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The building [Block BB] is a 9-storey building located on York St., Belfast and adjoining the existing Ulster University premises. It comprises of an 8 storey steel framed building with precast concrete slab floors, lightweight curtain walling/brickwork cladding and is broadly rectilinear with the inclusion of an angled cantilevered floor on Level 6 and the remaining floors above. The roof is constructed using a precast concrete slab with rubberised bitumen membrane flat roof covering housing the photovoltaic installation and sedum roof. The construction works included some minor external works associated with the provision of a service yard, alterations to the existing car park, external works and associated drainage.

Block BB is used for the School of Art, Design and the Built Environment on the upper floors with the lower three floors being used as a temporary Library space in the interim until the overall campus is completed. Internally the building is fitted out with internal partitions, doors, building services installations and the respective academic departments fixtures, fittings and equipment.

The building has an approximate area of 7800m², is linked to the existing building [Block BA] on levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 and has been designed to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) “Excellent” rating.

Key innovative and low-impact design features of the development include:

  • Rainwater is disposed of via Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS), using a vegetation planted Brown roof and underground tank to attenuate the discharge to the public mains
  • Photovoltaic (PV) panels, generating 2.41 kWh/m2 energy
  • Natural ventilation strategy, with both automated and user controls
  • Green (brown sedum) roof
  • Cycle parking
  • Lifts with energy regeneration
  • Building products containing low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Project Facts

High-level facts associated with Block BB are:

  • The estimated project construction total is £13,726,000.00 excluding VAT
  • The gross floor area is 7800 m2
  • The total area of site is 0.166 hectares. All of the site area except a paved margin to the northeast is occupied by the building
  • There are no function areas in Building BB
  • There is 1310m2 of circulation space within the building.
  • There is 146 m2 of dedicated storage space in the building.
  • The predicted electricity consumption is 99.96 kWh/m2
  • The predicted fossil fuel consumption is 90.79 kWh/m2
  • Predicted renewable energy generation is 2.41 kWh/m2
  • Predicted water usage 2.67 m3/person/year
  • Approximately 30% of the building will be open to the public periodically through a various outreach and public access events in the form of open days, public lecture theatres, End of Year Shows

During the construction process steps were taken to reduce environmental impacts, by means of innovative construction management techniques and;

  • The contractor was accredited to ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental Management)
  • The project was subject to a site specific Environmental Risk Assessment, which in turn enabled the development and implementation of a bespoke Environmental Plan

In addition a number of social or economically sustainable measures were implemented:

  • The Contractor achieved a bronze award under the Considerate Constructor’s scheme for their management of the site and community engagement
  • The Contractor facilitated a number of site visits by local schools and Ulster University students
  • Guided tours were given to City Councillors and Politicians
  • The construction workforce benefitted from the introduction of health and well being initiatives during the project construction e.g. health screening consultations, healthy eating initiatives, training on use of sunscreen products etc.
  • During the project delivery there was a social commitment towards recruitment of the long-term unemployed