School of Biological Sciences, Queens University

O’Hare & McGovern continues a successful partnership with Queen’s University with the completion of the highest spec BIM project in Northern Ireland to date

O’Hare & McGovern’s long-standing relationship with Queen’s University continued with the completion of the highly complex School of Biological Sciences building.

The new School of Biological Sciences is a fully federated IFC/ Revit compatible Level 2 BIM project and it is the highest spec BIM project to be completed in Northern Ireland to date. Given the complexity of this project, BIM was an essential element and required a company that was experienced in this cutting-edge technology.

O’Hare & McGovern is recognised as construction innovators and the company has already delivered a range of BIM projects. O’Hare & McGovern has proven processes and procedures in place which are integrated within the company’s ISO 9001 Quality Management System. These are in full compliance with the relevant Government standards, which have been further developed by the company’s BIM Champions who are, in turn, Level 2 Accredited Professionals.

The new School of Biological Sciences is already an iconic addition to the Queen’s University estate, and to help blend it in with its historical surroundings natural red sandstone cladding was used. The turnkey project will help Queen’s deliver a world-class facility promoting the growth of Life Sciences (especially in agriculture/food science, food safety, disease/infection biology, diagnostics, waste management, ecosystems and the environment) to ensure these sectors remain competitive in Northern Ireland and globally. It will also expand QUB’s world-leading research for Global Food Security providing the world’s population with sustainable and safe supplies of high quality food.

The aim of the project was to co- locate and consolidate the School of Biological Sciences, which was previously spread across the Queen’s estate. The site essentially connects three separate ‘character areas’, each of which is at a different level. St Ives Gardens/Sandymount, the highest part of the site, is some 4m above Chlorine Gardens which, in turn, is some 4m higher than Lennoxvale. Addressing these level changes has significantly influenced the layout and overall design – for example, a significant area of the new building is underground. In addition, the change in the external ground levels, combined with central light wells, has been used to provide natural light to all floors and to create an airy building whose façades relate to and respect the scale of neighbouring properties.

Constructed on the site of the former Science Library, the new School of Biological Sciences includes a lecture theatre, laboratories, teaching spaces, seminar rooms, offices, and an impressive entrance/break-out atrium. The building has a gross internal area of approximately 11,000m2 over four floors and a basement. It is designed around a central atrium or glazed ‘street’ that acts as the social hub. A second, more private, atrium provides a less public focus for research work, whilst echoing the open, airy and light-filled environment of the ‘main street’. The undergraduate facilities and labs occupy the bottom floor of the building, with postgraduate and research space located in the upper levels. The labs house a CAT III specialised laboratory with unique instruments including 17 mass spectrometers.

An off-site manufacturing (OSM) technique was implemented to plant areas internally and externally. This process involved planning, design, fabrication and assembly in a purpose-built, off-site factory.The building has been constructed to minimise its impact on the environment and to achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating.

The ISO 14001 management system delivered: Silver CCS Award, 100% waste diverted from landfill, renewable/ low carbon/ energy-efficient technologies, air tightness: 2.64 (m3/hr)/m2. The mechanical systems were installed with acoustic elements to ensure NR (noise ratio) Db levels were achieved. Two 20kW combined heat and power units were also installed, as was a ground-source heat-pump and Borewell System for night-time cooling via absorption chiller plant.

With major construction taking place in a city location, it was vital to engage with the local community. O’Hare & McGovern did this through weekly residents’ meetings, a monthly newsletter and hourly monitoring of noise, vibration and dust.

O’Hare & McGovern, Carnbane House, Shepherds Way, Carnbane Industrial Estate, Newry, BT35 6EE.
T: 028 3026 4662 –

Sub Contractors

Due to the complexity of the mechanical installation BIM proved to be an essential element of the project’s success. Brendan Gildernew, Mechanical Contracts Manager at Michael Nugent Ltd, explained, “This is a project that showcased all the benefits of BIM and how it has become an essential part of building services co-ordination. The success of this project derived from a fully committed design team who embraced the concept of BIM, and assisted by the main contractor, O’Hare & McGovern, as well as electrical contractor, JD McGeown, and the other sub-contractors, all recognised how BIM would make everyone’s task easier.”

As well as helping to eradicate clashes during co-ordination workshops before construction started, the BIM model was utilised on site, with Michael Nugent Ltd’s team using a mobile BIM hub to plan and implement the mechanical services installation.

“Effectively, we divided the installation into two categories. Firstly we had our traditional installation of plumbing, heating and chilled water services, while the second was the specialist systems for the laboratories which mainly consisted of the fume extraction, LEV systems, processed water systems and specialist gases,” added Brendan. “We already had limited space in the service voids, but doubling up on some systems made it a greater challenge. Again, that’s where BIM came to the forefront.”

The specialist installations include fume extraction from numerous fume cupboards along with microbiological safety cabinet, specialist bulk and bottle laboratory gas systems, 11 air handling units systems providing mechanical ventilation, numerous air conditioning systems, constant temperature rooms, cold rooms, freezer rooms and intricate gas detection and alarms systems. The installation also included a bespoke night-time cooling system which extracted water from borewells to meet the buildings cooling requirements. All the mechanical systems have been linked back to the Building Management System (BMS).

“It has been one of the most challenging, educational but rewarding projects I personally have worked on,” said Brendan.

Michael Nugent Ltd, 2 Tandragee Road, Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone, BT70 3DS.
T: 028 8775 8617

The School of Biological Sciences tested all the attributes of JD McGeown Ltd as the company completed one of its biggest-ever projects. JD McGeown Ltd has worked with Queen’s University in the past, with the company’s work on the stunning Bernard Crossland Building showcasing the high standards that can be achieved by this experienced team.

However, the School of Biological Sciences proved a sterner test but JD McGeown Ltd rose to the challenge with a successful and on time completion by tapping into their experience and expertise, particularly in the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to plan in the sheer volume of services that had to be installed in confined spaces.

David Geddis, Senior Projects Manager at JD McGeown Ltd, “We were one of the pioneers of BIM in the electrical sector in Northern Ireland and, as it proved to be such an essential element of this project, this experience was hugely important. “We worked very closely with mechanical contractor, Michael Nugent Ltd, on the BIM model and this partnership was hugely successful.” With confined spaces, a high volume of services and an atrium to contend with, JD McGeown Ltd had a lot of issues to resolve. David added, “Due to the nature of the building, a high volume of mechanical services were needed, which left us with reduced room for our services.

The building was also an awkward shape to work in, as the massive atrium in the middle was difficult to get services from one side of the building to the other. But that’s the brilliance of BIM, as it allowed us to work round all these issues before we moved on site.”

The extensive electrical installation package carried out by JD McGeown Ltd incorporated power infrastructure, lighting and fire and security requirements.

The lighting included general, PIR, external and emergency solutions while the fire and security systems incorporated CCTV, door access, intruder and fire alarms, disabled refuge and the security barriers. A comprehensive data and fibre installation was backed up by a UPS system and a main site generator, while JD McGeown Ltd was also responsible for the lightning protection.

HEAD OFFICE – Windsor Business Park, 16/18 Lower Windsor Avenue, Belfast BT9 7DW
T: 028 9068 1176

With a strong reputation for reliability on commercial projects, the expertise and experience of Tandragee Roofing was put to the test at the new School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University in Belfast.

The extensive roofing on this impressive new building was completed by the knowledgeable team at Tandragee Roofing to ensure that it was capable of dealing with the extensive mechanical plant equipment included on the roof.

Working closely with main contractor, O’Hare & McGovern, the team helped to co-ordinate and schedule the work on the roof – a particularly important aspect given that the building is in a built-up area.

Tandragee Roofing fits a full range of roofing systems and offers a wide choice of services, from new build, roof repair and maintenance to tanking systems, liquid plastic flooring and complete asphalt works.

The company is an approved installer of high-performance roofing systems Decra, Green Roof Systems, Icopal, IKO roofing products, Firestone, Kingspan products and Sika Liquid Roofing, Moy Materials and Bauder.

142 Mullahead Rd, Tandragee, Craigavon, BT62 2LD
T: 028 3884 0576

Robin Fergusson, Managing Director at CTS Ltd, said, “Pure water was needed in the laboratories right across the building, so this was an extensive project for us. We have installed a water treatment system in the plant room that provides pure water to meet the specific requirements of the project.

“We then worked closely with the mechanical contractor, Michael Nugent Ltd, to plan the pipework to distribute the pure water to each laboratory. We have extensive experience of projects of this kind and developed a good relationship with Michael Nugent Ltd, so we’re delighted with the final outcome.”

The pure water system is just one of a range of services on offer from this Belfast based legionella control and water treatment company that has been operation since 1984.

Working in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as mainland Europe – in particular in Gibraltar – the company offers supply, installation and commissioning services. This incorporates chemicals and associated equipment for boilers and cooling towers; bulk cleaning; maintenance chemicals and biocides; plant (in the form of filters, softeners, reverse osmosis, de-ionisers, UV units etc); swimming pool/leisure; Legionella control and risk assessment; and water analytical services.

Chemical Treatment Services Ltd
T: 0044 (0)28 9092 1212

When the contractor of the Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences project needed a practically bespoke piece of equipment they knew who to turn to. O’Hare and McGovern Ltd has a trusted working relationship with Armagh company, SDG Construction Technology Ltd, built up over a number of years partnering on prestigious projects.

The complex piece of kit in question at the School of Biological Sciences was a Max Frank Ltd, Egcodorn shear force dowel. Expansion joints are provided in concrete structures to decouple components and avoid stress cracks. Shear force dowels are used for the transmission of shear forces which occur in such joints. The Egcodorn shear force dowel system offers predictability in planning and execution for high static loads and on this occasion it was used on the building’s capping beam.

“This was a very complex piece of kit which was practically created bespoke for the job – it was a product tailored to suit the application,” said SDG Construction Technology Technical Product Manager, Ciaran Donnelly.

“There was a lot of work which went in at the planning stage and we consulted very closely with the team of engineers and with O’Hare and McGovern. It was the attention to detail at the planning stage that led to the smooth installation and the approvals from the structural engineers.

“We have partnered with O’Hare and McGovern over a number of years now and we have an excellent working relationship. It was good to be involved in such a technically demanding job.”

T: 028 3752 8999

Taylor & Boyd LLP were the civil and structural engineering consultants on this project which has already become an iconic addition to Queen’s University estate. Using secant piling, retaining structures were established to give a 7m cut at the top of the site.

The reinforced concrete structure is supported on a piled foundation and stepped to reflect sloping topography while maximising capacity on a constricted site with multi-level basements.

The design by Taylor & Boyd addresses the complexity of subterranean services and concerns of local residents regarding acoustics and the stability of adjacent residences.

T: Belfast 028 9066 7951 or Derry 028 7126 7115

DPH Construction Ltd undertook the bulk of the civil work at the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Throughout the construction phase the Downpatrick- based company worked closely with the O’Hare & McGovern team and carried out all aspects of groundworks from deep drainage to excavation for gas, hydro breaks, landscaping and much more.

T: Gary Laverty 079 6708 7887

Tobermore laid the paving flags at the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University, Belfast.

The company used a combination of Mayfair flags in silver and graphite and Fusion flags in graphite, silver and mid-grey. Ideal for busy pedestrianised areas, courtyards, retail developments and other commercial and residential projects, the popular Mayfair paving flags have many benefits to offer.

Suitable for pedestrianised areas with occasional vehicular overrun, the hard-wearing Fusion is a great choice if you want a block paving product with a striking, modern look.

T: 028 7964 2411

Milligan Oil Ltd helped to meet all the commercial oil requirements for this project at Queen’s University.

The company supplies commercial and agricultural oil to a broad range of industries and sectors throughout Northern Ireland.

Milligan Oil’s nationwide coverage, dedicated accounts team, competitive pricing and unrivalled customer service and delivery time allows the company to provide high-quality fuel for your business or agricultural fleet within 24 hours.

T: 028 4484 1494