02 Oct 2017

A Worthy project: transforming the DCLPA

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation plays a vital role in supporting the UK’s Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing the estate and infrastructure needed to support defence. Here, Defence Online Editor Matt Brown looks at one major current DIO project, to deliver a new defence logistics college at Worthy Down.

One of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) largest current projects is the delivery of the new £250 million Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration (DCLPA) at Worthy Down in Hampshire.

The construction will see the site transformed from a training facility for Army personnel in non-combat roles to a tri-Services facility for the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.

The college will offer a joint, high-quality facility for training military personnel who specialise in logistics, policing and administration and living accommodation for up to 2000 students. The accommodation will consist of a series of ‘villages’ – one for Junior Ranks, one for Officers and one for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers.

By moving the three Services’ training to the same site the Ministry of Defence will be able to release other sites which are no longer required, allowing the MOD to make greater efficiencies and reinvesting financial savings from the sale of old sites back into defence.

As part of the transformation, the Royal Logistics Corps Museum will also relocate to Worthy Down into a purpose-built exhibition space which will be open to soldiers, their families and the public.

Main Contractor Skanska was awarded the contract in May 2014, with the first stages of the construction process on the project getting under way in October that year as disused buildings were carefully dismantled to enable the materials to be reused or recycled.

Terry Elphick, Managing Director at Skanska, described the process: “When we do demolition we actually segregate so rather than knocking it down, we’ll separate the wood from electrics from the brick and virtually all of the building will go to be recycled and reused.

“What we try and do is keep as much on-site as we can so a lot of the brickwork will actually go back into the buildings we construct – it’s actually quite a fine art to do it.”

The construction process is being carried out in three consecutive stages to allow buildings to go into use as soon as they are completed, enabling training to carry on uninterrupted throughout the build period.

The first completed building of the 26 to be built on-site was the Respirator Testing Facility. This allows Armed Forces personnel to train using their personal respirators, which would be issued in the event of nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

Nick Nichols, a Project Manager at Worthy Down, described how the facility keeps those undergoing training safe.

He said: “There are certain technical features which are required to keep this sort of building safe. There’s an extractor which removes the gas, for example, and it has to be sealed from the rest of the site to avoid leaks. It’s only a single storey, so it’s not a large facility, but it doesn’t need to be.”

In February 2017, building work on the Catering, Retail and Leisure (CRL) facility on the site was completed. The building contains four bars, a large dining room, kitchens, recreational area, food court and shopping facilities.

The CRL also provides a social hub for the Junior Ranks and a central meeting point and leisure facility for permanent staff and visiting students.

DIO Project Manager Peter Riches said the new CRL facility would enhance students’ experience at the college. He commented: “The CRL will provide students from the college with a first-class, modern leisure and recreational facility that should make their overall experience of the college a pleasant one.”

July saw the completion of the flagship main college building, Building 101. Consisting of 373 rooms, 70 classrooms, two lecture theatres and a café, this modern, impressive-looking building will provide a combination of classroom and training facilities for up to 1500 students.

The work on Worthy Down has thrown up a number of obstacles for the construction team, including some environmental challenges due to its rural location.

Georgina Smith, Skanska’s Environmental Advisor at Worthy Down, described one such scenario on-site: “We discovered a thriving population of over 80 smooth newts and around 30 frogs that were happily living in the water obstacle on the assault course we were due to remove.

“A new home was built in the form of a specially made pond and a team was put together to rescue, by hand, each and every creature from the water obstacle and move them to a new home.”

The discovery of wildlife didn’t end in the water, as birds made homes in scaffolding and cable trays.

An exclusion zone was set up to protect the nests with regular checks made by qualified professionals. To make absolutely certain that they were no longer in use, cameras were set up to monitor the nests over a period of several days before they were removed.

As well as protecting the local wildlife, Skanska and the DIO were keen to implement a sustainable construction process on the project.

Waste material from the demolition of the old buildings totalling 11,800m3 was crushed and reused in the construction work for creating building platforms, crane and piling mats, haul roads, forming the slabs and backfilling services.

Building 101 has been installed with photovoltaic roof panels, which it is envisaged could save around £50,000 annually by generating enough free electricity to power the average home for 85 years.

Brigadier Steve Shirley, who will be in charge of the college once opened, spoke of his excitement for the project. He said: “I speak for the whole college when I say that we are excited, enthused and very much looking forward to delivery here at Worthy Down. The college will provide training for trainees from all of the Armed Forces.

“I am very proud to be leading our approach to meeting the challenge of sharing best practices across the military, in what will be modern, multi-purpose facilities at Worthy Down.”

Work on the first stage of construction is now close to completion. Training will continue on the site all the way through the construction process, which is set to complete by the end of 2019.

image © Crown Copyright

For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-infrastructure-organisation and: www.skanska.co.uk

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