Glenbeigh’s expertise safeguards the history and future of Clancy Quay Officers Mess Building

30 Aug , 2019  

Glenbeigh Construction Ltd. was shortlisted for a coveted 2019 Irish Construction Excellence Award in the Public or Heritage Building category for their exceptional work in transforming the dilapidated Clancy Quay Officers Mess Building – a protected structure – into 13 high-end, bespoke residential units.

The sheer master craftsmanship in terms of conservation, repair and change of use displayed by Glenbeigh Construction working on the Officers Mess Building at Clancy Quay is nothing short of breath-taking and it was no surprise when the project was nominated for an Irish Construction Excellence Award.

As Operations Manager, Cian Ward was involved in the project from inception through to handover and he feels that it was only fitting that Glenbeigh’s efforts were acknowledged at the annual ICE Awards: “Awards are something that we don’t normally put ourselves forward for of seek out but we felt it would be appropriate to recognise the amount of work we carried out on the Clancy Quay campus and the exceptional results we achieved there.

“Phase II of Clancy Quay comprised nine buildings and this was the tenth building we worked on for the same developer on that site. It’s the pièce de résistance in there, the landmark building of the overall development. We felt that the quality of the work delivered in there – from the client, the design team, the architect and ourselves – was worthy of recognition and that’s why we felt it was appropriate to put forward a submission.”

Clancy Quay Phase II (also with OMP Architects) was a winner in the Housing category at the 2018 Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Awards and it was fitting that the Officers Mess Building would also be considered for a major award…

“It’s definitely a building to be proud of,” Cian continues. “To be able to take a building of this type back to life and enhance it was an honour as well as a major achievement and we felt that an Irish Construction Excellence Award would have been a nice way to mark it.”

Glenbeigh Construction’s Officers Mess Building project as part of the ongoing Clancy Quay development consisted of the conservation, repair and change to residential use of this protected structure, previously in use as a Mess barracks building within the former Clancy Barracks at Islandbridge on Dublin’s South Circular Road. The conversion allowed for 13 high-end bespoke units.

Glenbeigh’s client, Kennedy Wilson, purchased the Clancy Quay lands in 2013. Upon completion of Phase 3 (currently under construction), the number of units at Clancy Quay will be 845 within an overall site area of 5.6 hectares.

The Mess Building works comprised restoration, refurbishment and conservation to a multi-use residential accommodation in a protected structure. This involved extensive re-organisation of the internal plans within the footprint of the existing buildings.

Repairs and refurbishment were carried out to both external and internal elements of the protected structure in line with conservation requirements, as well as communal landscaped open space involving the enlargement of basement courtyard and modifications to existing retaining walls and railings to the east. The project also included associated car parking and landscaping on lands within the overall site of the Clancy Quay development.

The completed project represents a major success. The building has been fully restored with its character and many of its original features retained. A high-quality finish was delivered to the exterior of the building, in terms of existing brickwork re-pointed, all existing sash windows fully refurbished, existing railings refurbished and retained.

The entrance steps to the front door were in a poor state of repair – these were carefully disassembled and fully rebuilt using existing materials, including additions to the existing handrail to meet regulations. High-quality finishes were also delivered to all internal elements. Existing lime plaster wall and ceilings and cornice were repaired and retained.

A major triumph of the project is that the building that was unused for some time and had fallen into decay is now fully refurbished and accommodates 13 large, distinctive living units. All the existing features of the building have been restored and the character of the building will be safe now for a further 100 years.

Clancy Barracks, previously Islandbridge Barracks, was built, extended, altered and adapted as a Military Barracks for most of its developed life from 1797 to 2004. The works have retained, where feasible, key features of the Mess barrack building, some of which date from 1798.

Glenbeigh had previously carried out the multi-million-euro conversion of the extensive Clancy Quay protected structures for client Kennedy Wilson between 2015 and 2017 to bring 163 new residential units to the Dublin market. During these works, the design team and client were reviewing the Mess Building for possible commercial uses. While many of the older buildings were protected structures, the buildings were more suitable to residential conversions. The Mess building, due to its grand nature was a more difficult design, and at one point was reviewed for its potential as a boutique hotel. But the client finally decided, due to the scale of their overall holdings at Clancy Quay, to convert the building into 13 ornate and generous residential units.

Kennedy Wilson understood that the budget requirements to do this would exceed that palatable if the unit was viewed on its own, but viewed as the grand centrepiece of the development, the conversion was feasible. A bespoke Guaranteed Maximum Price contract was agreed between Glenbeigh and KW, who had developed a strong working relationship at Clancy Quay over the previous two years.

Energy efficiency was a key client-driven objective throughout the project. All original period window joinery has been retained and refurbished with additional secondary glazing added internally. All ground-bearing floors have been insulated, as have roofs. The variety of construction to existing external walls of protected structures (i.e. cut stone, random rubble rendered and unrendered, brick, etc.) led towards a full assessment of internal insulation options.

Analysis included water absorption tests and hygrothermal risk assessments using WUFI software. The optimal solution varied from wall to wall, depending on location, and was particularly tailored where existing retained decorative features were to be exposed. In relation to protected structures, different thermal solutions for each type of wall build up based on hygrothermal risk analysis. Apartments within the Protected Structures have high efficiency gas boilers.

At contract agreement, all parties agreed one calendar year for the conversion, beginning in March, 2017. Completion was achieved in April, 2018, the slight delay due to two factors – an archaeology dig required to the area in front of the main entrance due to remains of 16-1700 courtyards and a number of weather events within the build period including two status red warnings relating to wind and snow storms.

On the project, Glenbeigh incorporated 3d printing, tool tracking devices, PAT Testing digital equipment, digital surveying tools, mapping tools, drawing controls, P-Cloud for projects live folder including BCAR and OM manual, our site inspection software, Boris management tracking for fire-stopping installation, online dealings with BCAR via Assigned Certifier, and Document Management system to ensure immediate access to the latest construction information, etc.

Restoration and conservation of this scale requires relatively large numbers of skilled labour in each discipline – a risk which Glenbeigh had to carefully manage. When contractors had a shortage of labour, they worked with them and extended their programme where possible on site if it was a not critical task, never allowing it to cause a programme over-run. For example, the brick repointing and cleaning took longer than planned due to an industry shortage in this skillset, but the overall programme was not affected.

Inclement weather was another programme and quality risk that required careful management. Extreme weather events such as unusually low temperatures, heavy rain, wind and snow storms were all events that had to be dealt with through the life of this project. All these weather events had an impact on the project as many tasks such as re-roofing, brick pointing, lime render require specific weather conditions. But Glenbeigh managed their team so as to maintain quality and programme despite bad weather.

As with all projects, the programme is a risk item but in particular on this project as there were vast elements of conservation in conjunction with a large amount of new works. Glenbeigh tracked the programme and operated an open book policy with their client and project managers in terms of programme versus % progress. This open book policy worked very well for all members of the team. 

Meanwhile, a skilled and dedicated site management team, Glenbeigh’s ISO accreditation and its systems and policies, BCAR inspection and a dedicated snagging team ensured that any risk with workmanship was managed successfully.

As a company, Glenbeigh have vast experience working and delivering on both new build and restoration projects. For this project, they ensured that their management team and workforce were selected based on their experience and expertise.

The redevelopment of the former Clancy Barracks has provided a unique opportunity to reimagine an ensemble of historic structures into a new residential city quarter; the impact has been very positive. A new public realm has been created, weaved between buildings, some of which date to the 1790s, now meticulously repurposed to meet contemporary living standards without compromising their historic fabric.

By integrating these historic structures with appropriate interventions and coherent urban design strategies, an important piece of the city’s heritage has been safeguarded.

The Officers Mess Building at Clancy Quay exceeds the expectations of all members of the team. Conservation and conversions are

 extremely difficult endeavours and rarely achieve a result which: does not exceed the agreed contract sum and budget; maintains the programme for completion; and exceeds the expectations of the client and their design team. The works by Glenbeigh Construction Ltd to the Clancy Quay Mess Building successfully achieved all three for their client, Kennedy Wilson.

Glenbeigh Construction,

Damastown Way,

Damastown Business Park,

Dublin 15.

Tel: 01 8227008

Fax: 01 8227009

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.gcon.ie

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, June, Vol 5 No 6