South Lake Leisure Centre, Craigavon, Co. Armagh

Dowds Group makes a splash at South Lake Leisure Centre with innovative solutions and high-quality delivery...

M+E specialist contractor Dowds Group managed the full electrical and mechanical contracts of the state-of-the-art South Lake Leisure Centre – one of the largest public sector construction projects within Northern Ireland in recent years. The new multi-use sports and leisure complex represents a major new flagship health and wellbeing destination.

Built by contractor Farrans, the venue contains a 50m pool, learner pool and leisure pool, the largest gym in Northern Ireland featuring state-of-the-art equipment, spin and dance studios. It also includes an extensive health and wellbeing suite, activity rooms, squash courts and a large sports hall suitable for a variety of sporting activities, as well as expansive outdoor water sports provision.

Commenting on the project, Thomas Graham, contracts manager for Dowds Group says, “Dowds Group delivered the entire electrical package from design through to completion and we will continue our involvement as building maintenance contractor. We engaged one-to-one with the client to fulfil their aspirations and ensure that what they wanted was delivered and maintained throughout the building.

“We completed the package to a very high standard, as we do all the projects with which we are involved – that’s our ethos.”
With a proven ability to undertake design and build contracts in the demanding healthcare sector – along with numerous education, industrial and commercial/retail projects – Dowds Group was a solid choice to provide client Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council with innovative solutions to the project’s complex electrical engineering challenges.

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“One of the major challenges concerned the pool areas,” explains Thomas. “The pools are a C4 environment with atmospheric corrosivity caused by moisture and chlorine.
“The problem we had was in finding a product to support all our systems that met the C4 criteria. Stainless steel would be our normal choice but only a certain grade is suitable for use in a pool environment. However, none of the products on offer were available in that grade. We had to source a new product to coat the threaded rods and nuts. Standard coating can not be used.

“We found a coating product that is normally used in automotive industry. Eventually, we sourced this specialist coating material from America.
“We contacted local supplier, Unitrunk, who took it all on board. They supplied all the support products (nuts and bolts etc), coated them and certified the lot as one system.
“As far as I know, this in the first time this product was used in this type of setting. It’s an example of how innovative Dowds Group is – we strive to provide solutions.”

Dowds Group also champions the use of workshops for clients as Thomas explains: “To counter any potential misunderstandings we’ll design to a certain stage then invite the client to a workshop. We’ll explain our understanding of their requirements and check that is correct. These workshops are very useful because if there is a misunderstanding, 99 times out of 100 it doesn’t cost anything to remedy. We can just make that tweak and you get a very happy client at the end of the job. We do these workshops on every system. At least once, depending how complex the system is.”

Thomas was full of praise for everyone involved in the project: “This project was a prime example of best practice, of how a job should and could be done. Everyone on the project worked together towards the same goal – a building built to the client’s expectations. It was inspiring to see and be a part of it.

“I’ve since moved into another position within Dowds and I am so gratified that this was my last job as a Contracts Manager. Farrans shares similar traits to Dowds Group, the main one being that quality always comes first.”

Project team…
Client: Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Main
Contractor: Farrans M+E
Contractor: Dowds Group Contracts
Manager: Thomas Graham

Dowds Group
2-4 Milltown Road, Ballymoney,
Co. Antrim. BT53 6LE
T: +44 (0)28 2766 2789

Featured Sub-Contractors

Atlas World

Flexibility drives innovation as Atlas World delivers a service and products in line with the fast pace of their business…

Fire and security system experts, Atlas World, delivered a full suite of products and services to help keep premises, staff and leisure users at South Lake Leisure Centre safe and secure. Atlas World installed fire, intruder and pool alarm systems, access control, disabled refuge, disabled toilet alarm, IP CCTV system, PA and sound systems. The biggest challenge faced on the project was the unprecedented impact that Covid-19 presented.

Graeme White, Head of Sales Director for Atlas World says, “Everything was affected, from equipment delivery, site operating times and resource availability. It required daily management, driven by the main contractors and championed by our on site team to quickly relay problems and potential issues to ensure unaffected project delivery wherever possible.

“A knock on effect meant that some of our supply chain partners actually ceased trading during the lockdown period. This meant we no longer had a supplier for the specialist pool alarm system that was required on the project. In order to prevent a major delay on the project, we set about sourcing the required parts and manufactured the complete system in-house, meaning project milestones were achieved as planned.”

A privately-owned company with over 40 years experience within the fire and security industry, Atlas World works with consultant engineers, design and build teams, M&E contractors, FM companies and building owners. With Investors in People accreditation, the company’s commitment to staff training and development was evident on this project. “How our project team dealt with unforeseen problems to ensure this project was delivered on time has to be the most satisfying aspect of this installation,” says Graeme. He also praised Dowds Group’s Contracts Manager, Tommy Graham and his team, for their “excellent communication and management skills. They were second to none.”

Atlas World Belfast, 720 Crumlin Road, Belfast BT14 8AD
T: +44 (0)28 9039 1000


Another premier installation project delivered by specialist cabling provider, Merticom Ltd…

Meritcom provided a structured cabling installation for South Lake Leisure Centre consisting of a Cat6 network to cater for data, Wi-Fi, CCTV and IPTV services as well as fibre optic and multipair backbone links.

In addition to this, Meritcom delivered the audiovisual and IPTV infrastructure for the site consisting of roof mounted aerial/satellite array, fibre optic backbone, Arantia, Televes Corp IPTV system headend and IPTV data switches to distribute IPTV system over the cat6 network. These were connected to displays that Meritcom installed: a Panasonic Laser Projector for the Spin Studio, Samsung Smart TVs and several large format video walls including an LG 4 x 3 video wall in GF Canteen. Meritcom also provided a number of Arantia Digital Signage players for this project. Trading since 2001, Meritcom is the premier provider of Cat6/Cat6a/Cat7a structured cabling solutions, Wi-Fi systems, TV, satellite and IRS systems, PAs and AV systems.

Ciaran Sweeney, Data/AV Estimator for Merticom says, “It’s been a very exciting project for our team to be involved with in association with Dowds Group and Farrans Construction.
“Due to the enormous amount of hard work from everyone involved, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council will now have an amazing leisure facility for the people of the area for years to come.”

18 Mopack Business Park, Ballycolman Road, Strabane, County Tyrone BT82 9PH
T: +44 (0) 2871 88 6776