Design & Construction

In April 2007, The Irish Government’s Office of Public Works (OPW) set up a Public Private Partnership agreement with Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin DAC to design, build and operate The Convention Centre Dublin.

Design and Construction of The CCD

Construction Management Partnership (CMP), a joint venture between Treasury Holdings Limited and John Sisk & Son Limited, were engaged as design and build contractors.

The OPW brief called for a 2,000-seat world-class auditorium, a 2,000 seat banquet/exhibition hall and a 3,000 seat exhibition hall, along with numerous meeting rooms and back-of-house facilities. The building structure was also required to have a 100-year design life with major replaceable features, such as cladding, to be designed for a 40-year life. This was a challenge that was embraced by our Master Architect Kevin Roche who set out to create a very functional yet truly iconic landmark for Dublin.

Principal Design Team Members

Architects: KRJDA - Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates assisted by Reddy Architecture & Urbanism and Henry J Lyons
Structural Engineers: O’Connor Sutton Cronin
Services: MacArdle Mc Sweeney Associates
Fire Safety: Michael Slattery & Associates
Acoustics: Sandy Brown & Associates
Theatre: Theatre Projects
Kitchens: Tricon
Landscaping: Hyland Edgar Driver

CMP was faced with a number of obstacles due to the restricted footprint of the site and its city location surrounded by busy roads, Luas light rail construction, a canal and adjacent office buildings. The integration of services into the main structural frame also played a big role in the overall steelwork co-ordination/fabrication drawing process. The whole building is highly serviced and the already heavily engineered frame needed to be adapted to accommodate services whilst maintaining its architectural constraints and staying within the OPW brief.

The design team was faced with challenging site dimensions which drove the decision to vertically stack the arrangement of the building, consisting of the following.

  • Double basement car park with 321 spaces, truck access road & loading dock facilities
  • Ground floor – Foyer, main exhibition hall with an area of 2721m², kitchens
  • First Floor - Main banqueting area which can also be used as a secondary exhibition space with an area of 1900m² with skyfold dividing walls, meeting rooms, foyer and kitchens
  • Second Floor – Meeting rooms, foyer, back office areas
  • 2000 seat auditorium over levels 3, 4 & 5
  • Plant areas over levels 4, 5, 7, 8 & 9

The Structural Engineering team from O’Connor Sutton Cronin spent nine months developing the structural model. Detailed design to full fabrication status took a further period of six months. The structural stability of the building is derived from the two southern RC cores, the steel sway frame action of two main frames and also braced frames. The structure’s steelwork is based around eight internal 800mm x 800mm fabricated plate columns with steel trusses (2.3m deep) spanning 22m between columns. Six of these columns extend up through the two exhibition halls and top out at the roof level of the auditorium. Aside from the challenging steelwork, The CCD has stone cladding on three elevations supported on a proprietary cladding rail system, with the front (main entrance) elevation incorporating a 37m span Werner tubular steel glass drum which is effectively hung from the roof structure of The CCD.


Contract start date. Enabling works including secant perimeter piling and bulk excavation had previously commenced on site, under a separate contract, prior to contract signing.

The first basement slab was poured at the south west corner of the site using low-carbon cement from Ecocem.

The construction of the Southern Reinforced Concrete Stair Cores commenced and these were programme critical to allow steel erection to commence in early November 2007.

Steelwork erection commenced on programme in early November 2007 to the south side of the site at the basement level up to the roof and was sequenced in six phases, progressing steadily northwards away from the two southern cores. The overall programme for steel erection & composite floor decking was 16 months.

Part forming the roof over the auditorium was the project’s largest single steel element; a 160t 48m long roof truss. With plate girders forming its top and bottom cords, the 6.5m deep truss was lifted into position in 24 individual pieces. It required temporary towers to support it until the entire truss was bolted into position with its connecting steel members and secondary trusses. Once the primary roof steelwork was erected, the auditorium’s precast seating was then installed.


Works commenced on the iconic feature of the building, the 37m span Werner tubular steel glass drum with the installation of the steel ring beams.

The tubular steel glazed drum comprised of 10 tubular steel ring beams, and 475 panels of curved glass with an average weight of 600 Kg per panel of glass, which was effectively hung from the roof structure of The CCD.

A significant milestone for the project was the largest single concrete pour in The CCD’s basement level with EcoCem’s reduced-carbon concrete, which saved over 10,500 tonnes of CO2. This essential component has helped The CCD earn the title of the 'world’s first carbon neutral constructed convention centre'. The basement slab under the service yard, at 2.5m thick, was poured in two separate sections, the larger of which was poured in a single 17-hour operation at approximately 2,497 cubic metres. This was the largest single concrete pour in the country and involved over 300 concrete delivery trucks.

The external stone cladding commenced. The stone cladding was on three elevations supported on a proprietary cladding rail system. The main elevation was clad in polished Rosa Perrino stone with a polished Azul Black band at low level.

The tubular steel of the drum at the front of the building was completed and the construction of the glass atrium began.

Initial fitout of the foyers/toilets and large meeting rooms commenced.

The installation of the 475 panels of glass to the drum structure was completed.


Escalator unit installation commenced. Given the orientation of the escalators and construction logistics, the escalator truss units were installed top down over a 4 week period.

Stone cladding was completed on all elevations and the roofing work was in progress. The horizontal windows on the east and west side of the building were installed and internal works were also on target.

All mechanical and electrical installations, internal walls and vertical transportation were progressing well on all levels.

A significant health and safety milestone on site was achieved, with over 500,000 accident-free man hours worked without a reportable accident.

The construction team began to focus on the fitout to the interior spaces such as the completion of the wood paneling to the ceiling and walls in the Auditorium and the final finishes to the two primary exhibition areas i.e. The Liffey and The Forum.

The installation of two bespoke lifts for The CCD commenced, a 25,000kg truck lift and a 6.000kg passenger carrying goods/van lift. Carpet installation also commenced in the Auditorium.

The installation of the innovative Skyfold system which is an automatic partition that offers high acoustical ratings and folds vertically into the ceiling without manual intervention and divides a space in minutes, was nearing completion. Auditorium seating installation also commenced on programme to meet completion requirements for testing and commissioning of specialist Theatre equipment.

The kitchen fit out was in progress with a target completion of February 2010.


Design and Construction of The CCD

The installation of the revolving doors at the main entrance and the external canopies commenced. Stone flooring to the ground floor foyer was also commenced whilst maintaining access for high level works above.

There was a requirement for early operator occupancy in which the operator office areas and facilities were prioritised. These works were nearing completion and this process kick started the formal progressive handover procedures of the building and ensured a smooth and well planned phased handover of the entire building.

The early completion of back office space was finished and The CCD management team moved into the building on the 8th of March 2010 as per programme. This milestone was the first phase of the sequential handover plan to The CCD.

The Auditorium was virtually complete with all timber ceilings and walls, seating, orchestra pit lift, and carpet complete. Stage engineering was nearing completion, production lighting was being configured and tested, and work continued on the stage floor and fly tower.

The main halls and meeting rooms were handed over. The stone cladding and feature walls in the foyer spaces were in progress and nearing completion along with the cladding to the escalators. The marble tiles in the main entrance foyer and outside ground works were also well underway.

The virtual completion date of the 5th of May 2010 for The CCD was achieved.

CMP operated a snag as they go policy with the implementation of progressive formal sign off procedures from all parties involved in the project. This management system facilitated the handover of a virtually snag-free building with all parties agreeing on a definitive minor snag list. Any remaining snags were completed during the three month ‘soft opening’ period.

During the period from the virtual completion date up to the official opening date in September 2010, The CCD completed training and held a number of mock events to test and commission the building facilities in a live environment prior to the official opening.

5th May
A significant health and safety milestone on site was recorded, with over 1,300,000 accident-free man hours worked without a reportable accident. The total number of man hours worked throughout the entire project was 2,400,000 and resources peaked at 920 personnel.

7th of September
The Convention Centre Dublin was officially opened at a special launch ceremony.

Construction Facts and Figures

Total number of man hours 2,400,000
Accident free man hours at handover 1,300,000
Peak resources 920 personnel
Tonnage of rebar 5,600 T
Structural Steel 13,000 T
Volume of concrete 35,000 m³
The largest single concrete pour completed in Ireland 2,497 m²
External stone cladding area 7,100 m²
Glass area approximately 4,000 m2
Number of seats in The Auditorium 2,000
Area of The Forum 2,700 m²
Exhibition space 4,500 m²
Gross internal floor area 39,567 m²