Ashbourne Community National School, Meath

BIM modelling was instrumental in Braham Group meeting a tight deadline for its complete electrical installation at Ashbourne Community National School.

Ashbourne is one of four design & build projects totalling €75m and comprising Lot 4 of the Department of Education and Skills’ Rapid Build Schools Programme, which mandates delivery to a strict schedule. Braham Group has been appointed as main electrical contractor for two of the projects, the completed Ashbourne site and another project currently underway for Belmayne Educate Together Secondary School in Dublin.

Ciaran McQuaid, Managing Director of the Braham Group, said, “A key element of this project, as part of the Rapid Build Schools Programme, has been its fast construction speed. It was a very pressurised project, making it even more rewarding to achieve the handover on time.

“We used full 3D BIM modelling, which was largely done in advance and helped facilitate the rapid pace required for the installation. 

“Our team used tablets to screen the 3D imagery on site, which was a very useful tool and showed exactly where everything was to go, speeding up the pace of the project.”

Close collaboration from the start with the main contractor team and mechanical contractors, to plan out routes for containment and pipework along with layouts for every room, ensured all clashes were detected before the site teams started.  

With any potential issues ironed out at this early stage, it allowed the installation to get underway quickly and run smoothly throughout the project.  

The modelling also aided optimisation of energy performance for the building. Rapid Build Schools Programme projects are required to comply with sustainable construction criteria, including NZEB (Near Zero Energy Building) and BER (Building Energy Rating) A3 certification standards.

Braham Group Contracts Manager Barry Trainor headed up the complete electrical installation, which spanned all power and data cabling, lighting, and fire and panic alarms.

Handed over in late 2023, Ashbourne is the second of the four projects completed after Stapolin Educate Together National School in Dublin.

The Co Meath school occupies a 4.3-hectare plot, featuring a landscaped campus with ancillary accommodation, two basketball courts and staff parking. 

The main school building comprises 3,832sqm of floorspace over two floors, including 16 classrooms, a special educational needs unit and general-purpose room.

Braham Group has already partnered with OHMG on multiple projects prior to Ashbourne, and its second Lot 4 collaboration with the contractor is currently underway. Belmayne in Dublin represents the biggest of the four projects, with its two- and three-storey buildings spanning 11,747sqm.

“We have a good relationship, and OHLA-OHMG is a pleasure to work with,” said Ciaran. “It is very organised and regimented, which is advantageous when you’re facing the time pressures of the Rapid Build Schools Programme.”

On-time completions with high standards of quality workmanship are a hallmark of Braham Group, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Founded in Newry in 1972, the firm moved to its current headquarters in Warrenpoint in 2004 and created a separate Republic of Ireland division based in Balbriggan in 2020. Its team totals over 40 full-time staff members and more than 100 sub-contractors and self-employed engineers, while it operates a fleet of 24 vehicles.

To mark its golden anniversary, a rebranding as Braham Group reflected its expansion and ability to provide a complete installation package to clients across electrical and mechanical contracting, as well as street and floodlighting.

For the full feature on Ashbourne Community School, see Ireland’s Electrical Magazine Issue 101 Feb-Mar here.

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