Major renovation project at the Houben Centre in Ardoyne creates flexible, multi-use community hub.
The former Holy Cross Boys’ Community School has been revitalised thanks to a major renovation carried out by main contractor, P&K McKaigue Ltd.
Appointed by the Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust, P&K McKaigue Ltd was tasked with transforming this building, which was built at the turn of the 20th Century, into a new community building known as the Houben Centre.
The project also included a separate contract to create a new car-park. Key to the success of this process was the detailed planning by the team, as Contracts Director, Padraig McKaigue, explained.“Our aim on every project is to work in a collaborative and proactive manner that keeps everyone focused on delivering the highest standards,” he said. “We produced a detailed programme and methodology for the project and our Site Manager, Michael Kane, held weekly and daily site co-ordination meetings between the respective suppliers and sub-contractors.
“These meetings proved very productive and allowed us to keep everyone fully informed of the progress on the project. This is vital on every project but it is more important on a heritage job where unexpected issues can easily arise.”
As it is a Listed building, P&K McKaigue had to ensure the original external appearance, as dictated by the Planning & Conservation guidelines for historic buildings, was retained.
One of the first aspects that P&K McKaigue worked on was the roof. The original Bangor blue roof slates were stripped, allowing the roof timbers to be treated and replaced, where necessary. P&K McKaigue also added in new structural steel to firstly strengthen the existing roof but also accommodate the various new build extensions to the building.
All the existing roof finials and vents were refurbished and a series of new rooflights and lanterns fitted before the roof was re-slatted using the original slates along with some reclaimed slates.
The need to retain as much of the original building as possible also included the windows. The original sliding sash timber windows were refurbished and refitted as per the originals and secondary glazing introduced to enhance energy efficiency.
Internally, the work carried out was extensive. The inside of the existing building was completely gutted, with new foundations and subfloors installed and a series of new internal masonry walls added. In order to protect the building, the perimeter brickwork was treated with tanking and injection DPM.
All this was a precursor to the considerable M&E works throughout the project. This consisted of several specialist items including
a lift, access control, fire and security alarm system, underfloor heating, mechanical ventilation, and a new computer network.
All this work has breathed new life into the building, with the enhanced facilities placing it at the heart of the community.
The Houben Centre is a flexible community hub consisting of three multi-purpose halls that can be adapted to meet the needs of the event thanks to the acoustic tracked and mounted movable walls. The centre also includes interview/office rooms, board rooms, a catering kitchen, kitchenettes, toilets (including disabled) and reception areas.
The rear of the building has been designed as a playgroup/crèche area with associated children’s toilets and a kitchen. It also includes an external secure soft play area outside the main playroom.
The new entrance is made up of an aluminium PPC curtain wall system with a zinc clad canopy which adds a contemporary feel to the rustic listed façade.
Externally a new foul and storm drainage system was installed with new utility connections. All the siteworks consisted of paving, tarmac, soft play area, soft landscaping and disabled friendly paths and ramps. The existing railings and gates were also refurbished, with any new additions manufactured to replicate the originals.
So impressed was the client with the work carried out by P&K McKaigue that the Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust has appointed the contractor to carry out additional work on the nearby Holy Cross Church.