Versatility has been right at the heart of over six decades of success at Heron Bros. That quality was required in abundance during the construction of the landmark Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The £30million project for Ards and North Down Borough Council has recorded unprecedented demand since opening earlier this year, mainly due to the versatile nature of the building and the variety of activities on offer.
Gone are the days that a council- run leisure centre consists of a rectangular swimming pool and a multi-purpose sports hall and that change is epitomised at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex, which consists of three main areas – the dome-covered synthetic turf training area, sports halls, swimming pools and fitness suites.
The swimming facilities in the Aqua Zone encompass a six-lane 25-metre indoor main pool, a 20-metre indoor minor pool, both with movable floors, a splash pool in its own space for interactive water-based play, and spectator gallery which can accommodate 160 people alongside modern changing facilities. There is also a new water-based play area for children up to 7 years old. In addition to the sports hall, with courts for netball, basketball and racquet sports, there is a separate, dome-covered synthetic turf training area that allows sports and training to continue whatever the weather.
The luxury spa comprises vitality and chill pools, a sauna, aroma steam room, sanarium, salt grotto and relaxation area while, in a UK first, the Blacklight Adventure Zone includes adventure golf, climbing walls and high ropes. The contemporary gym has three fitness studios and a spacious 110-station gym while there is also a children’s soft play area. Externally, there is a diversity play area and sensory garden, biking pump track, wheel park for skateboarding, scooters, BMX and inline skating.
In recent years, Heron Bros has been renowned for delivering leisure projects, including the National Indoor Arena, Dublin and Aberavon Leisure Complex, while the company’s ability to complete complex, Wales projects in the education, healthcare, office and retail sectors made the experienced contractor the perfect choice for Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
With so many different aspects, the hybrid design became a veritable jigsaw for the team at Heron Bros but, as explained by Theresa McErlean, Contracts Manager, an immense sense of teamwork made this an enjoyable project.
“This was a unique and complex project with a wide range of challenges throughout but it also had a great team of individuals all pulling in the same direction,” she said. “We’re proud of how smoothly the construction process went and at the high standards we achieved. The positive feedback and reaction to the new centre has also made it all worthwhile.”
Believed to be the first centre of its kind in Northern Ireland with the swimming pools on the first floor as opposed to the more traditional ground floor, the striking shape of the building also offered Heron Bros with a challenge. A late request from the client to allow members of the public onto the site to carry out their gym induction ahead of the official opening was another hurdle the team had to clear.
“We enjoy a challenge at Heron Bros, so these didn’t cause too many problems,” added Theresa. “We take pride in how we prepare and plan for projects but we are also experienced enough to know that you will always face changes and different demands, so we can also be flexible.”
These qualities saw Heron Bros complete another complex build with consummate ease, adding Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex to an already impressive portfolio of successful projects.
H.M. Electrics Ltd completed a comprehensive electrical installation at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The BIM Level 2 project required detailed collaboration with main contractor, Heron Bros, to ensure this complex project got off to a speedy start. For clash detection and problem solving BIM co- ordination was vital.
The complex contains a variety of facilities ranging from an Aqua Centre, a dome-covered synthetic turf training area, sports halls, luxury spa, fitness studio, administration and multi-use rooms as well as a range of external amenities. Also included is the Blacklight Adventure Zone, comprising of adventure golf, climbing walls and high ropes.
Each area brought different challenges for H.M. Electrics and the company had to call on its extensive expertise on leisure projects.
“With so many diverse areas under one roof, the use of up-to- date technologies such as BIM was essential in the co-ordination throughout the tight service voids and routes to make the facility run,” explained Hugh Martin Mc Alary, BIM Coordinator at H.M. Electrics Ltd.
Declan McAlary, Operations Director, added, “Over the years we have completed a number of leisure projects in Northern Ireland and that experience has helped us to achieve the high standards of finish on this contract at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing & Leisure Complex. We’re delighted with the final result and the positive feedback on the complex.”
This project placed a number of additional demands on HM Electrics that required specialist solutions.
“The pool and wet areas needed specialist containment systems that had to meet specific anti- corrosion criteria,” added Declan. “Many of the challenges included high levels of dimmable LED and UV lighting, all using advanced touch screen controls, so we had to put in more research and time during the procurement stages which enabled an efficient planning process making sure we could deliver, meeting the client’s expectations while working between other trades throughout the various facilities within the building.
“Advanced protective, security and data systems span the entire building to ensure its lifespan is kept up to date with future technologies. The leisure centre included extensive mechanical wiring to ensure the operations of the spaces worked and responded as they were being used. “
When it comes to leisure projects, Michael Nugent Ltd’s adaptability is a key attribute and this was on show once again at the state-of-the-art Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The facility is unlike any other similar complex in Northern Ireland but that didn’t faze the expert team at Michael Nugent Ltd. The company provided a full mechanical services installation, with the team calling on experience gained throughout a variety of complex projects to complete this new complex to the highest standards.
The mechanical installation carried out by Michael Nugent Ltd included:
- Constant temperature LPHW heating installation
- Radiator and UFH installation
- Plumbing installation
- Sanitary installation
- General ventilation
- Dedicated supply and extract installation
- Fully automated BEMS installation
- Natural gas installation
- External trunk main installation
- Lead services co-ordinator
- Thermal insulation ofpiped and ducted services
- Swimming pool filtration
Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex joins a growing list of hotel and leisure projects by Michael Nugent Ltd across the UK and Ireland that includes Grand Central Hotel Belfast, Hampton by Hilton in Edinburgh, City of London Freemen’s School, Newry Leisure Centre, Letterkenny Sports and Leisure Complex and Greenvale Leisure Centre.
Raemac Interior Systems utilised the company’s extensive knowledge of the leisure sector to provide a specialist ceilings and wall solutions for the new Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The company, which has successfully worked on projects across the UK and Ireland, is renowned for providing bespoke solutions that meet the need of the client but will also provide fast-track systems to speed up the construction process.
Leisure centres require high humidity resistance products in walls and in ceilings that can withstand the conditions created in areas such as swimming pools and shower and changing facilities. With so many different zones within this new complex, Raemac Interiors showcased the company’s capabilities by providing different finishes to meet both the aesthetic and practical requirements of each zone. In addition to the high humidity, the ceilings and walls were also designed and installed to provide effective acoustic and insulation levels throughout the building as well as match the distinctive look that had been designed for each specific area.
Managing Director, Ruairi McCloskey, said that the Ards project is a great example of the high standards that Raemac Interior Systems can deliver. “We have a lot of experience within the leisure sector and have completed a number of projects across the UK and Ireland to these same high standards,” he said.
“Ards was a complex project overall, but we had a great working relationship with the main contractor, Heron Bros, and the architect, McAdam Design, and we were able to produce a bespoke solution that meet their needs.
“We’re proud to have been involved in such an impressive facility.”
Established in 2004 in Dungiven, Raemac Interiors has quickly grown and, with additional offices in Dublin and London, the company is well positioned to complete projects across the UK and Ireland.
As well as leisure projects, the company has worked extensively in the hotel, education, office, retail and healthcare sectors to provide bespoke solutions on each project.
The company’s product range includes metal frame ceilings and suspended ceilings; partitions that offer different levels of integrity for fire, sound passage and thermal connectivity; Metsec or Heavy Gauge SFS (Steel Framing System) solutions for buildings requiring the rapid construction coupled with load bearing properties; and full fit-out joinery services.
“We gain a lot of repeat business and I think that speaks volumes about the standards that we set,” added Ruairi.
Raemac Interior Systems, 2 Garvagh Road, Dungiven, Co. Derry, BT47 4LT
T: 028 7774 1000
Simplicity was the key to the successful design strategy employed by McAdam Design at the impressive Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
Working closely with the client and stakeholders, the leading independent multi-disciplinary consultancy practice took inspiration from centres across the UK before creating a visually striking yet highly functional design for the new complex.
McAdam Design used a main street approach, with a central thoroughfare running through the middle. Circulation was kept simple and intuitive, with every level stepping up in terms of sophistication and a clear flow between the different elements of the centre.
Stephen Wright, McAdam Design, explained, “The challenge with Ards was the many, many different elements involved and how to effectively and cohesively bring them together. This was a complex and challenging project but thanks to the attitude and teamwork of everyone involved, it was also enjoyable. The feedback has been impressive and we’re proud to have been involved in this success.”
Rubb Buildings Ltd has delivered the perfect balance between outdoor training and the Northern Ireland weather with the company’s dome-covered synthetic-turf training area at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The company’s custom-designed fabric buildings allow anyone to play and train in all weather conditions, all year round.
The design and planning flexibility, speed of construction and durable, cost effective operation of Rubb sports structures provide a competitive edge. Translucent membranes allow natural daylight to illuminate the sports hall while the white roof surface reflects heat.
In addition, the high-quality PVC cladding materials and post- production galvanized welded steel frames deliver durability over time, making the cost of maintaining Rubb sports buildings more economical compared to conventional sports hall structures.
The custom-design meets the needs of this facility, with sub- dividers allowing the creation of smaller areas for different sports. On a project of this size and complexity, the fact that Rubb sports structures can be quickly erected thanks to its module pre-fabrication was another plus point. The structure can even be quickly dismantled and relocated, if necessary.
T: 0191 482 22 11
WYG provided civil, structural, transportation, fire engineering and BREEAM services on this project. To meet the durability and aesthetic requirements, a hybrid structure was adopted, comprising a mixture of materials, including reinforced concrete framing, structural steelwork and glulam timber. In line with the development of WYG’s BIM Level 2 capabilities, this project was modelled using REVIT, which proved invaluable given the complex geometries of the roof profile.
Stephen Alford, WYG Director, said, “Meeting the unique challenges of this project head on has provided us with invaluable experience, which we have been able to transfer to our current portfolio of leisure sector schemes.”
T: 028 9070 6000
King Kong Climbing Walls designed, manufactured and installed a bespoke Krazy Kong and High Ropes course at the new Ards Blair Mayne Wellbing and Leisure Complex. Part of the Blacklight Adventure Zone, the systems had to be designed so they could be used in black light (UV) conditions.
The climbing wall included 12 Krazy Kong systems incorporating four bespoke elements. This system auto belays to keep the clients safe when climbing up and descending the climbing walls. The high ropes course incorporated 18 different elements on a continuous belay system that features a climbing wall start, custom spiral stairs and a ‘Leap of Faith’.
The fact that JP Corry stocks such an extensive product range made the leading builders’ merchant the perfect supply partner for the new Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.
The £30million project is a vertaile new centre that contains everything from a six-lane 25-metre swimming pool, a multi-sports and activities hall, luxury spa, contemporary gym incorporating three fitness studios and a 110-station gym, a children’s soft play area and a UK first Blacklight Adventure Zone that incorporates adventure golf, climbing walls and high ropes.
Outside, the facility has a diversity play area and sensory garden, a biking pump track, a wheel park for skateboarding, scooters, BMX and inline skating. Working closely with main contractor, Heron Bros, the team at JP Corry was able to supply insulation, plywood and rough timbers, Rockwool and Rainscreen cladding, ensuring timely delivery to site.
With a strong network of 17 branches across Northern Ireland, JP Corry prides itself on supplying everything from core building essentials right through to the latest product innovations from leading suppliers. The company supplies everything from the foundations to the finishing touches of a construction project, including timber, building materials, dry lining and insulation, doors, flooring, roofing, drainage systems, hardware, painting and decorating and civils products.
T: 028 9024 3661