23 Stories 20 – Graham Construction in the Spotlight


Hastings Hotels has worked with Graham Construction over many years, so when it came to select a company who could best deliver our vision for the Grand Central Hotel, it was clear that Graham’s in conjunction with RPP Architects was the perfect choice to take on this monumental project.

Building work on the former Windsor House office block began in July 2016. Through an innovative design and build strategy that demanded interior demolition, rebuilding and extension processes, Graham Construction’s team of experts reinvented the 122,000 square foot building.

The project was not without its challenges, Graham Construction was tasked with installing the tallest crane on the island of Ireland and manipulating it throughout the complex two year construction programme. This also necessitated the adjustment of the flight path into George Best Belfast City Airport. The existing frame, shape and flooring presented consistent challenges, transforming a 1970’s office building into an ultra-modern city centre hotel with all the amenities required by 21st century visitors.

During the project, over 2,000 workers contributed to the development of the Grand Central Hotel and Graham Construction worked in partnership with 62 sub contractors from across Northern Ireland to ensure that the hotel was delivered on time and within its £53m budget.

The Grand Central Hotel is now Northern Ireland’s largest hotel and the tallest commercial building in Ireland and Graham’s have highlighted several key points of interest from the design and construction phase of the project:

  • A total of1,280 doors were hung in the building, totalling 2,688 metres in height, the equivalent of Slieve Donard Mountains
  • 310metres of electrical cables were installed, matching the total length of the island of Ireland
  • 1,800tonnes of new concrete, the equivalent in weight terms to 1,200 Ulster Rugby teams was used on the project
  • Using6,500 individual sections of cladding needed for the hotel’s façade, this element of the project was described as the ‘biggest Jigsaw puzzle in Belfast.’ The cladding sections were carefully selected in three shades of grey and were painstakingly installed to ensure the external appearance of the building is subtly different depending on the angle it is viewed from and the time of day.

Speaking about the work carried out by Graham Construction, Howard Hastings, Managing Director of Hastings Hotels said;

‘We are absolutely delighted with the workmanship in every aspect of the new Grand Central Hotel. It has been a really good project and Graham Construction delivered to our expectations to budget and on-time. It’s been a remarkable achievement.’

Documenting their work on the Grand Central Hotel, Graham has produced a series of short films featuring interviews with key company personnel involved with the design and construction of the hotel and these are available to watch now below.


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