Iconic building brought to life

Nugent helped bring the new Queen’s University Student’s Union building to life with innovative methods of mechanical installation… 

In yet another successful partnership with Main Contractors Felix O’Hare, NUGENT provided the MEP installation of One Elmwood, the new Student Centre and Student’s Union at Queen’s University in Belfast. The open-plan, modern 10,000 sq m space cost £30m and has replaced the iconic Students’ Union (SU) building that was inaugurated in 1967. The original SU went through a major refurbishment in 2005, during which MEP services were also carried out by NUGENT. 

The new building features vibrant social and commercial spaces including the iconic Mandela Hall, start-of-the-art facilities for clubs and societies which will transform the provision of student services offered by the University. The incredible facilities will accommodate 25,000 students and staff. 

The mechanical installation comprised of the following systems: LTHW heating system, Logstor district heating system, chilled water system, domestic hot and cold-water systems, above-ground drainage, supply and extract ventilation systems, kitchen extract odour abatement systems, DX and VRF air conditioning systems, building energy management system, and fire protection system – dry riser. 


Even though the days of lockdown seem to be way behind us, the One Elmwood was built during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of absences posed a real challenge at various times. 

From the mechanical installation point of view, the main difficulty was coordinating and setting out the extensive MEP services within ceiling voids while working in conjunction with the Felix O’Hare, RPP architectural and JCP consultant teams to ensure the design objectives were accommodated. The solution was a recurring but effective one: communication. All teams involved attended a series of meetings between various contractors to discuss potential issues to overcome these challenges. 


Efficiency and sustainability were important factors for the build, and NUGENT utilized modern methods of construction, design for manufacture and assembly, off-site fabrication and lean construction techniques for the project delivery. The MEP Engineering Specialists were also responsible for the electrical installation.

To reduce carbon footprint, waste and time on the project, NUGENT’s OSM team at their Pomeroy HQ designed, planned, manufactured and pre-assembled the components prior to arriving on site. The prefabricated units were stored in NUGENT’s factory, tested and commissioned before they arrived on site, providing the highest quality service by the team of engineers and technicians. 

Alongside providing complex MEP services, NUGENT supplied Building Information Modeling (BIM) Level 2 and services coordination for One Elmwood. 

Iconic building 

NUGENT are delighted with the installation delivered at the new landmark in Belfast. Operations Director, Richard Gilmour commented, “The Student Union has always been a historic building for students in Belfast and One Elmwood certainly will be too. As a company we are privileged that our team of experts delivered our MEP services for the iconic building. It was fantastic to see current QUB students involved with the project through regular site visits”.

NUGENT and Felix O’Hare have had a successful working relationship through delivering multiple projects, and One Elmwood certainly sits high in their portfolios. NUGENT Mechanical Contracts Manager, Eamon Holland said, “The project has been highly rewarding from the pre-construction stage right through to handover. Felix O’Hare was an exceptional Main Contractor to work alongside for this project. From the beginning of Covid, Felix O’Hare was on top of Health and Safety ensuring the project teams were safe. We wish the students and staff all the best in their new facilities”. 

For the full feature, see Ireland’s Plumbing and Heating Magazine Issue 110 Nov-Dec here

2 Tandragee Road, Pomeroy, Dungannon BT70 3DS
T: +44 (0)28 8775 8617 – E: info@nugent.com

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