The prominent two-storey building on Trench Road provides offices, a nursery, youth facilities, a multi-use hall, training rooms and associated car parking in the grounds of the old Immaculate Conception College. Under the leadership of The Hillcrest Trust, local residents had for many years, lobbied the local authority, Strabane and Derry Council, for a hub building that could bring the community together.
The long wait has been answered with this thoughtfully conceived and well-built piece of modern architecture designed to serve the Top of the Hill community for decades to come.
Chris McIvor, Project Manager at Lowry Building and Civil Engineering Ltd says, “This was a great project to be involved in. The brief from the client, Derry City & Strabane District Council, was that they wanted a high quality building. This is what we have delivered; a much-needed space that really adds to the community environment.
“The architects, Doherty Architects, did a very good job in terms of design providing us with detailed drawings and plans. They also responded really well to any queries we had. We made sure all the finished work was done to a high standard. Our subcontractors performed really well, exactly when we needed them.”
The 60-week programme was due to be completed in April, a deadline that had to be extended due to the lockdown restrictions. A lot of structural work was required before the project got out of the ground to facilitate the design demands of the building – irregular build shape, multiple roof levels, steel-framed large open spaces etc. The added layer of being a CPD driven project compounded the complexities of this 3,000m2 build, but the team at Lowry Civil Engineering Ltd were not fazed by any of these challenges.
“As the contract was run through CPD we had social targets to hit such as employing apprentices from the local area, there was also enhanced safety auditing. For example, we had to ensure all our electricians were certified and registered with Sparksafe. We placed a heavy emphasis on health and safety throughout construction and I’m pleased to say we maintained our zero incident status throughout.”
As Project Manager, Chris headed up the programme of works but also had regular meetings with the Site Manager and Quantity Surveyor to agree on the work flow, to set out design schedules and make sure that lead times were met to ensure materials were on site or fabricated off site and delivered to meet the programme.
Commenting on the project, Chris says, “I’m very happy with the quality of work carried out. All the subcontractors performed well, despite the difficulties many of them faced getting staff on site when we were getting back up to speed after lockdown.
“The Top of the Hill Community Centre is a really nice space and has definitely become a positive landmark in the area. The local community really came together to support us and we’ve had lots of great feedback about the work carried out.”
Client: Derry City and Strabane District Council
Main Contractor: Lowry Building and Civil Engineering Ltd
Architects Mechanical Contractor: Precision Mechanical Electrical
Contractor: Braham Electrical
Fox Bros Ltd
Fox Bros Ltd was responsible for laying the floor screed at Top of the Hill Community Centre. Quick drying floor screed was selected to allow for a speedy process and to ensure the next phase of the project could go ahead on schedule.
Fox Bros Ltd have been established for more than 25 years. They have long being regarded as one of the leading plastering and floor screeding contractors in Northern Ireland. This reputation has come about by consistently meeting client and main contractor demands through the commitment of our highly skilled and professional workforce.
Fox Bros Ltd are based in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, but have completed projects throughout the UK and Ireland. In fact, they regularly work on projects for the larger UK multiples because of their quality of workmanship. An existing relationship with the main contractor helped Fox Bros Ltd deliver a high quality, excellent job.
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Doherty Architects always strive to unlock the potential of a project to create functional buildings with an emphasis on design quality. That’s why they were the perfect choice to deliver the Top of the Hill Community Centre. Doherty Architects designed a building that has multiple uses but with the ultimate focus on bringing a community together.
Jonny Spence, Associate Director at Doherty Architects says, “We employed a number of features to create a sense of accessibility for the local community. For example, we situated the building on the corner of the site creating an external public plaza where people can congregate and internally; the wide staircase allows people to take a moment to sit and chat on purpose built seating.”
Doherty Architects are currently expanding their design and build contractor base, if you would like to partner with Doherty Architects on your next project please get in touch.
“We strived to deliver a project which accommodates a multitude of users and hope that our design provides a building the local community can be proud of.’’
The Precision Group
Precision Mechanical carried out the full mechanical package for the Top of the Hill Community Centre, L,Derry.
The experienced management team ensured that, despite the two-month site closure due to Covid-19, the project was handed over as per the design team’s specifications without any major mechanical challenges.
The Precision Group has been providing professional, managed services and innovative solutions to customers across the UK, Ireland and Europe for over 30 years. Its ethos is to provide cost effective, innovative and quality driven services and solutions.
Its mechanical arm, Precision Mechanical, has a wide range of experience delivering measured term contracts and mechanical construction work including new build and refurbishment. From design stage through to contract completion – including the commissioning and provision of detailed O&M manuals.
Ian Gillespie, Contracts Manager at Precision Mechanical says, “We are very pleased with how smoothly the project ran. Lowry Building and Civil Engineering’s project team was excellent throughout all aspects of the project delivering a first-class facility for the local community.”
Innovated Aluminium Technology (IAT)
From its factory in Eglinton, IAT fabricates bespoke aluminium glazing solutions to meet both architect and client requirements Innovated Aluminium Technology (IAT) was awarded the contract for Top of the Hill Community Centre to manufacture and install the latest glazing systems available from Metal Technology. This comprised of windows, doors, automatic doors and curtain walling.
Leslie McClements, Managing Director at IAT says, “These systems, fitted with the correct glazing, provides a safe and secure environment for both the staff and visitors using this facility. For this project, it also provided an aesthetically pleasing result. The glazing and timber cladding combination gives the building a very modern appearance.”
Looking forward to the next project with Lowry Building and Civil Engineering (LBCE), Leslie says, “We have a good working relationship with LBCE, which has developed over the last number of years on a vast and varied array of projects. This is something that we wish to maintain and strengthen wherever possible.”