The Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster Rugby, has completed a major upgrade of its stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The construction of three covered stands are designed to match the existing Premium Stand, with a newly specified RCF PAVA distributed sound broadcast system, linked to a Fire Alarm, to create a communications infrastructure that complies with BS5839 Part 8 standards.
System integrators, MGA Communication, won a competitive tender to provide an integrated Voice Alarm and a Communications network, working with RCF’s Engineering Support Group to deliver the solution. RCF’s DXT 7000
Sound Broadcast and Emergency Evacuation System was selected to meet the requirements of the main terraces, corridors, and mass circulation areas, as well as toilets, private corporate boxes, meeting rooms, board rooms and bar areas.
To create a matched system, RCF’s premier IP55-rated P3115T speakers were chosen for the three new stands, after which MGA Communication also retro-fitted six clusters of the twin speakers in the existing Premium Stand.
Six sets of twin RCF speaker clusters have been deployed in the new Grandstand with each of the twin clusters providing an available vertical dispersion of 120° (90° horizontal) on all four axes of the ground, while four clusters of twin RCF P 3115T are suspended under the roof lips at both the Memorial Stand and Family Stands behind the goalposts.
In all cases, supporting bracketry was fabricated by MGA with a safety support offered by a catenary stainless steel tether system.
Gerald McKeown said the RCF solution had been chosen for its ability to fulfil several key criteria, such as meeting the necessary IP and PAVA application rating, as well as having the required dispersion, output and frequency response. It also met the necessary price point.
In particular, the external terrace speakers provided the required adjustability to achieve full terrace coverage, ensuring that the beam-width overlapped with the adjacent cluster, with a sharp 4dB drop off at the pitch as required. All of these characteristics were previously identified in the EASE model.
Ulster Rugby Stadium Manager, David Boyd, stated, “The new sound system is delivering perfectly in terms of the match day scenario and the speech intelligibility is a lot better,” he confirms. “What we had previously was a stand-alone PA and separate alarm system which was not linked. There was no automation instruction for evacuation should the fire alarm go off.”
He confirmed that the existing PA system in the Premium Stand also needed upgrading as it was too unidirectional and rolled off at the terracing. “With all four stands linked into the PA we have full flexibility because it is important that each stand can be operated separately”, he said.
The Master Control Room is located in the Family stand, managing the four PAVA equipment racks (one per stand), with both data and control lines linked with fire-resistant copper and fibre, in a stadium which now seats an impressive 18,150 people.
Meanwhile, the general concourses are served by RCF PL 70EN ceiling speakers, RCF DU 50EN wall cabinet speakers as well as the RCF P 3115 speakers used for the terracing, while the RCF DP range of weatherproof projector speakers broadcasts information for those leaving and arriving at the ground. RCF’s UP 8000 energy efficient Class D series has been deployed to power the systems.
In summary Gerald McKeown states, “ With RCF we have a great relationship, as can be seen by the support they gave us when we installed the [nearby] Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex.”
“We are extremely happy with the product. There are up to 40 or 50 parts of a system that need to be compliant and we are comfortable that RCF can meet that requirement.”