Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects and built by JJ Rhatigan, the new student accommodation units at Maynooth University are a modern, aesthetically pleasing and functional addition to the campus. The project is made up of three courtyard blocks that comprise 300 bed spaces.
Electrical sub-contractor on the project was Westmeath-based firm, E Clarke Electrical, a second generation electrical firm in business nearly 30 years.
Pat Clarke and his team from E Clarke Electrical were responsible for the external infrastructure on the project which included the linking of the existing IT and the medium voltage ring mains into the new buildings. A full electrical package was also part of the job, which included lighting and general services, fire alarm, disabled refuge alarm, access control, CCTV, intruder alarm and lightning protection.
A relatively straightforward build, the project didn’t present too many specific challenges.
“It was quite a simple project,” explained Pat. “The fact that it was steel trunking and steel conduit differentiated it slightly from an apartment with standard finishes. The other element which stood out for us was the district heating system. That’s not something we encounter every day.”
A typical apartment in any one of the three blocks contains six en suite study rooms and a shared living/kitchen area. The bedrooms measure 12sqm and what makes this relatively small area work is the inclusion of high quality built-in furniture.
“Out of the three separate buildings, the third one was really where the brains of the operation were so we had to divert some services which was a complex enough process. It finished up being 3, 2, 1 as opposed to 1, 2, 3,” explained Pat.
The location of the project was another challenge.
“Working in a live environment is always tricky. There were health and safety considerations that we needed to be mindful of. Dealing with traffic and getting materials in and out of the site without causing any inconvenience to students or staff was a challenge but it’s nothing that we’re not used to.”
This is the second project at NUI Maynooth that E Clarke Electrical has been involved in. Last year, Pat and his team worked on the education hub project on the campus and the firm also completed a University project in Galway.
“Last year’s workload was predominantly made up of University projects. We also tend to do a lot of school and healthcare work along with some pharmaceutical projects.”
E Clarke Electrical is looking forward to celebrating 30 years in business next year. Mostly involved in commercial/industrial work, Pat and his brother Fintan now run the business, having taken it over from their father Eamonn.
Projects finished to this quality showcase the high standards achieved by E Clarke Electrical and points to a continuing bright future for the company.