

Within the new entrance lobby a new feature stairs was installed and this involved the design of a steel support tray to support a concrete topping and achieve a 50mm waist dimension. The design of the stairs also involved extensive detailing relating to the new balustrade which was screwed into the top concrete surface of the new stair waist.

 “We were delighted to win the ACEI Award – it’s very nice to be recognised,” notes director Stephen O’Connor, who was in attendance at the InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge alongside fellow team member Darragh O’Rourke to collect the award from ACEI President Ciarán Kennedy.

“With regard to the building in question, it was really all about developing a design that was sympathetic to the original building fabric.”

The ACEI Award dovetails perfectly with Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers’ 25th anniversary celebrations, the international civil and structural engineering consultancy practice having been founded in Dublin by Brian Mahony and Vincent Barrett in April, 1994.

The practice is wholly-owned by its directors. Specialising in structural engineering consultancy services across the construction sector, their staff are highly qualified and enthusiastic, boasting skills that are constantly updated through a programme of continuing professional development.

BMCE collaborate with esteemed clients, architects, project managers and other profession partners to provide design services for a wide range of buildings and structures including commercial, office retail, residential, education, healthcare and civil works, covering a broad array of project types from new builds to conservation and restoration projects.

The practice adopts a hands-on, proactive approach that results in innovative and efficient designs, realising the intentions of architects with efficiency, always striving to maintain clients’ budgets. These designs are achieved using a balanced application of experience, first principle design and the application of advanced analysis and computing software.

A multi-award-winning consultancy practice, BMCE also contributed to the 2018 coveted RIAI Award for Conservation / Restoration for No.14 Henrietta Street – having previously contributed to the same award in 2016 for Humewood Castle. They were also part of the Design Team Commended for Best Healthcare Award for the Department of Psychiatry at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda in the 2016 RIAI Awards as well as the Best Housing Award for Hazel Lane Mews Houses.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers acted as civil and structural engineers for a number of projects successful at the Irish Building & Design Awards – namely the Architectural Project of the Year Award for Lidl HQ, Retail Project of the Year Award for 26 / 27 Grafton Street and School Building Project of the Year Award for NUIG’s Bio Science Research Building.

The firm has been regularly winning major industry awards since its inception, honoured for a multitude of projects in both Ireland and the UK, where they have had a strong presence since 2006.

Some current projects at the time of writing are UCD Student Residences, Cherrywood TC1 & TC2, Ballymun North Quarter and in the UK, a development comprising two towers of 40 and 45 storeys in Croydon.

Providing direct employment for 60 personnel in Dublin plus 15 more in their London office and embracing the most up-to-date technology and systems in all projects, including Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D analysis, Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers are currently experiencing a period of steady, organic growth.

“It’s all about the people and the skills they bring to the company,” Stephen concludes. “A number of our senior staff have been with the company long term. People are everything. After that, it’s about listening to your client and being able to work with other design team members as part of a team, bringing your own expertise to the table but also respecting other disciplines to arrive at a coordinated quality design.”

Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers,

52/54 Sandwith Street Lower,

Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 6773200

Fax: 01 6773164

Email: [email protected]

Web: bmce.ie

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, August, Vol 5 No 8