AIB Bank Headquarters, Belfast

A £1.6m electrical upgrade from Braham Electrical supports AIB Bank's major Grade A refurbishment project to its Belfast head office...

Braham Electrical carried out the complete refurbishment of all services throughout the AIB Head Office building including the lighting, general power, data cabling and fire alarm systems. Work was carried out over six floors. The ground floor comprised: main entrance, café with breakout area, town hall meeting rooms and office accommodation, secondary comms room, the main switch room, and plant room.

The first floor included: office accommodation and the main comms room, the second floor: office accommodation and secondary comms room; and a shell and core fit-out for
future office accommodation on the third, fourth and fifth floor.

This complex project presented a number of logistical headaches for the Braham Electrical team. Work had to be carried out within the bank’s live working environment with noise
level restrictions in place to ensure minimal disruption to the client and the neighbouring hotel. To facilitate these challenging issues the programme of works was carried out over four phases to ensure no interruption to business. Shutdowns of the main power to allow alterations to the main switchboard took place over weekends along with shutdown and changeover of the IT network and ATM facilities. The busy city centre location and tight footprint also required a strategic approach to arranging supply delivery slots.

Braham Electrical Contracts Manager, Matt Beattie said, “Carrying out the works one floor at a time helped maintain business operation for AIB, but it added complication to the
project, with system diversions and enabling works required to ensure mains power and data network systems remained live where needed.”
Braham Electrical’s longstanding relationships with main contractor, Felix O’Hare, and supply chain proved vitally important to the success in the strategic planning required to provide the necessary direction and the exceptionally high standard of performance required to complete this project at every stage.

Commenting on the AIB Head Office job, Matt said, “We worked closely with the main contractor Felix O’Hare and our supply chain throughout the project to ensure effective co-ordination and planning to identify and alleviate problems before they arose.”
“The big issue we had to contend with – as everyone did – was Covid-19, which arrived during the first phase. This had a major impact, shutting down the project for several weeks. Even once the site reopened, it was at a reduced labour capacity due to the necessary enhanced testing and cleaning regimes. The programme, however, was adjusted, and these issues were overcome, resulting in a very successful contract.”

Already considered a high profile project within the industry, Braham Electrical raised the bar further by winning the Northern Ireland 2021 Medium Commercial Project Electrical Award for its work at AIB Head Office. Judges praised the attention to detail on site
and quality of installation. The complexities of the working environment coupled with an extremely restricted site access for supply deliveries etc., would be a tall order for most contractors to contend with. Yet Braham Electrical and their supply chain rose to all challenges to fulfil a highly complicated brief to Grade A standards.

The Warrenpoint-based firm is an established electrical contractor that has led the way throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland for 50 years. Founded in 1972, the company has
thrived with a workforce of over 50 directly employed employees and 100+ sub-contractors. It is solidly resourced and equipped to achieve excellence in innovation, quality and delivery in every project it’s associated with, in particular commercial, public realm, street and flood lighting contracts.

Project team…
Main Contractor:
Felix O’Hare & Co. Ltd
Electrical Contractor:
Braham Electrical
Todds Architect
Project Manager:
Nigel Lynch & Associates
M+E Design:
Semple & McKillop

T: +44 (0)28 4177 2989

Ashdale Engineering Ltd

When Braham Electrical was awarded the Electrical Installation contract for AIB they turned to Ashdale Engineering Ltd as their appointed specialist for the UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) provision on the project. The specification called for a 40KVA UPS system to support the main IT infrastructure, along with a network connectivity card and wrap around bypass.

Ashdale worked in collaboration with main contractor, Felix O’Hare &
Co Ltd and with Braham’s who provided all the mains wiring to the systems. Ashdale completed all the battery assembly, final commissioning of the UPS systems and continues to provide maintenance on the systems with 24/7 support.

Speaking to Ireland’s Electrical Magazine about their use of UPS systems, Ashdale’s Operations Director Colin Simms said: “When I commenced my career at Ashdale some 30 years ago, UPS systems like computers and electronic systems in general were an emerging technology and were large, noisy and expensive.
“Modern UPS are much more economical, energy efficient, quieter and compact with features such as touch screen. They also have excellent connectivity to alert clients to any disturbances in the mains supplies.”

Sited between the mains supply and the critical load a true on line UPS will provide perfect 230V/400V at 50Hz to the equipment it supports, no matter how the mains fluctuate. If the power fails or dips the battery allows the unit to continue to operate, this could be for five minutes until a site generator kicks in or three hours in the case of supporting emergency lighting or security control centres for example.

Ashdale has been a certified sales and service partner for Riello UPS systems for over 15 years. Working closely with the manufacturer, Ashdale ensures its engineers are OEM trained, and that they keep abreast of the latest products software, firmware and features.

From their Belfast premises, Ashdale supports UPS systems throughout the UK and Ireland. They hold a stock range of new UPS from 600VA to 30KVA along with bypass systems, and SLA batteries. They also keep a range of UPS for hire up to 100KVA and the most comprehensive range of
Riello UPS spare parts in Northern Ireland, making them the number
one choice for UPS systems. Ashdale has been very fortunate to have worked on many landmark buildings within Belfast City Centre and this was the first time they had worked with AIB. The company has been working with Braham Electrical for many years, providing UPS systems to back up critical IT systems for projects including, Hillyard House Hotel, Translink Glider Service Centre, Belfast and Maynooth University.

Ashdale has also been delighted to work in the supply chain with Felix O’Hare on recent projects including, Queens School of Law, Royal Victoria
Hospital non-clinical building and Merchant House Belfast.

Equipment Used

1 x Riello UPS 40kVA Multi Sentry (MST)
A high efficiency, transformer-free UPS with one of the most compact footprints in its category. Designed to provide proven protection for mission-critical telecoms and IT networks.

1 x Riello UPS 10kVA Sentryum
Riello’s UPS’s latest generation of  transformerless solutions. Fantastic flexibility with a choice of five power ratings and three cabinet sizes to maximise battery autonomy and optimise floorspace.

1 x Riello UPS 2.2kVA Sentinel Pro (SEP)
Single-phase UPS that delivers high power density in a compact footprint. User friendly plug and play installation provides maximum double-conversion, online protection with a high overload capacity (up to 150%) and a wide input voltage range (140-240V).

Ashdale Engineering, 39A York Park, Belfast, BT15 3PX
T: 028 9078 3000

Crown Industries

The CommScope partner programme is one of the hardest accreditations to attain and is renowned globally as the pinnacle industry installer programme. Crown Infrastructure Solutions was selected as partner of choice for this major installation, having several years of accreditation already under its belt.

Moreover, the company has a significant directly employed and highly trained workforce to deliver in excess of 3,500 CAT6A outlets within a short and condensed timeframe. Over a total of three floors, Crown installed SYSTIMAX Solutions Gigaspeed X10D solution supporting I.P transmission up to 10GB. This is further complemented by a robust Lazrspeed OM4, 40-100GB fibre optic backbone installed in a resilient fashion throughout.

Commenting on the installation, Strategic Development Director of Crown, Simon Murray said: “We have always considered it to be a privilege to have the SYSTIMAX accreditation in conjunction with our friends in CommScope as we know the high standards they demand of their partners across the globe.

“In the absence of significant industry regulation, their training academy and examination system is second to none. That provides total piece of mind for our clients and also protects the prestigious CommScope brand from poor quality installations.”

Crown Industries, Unit 1c, 4 W Bank Drive, Belfast BT3 9LA
T: +44 (0)28 9077 2200


The company provided a supporting role in the supply and consultation of most light fittings throughout the building. Much consideration was given to both the overall aesthetic of the lighting and the overall performance. Factors such as beam angle, colour temperature and glare rating were of paramount importance to ensure the desired finish and lighting levels were achieved.

The design team selected the iconic Hexagon fitting by Intra Lighting for the main reception area, Intra Lighting’s ‘Pipes’ pendants were used extensively due to their minimal aesthetic and high quality finish and spot; and downlighting from Linea Light and Intra lighting was used as it provides a low glare, high output solution for many of the general circulation areas. Pendants from Wever & Ducre add depth and atmosphere to the break-out area next to the living wall feature.

Throughout its many years of experience, Lightsource has worked with some of the very best architects, designers and brands to help bring projects to life. With a dedicated in-house team of consultants, the company has been able to achieve some incredibly stunning results. Previous projects include Merchant Square, Belfast, The Grand Opera House, Belfast, Hinch Distillery, Ballynahinch and Europa Hotel, Belfast to name a few.

The family-owned business is deeply committed to every client, making them feel a part of the team. This involves free consultancy and lighting specifications when given the opportunity to quote, a 3-hour response to all queries, sourcing and value engineering to save money and bespoke manufacturing for clients’ specific needs.

Lightsource, The Engine Room, Portview Trade Centre, 310 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1HE.
T: +44 (0)28 9066 6615