Belfast’s latest office space: 35DP


Skope is delighted to have been involved in the completion of Belfast’s latest commercial real estate development, 35DP.

Taking its name from its address – 35 Donegall Place – the Skope team provided cost management services for the latest development from Bywater Properties.


Works were procured under the JCT Design and Build Contract with a contract sum of £2.7 million, the five–storey Grade A redevelopment involved demolition works, structural alterations to the existing building, incorporation of feature glazed rooflights and glazed facades to enhance the natural light within the building the before the fit out of the core and lettable office space.

With a Gross Internal Floor Area of 30,147sq ft and the industrial themed fit–out, it is one of the most interesting developments in the city in recent years.

Catering to a broad range of prospective occupiers, it will help meet the needs of the modern workforce by providing a unique flexible office environment against the backdrop of city centre life.

Associate Oliver McGuckin said: “35DP is a refreshing addition to Belfast’s commercial office space offering. Situated in an already iconic city centre location, it will play its part in continuing to position Belfast as being an attractive place in which to work and invest.

“Its accessible location, coupled with the high standard bespoke finish, makes 35DP a unique offering that will transform the way its tenants view the office.”

Skoping out Belfast’s latest student accommodation


The team at Skope is proud to have helped support the development of one of Belfast’s newest student accommodation projects, a 717–bed property beside Ulster University’s new city centre campus.

The prominent LIV Student Belfast site – which is already fully booked – features some of the most enviable facilities that a modern student could wish for: a mix of shared apartments and studio rooms spread over 13 floors, a cinema, gaming areas, a welling being area, social spaces, a café and communal cluster kitchens.

LIV Student Belfast
LIV Student Belfast

With a Gross Internal Floor Area of 38,066 sq ft, the project started in April 2019 and took just over two years to bring to completion, with the £36.7m development wrapping up in August 2021, just in time for the new academic year.

David Wilson, Partner at Skope, said: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and issues stemming from Brexit, we were delighted to provide project management, cost management and health and safety consultancy services for this much–needed student complex.

“With Belfast’s ever–growing student population, coupled with an increased demand for high quality accommodation, LIV Student Belfast is playing a key role in the regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter and the city’s wider investment and development plans.

“As well as having a referral agreement with Queen’s University Belfast, LIV Student Belfast will also benefit from the wider ripple effect of 15,000 staff and students making their way to Ulster University’s new enhanced Belfast campus in the coming months. A 100% occupancy upon opening is a fantastic achievement for all involved in the project.”

David led the Skope team in the project works, collaborating alongside lead contractor, GRAHAM.

In addition to LIV Student Belfast, Skope has developed considerable expertise within the Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector, including the 740–bed College Avenue and 476–bed McClintock Street schemes.

Get in touch to learn more.


StethoSkope at the ready for Ulster University’s new School of Medicine


Skope is delighted to have been involved in the completion of the new School of Medicine at Ulster University.

A JCT Standard Form of Contract with Quants with Contractors Design 2016 with a contract sum of nearly £1 million, this complex project involved the refurbishment of an existing listed building to provide accommodation for a Graduate Entry Medical School at the university’s Magee campus.

The Medical School, with a Gross Internal Floor Area of 1,255 m², opened its doors in August 2021 for 70 post–graduate students to begin training as doctors.

UU Medical School
UU Medical School

The new Medical School will allow UU’s medical students to experience highly specialised facilities whilst the project itself will allow for further investment to the adjoining buildings in providing high quality educational facilities.

It is hoped that the Medical School will address a relative shortage of doctors in Northern Ireland which will ultimately have an impact in terms of the health care that residents here receive. Up until now, the only medical school in Northern Ireland had been at Queen’s University in Belfast.

The Skope team is honoured to have played its part in such a landmark occasion and hope that the expansion of the Magee campus acts as a catalyst for change across the wider North West.

As a business, we will continue to provide timely and cost–effective solutions to key challenges being presented in this post–Covid world.

Get in touch to learn more.

Making of the Maldron Hotel, Glasgow


Over the past year, the UK economy has benefitted from the staycation market and travellers who have been making use of campsites, B&Bs and hotels that are closer to home due to continued uncertainty and restrictions surrounding travelling abroad.

Since our demerger in 2020, we have been focusing on growing the business not only locally but also across other major cities in the UK and Ireland.

Our team recently oversaw the seamless completion of the brand new 4–star Maldron Hotel in Glasgow.

Maldron Glasgow
Maldron Glasgow
Ideally located on the corner of Renfrew Street and Renfield Street, just north of the city centre, the hotel will provide an additional offering for those spending time in the heart of the area’s vibrant shopping, dining and theatre district.

In June 2019, and with a contract sum of over £26m, Skope was tasked with constructing a new 300–bedroom hotel over 12 storeys, including a bar and restaurant, ancillary facilities and associated works including state–of–the–art meeting spaces. The building is also highly tech–enabled with Chromecast in each bedroom, digital check–in and a virtual guest services platform.

The practical completion of the hotel with overall gross internal floor area of 11,914m² was achieved in July 2021.

With the opening of the hotel, we were delighted to discover that 80 new jobs were created.

Hotels, including Dublin’s upcoming €30 million Bullitt Hotel, are just one element of our strong pipeline of projects across both the public and private sectors which also include mixed–use, commercial, residential (private, social, build–to–rent and student), leisure, health, research and education.

Get in touch to learn more.

Skope scores a screamer at new football stadium


The development of the Blanchflower Stadium, home to east Belfast’s Harland and Wolff Welders Football Club, is now complete.

Part of a wider multi–million pound redevelopment of the Blanchflower Playing Fields site, Skope provided cost management services on behalf of client Belfast City Council.

With works comprising of three stages, this first phase saw the revamp of the stadium, with the next two parts focusing on upgrading the rest of the estate before the development of nature trails and other community focused projects.

Associate Jenny Johnston outlined the nature of the work, which involved the redevelopment of the existing Blanchflower Park into “a state–of–the–art community sports stadium”.


She said: “With three seated stands providing capacity for 950 people, as well as another standing terrace accommodating an additional 400 people, the new Blanchflower Stadium will provide an enhanced experience for football players and fans alike.

“Two new synthetic 3G pitches have replaced the previous grass ones; they’re now FIFA Quality Pro and FIFA Quality standard respectively.

“Additionally, the inclusion of a pavilion with community space, multi–purpose accommodation, new changing facilities and new floodlighting will all make for a stadium that all stakeholders are proud of.

“All of these will help the club fulfil its ambitions of promotion to the Irish Premiership and also contribute to maximising the wider health impact of Belfast City Council’s leisure transformation programme, which encourages greater participation in sports and delivering the Growing Communities Strategy.”

The Skope team has undertaken a varied portfolio of projects within the leisure sector including the new Lisnasharragh, Brook and Andersonstown’s leisure centres.

Skope ‘branches out’ as students return to Treehouse social space


The Treehouse, the main social space for all students living at Queen’s University Belfast’s Elms Village, has now been handed over as the new academic year begins.

Starting in June 2021, the Skope team, led by associate Jenny Johnston, provided pre– and post–contract QS servicing on the refurbishment of the student accommodation’s social hub.

“With a £200,000 contract value and a 12–week construction period, we worked alongside the contractor Killowen Contracts and interior designer Philip Rodgers Design to bring the project to completion on time and on budget,” she explained.

Jenny continued: “With the social area comprising quality seating and furniture, a coffee–bar, pool tables and even arcade games, this is an enviable setting for any student to enjoy in their downtime and highlights the commendable efforts that Queen’s goes to in order to provide its students with a high–end yet comfortable and relaxed lifestyle that is reflective of the 21st century.”


“Unprecedented” supply chain demand to increase construction project costs


Following recent comments from the Construction Employers Federation that an increase in costs could “destabilise” the sector, Skope associate Oliver McGuckin outlines why this could be the case.

“Basically, unprecedented demand is being placed on supply chains as a result of the pandemic and the continued uncertainty that still stands around trading with the EU,” he said. 

Skope_Oliver McGuckin
Skope_Oliver McGuckin

“We are seeing evidence of this right now on live projects. Contractors are feeling the pinch from price increases and are approaching clients to assist with the recovery of these increased costs, even if there are no fluctuation clauses in the contracts.

“So as a result of ongoing volatility in the market, some contractors are now seeking to use alternative products to mitigate uncertainty around programme delays and increased costs and are looking at value engineering proposals to offset increased costs.

“But only so much of this can be done and the opportunity and scope to do this will vary from project to project. Contractors may now start to insist that fluctuation clauses are written into contracts to make provision for such costs to be recovered,” Oliver explained.

With many raw material costs having risen by around 15% – and some having risen by up to 50% – it stands to reason why sub–contractors are now holding sway in the market. This is starting to cause a ripple effect on the wider industry.

“A shorter supply of building materials is resulting in longer lead–in times for projects, extended programmes and commercial challenges in terms of project viability. It’s a simple matter of fact.

“Coupling this with the uncertainty in Construction Estimating and Programming, clients need to be taking this into consideration when preparing their development appraisals. 

“We recommend that clients look closely at their contingency budgets to make informed decisions regarding how much risk the project can absorb in terms of material price increases.

“At Skope, ensuring value for money is a core part of our service. We are adept at managing the fine balance between the client’s requirements, stakeholders’ priorities and the development budget to ensure the project will continue to be delivered to the required quality within budget and on time.”

Making a splash at Belfast’s historic Victorian era Templemore Baths


Forming part of Belfast City Council’s £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme for the city, the redevelopment of Templemore Baths will see the renovation of a building that is steeped in history.

With the baths dating back to 1893, the project will not only see the restoration of the site’s original features but also its transformation into a commercially sustainable business with a new 25 metre swimming pool, a state–of–the–art gym and spa facilities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will provide a £5 million grant towards the £17 million project’s extensive restoration and construction of the new leisure facility.

There will be further provision for the building’s heritage with learning and engagement information centring on the history of the baths and surrounding area being a key focal point.

Skope_Templemore Baths sign
Skope_Templemore Baths sign
The Skope team, with the project spearheaded by Jenny Johnston, is providing cost management services on behalf of Belfast City Council.

“With considerable experience and expertise working on projects within the leisure industry, including Belfast’s Andersonstown and Lisnasharragh Leisure Centres, the Skope team has been enamoured with the redevelopment of the Templemore Baths,” Jenny said.

“A landmark of East Belfast, Belfast City Council’s investment will help ensure the building’s original features are preserved and its extended footprint is future–proofed.

“Whilst it is certainly an ambitious project with half of the building being vacant and in various stages of disrepair, many of the building’s original features – such as twin entrances, the minor pool and slipper baths – remain largely intact. We’re delighted to help ensure these features will be restored and maintained for the next generation to enjoy,” she said.

Work is currently underway on the Templemore Baths, which are due to open in Autumn 2022.

Consider it done.


The business world has been through one of the most transformative years on record.

Established ways of operating were turned on their head as the Covid–19 pandemic took hold to be replaced by new, previously unheard of practices: video meetings are now considered the norm rather than the exception; the rate of digitisation has been accelerated tenfold and attention has refocused the business’s responsibility to nurture the increasingly fragile environment.

All those factors and more have been experienced by the team at Belfast–based Skope over the last 12 months, with the added change of a branding revamp.

Formerly Bruceshaw, the cost and project management consultancy took the opportunity to refresh its business with the demerger from its London arm.

Skope's managing directors John McIlwaine and James Henderson
Skope's managing directors John McIlwaine and James Henderson

Bruceshaw had established itself as a leader in the industry throughout its 47–year history and, whilst changing their name, Skope has retained the history and heritage which had been built up during that time. And what heritage that is.

Bruceshaw was instrumental in the redevelopment of Belfast International Airport, Marks & Spencer at Sprucefield, CastleCourt Shopping Centre, the Port Stanley Airport restoration in the aftermath of the Falklands War, Laganside redevelopment, the Gateway Offices in the Titanic Quarter, The Obel Tower and many more.

While a rich roster of success, the demerger in 2020 provided the catalyst for the firm to not just refresh its brand but to show the market that its offering is anything but typical, Skope’s managing partner James Henderson said.

“We saw this as the perfect opportunity to make a statement, reconnect with existing clients as well as enhance and promote ourselves to prospective clients,” he said. “The rebrand and name change was driven by wanting to stand out from the crowd, do something different and not just ‘change our clothes’.”

The difference that James refers to is a level of service which is head and shoulders above the rest of the market, one which has a relentless focus on delivering projects on time and on budget, one which offers solutions, which adds value and, crucially, one which ensures success.

“We are a service provider and we are driven by achieving success for our clients, hence the strap line – consider it done. As a business we have always prided ourselves on the level of client service we offer, together with direct partner contact and dedicated teams passionate about delivering best value.

“It’s our industry knowledge and ability to build strong relationships which also sets us apart. Our partners alone have more than 140 years of consultancy experience and our team as a whole is driven by innovation and a commitment to excellence.”

That excellence comes from the wealth of experience across the team of experts at Skope who have collectively helped successfully deliver for a broad range of clients over the last few years.

The team, meanwhile, is led by James and fellow managing partner John McIlwaine, along with partners Andrew Murray and David Wilson, all stalwarts of the industry and all passionate about providing the best possible client service. Associates Jenny Johnston and Oliver McGuckin make up the rest of the senior management team.

Skope_Senior Management Team
Skope_Senior Management Team

It is that passion which means Skope has a strong pipeline of projects across both the public and private sectors including mixed–use, commercial, residential (private, social, build–to–rent and student), hotels, leisure, health, research and education.

Alongside local work, the firm is also growing its business in other regions and retains an office in both Dublin and Glasgow.

While already working with a number of clients across the UK and Ireland, the changes brought about by the pandemic mean expanding the firm’s footprint outside Northern Ireland is, in fact, easier and the team expect the ‘export’ side of the business to flourish.

“There will be opportunities post–Covid,” John said. “We have learnt new ways of working and clients now accept that physical project meetings are not a necessity. We have the technology and platforms to support this type of service delivery, having innovated and invested in new tools which can deliver the outputs in a virtual world. This should make working in mainland UK or in Ireland more accessible and achievable.

“Our vision is to deliver value to clients no matter where they are. Skope’s roots are founded in Belfast but our client base and expertise extends throughout Great Britain and Ireland.”

He said the construction sector’s focus has pivoted over the last year.

“In the post–Covid world, some of the key challenges will be regeneration, communities, homes, health and wellbeing, employment, climate change and, very specific to Northern Ireland, Brexit and the ongoing challenges for business and commerce. But these challenges can also be opportunities and we see ourselves being able to provide solutions to our clients to meet each of those issues.”

Such dynamic thinking, combined with unrivalled experience and the capacity to deliver means Skope is well placed to do just that, whether in the local market or further afield across the UK. The current list of projects is enviable and includes a number of notable schemes across the public and private sectors, such as The Paper Exchange on Chichester Street, The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ new Animal Health Sciences Building, Templemore Baths restoration and extension, LIV Student Housing on York Street, Glasgow’s Maldron Hotel, Bedford Square, Tribeca, Project Sahara, Pirrie’s build–to–rent in Titanic Quarter and Dublin Road’s aparthotel.

However, paring the firm’s focus back to that which is really important for clients is the real secret to its success.

“It is simple really,” James said. “We deliver projects on time and on budget. Provided we continue to keep that focus as our mantra then we’ll continue to meet the central needs of our clients and they can consider it done. We’ve always been experts at building relationships and that is still very much at the heart of Skope.”