Working for DIO opens up a range of unique opportunities to support the Armed Forces in a variety of ways and our US Visiting Forces Infrastructure Programme (UIP) is no exception.
The UIP programme is made up of several more focused programmes to develop infrastructure at various RAF bases used by the US Air Force.
The most advanced of these is the RAF Lakenheath F35 programme.
RAF Lakenheath will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F35s in Europe.
Construction has begun this month on the first set of projects to prepare the airbase in Suffolk for the arrival of two new squadrons of US F35s in 2021. We have just held a ground breaking ceremony at the airbase with USAF’s 48th Fighter Wing, Kier and VolkerFitzpatrick to officially mark the start of construction on various buildings.
Working with our partners
DIO, along with joint venture Kier VolkerFitzpatrick, is undertaking this work as part of a £160 million contract to build a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities.
DIO awarded the contract in November 2018 with a focus on partnership working. This is an incredible opportunity for UK Defence and for the local area.
It is important to DIO and our partners in the project that we involve the local community and ensure that the projects have a positive impact on the local area. At the height of construction, we expect that there will be up to 700 people on site supporting the programme. The investment will provide wider benefits both to the project and to the local economy.
DIO is working closely with Forest Heath District Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to ensure that the opportunities to create employment and training are maximised and that they last beyond the end of construction. In the first six months of the project six apprentices were taken on and 22 new jobs were created. A ‘meet the buyers’ event was also held recently for local companies to understand what work opportunities are available in the project.
We also want it to be a sustainable and innovative project.
Recycling and reusing materials for construction
A total of 18 buildings are being demolished to make way for construction of the new facilities. Many of the old buildings were built with heavily reinforced concrete so contractors have had to employ specific techniques and equipment to bring the buildings down efficiently. They are using a hydraulic excavator equipped with specialised attachments that can break concrete and steel, effectively ‘chewing’ the structures apart.
Waste materials will be recycled wherever possible. Timber and metal will be carefully preserved for re-use if appropriate.
The metal reinforcements in the buildings will be separated from the concrete and sent away to be recycled, possibly returning to site or to another construction project as reinforcement or structural steelwork.