As fitting for a project of this nature, Connolly & Fee has quietly completed work at Coleraine Library – transforming this distinguished building into a modern, fit-for-purpose facility. Described as ‘one of the most interesting libraries in Northern Ireland’ the challenge for Connolly & Fee was to add a new three-storey extension while still maintaining the distinctive look of the classic, late 1960’s design.
The works for this fantastic £2.3m Develop & Construct scheme comprised restoration of the existing Grade B1 Listed library building, together with construction of a new 3-storey extension. The existing building was meticulously restored to enhance functionality without compromising authenticity while the aesthetically complementary extension was built to facilitate extended services and optimise the library experience.
Connolly & Fee not only had to work within a restricted site at the junction of Circular Road and Queen Street in the busy Coleraine town centre but the team also had the added challenge of working on a building that local people know and love.
“This was a fantastic project to be involved in,” explained Shane Connolly, Contracts Manager, Connolly & Fee. “It is clear that the library building means a lot to local people, so we’re delighted with the positive feedback that has been received.”
The project saw the delivery of some cutting-edge technologies and systems, including the first installation of Sto-Rainscreen Cladding in Ireland. The refurbishment work lasted almost two years but it was worth the wait. When it closed, the library had a leaking roof and windows, deteriorating walls and an antique heating system which meant the building was no longer fit for purpose.
Now, with funding from the Department of Communities, the refurbished and extended library is an attractive, fit-for- purpose community hub that is accessible to everyone. The new entrance lobby includes a passenger lift to all floors while new, accessible toilet facilities have ensured the building is fully compliant with DDA requirements.
The new three-storey extension has added improved facilities, including a multi-use meeting room and group space, exhibition space, an improved study area and a dedicated quiet heritage collection room with microfilm readers and printers to maximise the library’s heritage resources. A welcoming atmosphere encourages users to stay and enjoy the library, encompassed by a reimagined ‘Family Space’ and a ‘Living Room’ feel in the entrance floor.
While the overall look and usability of the project was central to the work carried out by Connolly & Fee, the team also placed an emphasis on energy efficiency. Designed and constructed to achieve BREEAM Very Good certification, this included replacing the antiquated plumbing and heating system with a modern heating, ventilation and Building Energy Management system. The building will also benefit from improved insulation, replacement roof covering, thermally efficient windows, energy-efficient lighting, reconfiguration of the internal layout and new decoration, fixtures and fittings throughout.
The final finish is indicative of the attention to detail that Connolly & Fee consistently delivers. The company was established over 40 years ago and has completed a variety of projects, ranging from social housing, built heritage restoration and community spaces.
North West Mechanical Services was happy to work with Connolly & Fee to complete the mechanical installation works at Coleraine Library. The project contains a variety of mechanical facilities ranging from gas, mains water, heating and ventilation.
This was a project with a wide range of challenges throughout. North West Mechanical Services had a great team of engineers and sub- contractors to meet the timeline set out for the project and the company is proud of how smoothly the construction process went and the high standards achieved.
KB Flooring Contractors Limited delivered a full flooring package at Coleraine Library.
The specialist team started with the screed latex floors throughout the existing building and had to level and smooth out a number of sections that were in a bad state of disrepair.
KB Flooring Contractors also supplied and fitted carpet tiles by Milliken, rubber flooring by Nora, and vinyl flooring by Gerflor.
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It was a case of local pride for HB Decorators (NI) Ltd as the expert team carried out all the internal and external painting at Coleraine Library.
The Coleraine-based company worked with Connolly & Fee for the first time and HB Decorators is keen to build on this success, as Director, Jason Holmes, explained.
“It was great to be working on such a fantastic project in Coleraine,” he said. “We’re well positioned to carry out projects such as this along the North Coast and to build relationships with leading contractors such as Connolly & Fee.”
HB Decorators (NI) Ltd already has a contract with Road Service NI to carry out painting and maintenance to lighting columns across Northern Ireland while the company also works closely with estate agent, Armstrong & Gordon, as part of their ongoing property management. Jason has worked in the painting and decorating sector for over 25 years and formed HB Decorators (NI) in 2003 before making it a limited company in 2007.
“We take pride a lot of pride in our work and in offering the highest standards. We’ve a lot of experience on a variety of different jobs, including internal and external work, and are happy to meet potential customers to see what we can do for them.”
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