problems with large scale projects in Ireland

Postby GregF » Mon Apr 07, 2003 9:29 am

I've given up with this project as well as all the other projects...ie The LUAS, Calatrava's bridges, the Dublin Docks, The National Stadium, The National Conference Centre, O'Connell Street, The Metro.....The long time durations for completeion of these projects, the wranglings, The ditherings and stutterings, the opposition and complacency from the politicians and the public ....etc etc....is all just too much.
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Postby dpower » Mon Apr 07, 2003 9:49 am

I think contractors get very complacent when they land large government contracts. There is just no excuse for being so late all of the time. Companies that don't meet their deadlines should be fined for it. It's a great waste of taxpayers money- and it might force the companies concerned to be more careful with their time projections. It's unprofessional and reeks of chancery- I'm sure time is a factor when the corporation is considering tender proposals, so companies just plain lie about how long a project will take so they land the contract- afterall, there doesn't appear to be any consequences.
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Postby GregF » Mon Apr 07, 2003 10:02 am

I see our leader aka the Taoiseach made a statement yesterday about trying to keep landprices etc...down ...or something to that effect.
But is'nt it too bad then that the developers et all.... aka TDs, builders, landlords etc....are just blatent robbers....the over pricing of beneficial projects to this nation is ludicrous.....whether it be the National Stadium, the LUAS or housing for all. So much for the saying that the notion of Irish being great builders of Britain and America yet they neglect their homeland...milking every profit from the little isle. Jesus no wonder we have nothing of significance to show after receiving all those billions from the European taxpayer and despite bouyant revenues for the taxman aka Charlie McCreevy and especially when you still see a chronic health service and delapedated schools it proves that there is a serious haemorrage of funds. Where it is going nobody knows however.
So much then for aspiring to be something or someone as a nation .....we are what we are .....a small insignificant little country on the edge of Europe ...a formal colony of Britain comprised of glorified peasants, peddlars and robbers.
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Postby Niall » Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:20 pm

Yes I agree, the money goes into the hands of a greedy golden circle, who live in some of the most expensive real estate in Europe and drive some of the most expensive cars and have the most expensive tastes! This sheer robbery is leaving nothing for future generations and adding to theis misery of this one! The profiteering and corruption has got to stop! The country will grind to a halt and we will have very little to show for the good times!!
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Postby Ronan C » Mon Apr 07, 2003 1:27 pm

WOW talk about pessimism !

Things are not that bad. There have been loads of public projects over the last few years that have been on target ie. re-paving of St. Stephen's Green, cleaning and lighting of BoI College Green, re-paving of Henry St, the Campshires, the millenium bridge etc, etc, etc,

OK we do have problems with getting some of the bigger projects going but let's not beat ourselves up about it. It's a hell of a lot better than it used to be and we will get better.
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Postby Zap » Mon Apr 07, 2003 2:10 pm

Looking at things at present I wouln't call it pessimism - more realism. There does seem to be severe problems with carrying out any big task.

The cleaning and lighting of Bank of Ireland was carried out by a private sector company. It was done quickly and efficiency (within max. a month or two). Contrast that with across the road and how long it took to complete Trinity (it started before I started a 4 year degree there and wasn't finished when I finshed it). Re-paving streets should be no big deal - if that's what we point to as an achievement of our city, it doesn't say much!

I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic - I think things can be better but firstly you have to be realistic and say that most major things which have been undertaken over the past few years have been unsuccessful for one reason or other. I think its time to address those before we proceed with any more projects or else we will be making the same comments about each new project.

We need to recognise the messes, and the construction of the Spike can only be described as a mess, and deal with them. Being so terribly positive and patient and saying we will get it right next time is not the way to continue though.

I think Dublin can be fantastic - and within my lifetime too (and not on some never-ending timescale). For that reason I'm very unforgiving when I see messes being made of every important project which the city needs.
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Postby dpower » Mon Apr 07, 2003 2:34 pm

Hear hear. These kinds of messes also give critics of this type of project ammunition.
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Postby Zap » Mon Apr 07, 2003 3:55 pm

There were two men working for the Dublin City Council, one would dig a hole, the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in.

They worked furiously all day without rest, one guy digging a hole, the other guy filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn't understand what they were doing.

So he asked the hole digger, "I appreciate the effort you are putting into your work,
but what's the story?

You dig a hole and your partner follows behind and fills it up again."

Paddy wiped his brow and sighed, " Well, normally we are a three-man team, but the bloke who plants the trees is sick today."
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Postby PVC King » Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:39 am

Under the last three governments things have gotten completely out of control in relation to monitoring public construction projects.

The Public Private Partnership model is no better because they have not sorted out the core problem.

The core problem is scale, when the government decided to build a motorway to cork they split it up in to god knows how many individual bypasses.

Why was the entire project not put out to one individual tender?
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Postby garethace » Sun Dec 14, 2003 8:26 pm

In Canada, I know they could build a road equivalent to Dublin to Belfast to completion in six months. We cannt even go from Tallaght to O'Connell Street without stopping and starting every couple of hours for tea and bickies! :-)

Ireland has no problems with scale when you put real bastards on the job. Dell computers in Limerick is the largest single workforce in the country - 3,000 people and the equivalent of a small rural town. It supplies most of the IT needs of Europe, Middle East and North Africa!
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Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:46 am

Michael Dell is a legend If only he would consider sorting this country out

I heard today Rudy Gulliani is in Mexico City sorting out their urban problems
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Postby notjim » Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:04 am

in canada they have large cities with surface carparks in the center and huge highways and no streets, i wouldn't use it as a good example of urban anything.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:14 am

I agree that Dallas style models are not the best solution. But a well done Dallas must be better than this.

Roads are vital to link cities, they give industry efficiency which pays for livable city centres

Let M Dell pay for the cake but put a chef in the Transport kitchen that knows the difference between flour and cement
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Postby phil » Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:12 pm

Originally posted by Diaspora


I heard today Rudy Gulliani is in Mexico City sorting out their urban problems


He was there a few months ago. I am not sure how well his help is going. There was a good program about it on Channel 4 there a few weeks ago
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:18 pm

Originally posted by notjim
in canada they have large cities with surface carparks in the center and huge highways and no streets, i wouldn't use it as a good example of urban anything.


unfortunate taxation systems....
empty buildings are taxed the same as full ones in some cities... therefore in a downturn, buildings are demolished rather than sit empty... a surface carpark is not taxed
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Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:24 pm

That is a bizzare taxation system. one of the cleverist angles on a standard college project I ever saw involved a simple twist.

Select a Green solution to new building project.

While the rest of ran off gathering information on naturally ventiated buildings and solar panels one guy, selected Bolands mills as a 'recycled building'

Regarding surface carparks, don't they tend to be redeveloped as buildings during booms. For example looking at the Parnall St area now vs 15 years ago.

How many surface car parks are there in New York or London?
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Postby garethace » Mon Dec 15, 2003 3:49 pm

Yeah, on the subject of Parnell Street area, what is it with the lack of street lighting. I have known that place for 10 years, and dispite of all the development, from a place to play soccer at lunchtime, to a place to park and shop - it is still to this day, the same dark, un-inhabited wind pitch black sort of a wind tunnel it always was.

A similar situation exists along the canal banks on the south side of the city. Really is lighting up a street really that big an issue? It will burn more electricity, but it would contribute toward a feeling of less exposure and isolation while using the streets.

Gas lamps came into London way back, and contributed to the Victorian habit of 'shopping' in certain parts of the city. Never before had shopped ever used large windows as display cabinets to the street for their wares before.

There is a nice building on the Naas Road, where its whole front elevation becomes a display cabinet to the motorway, full of motorbikes. I think that Bolands Mills could serve a similar iconic function - displaying the people inside the building using it perhaps?
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Postby garethace » Mon Dec 15, 2003 5:21 pm

BTW, has anyone been watching the Discovery channel series about Thatcher-ism and the Concorde?

When it became obvious that Concorde supersonic travel was no longer a profit maker, BT and AF didn't take long to wonder what to do.

I had to laugh, that when concorde had only a month left, suddenly all the French nation decided to become all patriotic and nostalgic about a 'lost piece of French world class engineering'.

The Brits were rather annoyed by that, as the French couldn't give a toss about Concorde when it was flying and making money. They waited until it was finally axed to support it.

Funny thing, public opinion, national pride and nostalgia!
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:10 pm

I don't bother listening to anything I hear in relation to 'proposed' this, or 'coming on stream soon' that - just laugh it off and it will work every time!

Street lighting in this city is disgraceful - even the very latest lighting in the city,like those recent repros on College St are very dim.
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Postby garethace » Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:06 pm

Thankyou for that assessment Graham, I was thinking it was just me. There are some nice books available about just lighting interiors and exteriors. I mean, the 'Green Energy' guys might not like it, but lighting does help parts of a city. Other places I think are too dark are Kings Inns park at night and Constitution hill apartments directly oposite. Other car parks and areas around old buildings. I.e. spaces which are 'used' as car parks during daylight hours, but become dark uninhabited places by night. Hospitals come to mind here.
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Postby Plug » Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:22 pm

Hi!
I'm new (but don't hold that against me)
Just as a matter of interest, how much practical understanding of lighting is involved in becoming an architect?
Having been a lighting designer in the entertainment industry for twenty odd years I have recently (past couple of years) started doing more architectural lighting, hopefully bringing a bit of entertainment "pazazz" to projects. When trying to land new clients a response I'm faced with a lot of the time is "Oh, the architects look after all that" And on a couple of occasions they've made a right pigs ear of it, showing seemingly very little knowledge of different light sources, and the way they work.
(no offence)
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Postby garethace » Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:50 pm

Beyond the Hall door were architects some of them and did manage to speak with a good deal of logic about lighting interiors. However that still doesn't bring us any closer to lighting up our streets does it. But it is a good start.

Generally speaking in the architectural world, things relavant to design such as space, light, time and people are:

'Known about by everyone, but never talked about'.

A lot like some other 'no-go' areas in everyday existence I suppose. I have thought a great deal about natural light in architecture myself. While space is often spoken about in relation to gravity, I certainly believe that most of what space means to us as human beings is related to how the eye responds to natural light and how 'far' the eye travels.

Louis Kahn, Unbuilt Master Works is based around experiments done at MIT using Discreet Lightscape software in the late 1990s. It is about the best place to 'start' to think about architects and light in modern day design. Couple of copies in Bolton Street library.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:00 pm

I don't know about architects involvement either - but there's no doubt that there's been a huge improvement in recent years in the understanding of lighting in new buildings, it being used very effectively, especially in interiors - although certainly not in all cases.

I've been interested in lighting for years, both in the entertainment lighting you speak of Plug, and the more practical forms, ie, street lighting etc.

I cannot believe the state of the Custom House's floodlighting, its a joke. Many of the floodlights bulbs have just been replaced after being being blown for months and months, but its the architecture of the lighting thats so bad.

Horrible urban orange light is used, the lights are positioned on the back of lamposts and so blast concentrated light on only certain areas of the facade, leaving other areas dimly lit. The portico is then ludicrously lit with white light beams that jarr with the orange light.
The drum and dome are also lit in different colours to the rest, and again are too dim.
And then throw in the amount of blown bulbs there are and you end up with a big cluttered incoherent mess.

And as for the Four Courts - the OPW can't even be bothered to replace the bulbs that light the dome in the same colour - hence one part is orange, another white etc.

And as for Christchurch, Trinity, the GPO, Leinster House, the Ntl Museum, Library, Gallery & Natural History...

Leinster House being the most recent job - I can honestly say I've never seen anything so ham-fisted and pathetic in my life. The OPW should be ashamed of themselves.
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Postby PVC King » Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:05 pm

They have just redone Stormont recently, I was looking at it on the news and what is not a good building actually looks better lit at night

Point very well made regarding Dublins better buildings, plug where are you?
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Postby Plug » Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:09 pm

errm, so how much study of lighting is involved in becoming an architect. Internal, and external. Personally it amazes me that the level of street lighting can be so bad. It's not that hard to get right, it's a fairly basic calculation to get the correct lux levels, assuming you know what you're doing/using.
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