Doughty Engineering and PSI have teamed up to deliver the design and installation of specialist infrastructure at the Grand Opera House in Belfast. PSI were contracted by Tracey Brothers to facilitate the design and installation on the project which included a complete rewire of the production lighting and control, dimmers, audio, comms, stage management desks, show relay, foyer paging as well as providing a new house lighting system and additional elements to the in-house stage engineering system. All packages were specified by Charcoalblue.
PSI, who are dealers for Doughty in both Northern Ireland and Ireland, brought Doughty on board very early on in the project. David Mckeown, project manager explained: “Work commenced on site in January 2020 and then the pandemic hit in March. Initially the programme was ten months to hand over at the end of October 2020, but this was then extended to March 21.”
He continued: “Then, in January 2021, Brexit, along with the NI Protocol made the project even more difficult to manage than the pandemic and hence the programme was extended yet again to accommodate for this. Everything from delivery of goods to the wearing of additional PPE, a one-way system around the theatre and having to separate trades into designated areas proved difficult at first but like most, it became normalised.”
Working with Doughty, PSI specified a range of bespoke kit as well as a huge number of standard clamps and brackets, over 100 facility panels, standard clamps, truss brackets, boom arms and internally wired bars. Brian Reilly, director at PSI said: “We actually had an amazing, curved bar for the front of house position. This curved IWB proved a challenge as when we first carried out a 3D survey of the fixing points it was discovered that while all looking plumb, they were all at slightly different heights. Therefore, not only did the IWB have to curve to match the geometry of the balcony façade, but also the differential in mounting position heights, so a very complicated piece of geometry was required during fabrication. When the IWB came to site, it fit like a glove to the fixing positions, but, then again, did we expect anything less from Doughty?”
Dan Phillips and the Doughty team worked through the complete package of requirements with PSI to deliver the new system. “This was without doubt one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever worked on with Doughty. Working through a pandemic is one thing but add an insane amount of government red tape and you can see how we had our work cut out. Fortunately for us, Doughty is made up of a great team of people who never fail to deliver even though they had to contend with a shortage of raw materials on top of everything else, but they were always accommodating and worked to best achieve our large requirements. As a result, the relationship between Doughty and PSI is stronger than ever.”