26/02/2010

Obel Soars Towards Completion

A tribute has been paid to modern construction methods being employed on key projects across Northern Ireland.

Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson was speaking as he toured the site of the £75m Obel project at Donegall Quay in Belfast.

The building, situated beside the M3 flyover, will be the tallest building on the island of Ireland when it is completed later this year.

Construction on the site has seen the use of several new methods of construction that have increased significantly the pace of construction, while at the same time cutting costs.

Speaking during his visit, the Minister said: "The Obel project demonstrates the advances in the capabilities of the construction industry in Northern Ireland.

"It comprises three buildings, the tallest of which is 28 storeys, approximately 88 metres high," he enthused.

The building, when finished, will provide over a quarter of a million square feet of floor area, split across 282 apartments, office and retail space.

"The views from the top of Belfast and beyond, are breathtaking and the whole project exemplifies the skill and talent of our local construction industry," he said.
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Obel was chosen last year as one of four Constructing Excellence NI (CEni) Demonstration Projects in Northern Ireland due to the fact it employs innovative methods of construction.

These include the use of post tensioning concrete floors, that are thinner and stronger than traditional floors, and the use of a mono-rail system to install pre-fabricated external wall panels.

The Minister continued: "The Constructing Excellence Demonstration Projects are enabling the construction sector in Northern Ireland to learn from a number of innovative practices that have developed across the industry.

"The use of the mono-rail system on the Obel building, for example, allows construction to continue during poor weather, helping to keep construction on time and within budget."

"This system has enabled the external cladding to proceed at the pace of one panel every 15 minutes, a major improvement over more traditional methods," he said.

"This is the type of expertise that is helping local firms bid for and win contracts across public and private sectors, both in Northern Ireland and further afield."

The Obel Tower is being jointly developed by the Karl Group and Donegall Quay Properties and the main contractor is O'Hare and McGovern Limited.

It is one of four CEni Demonstration Projects; the others being at Banbridge Academy, the Royal Victoria Hospital – Phase 2B and a bundle of school building projects in the Belfast Education and Library Board area.

(BMcc/GK)

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