PJ Hegarty raises the bar with Spencer Place

15 Jan , 2024  

PJ Hegarty & Sons was shortlisted for four 2023 Irish Construction Industry Awards, including in the highly-competitive Contractor Commercial Project of the Year category for Spencer Place in the heart of Dublin Docklands.

On the night PJ Hegarty & Sons picked up the award for Contractor Residential Project of the Year, while they were also nominated in the Contractor Industrial Project of the Year and Excellence in Health & Safety categories. It was a great night at The Mansion House, Dublin on Thursday, November 2 for the company. As one of Ireland’s leading building contracting firms, PJ Hegarty is no stranger to winning prestigious accolades, having scooped two Irish Construction Excellence Awards already this year.

Launched in 2014, the Irish Construction Industry Awards recognise, encourage, and celebrate original and innovative contractors, businesses, teams, consultants and projects that demonstrate excellence in the built environment. PJ Hegarty is delighted to be a finalist for its successful delivery of the iconic Spencer Place for Ronan Group Real Estate. Overlooking the River Liffey on Dublin’s North Wall Quay, the project was commissioned with the vision to rejuvenate the urban landscape, cater to the surging demand for office spaces and offer accommodation to visitors of the city.

The €273 million development consists of four blocks, ranging from six to eight floors, constructed over a triple basement. The former CIE / British Rail Hotel underwent meticulous restoration and conservation to stand alongside new office blocks, known as Salesforce Tower Dublin and the 4-star Samuel Hotel.

“A lot of hard work went into bringing this flagship project to fruition, so we were very pleased with the nomination,” says PJ Hegarty Director, Maurice Killeen.

“Whilst the initial phase of the project started in 2016, the main build did not commence until 2018 with the handover of Salesforce’s EMEA Headquarters and the Samuel Hotel occurring within two months of each other in 2022.” 

“The various elements of the project, which makes it a landmark scheme in the Docklands, also posed a wide range of challenges to be overcome by our team. Three state of the art new office blocks providing nearly 500,000 ft2 of office space, the restoration of a listed building, the turn-key 209-bedroom Samuel Hotel and a triple basement all posed their own challenges formed what was one of the largest individual contracts undertaken by our company.”

“Logistically, the city centre location was extremely challenging; cranage, site deliveries and storage had to be carefully planned and managed. This was further compounded by Covid-19, which we reacted to quickly by investing significant additional site infrastructure, including a purpose-built 70+ occupancy canteen in the basement to ensure the 700+ workforce could operate in a safe environment while still adhering to the strict social distancing guidelines, and delivering safely on programme.”

The main stair and lift cores were a slip-formed construction. PJ Hegarty coordinated the architectural door opes, the mechanical and electrical services builders work opes and structural strip reinforcement and rebar couplers for later slab tie-in, and prepared the coordinated slip form drawings to ensure the various openings and cast-ins were all incorporated into the slip form.

The floor slabs for Buildings 1B, 3 and 4 were all post tensioned slabs, including a heavily post tensioned and reinforced cantilever on the second-floor slab to form the main double height ground floor entrance foyer below. The roof levels of these buildings were structural steel with a metal deck. Building two was a full reinforced concrete frame construction.

The envelope of Building 1A was an existing brick façade with timber windows and slate roof – all three elements were fully restored to their original conditions. Internally, the existing timber floors and stairs were strengthened and refurbished, while two new stairs and a lift core were added. The central courtyard of this historic building was covered with a modern glazed roof which required careful integration into the existing building fabric.

Buildings 1B and 4 were entirely unitised façades with a glazed veil wrapping the south elevation of Building 4. This veil is hung from cantilevered stainless-steel sections fixed to an edge thickening at Level 7 with the suspended tubular frame pinned back to the unitised system as you drop down the floors.

The veil is finished with programmable uplighters fixed to the strut frame at intermediate levels. Buildings 2 and 3 were a mixture of limestone stone cladding and glazing. Link bridges were erected between Buildings 1B and 4, and between Buildings 4 and 3. Each roof has landscaped garden areas and screened plant areas as well as balcony areas on lower floors.  The mechanical and electrical installations are of the highest quality and are contributing significantly to the LEED Platinum rating for the buildings, which were certified individually. 

The site was serviced with five tower cranes, five concrete placing booms, and the traffic management and logistics of bringing substantial quantities of materials to site in a busy Dublin city centre location were successfully managed by PJ Hegarty. With 45,000m² of office space, 7,000m² of new hotel space, and 2,500m² of external paved and landscaped areas, the Spencer Place project is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture.

The foundations for successful project delivery were established during the enabling works phase by developing a strong collaborative relationship with the client, design team and other critical project stakeholders. The Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor and PSDP was Linesight; Henry J Lyons was the Architect and Assigner Certifier; the Structural Consultant was Cronin Sutton Consultants; while Axis Engineering was the Services Consultant. The Landscape Architect was Cameo & Partners; Winthrop Engineering was the Mechanical & Electrical Contractor and Cleartech was the Post Tensioning Design / Contractor.

PJ Hegarty identified in its programme the importance of key early appointments of subcontractors and suppliers. A dedicated Pre-Construction Manager was appointed to lead the process of managing the specialist subcontractors and suppliers to ensure the required technical submittals and samples were prepared. The main contractor’s BCAR Manager ensured the technical details were submitted and tracked to meet its procurement and construction programmes. 

“We were supported throughout the project by our Client Ronan Group Real Estate, and their established design team including Henry J Lyons, Linesight, Cronin Sutton Consulting Engineers and Axis Engineering. Salesforce were then secured as long-term tenants for the scheme, and we engaged successfully with their project team also to deliver this outstanding project. Collaboration is an essential tool in delivering projects of this scale, and Spencer Place is proof of the success of this approach,” Maurice adds.

Spencer Place’s remarkable achievement of LEED Platinum V4 certification for the new office blocks underscores PJ Hegarty’s relentless pursuit of green building excellence. This recognition represents the highest level of environmental performance and demonstrates the main contractor’s ability to integrate sustainable design, construction and operation practices. Furthermore, the Samuel Hotel attained LEED Gold certification, further highlighting Hegarty’s commitment to delivering projects that meet the most stringent sustainability standards.

This exceptional development in the heart of Dublin’s Silicon Docks exemplifies PJ Hegarty’s unwavering commitment to excellence, sustainability and innovation in the construction industry. Through meticulous planning, visionary design and the implementation of innovative initiatives, Spencer Place has set new benchmarks and serves as an example of what is possible when proactive partnering between client and contractor, Health & Safety, programme focus, environmental stewardship and innovative technology come together.

PJ Hegarty & Sons (Head Office)

Davitt Road,


Dublin 12,

D12 CH22.

Telephone: +353 (1) 455 6270

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.pjhegarty.ie

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, January 2024, Vol 10 No 1