Purcell remains on the right track

8 Jul , 2024  

Purcell Construction is delighted that the prestigious National Train Control Centre (NTCC) is a finalist in the 2024 Irish Construction Excellence Awards in the BIM Excellence Category – Up to €50M.

The landmark project at Heuston Station in Dublin was constructed using BIM Level 3, a fully integrated working method using a common data environment (CDE) that enables better collaboration and 3D model evaluation, irrespective of each team member’s different software solutions. The stakeholders include client Irish Rail, OPW, the design team led by Pascall+Watson and Purcell, and its trusted supply chain partners.

Purcell’s in-house expertise managed the entire BIM process in conjunction with design development and coordination responsibilities. The Irish Construction Excellence Awards (ICE Awards) are the original and premier recognition of performance excellence for the contracting sector in Ireland. They provide an opportunity for the industry to showcase and reward best practices across the full range of construction disciplines and project categories.

“We successfully embraced and applied digital BIM project delivery methods and ICT and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to the NTCC project. Thanks to these technological developments and returned efficiencies, we have commanded the ability, capability, and capacity to deliver this technically demanding critical national infrastructure project for Irish Rail. It reflects well on the entire construction team, and we’re thrilled with the nomination,” says Purcell Construction Director Alan Lawless.

The project also saw Pascall+Watson shortlisted for Architectural Project of the Year and Commercial / Office Building of the Year at the recent Irish Building & Design Awards.

Purcell constructed the hi-tech, high-security NTCC facility on a brownfield site in the centre of the Heuston Station complex between March 2020 and November 2022. It is Irish Rail’s centre for managing and regulating train movements on the rail network. It enables the integration of signalling and communications control of approximately 600 train movements per day across the entire network.

The National Transport Agency (NTA) requested that the NTCC facility provide for the co-location of the Metropolitan traffic unit of AGS and the traffic control arrangements for Dublin City Council. It also provides the capability to function as a National Emergency Response Centre.

This five-storey, 5,500m2 building with a partial basement was constructed in the live operating environment of Heuston Station, surrounded by and in close proximity to live train movements. The works included approximately 1,500 precast concrete elements, 3,800m2 of rain-screen cladding, 5,000m2 of raised access flooring, 22km of cable tray containing 110km of data cabling and 14km of site ducting externally.

The design team was led by Project Managers and Architects Pascall+Watson, a major global practice specialising in large transport hubs such as airports and train stations. AECOM designed the civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical elements in partnership with Irish Rail’s in-house design departments.

A particular challenge was the number of stakeholders involved in the multidisciplinary project, where Purcell’s multifaceted approach successfully resolved information and design queries with each stakeholder. With COVID-19 restrictions in place for much of the construction phase, Purcell successfully implemented effective remote working practices which were crucial for maintaining maximum on-site productivity throughout the pandemic lockdowns.

The Employer designed the NTCC project, but there were significant elements of the build that were designed by the contractor, such as the entire façade, designed incorporating IES thermal modelling to ensure the building is compliant with Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Energy) of the Irish Building Regulations and the new ‘Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’ (NZEB) requirements introduced in 2019, providing a very high energy performance facility along with the highest security rating requirements.

“A key to the success of Irish Rail’s flagship project was the successful implementation of BIM, coupled with a proactive, collaborative approach by all stakeholders, from commencement in March 2020 throughout the global pandemic and through to this day with current facilities management activities. Irish Rail is delighted with the end product,” Alan continues.

Purcell is a leading Irish building contractor with offices in Galway and Dublin and satellite offices in Tullamore and Roscommon. Established in 1988, the Company has grown to employ over 100 people directly and has earned a reputation for delivering outstanding projects that meet and exceed clients’ expectations.

Committed to the highest standards of Safety, Quality and Sustainability, Purcell’s success is underpinned by its corporate stability, the experience and expertise of its staff, its collaborative approach to business and its skill at providing cost-effective solutions to construction challenges. Founded on integrity and trust, it has resulted in long-term relationships with clients and their supply chain, demonstrated by the high volume of repeat business.

With decades of experience, Purcell has developed a fundamental understanding of its client’s needs and has a proven track record in the commercial, education, life science-med, restoration and conservation, fitout, leisure and social, design and build and residential sectors. The Purcell team also understands that each industry sector has a unique set of requirements. Their understanding of these requirements and the diversity of their work are evidenced in their impressive work portfolio and the numerous awards they have achieved over the years.

Passionate about its projects, the multi-award-winning Company’s vision is to be the Irish construction contractor of choice for clients, consultants and employees, to be an industry-leading contractor through the enhancement of the skills of all its people, and in doing so, successfully understand and serve the needs of its clients and customers; and to deliver quality services responsibly, provide opportunity for its people and sustainable growth.

Purcell will achieve this vision by constantly engaging with clients, understanding their needs, and consistently providing exceptional service that combines efficiency, innovation, and best practices. Environmental, Health and Safety have always been at the core of the business. Purcell operates a Safety Management System fully certified and accredited to ISO 45001:2018 standards. Furthermore, the contractor operates Quality Management and Environmental Management Systems that are fully certified and accredited to ISO 1901:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, respectively. More recently, certification was secured from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) in 2022 for Purcell BIM standards and processes covered by the ISO 19650 series.

In addition, the Company recognises that corporate and social responsibility isn’t just about doing the right thing but about behaving responsibly and encouraging all those it engages with to do likewise. 

“As an Engineers Ireland CPD Accredited Employer since 2019, we recognise the value, benefits and importance of learning and development for the Company and our employees. Therefore, it is vitally important to continuously identify, develop and implement processes that will enable us to achieve our CPD strategic objectives in alignment with our Company’s strategic goals,” added Alan.

Being a responsible business means that Purcell is fully aware of its essential role in carefully considering how it manages projects, the materials it uses, the energy it consumes and conserves, and the habitats it works in.

Since completing the NTCC project, Purcell has been engaged in several other high-profile and prestigious projects, including the North City Operations Depot in Ballymun for Dublin City Council, also shortlisted for an ICE Award 2024. 

Among its current projects are a new 124-bed nursing home in Stepaside and a 33-bed extension to Four Ferns Nursing Home in Foxrock, both for Virtue Integrated Care. Work is progressing well, constructing 32 new one-bedroom apartments with catering and communal facilities and housing for senior citizens for Dublin City Council at Glin Court in Coolock, Dublin. 

Another project for our valued client, Dublin City Council, at Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, comprises the demolition of the existing council building along the River Liffey and replacement with two new Quayside Buildings, civic amenity architectural structures, including boardwalks, pontoons, and associated services. This project is progressing at pace in a very confined city site.

 “We’re busy with a pipeline of diverse commercial and residential projects and have just been awarded a new 52-apartment scheme in North Great Charles Street, Dublin, for Clúid Housing Association, so we look forward to breaking ground in early April,” Alan concludes.

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, June 2024, Vol 10 No 6