Belfast City Council

New £100 million tourism attraction announced for Belfast

By | Industry News

A new £100 million tourism attraction has been announced for the city of Belfast.

Located in the heart of the northern city, the multi-million project aims to tell the stories of the city and its people.

As part of the development, the listed Art Deco former Bank of Ireland building on Royal Avenue will be restored to house elements of the attraction.

The building was acquired by Belfast City Council with the surrounding 4,000sq/m site also set to be developed for an interactive visitor experience.

A state-of-the-art cultural film centre dedicated to showcasing the “best visual storytelling” from Northern Ireland and around the wider world is included in current plans.

In a move towards sustainable developments, a rooftop urban park providing sweeping sights of the city is being considered.

Belfast City Council announced that renewable energy solutions, such as geothermal energy sources, are currently being explored in relation to these projects,

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Kate Nicholl said the announcement represented a “significant moment” for the city.

“Belfast Stories will reflect the unique spirit of our city through a variety of media and immersive experiences. It will drive culture-led regeneration across the city, giving us the opportunity to put the people of Belfast and their stories at its heart,” she said in a statement.

“It’s an investment, not just in monetary terms, but in our people and the generations to come, and an important investment in our heritage and in our future. This is a hugely positive news story for the city and will reap benefits not just for our tourism sector, but in the creation of new jobs and regenerating communities.”

She said that this project will not just zero in on the city centre but also “connect to the development of neighbourhood tourism”.

This is the flagship project of the “once-in-a-generation” Belfast Region City Deal (BCRD) signed earlier this month and is one of the deal’s seven planned tourist attractions.

Although first announced in 2019, its terms were formally signed off earlier this month.

All in all, 20 ambitious projects have been proposed with the BCRD aiming to promote growth in sectors such as life and health sciences, digital and creative industries and advanced manufacturing.

Costing £1 billion in total, the deal also focuses on infrastructure developments.

A lofty sum of £300 million has been committed to five sectors of excellence across the region.

With both the Stormont and UK governments pledging £350million each, it is estimated that the deal will reel in up to 20,000 jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.

Six councils with proposed projects and universities are also contributing funds.

Other schemes proposed in the deal include a £55 million region innovation fund for Belfast, which is hoped will stimulate innovation in artificial intelligence and data, health and wellbeing and sustainability and resilience — which have been dubbed the three Grand Challenges.

Regeneration projects have also been put forward for surrounding areas of Belfast, including Newry, Hillsborough, Bangor seafront and Carrickfergus.

Galway Ring Road gets green light from An Bord Pleanála after series of delays

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

An Bord Pleanála has approved the planning application of the N6 Galway City Ring Road.

Estimated to cost €600 million, the proposed road aims to tackle congestion that has long plagued the city.

With propositions to alleviate traffic dating back to as early as 1999, the formal application for the current ring road plan (N6 GCRR) was submitted by Galway County Council over three years ago and has encountered a series of delays and deliberations.

Following an extensive oral hearing last year, An Bord Pleanála has now revised the design around the Parkmore business park and discarded proposed new permanent stables at Galway Racecourse.

The planning body said that the road will have “significant permanent positive impacts” for travellers in relation to their journey times.

They insisted that development must entirely follow plans submitted, which will see the construction of both dual and single carriageways stretching over 18 kilometres.

The dual-lane will begin with a new interchange from the end of the M6 and continue for 12 kilometres until the existing N59 where it will taper into a single lane until its termination point west of Bearna.

The road will also involve a section of a tunnel towards the Galway Racecourse.

Continuing westwards to the Corrib, a second section of tunnel will be constructed as well as a new crossing over the river.

Current plans will see the road reach NUI Galway on a viaduct, before veering towards the Bushypark area.

As part of An Bord Pleanála’s revisions, special infrastructure will be in place for wildlife such as barn owls, otters and lesser horseshoe bats alongside parts of the route.

Stipulations have also been set down for the types of trees that can be planted by the roads.

Galway City Council has estimated that the road will take three years to construct.

In a statement, the Council and its partner Transport Infrastructure Ireland welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s decision.

“The N6 GCRR will transform Galway City Centre from a location typically characterised by heavy congestion and significant traffic volumes to a destination of choice for residents, workers and visitors alike — with increased walking and cycling infrastructure, and a more reliable, frequent and attractive public transport offer,” Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Mr Brendan McGrath, said.

“The decision by An Bord Pleanála will support a number of key policy areas for Galway City, and the wider western region, relating to sustainable travel; urban realm; active lifestyles; climate action; and compact employment-led growth.”

Although the road is embraced by many, opponents of the project have voiced their concerns over the road’s output of carbon emissions.

In its decision document, An Bord Pleanála conceded that the project is “likely to result in a significant negative impact on carbon emissions and climate that will not be fully mitigated”.

The decision document also found that the road will have “negative direct and indirect impacts” to archaeological and built heritage sites found near the desired route, with one protected structure set to be completely demolished.

Since its formal application in 2018, around 500 landowners along the desired route have received Compulsory Acquisition Notices.

Construction of 20 new school buildings set for 2022 and 2023

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

The Department of Education confirmed that the construction of 20 large school buildings is set to commence in 2022 and 2023.

The project will see 12 new builds and eight extensions for schools across eight counties, securing in excess of 14,000 permanent school places.

The majority of projects will take place in post-primary schools in preparation for peak enrolment numbers in 2024/25.

All builds are based in areas that have seen significant population growth over the last number of years, including Co Wicklow, Co Kilkenny and Co Westmeath.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD confirmed that the first phase of the process has concluded with five design and build (D&B) contractors selected for the task.

Overseen by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), the 20 school building projects will be delivered in three distinct bundles: Project Nore, Project Boyne and Project Dargle.

Subject to planning permissions, it is hoped that all three schemes will proceed to tender and ultimately construction throughout 2022 and 2023.

“The rollout of these projects to tender and construction is an important aspect of the Department’s overall delivery under the Government’s National Development Plan 2021 to 2030,” Minister Foley said.

“They will assist in delivering on the provision of modern and sustainable infrastructure for the schools sector.”

She acknowledged the work from school, communities, the NDFA and other stakeholders in driving forward this major programme.

Keeping in line with pledges made in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2030, the upcoming projects will oversee the construction of over 50 special classrooms.

It also includes new and modern facilities for 22 classrooms in two special schools.

“I am pleased that this programme will provide significant additional provision for children with special education needs at post-primary level and in special schools,” Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan said.

“This will be an important feature for post-primary school projects generally given the need to enhance our capacity to deliver provision for children with special educational needs at post-primary level.”

A list of the 20 projects can be read below.


New build replacement school for Presentation De La Salle in Bagnelstown. It is projected to enrol 750 students after project completion and will include two special needs classrooms.


A new build replacement school for St. Mark’s Special School in Newbridge, including 14 classrooms.

New build replacement school for Patrician Post Primary in Newbridge, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

An extension and refurbishment to Cross & Passion, Kilcullen, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

New build replacement school for St Mary’s Girls’ Post Primary in Naas including four classrooms for children with special needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.


New build replacement school for Kilkenny CBS, including two classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

New build replacement school for Presentation Secondary School, including two classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

New build replacement school for St. Canice’s N.S, including 24 classrooms with two for children with special educational needs.


New build replacement school for Franciscan College in Gormanstown, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs.


New build replacement school for Gaelscoil Charraig Na Siuire with eight classrooms.


An extension and refurbishment of St. Finian’s, Mullingar, including two classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

A new build of eight classrooms for St. Mary’s Special School, Mullingar to facilitate the transfer of existing school from Delvin to Mullingar.

An extension and refurbishment of St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Rochfortbridge, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

An extension and refurbishment of Castlepollard Community College, including two classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 350 students.

An extension to Moate Community School, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.


An extension to Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Kilcoole, including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

An extension to St Kevin’s Community College including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

An extension & refurbishment of Wicklow Avondale Community College in Rathdrum including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

New build replacement school for Arklow CBS which includes two new classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 500 students.

New build replacement school for Coláiste Bhríde in Carnew including four classrooms for children with special educational needs. It is projected to enrol 1,000 students.

Heuston Masterplan seeks to transform area with over 1,000 new residential spaces proposed

By | Industry News

The Heuston Masterplan is set to completely transform the surrounding areas of Dublin’s Heuston Station into a sustainable, ‘car-free’ territory.

Launched by Córas Iompair Éireann’s (CIÉ) property division, the proposal will see the mass development of housing, commercial and retail space with direct local links to the many public transport systems available. 

More than 1,000 residential units form part of the development on the 10-hectare site, alongside office space for over 8,000 employees and a 250-bed hotel.

In collaboration with partners O’Mahony Pike Architects, the Heuston Masterplan published last month will see the construction of two bridges for cyclists and pedestrians across the River Liffey.

The Conyngham Road Green Bridge will offer a link between Heuston Station all the way to the gates of Phoenix Park.

On top of that, the Phoenix Park tunnel will be extended to provide a second river crossing.

In an effort to encourage more active travel, the plan proposes 5,000 bike parking places around the area.

Existing car parking spaces at the station are also set to be gradually phased out. Drop-off areas and taxi ranks will remain in place. 

Approximately one kilometre of river frontage will open up in order to interlink the green assets and public amenities of Phoenix Park and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

Previously announced in the Dart+ South West plans, a new train station is set to be developed at Heuston West.

The CIÉ also promised that ongoing transport operations and planned enhancements will be safeguarded.

Current plans see the office district located predominately in the eastern part of the land while residential areas will be situated between the new Dart station and the existing station.

Mixed-uses amenities will be positioned in proximity to key movements, such as arrival points around the site, ‘veneer’ frontages and at transport interchanges.

Although final costs for the ambitious project remain undetermined, gross development value currently estimates it in the ballpark of an eye-watering €1 billion.

Expected to proceed in phases, the plan will take around 15 years to complete.

While working with estate agents Lisney, CIÉ will seek a developer partner in the first half of 2022.

Current intentions see the planning application submitted in 2023 with construction to commence ‘as soon as possible’ after.

Residential Pipeline of Construction Works

By | Industry News

Housing stock is continually under scrutiny in the press these days. Whether it is social housing or strategic housing developments, rent inflation or mortgage rates, it all points to one consistent message. There is a perennial need for more housing. Kieran McQuinn of the ESRI stated this week in his recent publication “While there are many pressing demands for additional State capital investment, without significant investment in residential construction, we risk experiencing another decade of inadequate housing supply and resulting upward pressure on residential prices and rents.”

With that in mind we took a deeper look in the BuildingInfo database to try to understand what the pool of planned activity in the housing sector is. We looked at projects that have been granted planning permission, but have not yet started works, and indeed have not yet expired. This represents the intent in the industry to supply housing as it stands which has not yet been acted on. Coupling this with population figures for each county from the most recent CSO census we have compiled the table.

As you can see, there are some stark differences between counties in terms of the pipeline of residential construction opportunity. Does this match with current demand trends? The east coast, and city regions clearly have a higher demand, and this graph matches that demand with potential supply. The problem is, it is still only a potential supply! For more details log onto and assess for yourself.

Building Information Index 2020 Q1-Q4

By | Industry News

The full year 2020 building information index provides invaluable insights in to the current state of the Irish construction industry.


The year-end 2020 Building Information Index is coming on the back of a uniquely difficult year indeed for the construction industry in Ireland. Covid-19 restrictions and lock downs have shaped the economy as a whole and construction companies have played their part in ensuring public health is the primary concern, with construction activity taking a back seat in everyone’s interests.




Building Information Index 2020 Q1-Q2

By | Industry News

This building information index is the first to calculate the true scale of the influence covid-19 is having on the Irish construction sector.



A lot has changed since our previous Index was published for year-end 2019. At that time the construction industry in Ireland was strong and resilient in the face of Brexit uncertainties. Indeed, the previous 2 indices, both year-end 2019 and our half yearly H1 2019 reports, pointed to a very steady and stable environment with not much in the way of growth or decline. As it turns out 2019 it would seem is likely to be a peak in terms of output in the industry and it may take a while to recover.




Interview with Tricel

By | Industry News

Can you tell us more about Tricel?

Tricel was created 1973 in Killarney and was first known as Killarney Plastics. From our beginnings as a small fibreglass company, Tricel is today a family led global provider of high-performance, innovation-based solutions for the Water, Environmental, Construction and Distribution industries.

How does Tricel specialise for the Irish construction sector?

The Environmental division of Tricel has developed four wastewater treatment solutions suitable for the Irish market. They are suitable for primary, secondary & tertiary treatment of the wastewater. Our range is also suitable for both domestic and commercial projects. 

Our best seller is the Tricel Novo wastewater treatment plant. Made of SMC in our factory in Killarney, the Novo is lightweight, durable and robust. The installation is easy and can be done with small machinery. For the homeowners, the running costs are low and so is the maintenance. Finally, for peace of mind the Novo is certified EN12566-3.

Our range also included a low-profile and shallow dig septic tank named Tricel Vento. This option allows for easy installation, low maintenance and zero running costs.

The Tricel Puraflo was acquired from Bord Na Móna in 2015. This packaged filter system is ideal for compact sites (small footprint) and sensitive sites and can deal with seasonal or intermittent use. 

Finally, the Sandcel sand polishing filter was designed following the EPA Code of Practice. This sand polishing filter has a small footprint, and is under or overground and is made of GRP panels which won’t decay over time.

What other services does Tricel provide?

For the Irish Site Assessors, Engineers and Architects, Tricel has developed a tool/website to generate free wastewater site recommendation reports:

The aim is for the users to save time and generate bespoke and detailed reports ready to be incorporated directly into the planning applications of their customers/clients.  All information provided complies with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Code of Practice and all products specified are certified to European standards EN12566- 3, EN12566-1 and S.R.66.

What recent projects have you been involved in?


With the recent changes linked to Covid-19, like all businesses we have changed and adapted our processes and deliveries. Our main focus is to ensure our customers and employees are safe.

Some of the projects from the beginning of 2020 included a few big projects in the West/Northwest of Ireland in one of the National Parks. We have also sold our first tank to Dubai and we are developing a strong partnership with a distributor for the Caribbean Islands, French Guyana and in the Indian Ocean. All this is done from Killarney. We are as well strongly positioned in Ireland and always looking for new opportunities. 


You have been subscribed to BuildingInfo for some time now – has it been beneficial to date?

Yes, very much so. Our sales team is able to use the data to identify and target potential customers. It’s also very easy to use.


For more information, visit:




COVID-19 update: 5th of May 2020 may see phased re-opening of sites.

By | Industry News
Residential Construction Ireland

Subject to new SOP (Safe Operating Procedure) sign off from the Chief Medical Officer it is hoped that building sites will begin to reopen on the 5th of May.

Sources indicate that top tier construction companies are looking to open sites before the 5th of May to facilitate implementation of new safety protocols prior to selective reopening of sites on the 5th of May. It is envisaged that each of the top tier companies would reopen 2/3 sites each to begin with. Issues such as procedures for managing the safe return of foreign workers still need to be resolved and such delays would see it taking up to 12 weeks to return to full production.

It is likely that smaller sites and subcontractors would begin to re-open thereafter.

Innovative safety measures such as wrist bands that monitor proximity to fellow workers are being mooted as possible aids to social distancing on-site.

More updates as they occur.

Building Information Index 2019 Q1-Q2

By | Industry News

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