Building contractor’s healthcare prowess creates the perfect
finish at £25 million centre in Ballymena…
O’Hare & McGovern has completed work on Northern Ireland’s largest health and care centre – a project that saw the company having to find the balance between meeting medical requirements with creating a hotel-like finish.
The new Ballymena Health and Care Centre is a £25million facility located on the north side of the Braid Valley Hospital site. With an eye-catching aesthetic, both internally and externally, the new health and care centre delivers on a forward-thinking vision for this type of facility.
Rather than creating a cold, clinical atmosphere, the collaborative architectural team of Keppie Design and Hoskins Architects have created a welcoming environment for patients in a facility that brings together a wide range of primary, intermediary, diagnostic and community health facilities under one roof.
The vast experience of O’Hare & McGovern on hotel and leisure projects along with expertise in the healthcare sector made the company the perfect choice to turn this design concept into a reality.
O’Hare & McGovern’s Site Manager, Mick Fearnon, explained, “Overall, the finish is more like a hotel than a health centre but, at the same time, we still had to meet stringent medical requirements.
“This is a state-of-the-art facility and we had to find the right balance between the building’s aesthetics and its practicality. That is why our past experience was so important.”
The practicality aspect of the project also took on added importance given that O’Hare & McGovern was working on a live hospital site.
“We didn’t have much room to work with on-site and we also had to take into consideration the needs of the patients and staff,” added Mick. “Our main access route was also the road used by emergency ambulances, so we had to make sure it was clear at all times. We had to plan our deliveries perfectly and particularly when we were finishing off the new connecting road we had to work very closely with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to plan this properly.
“We enjoyed a really good rapport with the Trust and also the team from Keppie Design. That makes a real difference on a project such as this, where communication is key.”
Yet those challenges are all something that O’Hare & McGovern can control – the weather, however, is a different matter.
“The poor weather over the summer really set us back,” said Mick. “It was particularly bad when the roof was being added and while it was out of our control we adapted as best we could by rescheduling works.”
The final result of the successful partnership with the architectural team and the client is illustrated by the Ballymena Health and Care Centre. The 2.5 floor structure is a steel frame build with an outer brick skin and a metal stud and plasterboard inner skin. It has been designed to facilitate a wide range of services across approximately 9,000m2. These services include rehabilitation and diagnostic services, such as physiotherapy, podiatry and community dental; a children’s department; six GP practices; a GP out-of-ours service; acute outpatient clinics and mental health clinics. A Boots pharmacy has also relocated to the new centre.
The new Ballymena Health and Care Centre is the perfect illustration of the changing face of healthcare projects and, consequently, once again places O’Hare & McGovern at the forefront of this sector.