Make a right turn at The Junction and learn more about how the design and construction team completed this high specification community facility…
The Junction is a mixed-use £3.75 million community development, designed by Hall, Black & Douglas Ltd, and constructed by QMAC Construction Ltd.
Owned by community rights-based organisation, STEP, it is an imposing three-story building situated on the busy fringes of Dungannon town centre, and the sharp, industrial style of the external façade belies the light and spacious interior of this very modern project.
The funding for the landmark centre was secured under the EU’s PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) through the EARLS project, a partnership with STEP and the then Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council.
The Junction was initially referred to as the Peace Centre, to reflect its location, origin and concept. However, the new name links the building to the previous use of the land on which it is situated. It was formerly a railway halt for the historic Dungannon railway line and represents the junction at which the various organisations using the centre will meet.
On arrival at either entrance of The Junction, the Corian panelling and lighting design is a key feature and the welcome feel is carried through to the reception desk which is inscribed with many languages to reflect the diverse range of users of the building.
The project comprises of office space and meeting rooms for three anchor tenants – STEP (South Tyrone Empowerment Programme), Inspire Mental Health and Willowbank – with additional flexible, multi-purpose spaces for community use, including meeting rooms, training facilities and exhibition space, totalling 2,140 sqm. Bespoke furniture in all communal areas is of a very high specification.
The beautifully designed central atrium and circulation core encourages integration with the existing park and pedestrian walkways, while a community café leads directly onto the adjacent Railway Park.
STEP’s vision for The Junction is to provide a shared space and hub enabling everyone in the Dungannon community to enjoy a range of activities, from meetings to training, workshops and events.
As a measure of the high regard in which the building is held, main contractor, QMAC Construction Ltd, has entered The Junction into the 2016/2017 CEF Awards, as an excellent representation of a quality specification and highly serviced community project.
The scheme spanned 13 months and was completed on time and to budget, with complete satisfaction from the client at handover.
“Access to the site was an early obstacle and required the creation of a temporary road and site entrance,” said Rhona Quinn, Chairperson, QMAC Construction. “In keeping with the Considerate Constructor guidelines, substantial efforts were made to ensure that all the surrounding facilities and retail outlets experienced minimal disruption for the duration of the project.”
The construction components of the project included site clearance, followed by excavation, drainage, sewerage works and installation of all the necessary utilities and associated activities.
The erection of a tower crane, to facilitate movement of material to the correct elevations of the three-storey building, and all the associated activities pre-dated the commencement of the structural works.
The building is of a traditional construction with concrete operations, including the foundations, and installation of precast concrete slabs and stairs. The super-structure was built in facing brick and block with structural steel providing additional support. The overall effect of the specified brick is striking, linking the internal and external finishes and further developing the natural and welcoming flow of the building. In recognition of this, the brick finish has been entered into the Brick Awards 2016, one of the most widely respected design and construction awards in the UK, run by the Brick Development Association.
The Junction is required to perform as a multi-functional building and, as such, metal stud partition systems were used to offer a cost-effective, multi-purpose solution. Further testament to the innovative specifications used included the use of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for one entire section of the building.
The architect specified particular internal wall colours on a feature staircase and centre piece lighting, all of which can be seen from the adjacent road and walkway thoroughfares. It makes for a striking landmark in Dungannon.
Furthermore, the attention to detail on the internal finishes shows thought for natural flow and makes The Junction an inspiring and effective place to work. The internal lighting complements the high levels of natural full spectrum light which bathes every part of the building. Access to outdoor areas is widely available on the ground floor, with paved and landscaped areas to enjoy through additional access means, in the numerous ground floor areas. The choice and design of the extensive fitted furniture shows empathy for the anchored tenants and the substantial requirements needed for their particular functions and client base.
The project involved the full installation of M&E services, including a passenger lift, in accordance with DDA regulations, ensuring suitable access for all those who may use the building. All services were tested and successfully commissioned before handover.
Landscaped and paving areas lead directly onto the adjacent Railway Park, and all tarmac and associated activities were completed with great consideration to access and usability of the area.
The Junction is part of a £7million European investment project in Dungannon. “QMAC Construction Ltd is very proud to have successfully delivered this high specification project, where a significant onus was placed on meeting the needs of the end user, achieved through continuous liaison with the client and design team,” concluded Rhona.