Glan Agua’s excellence celebrated at ICE Awards

1 Oct , 2019  

For their outstanding work in delivering the Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme, Glan Agua were named as outright winners in the Civil Engineering category at the 2019 Irish Construction Excellence Awards. Building Ireland touched base with Contracts Manager Andrew Driver to find out more about this industry-leading, multi-award-winning project… and the company behind it!

Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme – a €30million project to develop a new water treatment plant (WTP) for Central Kerry – was delivered by Glan Agua over a 24-month period between 2016 and 2018 for Irish Water (project-managed by Kerry County Council). The new WTP is amongst the largest in the country and provides over 50 million litres of sustainable, safe and secure drinking water every day to the Killarney, Tralee, Castleisland and Castlemaine communities.

Winner in the Civil Engineering category of the Irish Construction Excellence Awards (recognising civil engineering contractors who demonstrate best practice in the delivery of a civil engineering project), the scheme was also shortlisted in the BIM Excellence category (recognising contractors who demonstrate excellence in the utilisation of BIM methodology and tools, improving deliverables on a construction or engineering project) at the annual ICE Awards.

Furthermore, last November, the new Lough Guitane water treatment plant was awarded the Engineering Project of the Year at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards (beating off competition from the likes of Luas Cross City and the M18 Motorway!).

Glan Agua Ltd., who acted as Design Build Operate (DBO) contractor for the scheme, along with sister company MEIC Ltd, believe that the award-winning scheme – which was delivered to the highest standards on time and within budget – demonstrates how hard work, innovation and collaboration can achieve the common goals of all parties involved and the construction industry as a whole.

Incredibly, Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme also made the final four at the Global Water Awards, where it was up against projects completed in Saudia Arabia, Russia and the United States. “We’d never really put ourselves forward for too many awards in the past,” notes Contracts Manager Andrew Driver. “You need a project of the right scale to display your knowledge and ability. Kerry Central was the right one and we brought many new innovations and technologies to the country for this project.”

At the peak of the project, there were 120 men on site. “There were two Contracts Managers for this project,” Andrew continues. “I was over the civil side of it – the structural design and building works – while Andrew Young was in charge of MEICA (Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation).”

In addition to the design and construction of the new WTP, the project also included the upgrade of intakes, including a hydroelectric power turbine; 15 million litres of water storage (the size of about six Olympic swimming pools); process water treatment including recycling to conserve water and protect the environment; and pumping stations and pipelines.

The new WTP is located on the banks of Lough Guitane, southeast of Killarney National Park. The project commenced in April, 2016 and Glan Agua worked in partnership with Irish Water and Nicholas O’Dwyer/Tobin Consulting Engineers throughout its life cycle to drive efficiencies, savings and to achieve tangible benefits.

As the project progressed, value engineering opportunities were identified, analysed and challenged in the context of achieving optimum outcomes. This focus on value and risk management resulted in the project being completed under budget.

The Kerry Central WTP project design was developed in a systematic fashion from tender concept design through to completion. Use of sound engineering principles, engineering workshops and design reviews ensured that Glan Agua achieved the common goals set by the client in their Employer’s Requirements. The outcome of this was a reliable, robust and resilient WTP which has the capacity to treat 2.7 million litres of water every hour and exceeds the client’s key requirements.

One of the key drivers for the project was the fact that Kerry Central Water Supply Scheme was listed on the Remedial Action List (RAL) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as having “inadequate treatment for cryptosporidium and elevated levels of trihalomethanes above the standard in the Drinking Water Regulations”. Following an EPA audit on the newly completed scheme, it was removed from the RAL on October 30th, 2018, ensuring safe and sustainable drinking water for the scheme’s 62,000 customers and 1.1 million annual visiting tourists to Killarney each year. The project was completed while maintaining supply to customers at all times.

Kerry Central WTP was one of the first major projects in the Irish water industry to fully implement BIM (Building Information Modelling) and integrate it into all aspects of the project, from design through construction and into operation.

Meanwhile, the integration of IT infrastructure, mobile tablets and QR Codes at the WTP has set a new benchmark for Irish Water and has allowed greater productivity, efficiency and improved service delivery.

Glan Agua provided time-lapse cameras on site throughout the contract period. In addition to this, they conducted regular drone footage at monthly intervals. The comprehensive implementation of such technologies was another first for Irish Water and has become a benchmark for similar water projects.

One very challenging aspect of the project was the fast track design and construction of the WTP in terms of the reinforced concrete operations, precast building, precast bridge beams used to provide a fast and efficient tank roof and structural steel frame. The implementation of Level 2 BIM together with detailed consultations and programming of supply chain partners was critical to allowing the completion of the building in a timely manner and facilitating significant off-site construction activities for a safer working environment.

Elements designed and constructed off site included: structural steel frame; structural steel walkways and stairs; precast bridge beams used to maximise the span capacity on insitu concrete tanks; precast wide slab floor sections utilised as roofing for smaller tanks; and precast wall sections utilised to construct the three storey administration building

Despite the best efforts of eleven named storms during the contract period, including national red alerts for Storm Ophelia and Storm Emma (The Beast from the East) and the occurrence of a drought, the construction work was substantially completed within the 24-month programme period.

Glan Agua Ltd. are in the unique position of having a civil engineering sister company, Mota-Engil Ireland Construction Ltd. (MEIC Ltd.), the two companies generating employment for up to 300 people in total. Together with MEIC, Glan Agua have construction expertise in a wide range of disciplines including process, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, controls, automation, building and general civil engineering. With this internal expertise and experience, a solutions-based approach was facilitated with weekly design review meetings and co-ordination workshops. Glan Agua utilised their in-house multidisciplinary professional staff to create and manage a construction programme of works which proved to be very effective and highly accurate. This ensured that performance was achieved and that Irish Water’s key deliverables were achieved. These design review forums allowed for increased collaboration between designers in addition to development of innovate solutions to address project challenges.

Proactive HSQE management played a pivotal role in the successful and safe delivery of Kerry Central WTP. A total of 253,823 hours were worked on the project, of which 199,650 were on-site with no reportable accidents. Health & Safety was promoted on-site through initiates such as Construction Safety Week and a 30 Days Safe campaign launched by Glan Agua.

A private limited company formed in 2007, Glan Agua are industry leaders in providing project solutions for the water and wastewater industry including design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance. Providing innovative turnkey design and build solutions, Glan Agua Ltd. is third party accredited in Quality Management (ISO 9001), Health & Safety Management (OHSAS 18001), Environmental Management (ISO 14001) and Energy Management (ISO 50001).

Continually striving to improve their skill set and investigate new technologies and innovative engineering solutions to efficiently manage Irish water resources and the environment on behalf of clients, Glan Agua have the capacity and the experience to provide complex project solutions for the water and wastewater industry including design, construction, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure.

Glan Agua (who have also undertaken projects with a large number of local authorities and private clients in the food and pharmaceutical sectors) are firmly established as a DBO contractor for the water and wastewater industries in Ireland. “We design the plant, build it and then operate it for ten years,” Andrew continues. “We have around 50 of these plants across Ireland at the present time.

“It’s a really good model because you are thinking as the client when you design it. As you are going to be operating it, the onus is on you to build it to last and also to be efficient. For example, Kerry Central is huge but we designed it very efficiently so that two people can run it.”

At the time of writing, Glan Agua were busy delivering Thurles Regional Water Supply Scheme as well as two new water treatment plants in Donegal (Letterkenny and Creeslough) and a new sewage treatment plant in Courtmacsherry in West Cork.

Meanwhile, sister company MEIC is working on a new bypass for Donabate in Dublin, schools in Portlaoise and Maynooth for the Department of Education and a rapid-build housing scheme in Limerick for the Department of Housing. Furthermore, Glan Agua UK, which was formed in 2017, is carrying out significant enabling works on eight water treatment

 plants that are in the path of HS2, between Birmingham and London.

Glan Agua Ltd.,

Railway House,

Station Road,


County Galway.

Tel: 091 880 332

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.glanagua.ie

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, July, Vol 5 No 7