OHMG Win Top Accolade for John Bell House Restoration
An O’Hare and McGovern scheme which transformed an iconic Belfast building into five star student accommodation was been acclaimed as Northern Ireland’s finest restoration building project.
The firm’s top management team, headed up by managing director Martin Lennon, was presented with the Construction Employers Federation award for the company’s work at John Bell House.
The former Belfast Met Building in College Square was refurbished at a cost of £16m to provide state of the art living accommodation for students attending Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.
As well as the 413 student rooms, the scheme also involves the provision of several study rooms, a management suite, laundry facilities, outside courtyards and a large common room.
The refurbishment of the building, which was bought by Lacuna Developments in June 2014, was completed last year.
Mr Lennon, Eamon Laverty, the project design manager, Neil Moore, of Hamilton Architects, the project architect and Edward O’Hare, the OHMG project manager, stepped up to receive the accolade at the CEF annual awards night at the Culloden House Hotel.
Afterwards Mr O’Hare spoke of the huge challenges his construction team faced to ensure that the restoration of the original and ornate features of the building, blended in seamlessly with the type of modern style living expected by students in third level education.
He added: “It has been a massive undertaking by O’Hare and McGovern. But then, this is what our company is all about – meeting those challenges; providing top of the range accommodation, as well as a property that Belfast, and especially the two universities, can be really proud of.
“It really is something very special.”
It was another big night for OHMG which confirmed its position as one of the top construction firms in Ireland.
Three other projects made the shortlists in various categories.
The new £20m film studios at Giant’s Park on Belfast’s North Foreshore where the first production is under way, was named in the commercial category.
The spectacular new Computer Science Building at Queen’s was shortlisted for the Education and Infrastructure award, and the refurbishment of offices at the city’s Castle Court shopping centre at Royal Ave was recognised in the Fit Out category.
This was the 18th year of the Construction Excellent Awards, the highest and most prestigious in the Northern Ireland construction industry. There was a record 110-plus entries covering 13 different categories.