Meet the Finalists

2022 | Office

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Stephen Rafferty
McAleer and Rushe Contracts UK 

The Ewart, Bedford Square, Belfast: construction of 17-storey block and and restoration of listed building, completed in 169 weeks. 

Client: ES Bedford Street  

Contract: JCT 2011, design and build 

Value: £36m 

About the Project

The Ewart, Bedford Square, Belfast

In restoring a listed former warehouse while putting up a modern high-rise on the same small site, Stephen Rafferty combined old and new methods of construction, showing a mastery of both. 

Joining the project with the piling under way on the new-build, Stephen found the secant wall piling operation threatening the listed building’s facade. He responded by rescheduling the jumpform to start at the basement slab rather than the planned ground-floor level. It allowed the podium slab to be poured earlier, providing structural stability for the facade. 

A high rate of floor-slab deflection looked like forcing an expensive switch from stick to unitised curtain walling. Stephen redesigned the post-tensioned slabs, added shims between the glazing and frame to avoid the glass over-rotating, and preloaded the level-two slab to reduce deflection from the curtain walling installation. 

In the listed building, he had every single timber joist, beam and rafter surveyed, labelled and removed, and roof slates and ridge tiles extensively reused.  

Perhaps most importantly of all, Stephen mastered the access challenge. The linked buildings surrounded a small plaza where the tower crane for the new-build and self-erector for the listed works were located. By building mast climbers onto cantilevered steelwork, he was able to install the upper facade of the new-build directly over the top of the listed building. 

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