Perched on the water’s edge, Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council’s new visitor facility, The Gateway Centre, is part of a £2.3m investment in this picturesque corner of Lough Neagh.
Part funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership, WKK Electrical Services Ltd was charged with the supply and installation of all things electrical for this multi-faceted building.
“It was a different sort of project to work on because of the varied use of the building,” explained WKK Electrical Services’ Contracts Manager, Gavin Thompson. “The first floor is home to The Boathouse Restaurant, with an outdoor terrace and stunning views across the Lough. There was an extensive kitchen fit-out by Stephen’s Catering.
“The ground floor includes an exhibition and conference area, shower and toilet facilities for the general public taking part in watersports, and it will also be home to the Lough Neagh Rescue service – all, forgive the pun, launching down on to the quay and into the Lough.”
‘High’ spec but ‘low’ energy
An integral part of the Council’s strategy to boost tourism in the area, what aspects of the building, designed by one of Northern Ireland’s longest-standing architectural firms RPP Architects Ltd, fell under the WKK remit?
“There was a considerable amount of high specification work involved in the overall project,” added Gavin. “The lighting around the restructured car park area was fairly substantial, and there was a big emphasis on energy efficiency throughout the works. Everything was LED lighting and low energy, with all aspects of the job, from lighting to heating and air-conditioning, geared towards efficiency and the environment.”
For WKK Electrical Services Ltd the products of choice for much of the work came from Atlas World, quite literally the ‘gold standard’ for fire and security systems. Awarded the Gold standard by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the Atlas systems are installed to ISO 4520 standard. “We used the Atlas World PV (Photovoltaic) Solar energy system, with panels that have a 25-year performance guarantee.
“We also used Atlas World products for security, a cloud-based CCTV system that can be monitored back at the council’s central security hub at Mossley Mill. The fire alarms, intruder alarms, and disabled refuge were all Atlas World.”
WKK Electrical Services Ltd also installed a new switchboard, together with site-wide infrastructure that encompassed extensive car park lighting. In all, the electrical sub-contract took nine months to complete, with an average of six employees on site during the works.
Efficiency and cost-effectiveness were naturally high on the agenda throughout the build, but there was also a third element. Given the building’s locale on Antrim’s Loughshore, it had to look the part. “It’s a lovely setting and aesthetics were important. Everything connected with the project had to look good, and that had to be factored in to all aspects of the job.”
The result for all concerned with the Gateway Centre project is a stunning building that forms the centrepiece of on-going work. Later this year a sculpture of Finn McCool entitled ‘The Protector of the Lough’ will be erected on the site, a sentinel to celebrate Lough Neagh, its local folklore and heritage.
Thanks to WKK Electrical Services Ltd the Gateway Centre and its giant guardian are guaranteed to be safe, secure, and forever in the spotlight.