A Trade Magazine for Northern Ireland's Building & Design Professionals
Corriewood Private Clinic, Castlewellan
McGrady Contracts took the concept of going the extra mile to new levels on the 79 bed nursing home.
Not content with taking the usual route when it comes to materials specification, Damien McGrady worked together with the client and project team to build bespoke timber frame for the project.
A factory was constructed about half a mile from the private clinic from which timber frames were built and brought to site. This allowed Damien to retain full control over the build process and oversee every aspect, both on site and off given the client full value engineering. “From my experience in timber frame construction, I floated the idea of doing timber frames and cutting out the manufacture process and other teams involved, offering significant cost reduction to the project. There were a couple of reasons behind the decisions to proceed – it enabled me to manage any changes onsite and it also allowed me to sub contract the same joiners throughout the whole build, bringing consistence and quality. I was able to engage a squad of joiners who not only fabricated the walls, but also stood them, did all the joisting and hung the doors.”
Damien used his knowledge of timber frame construction to convince the design team that his idea would not only work but improve efficiencies on site and save time and money. “I challenged the design team to tell me the methodology couldn’t work and we worked together to make it work. For myself, my team and the entire construction team who worked on the scheme, there was a huge sense of achievement when the project was complete.”
Damien’s previous experience on a smaller residential home gave him a handle on what the client expected on the Corriewood Private Clinic project. Although smaller in size, that facility was also custom built for young people with learning disabilities and so demanded the same considerations in terms of noise, insulation, dust etc. Noise transfer was a significant aspect of the design and something McGrady Contracts and the engineers put a lot of time and effort into. Special plasterboard called Ladura was used to ensure low decibel levels throughout the building.
“We wanted to put screed on the first floor on a timber frame with no steelwork but to do that we needed timber that was structurally strong and durable. We had it imported from Germany and it worked out very well.”
Built over six phases in a nursing home that remained operational throughout, deadlines were extremely tight on this project. Initially an 18 month contract, the first 36 rooms phase ended up being completed in just 11 months. “That was another reason for doing the timber frame ourselves. It gave us full control over the speed of construction.” Every effort was made to ensure the shorter timeframe was reached, with workers putting in 16 hour days to meet tight deadlines.
“When the construction of the new build was completed as a built contractor we were challenged in a completely different way. Phase 5 of the project involved the complete refurbishment of a Grade B II listed building which originally housed the nursing home. This involved the refurbishment of the roof, associated structures, work to the internal walls and mechanical and electrical services which had to be sensitive to the listing. The end result brought the client value engineering and a finished refurbished building of the highest quality and standard.
Projects as complex and logistically demanding as the Corriewood Private Clinic Development don’t come along every day. “It was definitely a massive opportunity and we learned a huge amount. Everything was completed to the highest standard and we’re very proud of how we tackled the job and of the end result.”