Fifteen years of engineering for MOD’s Aspire Defence scheme
Based in an unassuming single-storey office at Mons Barracks, Aldershot, a team of Waterman’s engineers has spent the last fifteen years painstakingly designing and delivering hundreds of projects for the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Since our initial appointment by Aspire Defence in February 2005, we have completed 376 new assets and 167 refurbishments for the Army, covering a total floor area of around 170,000 m².
Commencing in 2006, the Project Allenby/ Connaught (PAC) scheme set out to modernise the Army’s existing estate and provide fit-for-purpose accommodation, ultimately ensuring soldiers live and work within a best-in-class environment.
The scale and scope of the Aspire Defence venture evolved over time, with PAC going on to deliver a transformative £1.6bn defence infrastructure overhaul during its initial phase, impacting the garrisons of TidNBul (Tidworth, Bulford, Perham Down), Larkhill, Aldershot and Warminster by the time it completed in 2014.
Initially appointed to carry out MEP design services for the early refurbishment works scheduled for PAC, the scope of our involvement quickly evolved to match the growing scale of the scheme. Soon our team was providing detailed design input for multiple new build and refurbishment schemes, supplying environmental accreditation advice, working closely with the utility, communications and data specialists. As the individual projects progressed into the construction phase, we continued our support, carrying out site inspections, generating Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and providing logbooks for all the technical and working assets within the scheme.
Once the initial PAC scheme had been successfully delivered, our services were retained by Aspire Defence Capital Works (ADCW) for the Army Basing Programme (ABP). This £1.1bn variation to the original contract would further reconfigure the Army’s living and working infrastructure from 2016 to 2020, to accommodate units returning from Germany, whilst also rebasing units within the UK.
ABP saw further upgrades to the infrastructure and assets at garrisons across Salisbury Plain Training Area and at Aldershot. Working alongside the now-established Aspire project team, our engineers provided MEP designs for a further 92 technical assets over the next five years. At ABP’s peak, we tackled more than 20 projects simultaneously, issuing construction information on up to four assets per week, ranging from stores and Dutch barns to battalion headquarters and state-of-the-art simulator training facilities.
With work now underway on all garrison sites, our team continues their involvement with the project, completing the remaining designs, providing construction support, carrying-out site inspections and ensuring the successful integration of completed assets into service.
Paul Jones, Waterman’s Technical Director for Building Services, has a long-standing involvement with Aspire Defence. He said; “This significant project has been a major undertaking for the whole team. It has seen our involvement grow steadily over the last fifteen years as we have helped to successfully deliver one of the largest PFIs ever let by the MOD. As the project has evolved and grown, so our team has flourished, garnering a wealth of experience, knowledge and capability in the sector. With the ABP scheme now drawing to a close, we look forward to further utilising our defence sector experience as we continue to work with the Army and MOD.”