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O'Hare & McGovern

Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering (NIACE)

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
    Further Education
  • Project Name:
    Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering (NIACE)
  • Client:
    Queens University/University of Ulster/Bombardier
  • Location:
    5 Airport Road, Belfast, BT3 9EF, N.I.
  • Architect:
    HKR & Rapport Architects

Project Overview

The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites’ and Engineering Centre (NIACE) is a technology hub for the research and development of advanced engineering and advanced materials technologies across a range of industrial sectors.

Co-owned by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, the facility allows companies to work together with academic staff from the Universities to develop world-class technology solutions for a breadth of manufacturing applications. Located within the Belfast Harbour estate, the site is adjacent to Bombardier Aerospace which will remain open during works.

The construction of the three storey building is complete with state of the art offices, workshops, laboratories, specialist research areas, and office spaces within a secure busy Aeronautical Manufacturing site in the centre of Belfast.

Accommodating up to 120 staff, the centre is divided between a front block of three storeys comprising workshops and two floors of office space; the rear block contains a single storey ten metre high workshop with crane cover and six metre high workshop rooms with mezzanine plant/storage deck above.The 3743m² building was carried out in two phases; Phase 1 of the works involved the formation of a new access road and alterations to the existing slip road providing access to the Bombardier Aircraft Factory complex.

Due to the frequency and volume of traffic movements into the factory all works where undertaken out of hours and at weekends. Phase 2 of the works was the construction of the new building, including installation of gas membrane and underground gas venting system, installation of gantry crane, sub-station works, internal decoration, floor finishes, blinds and fitted furniture.

The development features a structural steel frame that spans up to 15m and is clad with curtain walling.

Key Features

  • Excellent BREEAM rating
  • Traditional Procurement Route; JCT 2005
  • Live restricted site within the confines of the Bombardier Aircraft Factory in City Centre location - out-of-hour works
  • Site was subject to the tide with the presence of hazardous sub-soils. Ground gas was present & was monitored. The new building was designed to minimise the extent of excavations in that the ground level was raised. It was however necessary to excavate to lower levels to install the external services with excavation undertaken generally at low tide level. We also carefully monitored & worked around live fibre optic cabling within site
  • Facilities include; offices, workshops, laboratories & specialist research areas constructed
  • Extensive diversion of existing infrastructure i.e. steam mains, fibre optic cables. Installed gas membrane & underground gas venting system
  • Landscape works with new access roads & car parks
  • Piling
  • Structural steel frame Vertical sun screen on South facing Elevation
  • Specialist M&E installations i.e hydraulics, IT infrastructure & Photo voltaic panels installed on the roof.