Hillyard House, Castlewellan

Leo Matheson Ltd (LML) stay close to home for this high-end project...

Making room at the inn

Castlewellan-based contractor, Leo Matheson Ltd (LML), aided a welcome economic and tourist boost to their hometown with the completion of a two-phase project that included the Eco Fresh Food Centre and Hillyard House – a high-end guest inn – for their client, Fresh Food Centres Ltd.

The first phase of the project was the demolition of an existing shop unit, construction of a replacement three-storey building, incorporating a spacious retail unit, warehouses and office space.

The second phase was the refurbishment of an existing building to incorporate the formation of a courtyard restaurant, kitchen, bar, spacious mezzanine level and major internal alterations to the existing structure for guest accommodation.

LML undertook the full contract, including demolition, supporting existing structures (including a round tower) and underpinning adjacent structures as required.

Challenges included access and egress on a site that utilised the full site boundary. “We were able to use our own crane to service the main areas and plan deliveries to minimise disruption,” says Leo Matheson, Director at LML.
The firm used their local knowledge to work around the other site constraints such as working adjacent to live businesses, at the entrance to the popular Castlewellan Forest Park and a busy main square which acts as a main arterial route for the locality.

Early access and handover of the Fresh Food Centre shop enabled the client to continue its revenue stream and was another major priority for the project. As was retaining an existing tower structure within the centre of the building throughout the course of the development.

The scheme was nearing completion at the start of the covid-19 lockdown so a site management overhaul was needed to comply with social distancing and PPE requirements. “All RAMS were updated to include the requirements at the time to protect the wellbeing of all,” says Leo.

“Reducing the number of operatives was key and forward planning to schedule operations and source materials was vital to keep the workplace safe.”
The project ran for 16-months with the Fresh Food Centre handed over early to enable trading.

When the lockdown came into effect the planned completion remit of the section was ‘as soon as possible after lockdown’ which the firm swiftly achieved. “Our staff had the pleasure of enjoying one of the first meals in the new restaurant on August 22,” says Leo.

LML ensured successful delivery of the contract on time by preparing an overall project programme which included all key construction activities and highlighted any critical paths. Progress was monitored and updated on an on-going basis. When it appeared likely that an element was falling behind, action was taken to either apply more resources or change working practices.

The success of this testing project lies with the great collaboration of all those involved. Leo says, ”For a challenging project in a tight location, working into existing structures, you need good relationships with the design team, quantity surveyor and client to make for effective and quick decision making. This is what we had at Hillyard House.”

Project team…
Client: Fresh Foods Centre
Main Contractor: Leo Matheson Limited
Mechanical Contractor: AEM
Electrical Contractor: Braham Electrical
Architect: Hillen Architects
Project Manager: Hamill Gallagher

Leo Matheson Limited, 32 Main Street, Castlewellan, Co Down
T:+44 (0)28 4377 1900
E: contracts85@leomatheson.com
W: www.leomatheson.com

Hillen Architects

An innovative and fresh approach to design…

Hillen Architects provided the planning advice, design and drawings for the two-phased project at Hillyard House.

The initial phase required the demolition of an existing shop unit, a replacement three-storey building with open plan retail unit, warehouses and office space. Phase two was the refurbishment of the existing Hillyard House to include the creation of a courtyard restaurant, kitchen, bar and major internal alterations to the existing structure for guest accommodation.

Established in 2009 by Principal Barry Hillen, the practice has experience working on a wide range of building types, from high quality contemporary residences to more traditional rural style dwellings.

Their extensive portfolio also includes work in the health, commercial and industrial sectors. They have established long working relationships with many clients, such as Leo Matheson, and pride themselves on the quantity of repeat business that their office attracts.

“Our designs are varied, carefully considered and site sensitive, inspired by the site, brief and client,” says Barry. “We make innovative use of space, light and design all tailored to our clients requirements.”

87 Central Promenade, Newcastle, Co. Down, BT33 0HH
T: +44(0)28 4372 5535
E: info@hillenarchitects.com
W: www.hillenarchitects.com

Savage Associates

Savage Associates designed the structure for the new three-storey building incorporating steel framework and foundations for the new shop, first floor offices and second floor bedroom accommodation.

Patrick Savage, Structural Engineer and Director at Savage Associates describes one of the project’s challenges.

“The construction of the new building sat within the footprint of buildings on either side. The existing boundary walls were out of line both on the horizontal and the vertical and with different roof levels resulted in complex intersections with the new build which required no internal columns and minimum structural floor zone to comply with height restrictions.

“A 3D scan of the cleared site allowed us to assess how to best fit the new structure within the space allowing us to place boundary columns to maximise the width of the building and optimise maximum floor space.”

T:+44 (0)28 4372 6162
E: mail@pdsavage.co.uk

Mulderg Interior Linings Ltd

Quality suppliers and installers of suspended ceilings, metal partitions and specialist joinery. Mulderg Interior Linings Ltd supplied and installed all suspended ceilings to the ground floor at Hillyard House as well as plaster-boarding the upstairs bedrooms.

Mulderg Interiors is fast becoming a ‘preferred client subcontractor’ for major projects within commercial and public sectors throughout Northern Ireland and the UK. They carry out all aspects of dry lining, plastering, metal stud partitioning, screeding, coving, external rendering and suspended ceilings.

“Our main objectives are to achieve the best quality workmanship, keep the project on budget and complete within the given timescale,” says Mark Gormley, Director at Mulderg Interior Linings Ltd.

“The project with Leo Matheson turned out really well. We worked on the job intermittently for six weeks and it all went very smoothly. We’re looking forward to working with them again.”

T:+44 (0)77 202 40212
E: info@mulderginteriorlinings.com
W: www.mulderginteriorlinings.com

Braham Electrical

With a reputation for excellence, it’s no surprise Braham Electrical was chosen to deliver full electrical installation services at the exclusive Hillyard House project in Castlewellan.

Braham Electrical ensured the highest standards were met in all electrical and security systems and the architectural lighting for the restaurant and bars.

“This was a local job for us,” says Ciaran McQuaid, Director at Brahams Electrical, “It was great to work on such a quality project on our doorstep.

“Working on an existing building always brings challenges. Getting services through a building that wasn’t originally designed for them takes a little more time and planning. But the end result is a stunning modern hotel and restaurant. A real boost to the town. “Working with Leo Matheson – another local firm – is always a pleasure.”

T: +44 (0) 28 4177 2989
E: info@brahamelectrical.com
W: www.brahamelectrical.com


SDG supplied various acoustic products for the Hillyard House project to combat unwanted noise pollution. Ciaran Rice, Sales Account Manager at SDG said, “We were asked to find a solution to create a greater level of comfort for the hotel’s guests that were affected by noise coming from the generator and fans.

Our proposal to the client came in the form of a product called Isowave, which was fixed to the ceilings with acoustic batons.

“To further future proof the building we also supplied an acoustic floor rubber which was installed in each of the bedrooms which greatly reduced the sound transmission effects from the bedroom floors to the floor below which housed the bars and restaurant.”

He continued, “SDG were delighted to offer a workable solution for the issue as we have worked with Leo Matheson on previous projects and this is another great example of the innovative and varied solutions we can provide our clients.”

T: +44 (0)28 3752 8999
E: hello@sdg.ie
W: www.sdgconstructiontechnology.com