On 17 July 2012, the Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, announced the Government's intention to develop approximately seven courthouses as part of a €2.25bn Infrastructure Stimulus Package.
BAM has substantial experience of delivering PPP projects for the justice sector both in the UK and across Europe.
The overall objectives of the project include the design, build, finance, and maintenance of facilities at seven courthouses to meet the requirements of the Courts Service for the provision of judicial services to the public and to maintain the facilities for a 25-year concession period.
SPV Project Manager, Declan Gallagher, outlines the background to a €149 million construction project which will transform courtrooms across Ireland.
"This really is a landmark project for the Irish Justice Department. It includes the design, build, finance and maintenance of facilities at seven courthouses, ranging in size from 1,354 m2 to 8,490 m2 across multiple sites."
"As far as BAM is concerned, there are a number of challenges to be considered in areas such as conservation and archaeology. The advantage is that our team has a considerable track record of dealing with developments of this kind."
Construction is now underway on the following facilities:
- Cork City – Refurbishment and extension of the existing courthouse building to accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, the regional office, and associated facilities.
- Drogheda, Co. Louth – A new courthouse consisting of two courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a landmark town centre site adjacent to the River Boyne.
- Letterkenny, Co. Donegal – A new courthouse to accommodate four courtrooms and associated facilities.
- Limerick City – A new criminal courthouse to be built on a site adjacent to Limerick Prison, to include six courtrooms, custody facilities, court offices, and associated facilities.
- Mullingar, Co. Westmeath – Refurbishment and extension of the existing historic courthouse to accommodate three courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, and associated facilities.
- Waterford City – Refurbishment and extension of the existing courthouse to accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, and associated facilities.
- Wexford Town, Co. Wexford – Refurbishment and extension of the existing courthouse to accommodate four courtrooms, court offices, and associated facilities.
Declan continued: "On the conservation side, five of the sites incorporated protected structures which required a lot of work from our team to ensure that the surviving fabric and features of the buildings were preserved and enhanced as part of a modern courthouse suitable for use in the 21st Century.
"We also had to obtain an archaeological licence for all seven sites prior to financial close. We were concerned about possible discoveries on two of the sites at Drogheda and Waterford.
“As it turned out, we did discover skeletal remains on the Waterford site which meant the site team working in conjunction with the Irish National Monuments Service to remove the remains and record what was found."
The scale of the project means there is ample opportunity for BAM to demonstrate the use of innovative techniques in delivering the various facilities. These included:
- use of BIM (Building Information Modelling) to develop design intent drawings and enhance and conserve protected structures;
- use of 'walk-through' videos in the bid submission to demonstrate the final product for various users;
- a proactive approach to security which anticipates and protects the building occupants, structure, and continuity of operations;
- adoption of a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, creative approach and methodology which delivers energy efficient, sustainable designs; and
- a PPP-driven helpdesk system which allows the contractual elements to be monitored and captured easily.
Construction on all the developments began in early 2016 and will continue throughout 2017.