Queen’s University Belfast, One Elmwood

NUGENT worked closely with the Main Contractor Felix O’Hare to provide the MEP installation of One Elmwood, the new Student Centre and Students’ Union at Queen’s University in Belfast. The open-plan, modern 10,000 sq m space cost £30m and has replaced the iconic Students’ Union (SU) building that was inaugurated in 1967. The original SU went through a major refurbishment in 2005, during which MEP services were also carried out by NUGENT.

The incredible facilities will accommodate 25,000 students and staff. The new building features vibrant social and commercial spaces such as the Mandela Hall and state-of-the-art facilities for clubs and societies and will transform the provision of student services and support offered by the University.

The electrical installation comprised of the following systems: LV main switchboard and associated sub-mains cabling, general containment and distribution (including support structure), sub-switch boards and distribution boards, general purpose power, general and emergency lighting, lighting control system, data and communications cabling (including UPS back up supply installation), disabled toilet alarm and disabled refuge alarm systems (networked to Queen’s University Belfast – QUB – central security), fire alarm installation (also networked to QUB central security), electrical services associated with the mechanical services install, and audiovisual distribution system installation (excluding event lighting).

NUGENT provided the installation of a public address system, intruder alarm, internal and external IP CCTV systems and access control (all networked to QUB central security), electrical services associated with passenger and goods lift installation, photo-voltaic panel (46no.), lightning protection, hearing loop/infrared hearing assistance system, earth bonding to services and structural steel. The company also worked on inspection, testing and commissioning, provision of as-fitted drawings and provision of demonstrations and training.

Specific requirements 

As NUGENT was also responsible for the mechanical installation, one of the main challenges faced by the company was coordinating the installation of electrical containment and the various mechanical items, often within confined spaces and areas where there weren’t many other options readily available. The team needed to be mindful of specific access requirements while installing containment and cabling above ceilings, having to consider the type of ceiling which would eventually be installed below and how this would affect future access. 

There were also difficulties achieving high-level access to install lighting and other electrical items because of floor finish types and weight constraints. Suitable access equipment had to be sourced and sometimes was not readily available. 

Even though the days of lockdown seem to be way behind us, the Elmwood One was built during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of absences posed a real challenge at various times. 

Modern methods

One Elmwood building is targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating. Alongside providing MEP service, NUGENT supplied Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 and services coordination for One Elmwood. Efficiency and sustainability were important factors for the build, and NUGENT utilised modern methods of construction (MMC), design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA), off-site fabrication and lean construction techniques for the project delivery.

To save time, and reduce carbon footprint and waste on the project, NUGENT’s off-site management team at their Pomeroy HQ designed, planned, manufactured and assembled the components prior to arriving on site. The Mechanical pre-fabricated units were stored in NUGENT’s factory, tested and commissioned before arriving on site, providing the highest quality service by the team of engineers and technicians.

The building was designed to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. NUGENT Electrical team of experts installed Photo-voltaic panel installation (46no.) reduce energy emissions targetting BREEAM Excellent

Exceptional partnership

NUGENT couldn’t be more satisfied with the installation delivered at one of the new landmarks in Belfast. Operations Director, Richard Gilmour commented, “The Student Union has always been a historic building for students in Belfast and One Elmwood certainly will be too. As a company, we are privileged that our team of experts delivered our MEP services for the iconic building. It was fantastic to see current QUB students involved with the project through regular site visits”.

This is not the first time that NUGENT and Felix O’Hare have partnered up to deliver an iconic project. They have had a successful working relationship, and One Elmwood certainly sits high in their portfolios. NUGENT Contracts Manager, Aodhan McCaffrey said, “One Elmwood is a fantastic building and it was a privilege to be involved in the Electrical installation along with the NUGENT team. The facilities for the staff and students are incredible. Felix O’Hare were an exceptional Main Contractor to work alongside for the development of the phenomenal building”. 

NUGENT, 2 Tandragee Road, Pomeroy, Dungannon BT70 3DS
T: +44 (0)28 8775 8617
E: info@nugent.com