Williams kit set to perform at Belfast's premier venue

The massive extension to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall has doubled the size of the site’s conference and exhibition facilities. Belfast Council estimates that the new venue will contribute £39m per year to the city’s burgeoning business and tourism market.

The massive extension to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall has doubled the size of the site’s conference and exhibition facilities. Belfast Council estimates that the new venue will contribute £39m per year to the city’s burgeoning business and tourism market. Catering is a huge operation and the new facilities are designed to be as flexible as possible, so that the caterers can serve multiple functions of 200 to 500 people, or larger events for up to 1500, with the option of buffets, silver service and plated Banquets.

Galgorm Group’s Gary McMullan was project manager on the catering facilities installation. “This is a prestige site and, being so big, there were considerable design obstacles to overcome,” he says. “When it came to catering equipment, we needed suppliers who could deliver quality and experience – on a project this size there’s no point in being penny wise and pound foolish.”

For the Waterfront’s refrigeration Galgorm specified Williams. “We have a great working relationship with Williams and we know what you get. We’ve dealt with them on large coldroom projects for Hard Rock Café in both Brussels and Glasgow, as well as the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.” At Waterfront, Williams supplied all the coldrooms, blast chillers, undercounter and upright refrigeration. “Everything has a superior build and installation quality,” says Gary.

Sustainability is a key criteria within the Waterfront project, as is future-proofing equipment specification wherever possible, and many of the counters and cabinets supplied by Williams are hydrocarbon versions. Alongside its environmental benefits, using hydrocarbon refrigerant reduces energy consumption, due to its excellent thermodynamic properties, and counts towards Waterfront Hall’s BREEAM credits.

The adaptability of the company’s range was also put to full use. For example Williams’ biscuit top units are supplied without a worktop, to fit under existing work surfaces. Williams also supplied several reverse unit counters, which have the refrigeration system mounted to the right rather than the left, as is standard. The project called for very tight specifications on the bespoke coldroom suites, which include roll-in blast chillers, chilled plating rooms, a beverage room and general chilled and frozen storage.

Cabinets and coldrooms at Waterfront, Belfast

They are spread over three floors and had to be installed into purpose-built insulated recesses. “Williams had to coordinate closely with the builder, not only to ensure the size and design of the coldrooms precisely matched the recesses on site, which covered huge areas, but also to take account of the insulated floors built below the rooms by the main contractor,” says Gary. “This was the toughest part of the installation but, despite all the issues, everything worked out perfectly.

“In fact, the Williams installation team was fantastic. They were on site for three months and got on great with all the other tradesmen on site. It’s a real bonus to know you have subcontractors that can do the work without constant supervision… this adds real value, both for us and for the customer.”


The variety of different coldrooms at the venue, in terms of their sizes, shapes, configurations and functions (from blast chillers to prep areas to beverage rooms), underlines the flexibility of the Williams design. Some of the coldrooms at Waterfront Hall are also dual compartments, with different temperature zones.

There are seven chilled coldrooms (+1/+4°C) and one freezer room (-18/- 22°C), plus a prep room at 10°C, as well as another room for beer in the basement. Williams coldrooms feature a modular construction and a range of panel sizes and colours that allow designers to create bespoke rooms to virtually any size or shape.

These can be assembled on-site, overcoming any accessibility problems. Williams is the only manufacturer to offer roof, wall and floor panels with camlocks securely foamed into tongue and groove joints for a tight-locking, stable structure. These eliminate the risk of ice buildup in joints and ensure the ‘thermal envelope’ is 100%, assisting with BREEAM accreditation.

To this end, Williams also offers thermal imaging, so that operators can confirm the efficiency of their coldroom. Williams also supplied two roll-in blast chillers.

Cabinets and counters

Williams supplied nine Garnet single door uprights and three two-door models; plus six biscuit top two-door units, four of which were standard and two reverse units, with the refrigeration systems mounted to the right.

All these cabinets and counters are hydrocarbon models. Williams also supplied two of its space-saving 133 litre undercounter Amber cabinets.


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