For their outstanding achievement in successfully delivering the striking Stemple Exchange, Blanchardstown Corporate Park project on behalf of Channor Ltd., Bretland Group has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Commercial Over €15m category at the 2022 Irish Construction Excellence Awards. Contracts director Maurice Austin took time out from his busy schedule to discuss this magnificent project with Building Ireland.
Bretland Group’s industry-leading excellence shines through on Stemple Exchange – a truly stunning project comprising two contemporary, six-storey, landmark office buildings constructed to LEED v4 Gold Standard at Blanchardstown Corporate Park. Contracts director Maurice Austin is both thrilled and humbled by the fact that Stemple Exchange has been shortlisted for an Irish Construction Excellence (ICE) Award.
Stemple Exchange is a finalist in the prestigious Commercial Over €15m category. To be standing toe to toe with recognisable names like Hegarty, Bennett, Rhattigan and BAM for a major industry award is an achievement in itself but there is no doubting that Bretland is there on merit as this Edenderry, County Offaly headquartered building contractor boasts an impressive track record of bringing the highest degrees of expertise, professionalism and proficiency to a vast array of projects for coming up on a quarter of a century.
“We are delighted to have been selected as a finalist,” confirms Maurice. “It’s a big thing for Bretland to be in contention for this award and it’s a mark of how far we have progressed over the past five to ten years. We’re happy to be up there in contention alongside so many other prestigious companies.”
The Stemple Exchange project involved construction of two buildings with approximately 85,000 sq ft each of lettable office space over six floors as well as a single basement and podium to accommodate 500 parking spaces. Office areas were completed to shell and core (including raised floors) with full landlord fit-out to all common areas (including all tiling, sanitary ware, IPS panels, toilet cubicles and full Mechanical & Elecrical fit out). The M&E fit out included photovoltaic array, e-charging points, Smoke Management System, Building Management System and life safety systems.
The buildings feature large open space floor plans which allow flexibility for multi or single tenancies thanks to a value engineering proposal by Bretland to use a Deltabeam system with precast columns and floor slabs. Meanwhile, Bretland’s in-house glazing department undertook the full design, procurement and installation of the entire curtain walling façade system, including distinctive bespoke aluminium feature fins to both buildings.
The buildings were completed in two overlapping phases, with Block B commencing as block A was nearing completion. The programme for Block A ran from January 2019 to June 2020 and Block B began in January 2020 but completion was extended out to October 2021.
The project was subject to two industry lockdowns due to the public health restrictions sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the site shut for a total of 24 weeks. In addition to the lockdowns, works were also affected by Brexit and, although some material lead times had increased, this was managed without any major impact on programme.
The overall project cost for Stemple Exchange was €35million and it represented a notable achievement for Bretland Group to deliver the project within budget, the considerable cost and time saving benefits offered by the aforementioned value engineered option of the Deltabeam system and precast concrete frame proving key to this.
“It was a large project in scale and it ran very successfully,” Maurice continues. “On this and previous projects [including Plaza 211 – an impressive 36,354 sq. ft. glazed four storey office building located in Blanchardstown Corporate Park], we have built a very strong relationship with the client. This is the third office block we have built for The Channor Group in the past three-four years and they are very pleased with the two buildings in Stemple Exchange. We are in turn delighted to have had their backing for the ICE Awards submission and nomination.”
The key requirements for the client were to maximize floor space and speed of construction, in addition to allowing the option of subdividing individual floors for multiple tenants if required. In order to meet these requirements, Bretland proposed a switch from the proposed cast-in-situ reinforced concrete structure to the precast concrete and Deltabeam structural system that was ultimately used.
The system allowed for large, unobstructed floor spaces at each level due to the spans achieved by the steel beams and hollowcore slabs and facilitated a turnaround time of two weeks for each floor, including structural topping, ultimately providing certainty to the programme. The construction method also allowed for mobile cranes to be used instead of tower cranes, resulting in very little downtime.
“This was the first multi-storey building in Ireland to use that system and the client was so impressed by the results that they have included it at the design stage of the next two buildings they are looking at,” Bretland’s contracts director reveals.
The project embraced Modern Methods of Construction by switching from cast-in-situ frame to the precast and Deltabeam structure to speed up production through manufacturing structural elements in factory conditions offsite. The prefabrication method allowed for quicker fabrication as multiple pieces could be constructed simultaneously. The steel Deltabeams were fully fabricated and painted off site and were delivered straight to site from Lithuania. Doors and frames for the building were pre-assembled and pre-finished offsite so that as deliveries were made the sets were ready to install, once again providing time saving benefits along with reducing site labour.
Elsewhere on Stemple Exchange, mast climbers were used to install the curtain wall to the full envelope of each building, which also resulted in significant gains in productivity and programme.
The curtain walling to the building envelope was priced directly by Bretland as a full in-house design, procure and install package. The external curtain wall façade was prepared off site and delivered in sections based on a tight installation programme with minimal amounts of materials stored on site at any time. The facades are a key feature of the building and the ability to deliver this in-house was seen by the client as a major benefit to the project.
As for other key challenges encountered and overcome by Bretland Group to get Stemple Exchange completed in the most demanding of circumstances, Maurice continues: “We had two industry shutdowns due to Covid over the course of the project, which made a big difference in terms of momentum lost. We were only three weeks away from completing the first building and had 110 men on site, when we had to shut the site down. Despite losing 24 weeks in total, we were able to get the job back on track quickly each time.”
Another factor that ensured a better outcome for the client was the fact that the curtain walling and glazing were designed and installed directly by Bretland’s own in-house glazing department. This ensured not only that the design of the curtain walling was fully compatible with the frame and structure but that the design and installation and its integration into the overall construction was seamless.
The overall façade was designed to achieve nZEB for both buildings, even though the original building A was not subject to the nZEB requirements. A decision was made in the early design stage that it would be in the best interests of the client not to use PIR insulation in the façade package so high density rockwool was used. Both buildings achieved BER A-3 and the project achieved WiredScore gold standard.
Bretland’s approach to sustainability was designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification. (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design – Version 4 Core and Shell). Stemple Exchange is one of the few buildings outside the M50 which has achieved LEED Gold Certification. The project focused on the sustainability of the site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design or operation and regional priority.
To achieve credits in each category various measures were put in place to monitor and record all items associated with pollution prevention, waste management and indoor air quality. Six waste streams were used to separate out materials suitable for recycling or re-use in order to divert from landfill. Certain materials were sought for the project which contained low or no volatile organic compounds.
Bretland Group has the capacity to deliver a complete range of residential, commercial and industrial construction projects. They are expanding more and more into the residential sector, in particular social and affordable housing, and to this end currently have a 44-unit development nearing completion in Ardmore, Mullingar. Other ongoing projects include a number of fit outs for Giraffe Childcare, fit outs at Kildare Outlet Village, multiple projects within the pharmaceutical sector and a vast array of civils and site works including a major streetscape in Templeogue for South Dublin County Council.
Based in Edenderry, County Offaly, Bretland Group have developed a nationwide reputation for construction excellence and harbour ambitious achievable targets to lead the industry in ensuring all their building projects are delivered with sustainability, client value and a social responsibility to the community at the core of each development.
Managing Director Fechin Daly says: “Embracing climate change initiatives has become an increasingly important culture within the company and we are committed to encouraging our supply chain to follow strict environmental guidelines, certifications and protocols.”
Having achieved the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certificate on a number of their projects within Ireland, Bretland Group boasts an experienced team of professionals focused on providing clients with a completed project that will complement customers’ existing environmental agenda and carbon footprint reduction plan.
Bretland Group are continuously investigating new ways to improve operations, resulting in improved performance and better value to clients and end users. Having achieved accredited ISO certification in 2020, comprising ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, Bretland Group have become one of just a small number of construction companies to embrace this management transformation. The ISO 9001:2015 QMS certification specifies global best practice in quality management, using a process-driven approach to improve and maintain leadership, governance, communications and employee engagement to deliver unique, high quality customer and brand experiences. The ISO 45001:2018 OHSMS certification provides a framework for managing occupational health and safety risks and opportunities in order for the organization to eliminate hazards and minimize OH&S risks by taking effective preventative and protective measures. Thus far, the integrated management system has proven its effectiveness and Bretland Group are delighted to have recently passed the Year One surveillance audit.
Bretland Group are recognised as one of the most innovative construction companies in Ireland today, with a portfolio of exciting projects completed and ongoing within the pharmaceuticals, retail, heritage, healthcare, industrial, commercial, residential and educational sectors allayed to a self-professed desire to “transform the construction experience.”
The company has the experience, scale and capacity to successfully undertake large, complex, multi-disciplinary programmes, and Bretland Group are recognised by global customers as world leaders in the safe delivery of quality projects.
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This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, July 2022, Vol 8 No 7