Investing in Our People
Learning & Development Centre, Cookstown
Our new Learning & Development Centre (LDC) is revolutionising how we train our Firefighters. It allows Firefighters to train in “real life” scenarios, imitating the hazards they face while protecting our community. This transforms the learning experience of our people, therefore improving public safety.
The facility, based just outside Cookstown, is a Northern Ireland Executive Flagship Project that will be delivered in 2 phases.
Phase 1 – Complete
Phase 1 of our new LDC is the first facility of its kind in Northern Ireland and opened in September 2019. It includes a real life Tactical Firefighting Facility with an investment of £4.8m. The unique 6-storey structure has more than 30 compartments, providing realistic operational scenarios using real fires, as well as welfare and classroom facilities.
Phase 2 – Ongoing
A planning application of £42.6m was submitted in December 2020 for Phase 2 of the facility. This is the largest capital investment in NIFRS’ history. Felix O’Hare & Co Ltd have been awarded the contract which is expected to be completed in 2024.
Phase 2 will allow our Firefighters to complete realistic training in a simulated environment where hazards and scenarios can be safely recreated. It will include a Road Traffic Collision training area, a ‘call out village’ with a variety of house types and much more. Check out our Site Masterplan for details on what else it will entail.
“Firefighters run toward danger when others run away, and it is vitally important that when they face those challenges they receive the best possible training.
This flagship project will represent the largest capital investment ever undertaken by NIFRS and further enhance the Service’s ability to protect the lives of all the people of Northern Ireland.”
Minister of Health
“I was impressed by the standard and size of the Tactical Firefighting Facility. This has the potential to equip us with true to life scenarios, and allows us to practice for all incident types. The emphasis of the training was on honing our existing skills, which included hose management in larger buildings which I particularly found very beneficial. Other scenarios included active fire-fighting and searching techniques. This was a really enjoyable day which met all my expectations.”
On-Call Watch Commander
The building presents a welcoming public face on arrival to the site and controls access to the operational site beyond. This double storey building contains classrooms, workstations, assembly hall, kitchen, dining, gym and changing facilities to support NIFRS Training.
A single storey modular building for the storage, maintenance, cleaning and refill of Breathing Apparatus equipment.
Concealed behind a band of existing woodland are 90 car parking spaces.
This multi-storey building provides simulated training environments for marine, residential, industrial and commercial premises. It also contains a training fire station with practical training classrooms and welfare facilities. It is surrounded by a large hardstanding area for vehicle circulation and manoeuvring.
A steel frame structure for fire rescue and ladder training surrounded by hardstanding for vehicle access and manoeuvring.
Secured by a perimeter fence this specialist facility provides a training environment for flood and river rescue. It includes a reservoir and channel where water can be controlled and diverted to simulate a range of rescue conditions.
An area of hardstanding for water pump training.
This training environment replicates a local village and includes a bungalow, a semi-detached and detached dwelling.
A training environment for collapsed buildings and below ground rescue.
This replicates a typical rural barn and provides a realistic training environment for farmyard rescues. It will also provide onsite storage for NIFRS.
This is already constructed and currently in use.
This is already constructed and currently in use.
A single storey welfare extension to the existing Phase1 support building.
An environment for hazardous materials using simulated substances only.
A specialist driving and road traffic collision training area.
A specialist driving training area enclosed by landscape and planting.
A network of A and B category roads for RTC rescue training.
Existing woodland to be retained.
The Red Zone indicates the boundary of the NIFRS site off the A29 Dungannon Road.
Construction works are estimated to be in the region of £30M.
The project has a BREEAM Excellent target. Renewable energies are integral to the success of the scheme. NIFRS is committed to sustainable principles and will strive to deliver the high standards of sustainability on this project.
Phase 1 construction is complete and we have been using our new Tactical Fire Fighting Facility (TFF) and Training Support Building (TSB) since October 2019. We will continue to use this site for training throughout Phase 2 of the works. A central graded spine road connects all platforms and buildings including completed Phase 1 works.
The 2 largest buildings on the site are the Learning & Development Centre (LDC) and the Training Warehouse. The Site Masterplan above has details of all our buildings and training facilities across the site. We envisage contractors may require some specialist sub-contractors to join their team to help deliver bespoke training facilities such as the Flood Water and Fire Props.
There is an emphasis on retention of existing hedgerows and woodland to retain the original landscape character and support existing bio-diversity. New landscape works will help screen and enclose training areas and enhance planting on site to ensure that the project quickly becomes part of its local context.
The chosen project procurement route is Design and Build using NEC3 Contract Option A. A detailed RIBA stage 3 design will be provided to the successful Contractor led Integrated Supply Team (IST).
The Contractor IST will work alongside NIFRS and their Integrated Consultancy Team (ICT) to develop the design through technical design stages including build control approval to construction and completion.
A Planning Application for phase 2 of development was submitted in December 2020 and approved in May 2021. The principle for development on site has already been established with previously approved applications in 2012 and 2017. Phase 2 design development has progressed in line with the previous approvals with minor design and layouts enriching the scheme.
Alongside project partners Strategic Investment Board (SIB) and Construction and Procurement Delivery (CPD) NIFRS invited expressions of interest via a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) via eTendersNI website in February 2021.
Invitation to Tender (ITT) process ran from May to September.
Invitation to Tender (ITT) evaluation process completed in November 2021.
The contract was awarded to Felix O’Hare & Co. Ltd. in December 2021.
Construction started on site in May 2022.
Construction is anticipated to be completed by May 2024.