Coláiste Feirste

Coláiste Feirste is the only secondary-level Irish-medium school in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Founded in 1991 with nine pupils, the school, which is located on the Falls Road Belfast, has since grown to accommodate 630 pupils age 11-18.

In 2016 Woodvale Construction commenced work to future-proof the school. This included a complex new build vertical extension, extensive sports facilities and substantial refurbishment (listed house and chapel). The project was undertaken in a live school environment and every effort was taken to minimise disruption to staff and pupils.

All stakeholders were involved in the design of the scheme. In partnership, we engaged openly and transparently with the school’s key contacts to agree objectives, set targets, review design, pre-empt problems, resolve disputes and provide updates. Communication was maintained throughout, securing us a National Gold Site Award (scoring 45) in the Considerate Contractors Scheme (CCS).

We allocated 3 full-time Woodvale staff (Contracts Manager and 2 Site Managers) to this scheme.  Supply Chain Members were involved at all stages to ensure works were meticulously planned/coordinated. This enabled us to safely provide a quality product, on time and budget, delivering best value for money.

We were Highly Commended in the 2018 Go Awards for sustainability on Coláíste Feirste. Working with the Strategic Investment Board, we used this scheme to pilot the Buy Social approach. The Buy Social clause is a KPI of 462-person weeks of employment over 110 weeks. We delivered 841-person weeks.

Key Features:

  • The project was target/performance driven with 14 sectional and 24 sub-sectional handovers. Using our proven methodology for managing programme, quality and cost, we completed on time and within budget
  • Working in a live and challenging environment, H&S was a priority and we met our target of ‘zero’ accidents. Our Team championed the cause of Mental Health Awareness in Construction, completing the course on the CCS Best Practice Hub
  • Delivered to BREEAM Very Good
  • No 2 MUGA pitches
  • No 2 Synthetic pitches

The Grade B2 Coláiste Feirste School has been recognised with the following Awards:

  • 2019 RICS Finalist Community Benefit
  • 2018 CEF Awards Social Community Category – Winner
  • 2018 CEF Awards Education Infrastructure Category Finalist
  • 2018 CCS National Site Gold Award
  • 2018 GO Best Service Award – Highly Commended
  • 2018 RIBA Award – Winner
  • 2018 RSUA Award – Winner

Woodvale COLAISTE FEIRSTE SCHOOL BELFAST from Woodvale Construction on Vimeo.

Key Project Information
Architect Doherty Architects
Value £12m
Duration 16 months
Extra Information
Location Board of Trustees of Coláiste Feirste
Sectors Education
The Board of Governors, Coláiste Feirste and wider communities are all huge beneficiaries of this project which was carried out to the highest degree of excellence. From day one, our representatives formed a robust partnership with Woodvale. The approach throughout was one of a can-do attitude and we are indebted to Woodvale for their professionalism in delivering a college estate and sports facilities which will serve current and future generations
Jake MacSiacais, Board of Governors, Coláíste Feirste