Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre
Naas, Ireland 
Best Project

Owner Kerry Group Services International Ltd.
Contractor Gilbane Ireland Ltd.
Lead Designer HGA Construction Managers
Design Architect RKD Architects
Structural, Civil and MEP Engineer Arup Consulting Engineers

Lean construction techniques brought the $100-million Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre to life, on budget and four months ahead of the original 24-month schedule.

Construction of the 280,000-sq-ft building and the staffing of the ongoing operation are boons for Ireland, which still is pulling out of a recession that lingers from the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The building is a massive consolidation of research and development across the United States and Europe and landing in Ireland,” says Rick Hombsch, principal at HGA Architects. “RKD Architects was the architect, but we were the owner’s architect and did consulting.” For the project, the firm tapped building and technology ideas it encountered on a recently completed Wisconsin facility.

Gilbane Building Co. used building information modeling, modular construction and off-site prefabrication to speed up the schedule. Planning ahead for Ireland’s notoriously inclement weather, the contractor erected temporary weather protection for the exterior facades and built the permanent parking lots first, so they could be used as staging areas.

One of the other challenges of building in Ireland is sourcing materials, says Hombsch. “In the U.S., you could specify a product and have three manufacturers who make it, but you can’t necessarily find that over there,” he notes.

Getting subcontractors posed another challenge. Hombsch says that, when walking around the site, he saw logos from three different mechanical subcontractors. “There wasn’t one subcontractor big enough to handle the job,” he says.

Ireland’s stringent energy code raised another challenge. Complying with the code had contractors doing extensive energy modeling, which led to improvements such as a shift to a sophisticated, triple-pane glazing system, says Hombsch.

Communicating between the U.S. and Ireland also raised issues, but they were at least partly eased through the use of popular social media, including Skype and FaceTime.

Hombsch says gaining a LEED certification for the building was achieved in part by capturing as much energy as possible that, otherwise, would have been lost in exhaust air.

Back to Global Best Projects 2016