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April 2001
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Lucent Technologies – Blanchardstown Expansion Project (No. 11 Apr-01)

Lucent Technologies, a world-wide leader in optical, data and wireless networking has its Irish headquarters located at the IDA Industrial Park, Blanchardstown, just off the M50. The project, valued at circa. US$45 million, will double in size the existing facility.

The architectural design is an imposing structure to reflect Lucent’s prominent position in the world of communications.

Model of proposed building

Model of proposed building

The existing building is a steel frame single storey with approx. 15% two-storey office space. The grid of the existing building is 12.5m x 12.5m throughout. The new building measures approximately 100m x 65m on plan. The requirement was for manufacturing space on the ground floor with 2 floors over of office, laboratories, etc. and with provision for a future third floor.

After considering a number of options, a composite steel framed structure was adopted as it combined structural efficiency with speed of construction. Although the steel framed solution was not the cheapest solution the extra over costs were more than offset by the early project delivery to the client which could be achieved by its fast track nature.

By using composite decking for the floors, bundles of decking could be craned into place as the structure was being erected. The decking also provides a safe working platform and protects workers below from falling objects. More importantly, composite decking means a shallower floor slab and lighter loads than any other solution. Minimal reinforcement for the floors is required, and large areas of floor can be poured quickly.

The lateral stability of the strucuture is provided by the four stair cores. At roof level, wind loads are transferred by bracing, while the composite slab acts as a diaphragm at each floor level.

Various options on the structural grid for the multi-storey construction were considered. A 12.5m. x 12.5m. grid was eventually adopted to match the existing production facility and to allow maximum flexibility on upper floors for office or additional production areas. The adoption of this grid for multi-storey construction impacted on costs and service integration in this highly serviced and fully air-conditioned building.

The other significant factor was building up against the existing building and catering for the eventual break through at completion. This was resolved by setting the first grid of the extension away from the existing building which resulted in easier foundation design and construction, provided a natural service riser, and allowed the construction of the extension to proceed with minimal interference with the client’s ongoing business until the end of the construction programme when the connection of new and existing were made.

The primary structure comprising approximately 1400 tonnes of structural steelwork (which was delivered to site with workshop applied intumescant coating) and 12,000m2 of floor decking was erected in a period of 8 weeks by 2 crews of 4 men each. The upper floor slabs were then poured over a period of 6 days. This fast track construction of the main structure allowed the services, cladding and other contractors an early start on site.

The cladding contractor undertook the elevation secondary steelwork in addition to the insulated cladding panels installation. Granite cladding was used along the West elevation and this was supported on a secondary steelwork frame as opposed to the traditional system of fixing to concrete or blockwork. Internal walls are generally of stud construction and this coupled with the above resulted in minimisation of wet trades.

Internal beam and column layout

Internal beam and column layout

The project commenced on site in March 2000. The ground floor production area was handed over to the Client in March 2001, with the remaining floors to be handed over in April 2001, a significant achievement for such a complex and highly serviced construction project.

Liam Keogh and Sinead Corcoran
Carl Bro Ireland

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