Opera project was just the job for UL engineering students

by Tom McCullough


CIVIL Engineering students at the University of Limerick got some memorable ‘learning by doing’ experience when they took on the role of civil engineering consultants for one of the city’s most exciting construction projects.

Their brief was to complete the civil and structural design of the ‘One Opera Square’ Building on the Project Opera site, a six-storey office building on Michael Street. Demolition and enabling works are currently taking place with construction of the basement and One Opera Square due to start in the new year.

The Integrated Design Project (IDP) is part of the third-year curriculum, which gives students practical experience ahead of placement. The project, which involved 35 students, culminated last week in a presentation to lecturers and representatives of engineering consultants Arup and Limerick Twenty Thirty.

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The students’ tasks required advanced engineering knowledge as well as professional practice elements such as structural analysis, health and safety assessments, land surveying and the development of a mobility management plan for the Opera project.

Said course leader for the project Declan Phillips: “The UL civil engineering programme utilises a ‘learning-by-doing’ approach to prepare the next generation of engineers. This partnership with Limerick Twenty Thirty is an excellent example of that.”

“Opera Square is one of the most anticipated and exciting projects underway in Ireland and it’s been of huge benefit to be able to get our students to base their IDP on it. We got great support from the team at Limerick Twenty Thirty, the project managers Cogent Associates and the contractors SISK.

“The experience the students got will be invaluable to them, not least as they get ready for their co-op placement. If a civil engineering student was to pick a project they would like to work on, Opera would be right up there because of its scale, complexity and ambition. It’s been a great experience for them.”

David Conway, CEO of Limerick Twenty Thirty said that Opera Square has everything and more that civil engineering students would want to explore.

“These students are going to be the civil engineers of tomorrow and it’s essential that the sector has the graduate flow to sustain activity, so it’s important for us to be able to support initiatives like this.

“UL’s civil engineering programme has an excellent reputation and given that it’s one of our local universities, this is something we are delighted to have partnered on.”