Irish Courts Bundle 1

‘Enhancing historical courthouses across Ireland, making them fit for purpose in the 21st century’

To revitalise Ireland’s economy, Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, announced in 2012 the Government’s intention to launch a €2.25 bn Infrastructure Stimulus Package. The Courts Bundle 1 PPP project, procured by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) on behalf of the Courts Service and the Department of Justice & Equality, was part of the Stimulus Package.  

The €149 million project comprises refurbishment and extension work to existing courthouses in Cork, Mullingar and Waterford, and the development of new courthouse buildings in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Limerick and Wexford.  

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The challenge

In 2015, the NDFA after a comprehensive procurement process to select an experienced partner, awarded Invesis the contract to design, build, finance and maintain the facilities of the Courts Bundle PPP 1 project, which included seven courthouses, ranging in size from 1,354m² to 8,490m² in gross floor area. 

Historical conservation of 5 of the courthouses was critical to the success of the project, as they were protected structures that required intensive preservation work. For instance, some of the courthouses were in areas with archaeological remains, which resulted in the site team working in conjunction with the Irish National Monuments Service to remove the remains and record what was found. 

‘This really is a landmark project for the Irish Justice Department,’ says Declan Gallagher, SPV General Manager. ‘As far as Invesis is concerned, there were several key challenges to be considered in areas such as conservation and archaeology. The advantage is that our team has a considerable track record of dealing with developments of this kind.’ 

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Capital Value

The solution

The Authority prepared a Design Intent for each Courthouse and secured planning before being issued for tender. Each bidder was permitted to develop these to optimise the configuration and arrangement of spaces, to make appropriate selections of building systems and materials, to develop the façade in line with the Authority’s vision and Planning Decisions and to address the finishes and internal appearance to meet the Authority’s needs and objectives in terms of sustainability and whole life cost. 

Invesis, interrogated the relevant conservation challenges associated with each courthouse and worked cohesively with our selected designer, EPC and MTC partners, to comprehensively conserve the surviving fabric and features of the buildings and enhance their presentation as part of a modern courthouse suitable for use in the 21st Century. 

Invesis appointed 3 specialist architect teams – Wilson Architecture, A&D Wejchert, CCH Architect to develop bespoke designs for each of the courthouses. BAM Building constructed the courthouses, which will be maintained by BAM FM Ireland for a period of 25 years. 

‘Our client is so impressed with the facilities, that in 2020 they began sending the Supreme Court to conduct sittings in our larger Courthouses. This is a first, as they would normally only sit in Dublin. They now preside at our Courthouses on an annual basis at a minimum. This is quite a privilege for the hosting City and creates a sense of pride among the Community,’ says Declan Gallagher, SPV General Manager.