21.04.2022 / Main Category

ICE Awards Finalist 2022 – National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital, Portrane

The National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital (NFMHS) is a new state-of-the-art hospital campus located 22km from Dublin City in the Portrane suburb. The Facility provides care for up to 170 patients as well as providing community and prison in-reach services.  Designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects the project value is €148.5 million.

The 170-bed Mental Health Service Hospital project consists of 13 hospital wards, a primary healthcare centre and administrative complex on the grounds of St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane.  It also includes a 10-bed Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, a 10-bed Forensic Mental Health Intellectual Disability Unit and a 30-bed Intensive Care Rehabilitation Unit totalling approximately 24,000 m2 of floor area on the single campus project.

JJ Rhatigan & Company formed a joint venture with a Madrid based company, Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and were awarded the contract for the project in April 2017 with works commencing on site in the same month.


BIM 360 Glue was deployed on the National Forensic Mental Hospital Portrane project and used as a model federation tool which merged various disciplines models in a cloud environment. This enabled JJ Rhatigan/OHL to give access to all parties including the client and their design team to view the very latest model information and allowed efficient collaboration on the project. BIM 360 FIELD was used as a site management tool as well as for all safety checklists and inspections. The use of Robotic Total Stations (TS) was a major benefit to the setting out and surveying on the project. All drawings and details were uploaded to the logger/controller which meant the on-site teams had all information required to hand on site. This allowed the engineers to spend less time doing administrative tasks and more time supervising the works on-site.

The project required over 250 supply chain members/subcontractors to complete the works with over 600 pairs of boots on the ground when the project was at its peak. The co-ordination of all team members including the client and their design team, the end user, our in-house management team the sub-contractors was an enormous challenge before we had the impact of the pandemic.  The construction site continued to remain open throughout the Covid 19 Pandemic which added to the challenge. The Client deemed the project to be essential and required an emergency, temporary handover of seven of the patient buildings to assist with their response to the pandemic.  Another challenge that faced the team during this project was the conservation of soil around the grounds of the hospital.  In response to this JJ Rhatigan & Company worked closely and cooperated fully with the Project Ecologist, Faith Wilson, and her recommendations.  A great amount of work was done to ensure the protection of large complex of well-connected linear landscape habitats (treelines and hedgerows), woodlands, parkland, scrub, agricultural fields and wildlife around the grounds of St. Ita’s Hospital.

The highly challenging project was delivered to meet the Client’s work requirements.  In many instances the Client’s specification was exceeded as a result of the prescribed testing regime requirements resulting in numerous bespoke elements being developed over the course of the project.  The project aimed for a BREEAM Very Good rating, however, design stage achieved an EXCELLENCE rating. The project was delivered to an excellent standard over a four-year period and was completed in March 2021.