Learning Resource Centre, University of Ulster at Coleraine

Doran Consulting was commissioned to design a new extension to the front of the existing third floor library building. The new building cantilevers extend out over the external piazza area to the front entrance of the university. The project also included the complete refurbishment of the existing library accommodation so as to create a new computerised Learning Resource Centre for the university.

The roof and floor structure of the extension consist of grillages of primary and secondary steel beams. The primary floor beams are supported by two rows of 3-storey high columns. The primary floor beams cantilever out 4.5m beyond the front row of columns.

The columns extend from the underside of the new floor beams down to the piazza deck and then continue down into the basement plant/ workshop accommodation located beneath the piazza.

The new foundations to the columns consist of in-situ reinforced concrete pile caps, supported by driven steel shell mini-piles with in-situ reinforced concrete cores.

This project presented many challenges including extremely restricted access, stringent noise and vibration limits for the works, restricted headroom within the basement, adjacent and attached occupied buildings and a very tight programme.

To achieve the demanding programme deadline, it was decided to let the steelwork sub-contract in advance of the main contract. The sub-structure works were also commenced in advance of remainder of the library refurbishment and the construction of the extension superstructure. This latter work was completed within the remaining three months and two weeks of the programme.

With a focus on buildability and close co-ordination within the design team, the main contractor and various sub-contractors, the works were completed on time and within budget.