Lovell is the company which is building 346 new homes for soldiers and their families at Beacon Barracks, Stafford, in little over a year. If you've read the blog Stuart Gallacher, the DIO Project Manager, wrote last year you'll already have a good overview of the project, which also includes renovations and new buildings for the barracks itself.
I am John Leary, the Project Director for Lovell, and I would like to bring you up to date with the story so far.
Needless to say, this has been a project like no other. Building this many homes would normally take a matter of years not months, but we love a challenge at Lovell and we were delighted that DIO put their faith in us to deliver.
Preparing The Land
Challenging it certainly is. We took over a derelict site last year and have transformed it. After securing full planning permission in May 2014, we undertook significant enabling works to prepare the site before starting in earnest in September 2014.
Since we were first awarded the contract, planning and logistics have been critical. We have engaged with trusted and experienced subcontractors and suppliers and created an outstanding and determined Lovell project team. We have also received unstinting support from DIO, MOD and the Army who have assisted us with a variety of challenges.
The complexity of the project is perhaps illustrated by the fact that each day, we have operatives from all trades on site, with over 100 homes at varying stages of progress from footings to snagging; all being worked on at any one time. During peak hours, there can be over 400 personnel on site. We’re delighted to report that there have been no reportable accidents or injuries thus far. We are determined that working at speed does not compromise our quality, our safety or our customer service.
The footings are now constructed on all 346 homes and this week the first handovers of homes from Lovell to MOD will take place. We expect the first homes to be occupied by May, and from now onwards, typically 15 homes per week will be finished and handed over.
The final homes will be handed over by the end of September.
This project takes me back to familiar territory, having been involved with MOD Housing throughout my career, including working with the Property Services Agency (PSA), Defence Housing Executive (DHE) and now DIO. Our Community Liaison Officer Helen Murphy was in the Forces herself, being a WREN for nine years, and she has been instrumental in working with the local community during the build process. Helen will be equally involved with families moving into the new homes.
Frankly, working on this prestigious and important scheme is a real privilege. Its speed of delivery is unprecedented in our sector and we continue to enjoy rising to the challenge. We are determined to provide outstanding new homes for our Armed Forces personnel and their families.
For more on the work at Beacon Barracks, have a look at DIO's video from September last year, marking milestones on both the SFA site and the barracks site.