Success at Ulster Hospital for Blackbourne Vaughan JV


The stunning aesthetics of the new Inpatient Ward Block at the Ulster Hospital are well matched by the high levels of electrical complexity delivered by Blackbourne Integrated M&E.

Appointed by the GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership, the company formed the Blackbourne Vaughan JV alongside Vaughan Engineering Services Ltd for this major M&E contract.

Attention to detail, an inherent knowledge of healthcare projects, an ability to think ahead and a predisposition towards collaboration were all key attributes displayed by Blackbourne Integrated M&E throughout every stage.

No more is this evident than in each of the 288 single bedrooms – each boasting its own en suite bathroom. The integrated services for each bedhead and associated nurse call system incorporates controls for the lighting, window blinds and the TV. Furthermore, also integrated into this are systems for the fire alarm system; lightning protection system; emergency lighting; door access control; intruder alarm; and CCTV.

This complexity was set against a tight schedule that didn’t lend itself to any slippage. To combat this, Blackbourne held workshops with each of the specialists involved to develop the various systems. These workshops were used to create a fully equipped and functional mock-up of a bedroom that allowed for a complete review in advance of the M&E services being installed.

Given the scale of the project, this level of forward thinking was essential. As well as the bedrooms, the new six-storey building includes a day surgery department that incorporates four state-of-the-art theatres and an endoscopy suite; as well as support services including a new pharmacy department and a café.

David Boyd, Project Manager for Blackbourne Integrated M&E, explained, “With little margin for slippage on the planned work, we worked with the GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership to divide each floor into construction zones. This was done not only to ensure the project remained on schedule but, crucially, so that it didn’t impinge on the commissioning of the complex M&E systems.”

Due to the fact that it housed theatres, endoscopy, the aseptic suite, pharmacy, angiography and cath labs, Level 2 was viewed as the most challenging and, as such, was split into six building zones. In contrast, Levels 3 to 6, which are predominately patient rooms, were split into four zones.

The single biggest aspect of the project from an electrical point of view was the number of IP systems that are reliant on the engineering network that formed part of the IT system. David added, “The importance of having the backbone of the engineering network in place for all these systems was key to meeting the commissioning program. With that in mind, we felt this warranted a program that was specific to the Medical and Engineering IT system, which was developed on a floor-by-floor, hub room-by-hub room (16 in total) basis that related to the installation of the fibres cables and Cat 6 alongside testing of these systems. When this was in place it allowed for the commissioning of all these systems to go ahead.”

Gavin Toman, Project Director for Blackbourne Vaughan JV, praised the teamwork on the project – “The dedication and experience of our team ensured this complex project was delivered on time to standards which we can all be proud of.”

South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust
ARCHITECTS: Avanti Architects in association with Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects
MAIN CONTRACTOR: GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership
M&E CONTRACTOR: Blackbourne Vaughan JV (a Joint Venture between Blackbourne Integrated M&E and Vaughan Engineering Services Ltd)

Bender – IPS and UPS Systems Supplier
Building Protection Systems NI Ltd – Electronic Protection Systems
Eaton Lighting Systems – Lighting Controls
E+I Engineering – LV Switchgear and Busbar
Kedington NI Ltd – IT and Data Systems
ZG Lighting (UK) Limited – Emergency Lighting

For more information on Blackbourne Integrated M&E, telephone (NI/RoI) 0044 (0)28 9446 4231, e-mail or visit