The opening of the €5m Naas Audi Terminal Showroom in January marked the passing of the half way point in Audi Ireland’s €80m strategic investment programme. And it also marked the completion of another successful project by contractors MDY Construction.
The new €5m, two-storey Naas Audi Terminal facility offers a 12-car showroom, a six-bay service area and 40 used-car spaces. Initially, the showroom, which is part of the Sheehy Motor Group, will employ 14 people but employment numbers are expected to grow to more than 40 over the next two years.
Audi Naas principal Frank Kelly described the showroom as a ‘fantastic new facility to motorists in the Kildare area’, adding: “The Audi brand has gone from strength-to-strength in this region with last year giving us a record 5% market share. To continue this success in 2013, €5 million has been invested in this showroom to provide Audi customers with an efficient, innovative showroom and an unrivalled customer-service experience.”
Audi Ireland Managing Director Andrew Doyle added: “Customers in Kildare and surrounding areas will benefit from the unparalleled customer care that will be on offer. Audi Ireland will continue to invest to ensure we remain the clear number one premium car brand in Ireland well into the future.”
The state-of-the-art showroom is owned by the Sheehy Motor Group and was designed by EMD Architects, a Dublin-based practice with an extensive portfolio of car showroom projects across Ireland, including the Audi Centre and Park Motors Audi in Dublin and Connolly Audi in Sligo.
The main contractor was MDY Construction, a local firm with a nationwide reputation for quality building. With offices in Staplestown, Co Kildare, MDY was founded in 1985 and has since grown to become a recognised player in all sectors of the building industry with projects ranging in value from €1m to €50m. MDY’s portfolio of projects includes: Healthcare and nursing homes, schools and educational facilities, retail and commercial buildings, leisure and sports facilities, food production facilities, public & private residential developments, large-scale warehousing and distribution facilities, waste-water treatment plants and a wide range of civil engineering work.
Construction of the Audi Terminal Showroom took just under six months, said MDY Contracts Director Mel O’Reilly. “We broke ground in late June and handed over the site to the client on December 22nd. One of the first challenges was the partial demolition of the existing facility with temporary works to maintain the roof and structural elements and reconfigure electrical and mechanical services to the overall complex. There was considerable additional works with specialist elements in marrying the new structure and building envelope to the existing. It would have been much easier, from the point of view of both design and execution, if we had been dealing with a greenfield site. As a result, the finishing work had to be truncated into quite a short period and – towards the end we had some 60 people on the site.
“The finishes were quite specialised – there is stone-carpet flooring, bespoke ceilings and curved internal walls and meeting specialised glazing elements. The exterior cladding uses an specialised anodised aluminium honeycomb system that is unique to Audi.”
Last November, MDY completed Ballyroan Library for South Dublin County Council, another interesting project that has attracted considerable interest from an architectural and concrete finishes perspective. The €4m project for South Dublin County Council was the largest library build in recent years. Designed by Box Architects, the 1,400m2 facility offers almost double the floorspace that was available in its predecessor. The old library was demolished by MDY before work on the new library began.
The Library features the use of high-quality pre-cast concrete in its construction, with Concast providing wall panels, beams, columns, stairs landings and wideslabs all produced to a quality higher that that specified in the Precast Code. There were 16m beams used to create the large open space that forms the reading room at the centre of the building. There is an internal street, with a very high ceiling, almost like that of an atrium. Where the pre-cast concrete forms part of the building’s exterior, a render has been applied to their external surface to provide a high-level of insulation.
“The building has been completed to a very high level of air-tightness so that it could achieve a BER A-grade standard,” said O’Reilly. “There is quite a complex BMS managing heating, ventilation, and heat recovery. It’s quite a complex building levels with occupancy levels that vary from two or three people in quiet periods to large crowds during events.”
O’Reilly says that MDY is now seeing an increase in private sector construction activity, but notes that his company has been fortunate in regularly winning public sector contracts.
MDY is a very broad practice, says the contracts manager. “Anything to do with building, we do it,” he says. “But we are developing a number of niches.
“We are developing a very good record for energy efficiency. For example, we are proud that we completed a nursing home extension last year that achieved PASSIVHAUS rating. The 23-bedroom extension to the Glenashling Nursing Home in Celbridge was the first such rating for an Irish health care facility and the first such rating for an extension.
“The two-storey building is constructed with 9-inch concrete block with 200mm external insulation, plus 275mm insulation in the roof and 200mm insulation under the floor. Heating is provided with a heat-recovery ventilation system and to receive PASSIVHAUS certification it had an air tightness requirement of 0.6m³ per hour per m³ at 50Pa. Furthermore, the extension was built while the nursing home maintained full operations. The building has recently won third prize in the Isover 2013 Energy Efficient Buildings Awards.
“Another area of specialisation is food-processing facilities. The Company has more than 25 years experience in delivery of complex facilities, dealing with stages from slaughtering and initial preparation through to finished products, cold storage and large scale central distribution units. We have dealt with every product from beef, fish, chicken, lamb, baked foods, and fruit and vegetables -so far the only thing we haven’t built is a chocolate factory. It’s a speciality that may offer us opportunities in the UK in the future.
Increasingly, clients in the food sector and in other industries are looking for a one-stop-shop when commissioning new facilities. They want a turn-key solution. An example of this would be the waste processing plant that we are developing for Bord na Mona, which turns brown bin waste into valuable garden compost. We have already designed and built the facility and at the moment we are proving it – we are running it and showing that it can process significant volumes of waste safely and efficiently, before Bord na Mona take it over.”
So far, the most valuable construction projects that MDY has been involved in are residential developments, notably with the Respond Housing Association. In a project worth €50m, MDY built 272 housing units, in 43 separate buildings, in Mulhuddart. The buildings varied from three and four-bedroom traditional two-storey buildings to four-storey apartment blocks with KalZip roofing. The project was complicated by the late removal of ESB underground and over-ground cabling, which meant out-of-sequence working.
O’Reilly says management of such complications is almost matter-of-course, because good logistics management is key to cost control and to winning contracts. “To continually win public sector tenders as we have done requires you to be very efficient at what you do on, and off, site. We have ensured the satisfaction of our clients, and their design teams, in both the public and private sectors through competitive tendering, professional management, quality construction, an excellent safety record, a proven ability to meet exacting programmes, and through our co-operative and proactive approach.”