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St Joseph’s Primary School, Co Down, Completed.

St Joseph’s Primary School, Co Down

Project outline:

FLYNN were delighted to be awarded this project at St Joseph’s, Carnacaville. The project was part of the School Enhancement programme constructing 4 New classrooms, Resource Areas and Multipurpose hall with associated storage facilities and kitchen. With the addition of refurbishment and alterations to existing school building.

The new build was a Finalist in both the Specify/CEF Construction Excellence Awards and the Irish Construction Industry Awards.

St Joseph’s Primary school sits at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in the heart of a rural community. There has been a primary school on the site of St. Joseph’s since 1838 during the famine, when a national school was built on land donated by the Kirkpatrick family “for the children of Carnacaville”. The main building, as it stands today, was constructed in the 1950s with the current hall and kitchen added in the early ‘70s. A series of mobile units have been added over the years to house the school’s growing number of pupils. Even though the community is sparsely populated, numbers at the school have continued to grow, in part due to the enthusiasm and commitment of the principle, staff and parents in growing this school for future generations.

The objective of the project, dubbed ‘The Big Build Carnacaville’, was to provide much needed space to the schools 182 Pupils and to modernise the facilities. The extensive new space provided a multi-purpose hall – more than three times the size of the school’s existing hall, six indoor classrooms, resource areas and a host of other new features.

Project team:

The Flynn team who delivered the project ensured the budget and timescale were achieved ensuring the highest quality of work was maintained. The Contract Manager, Connor McCambridge, co-ordinated operations on site and the supervision a range of skilled tradesmen. Senior QS John Tohill, responsible for ensuring value was achieved, maintained cash flow throughout the contract, liaising with Client QS to agree these valuations. Declan Kearney, HSEQ Manager, controlled Health and Safety and Quality for this project ensuring that in this live school environment, a safe working environment was maintained while ensuring minimal disruption to the school environment.  Continuity of these key personnel was essential to delivering a quality and timely outcome, lending on their combined experience we were able to provide value engineering to this project as the client refined their specifications.


Project Excellence:

We feel this project deserves special recognition, although the build itself was, in theory, a relatively ordinary project, the relationships which have been forged are quite extraordinary. This project should have been potentially quite problematic and disruptive to the school given the rural setting, site restrictions and live school environment. The project could not have run any smoother, we worked in close consultation with the headmaster Mr McCann keeping him informed at every stage of the process and we have received highly positive feedback from him regarding our work and the dedication of our staff throughout the project. In particular, Mr McCann has been full of praise for Connor McCambridge and his management of the project on site. It has been a pleasure for Flynn to work on this project, not only because of the picturesque setting but as well as in relation to the friendship we have built with the school.

Flynn looked into goodwill gestures to provide a positive influence on the area including escorting pupil groups around the site, pro bono work on existing school, assisting with ecology project in playground.

Our liaison officer conducted regular communication with the local residents to communicate upcoming site activities and controls and our MD Aidan Flynn visited the school a number of times during the programme to ensure the principle was happy with the work carried out and thing were progressing to plan.

Health & Safety:

Due to type of construction/demolition work, there was to be slight disruptions from noise, dust, vehicle movement and environmental impacts. With a neighbour directly opposite the school, who may have been effected by the works and we engaged personally to provide information and assurance as to the works and provide a point of contact for any concerns.

Flynn were aware that tests and special events occur at different times in the school year and consulted with the school to minimise disruption by planning non-disruptive work around these periods

Flynn coordinated and liaised with the school/ PSNI and ensured that the demolition work was conducted during weekends or public holidays to ensure the health of the end users and reduce disruption.

We created a new entrance to the building site to segregate construction traffic away from the school (in consultation with Roads Service). Pedestrian routes were securely fenced off from traffic/ construction work and the site was secured at the end of each day to ensure public safety.

The new school introduced new fire safety features not previously seen in the school. There are banks of automated Velux windows which are programmed to open in warm weather and to close in the event of a fire to reduce the spread of fire throughout the building.


In creating the new entrance, a number of trees had to be removed. These were salvaged for the school to build benches and outdoor furniture.

On completion of the build we have undertaken a pro bono project to modernise the toilet block in the old school to bring it up to the same standard as those in the new wing.

Contact us: 028 9030 3800

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