O’Hare & McGovern has just completed construction of Belfast Harbour’s new Film Studio thus helping Northern Ireland’s growing film industry take a ‘Giant’ step forward having been appointed by Belfast Harbour to construct its £20million Studios on Belfast’s North Foreshore .
The project includes more than 120,000sqft of studio space, workshops and production offices, and covers 8.4 acres of the overall 340-acre Giant’s Park.
The success of the scheme is in no small part down to the quality delivered by the experienced team at O’Hare & McGovern, but the project wasn’t without its unique challenges, as Cathal O’Hare, Director at OHMG, explained.
“What was seemingly a blank slate to work from was a lot more complex. As this is on a former landfill site, the area has both a gas membrane and a gas collection system, which is something quite unique to be building on,” he said. “The project is also bordered by a nature reserve, so that had to be taken into consideration as well.
“All these factors were combined with a tight schedule.”
The gas membrane and gas collection system (that included a series of pipes snaking the vast site) meant O’Hare & McGovern had to implement a detailed co-ordination plan that covered the initial deep excavation for drainage. This system had to be lined with a gas membrane and placed alongside a gas collection network piped system across the site. O’Hare & McGovern also installed a reinforced concrete ﬂoor slab which was connected to more than 800 piles. Each pile was individually welded to the gas membrane to create a seal.
The development required around 30,000 tonnes of stone to be brought to the site in the first four weeks to create a base for three piling rigs.
Putting in place the steel framework and cladding involved detailed co-ordination, with a network of avenues put in place for the various scissor lifts and cranes involved.
Mitigating the impact on the surrounding wildlife was also closely monitored, with sound barriers and noise deﬂectors constantly used to ensure disruption was kept to an absolute minimum.
As the steel framework and cladding installation continued, the internal work began. The logistical skills of O’Hare & McGovern were tested with a scaffolding system put in place to allow various sub-contractors to complete their work simultaneously.
“During the construction, we were very mindful of the schedule and this required a lot of co-ordination to keep the project moving forward smoothly,” added Cathal.
“The acoustic ceiling was installed at a height of 20m, whilst simultaneously the M&E services were being put in place as well as various walkways. At the same time as there were steel stairs being installed in another section, the acoustic walls were being added.
“All the contractors working on the site were competing for space and despite the scale of the building, we used every inch of it. At the same time, we gladly accommodated visits by potential tenants.”
While the main focus was on the two main film studios, which are separated by a large 20 ton acoustic sliding door, obtaining an air tightness figure of just under 3m3/(h.m2), the project also included two workshops and an office accommodation building which was much more straightforward.
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