A Trade Magazine for Northern Ireland's Building & Design Professionals
Ravara House Dementia Unit, Bangor
Northern Builder learns about the attention-to-detail at this much-needed healthcare facility
Providing a much-needed facility for people with dementia and for the frail and elderly, the Ravara Court Dementia Unit in Bangor was built with its tenants very much in mind.
Carried out by Cunningham Contracts Ltd, the works included the erection of a three-storey, dementia and frail elderly apartment block of steel frame masonry construction comprising 24 residential units. Staff/communal rooms and associated site works also fell under the remit of Cunningham Contracts Ltd, a firm that has plenty of experience working on specialised healthcare projects.
Due to the nature of the required building, only the highest levels of workmanship from all trades involved would suffice to get the job done. When it came to systems and products, cost was not the primary issue; Cunningham Contracts Ltd was determined to ensure that quality remained the main consideration throughout the build.
Technologically advanced, bespoke smart systems that take into account the needs of the end user were specified for the Unit. These systems help staff provide tenants with the very best care possible in an environment that has been tailor- made to provide specialist care in a dedicated setting. Tim Cunningham and his team were on site for 18 months and in that time, they encountered a few challenges along the way.
“When constructing the foundations, we encountered both rock and variable ground water levels,” said Tim. “In order to protect the building, we created a secondary land drainage system around the perimeter to stabilise the ground water level.” Off-site fabrication played a large role in the construction of Ravara Dementia Unit and although this ultimately helped speed up the construction process, it also demanded rigorous planning and attention to detail.
“Quite a lot of the materials used during the build, such as the steel, were fabricated off-site. We had to ensure that the setting out was completed both on time and to a very high standard; no delays were acceptable as that would mean the programme wouldn’t be met. “Although fabricating the materials off-site required a significant amount of pre- planning, all that extra work paid off as we delivered the project ahead of schedule.”
Strong architectural features help Ravara Dementia Unit stand out from similar facilities. A green roof on the building meant extra preparatory work for Tim and his team but the results have been well worth it.
“The green roof only adds to the overall project which really is a fantastic looking building. We’ve worked on green roofs in the past, albeit on a smaller scale so that stood us in good stead for this much larger roof.”
All products specified for the unit which included cedar cladding, brick, render and curtain walling, were of the highest possible grade. The high quality finish required by the architects called for specialised bespoke products from some of the world’s leading manufacturers.
“We had to ensure that the sub-contractors were also aware that the project demanded full attention to detail and the highest level of workmanship. “There was a lot of lead-in time when it came to the specialist materials that were required to ensure the end users got the facility they deserved.”
Completed ahead of schedule, Ravara Dementia Unit is a worthy addition to Cunningham Contract Ltd’s impressive portfolio of projects. Tim and his team are proud to have played such an important part in its delivery.
“This was a great project to work on. Collaboration between the design team and all trades meant the process ran smoothly and programmes were met. Everyone involved came together to ensure a facility of the highest quality was completed on time and within budget.”