Capcon Engineering is a leading provider of engineered drainage solutions for buildings. Having completed major contracts across Ireland and the UK, it is looking to increase knowledge among Irish specifiers about siphonic rainwater drainage.
Capcon Engineering began operations in 2010. At first, it delivered a diverse range of services, including pipe rehabilitation, leak detection, asset management, minor civils and rainwater drainage, on projects across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. In early 2016, following a full review of its strategic outlook, it undertook a complete restructuring and decided to focus entirely on the design, supply and installation of engineered drainage solutions.
The Capcon Engineering team provides a complete end-to-end solution for rainwater drainage, including design, supply, installation and ongoing maintenance for both siphonic and gravity drainage. It has a core design team, led by architectural technologist Stephen Morris, that works as part of the project design team from a very early stage, often pre-planning. Its installation crews, led by project manager Colm Whitty, are highly skilled and experienced technicians, most of whom have been working for Capcon Engineering since the company was established.
Capcon Engineering has carried out the design, supply and installation of pipework on most major commercial projects around Ireland. Its client and project list includes NCH; Penrose Dock, Cork; 1-6 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin; Windsor Stadium, Belfast; Dublin Landings; Covanta – Dublin Waste to Energy; the new ESB HQ, Dublin; the award-winning Miesian Plaza, Dublin; Central Park in Sandyford, Dublin; Diageo Block, St James’ Gate, Dublin; and many more. It also has worked across the UK, on projects such as Royal Albert Docks London, TATE Modern London, Wembley Apartments, Ocean Village Hotel, Southampton, Verde London SW1, Spectrum House and the Gridserve project for ESS Modular in Braintree, Essex.
The company’s management team comprises Eugene Finn, Director; Robert Finn, Director; Donnacha Tobin, Operations Director; Michelle Loughran, Head of Finance; Lorraine Donohue, HR Manager; and Heidi Jermyn, Marketing Manager. Capcon Engineering is a subsidiary of Capcon Group, which operates in the wider construction and property industries. These companies are guided by the executive management team and board members Pat O’Sullivan and John Stack, both of whom have extensive experience, having held senior executive positions in industry-leading companies across Ireland, the UK and the USA.
Photograph by Piotr Biszcz.
Eugene Finn says in 2020, like everyone else in the sector, Covid-19 had an enormous impact on how Capcon Engineering carries out its work, but the CIF’s development of the ‘Construction Sector C-19 Pandemic Standard Operating Procedure’ and the other interventions it progressed was a vital support for the sector.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the CIF for their proactivity and support concerning all Covid-19-related matters in 2020,” Eugene Finn comments. “As we work across numerous large-scale projects for all the major main contractors, all Covid guidelines are very clearly communicated and strictly adhered to. Our production has not been dramatically affected as our two-person teams typically work in a socially-distanced way under normal circumstances. Naturally and where appropriate, we facilitate our office staff to work from home.”
Eugene Finn continues, “Capcon Engineering provides an end-to-end solution for rainwater drainage, including design, supply, installation and ongoing maintenance for both siphonic and gravity drainage.
“We work across a range of sectors in Ireland and the UK, including pharmaceutical, healthcare, education, residential, commercial and industrial, including data centres.”
Recent significant projects that Capcon Engineering has been contracted on include WuXi Pharmaceuticals, Dundalk; National Children’s Hospital, Dublin; Brewery Quarter Student Accommodation, Cork; Gridserve with ESS Modular in Braintree, Essex; Dublin Landings; Dublin-based data centre; and Spencer Dock, North and South.
Eugene Finn says that Capcon Engineering’s order book for Ireland in 2021 is very healthy. “One major focus for the business in 2021 is to expand our presence in the UK construction sector,” Eugene Finn comments. “We are actively pursuing specific contracts in London and the south-east regions within our established customer base. As always, we are open to new opportunities and partnerships.
“In the new year, we hope to be announcing an acquisition that will complement our specialist services and bring opportunities for further growth.”
Eugene Finn believes that on a macro-level Ireland has a burdensome planning system that stifles progress.
“There is a lot of work to be done on improving the planning process in Ireland. Key projects and opportunities are blocked or held up for years, and there seems to be a lack of vision for the long-term development of Ireland as a whole,” he comments. “We have world-class design teams, and with their ambitious clients, no shortage of vision for exciting and outstanding development across Ireland. Often though it proves too difficult to get through the bureaucracy at the various levels of the planning process.
“The internal challenge for our business is continuing to get the message out about the advantages of an engineered siphonic drainage system over more traditional gravity systems. We are rolling out a siphonic drainage CPD in early 2021 to address this knowledge gap and reach more architects and engineers.”
Digital Construction Technology
Digital construction technology plays a crucial role in Capcon Engineering’s operations.
“Our team places great emphasis on the role of BIM within our design process. It is crucial in helping us to meet our clients’ needs,” comments Eugene Finn. “The use of digital construction technologies ensures that consistency is achieved throughout the construction process. It aids the prefabrication of the drainage systems by confirming that what is designed, suits the on-site conditions.
“As a specialist contractor working with main contractors who use BIM, we understand that our works also need to be modelled in 3D to maintain project coordination standards. We work closely with our clients by using project collaboration software, such as BIM Glue and A360, to facilitate cooperation as efficiently as possible.”
On-site, Capcon Engineering utilises the Fieldwire app across its technicians and project managers to facilitate better collaboration, task management and reporting.
Over the years, Capcon Engineering has been affected by the skills shortage in the sector.
The company has taken a ‘grow your own’ approach to developing and retaining talent.
“We take on unskilled and semi-skilled operatives and train them up in our specialist processes as well as our company operational standards,” Eugene Finn adds. “Most of our crews have been with us since the establishment of the company. In-house, we have cultivated a long-serving team of designers, technicians and project managers that embody our values and longterm vision for Capcon Engineering,” he concludes.
About Siphonic Drainage
The siphonic drainage system was developed in Scandinavia in the 1960s and has been in use in the UK and Ireland since the early 1990s. A bespoke, engineered solution, siphonic drainage utilises the power of a vertical-induced vacuum to create an efficient, high-velocity roof drainage solution.
The main benefits of mechanical siphonic drainage are:
- The pipes run horizontally within a building envelope
- It reduces underground drainage requirements
- There is up to a 45% cost saving overall
- It has exceptionally accurate design software
- It enables easy routing of rainwater from the roof to the desired discharge location, making the system an ideal partner for rainwater harvesting.
Siphonic drainage is seen by many as the most significant innovation in construction roofing technology in the past 25 years. From its high performance and space-saving properties to its capability to reduce infrastructure and plumbing maintenance, siphonic drainage can offer projects so much. Architects also prefer it thanks to its outstanding flexibility in design and capacity for eco-sustainability.