(Left to right: James McMullan Heron Bros / Corinna Decodts NI Cancer Fund for Children / Raph O’Connor NI Cancer Fund for Children / Kevin Hughes Heron Bros)

The Awards Gala Evening, held last week at the Crowne Plaza Belfast, saw Heron Bros win two prestigious awards in recognition of achieving the highest standards of construction in Northern Ireland.

In its 20th year, the Awards Gala Evening was held on 16th October 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Belfast bringing together the best of Northern Irelands Construction Industry. Heron Bros is delighted to be awarded  both the inaugural Building in Use category for the Cancer Fund for Children Daisy Lodge  in Newcastle, and the Social/Community Award for the £30m Ards Blair Maine Wellbeing & Leisure Complex built for Ards & North Down Borough Council.

Completed in February 2014 and a previous winner of the CEF “Social & Community” category in 2015, the Cancer Fund for Children Daisy Lodge development is nestled in the Shimna Valley just outside in Newcastle, Co Down. It is a purpose-built therapeutic centre for families affected by cancer. Since it was completed, the facility has welcomed over 2500 children and over 9000 family members for respite care. Such an important and life-changing building required careful consideration from Heron Bros, who strove to deliver a project that blended into its beautiful surroundings while meeting exceptionally high standards in environmental and sustainable design. It is a testament to the standard of care provided that the building looks as fresh today as it was when the keys were handed over.

In achieving this, collaboration with the client was crucial and allowed Heron Bros to build an innovative and sustainable building that has been recognised several times for its green credentials. The building has been designed and built with the user’s comfort in mind and has, since its completion in 2014, been providing patients and their families with a safe, supportive environment that in no way feels clinical. Completed two months ahead of schedule, this is a project that Heron Bros is immensely proud of, stands out in our impressive portfolio and one that continues to meet an essential need across Northern Ireland.

Heron Bros is equally delighted to win the best Social/Community Construction Award for the successful delivery of Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing & Leisure Complex, Ards and North Down Council.

The Complex in Newtownards provides state of the art leisure facilities including a six-lane 25-metre indoor main pool, a 20-metre indoor minor pool, both with movable floors, a splash pool in its own space for interactive water-based play, and spectator gallery which can accommodate 160 people alongside modern changing facilities and a new water-based play area for children up to 7 years old. In addition to the sports hall, with courts for netball, basketball and racket sports, there is a separate dome-covered synthetic turf training area that allows sports and training to continue whatever the weather.

The luxury spa rivals that of many 5-star hotels and comprises of vitality and chill pools, a sauna, aroma steam room, sanarium, salt grotto and relaxation area while, in a UK first, the Blacklight Adventure Zone includes adventure golf, climbing walls and high ropes. The contemporary gym has three fitness studios and a spacious 110-station gym while there is also a children’s soft play area. Externally there is a diversity play area and sensory garden, biking pump track, wheel park for skateboarding, scooters, BMX and inline skating.

The facility has proven to be a valuable and versatile community amenity that has, since opening, recorded unprecedented demand from visitors. Judges were impressed by the social value this £30million project has brought to the area and how the needs of the end user were quite obviously the primary consideration for the contractor.

Martin O’Kane, Deputy Managing Director at Heron Bros commented on the win:

“We are delighted to have won the CEF Awards for Building in Use and the Social Community award. It is excellent recognition of the dedication, hard work and quality that our teams and supply chain have poured into achieving the highest standards possible in the construction of these two vital buildings.”

Hosted by the Construction Employers Federation, the awards also recognised an additional 16 category winners from across the construction industry in Northern Ireland for excellence in general construction, housing, infrastructure and quality performance. Heron Bros was also finalist in the Buy-Social category for their inclusive growth social value model, The Construction Academy.

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