A big focus for the DIO Defence Training Estate (DTE) team and I is upgrading some of the accommodation where Armed Forces stay during exercises on the UK DTE. Personnel using Salisbury Plain and Nesscliff Training Areas are seeing the benefit of the early stage of a new programme to provide new carbon efficient accommodation on a number of sites. We are calling this £45m project the Net Carbon Accommodation Programme (NetCAP).
The programme is being part-funded using money from a £200m investment to improve Armed Forces accommodation, which was announced by the Defence Secretary last summer. We are investing over £35 million of this funding, in addition to funding from the British Army, into this nationwide programme which aims to improve facilities for troops when they are training away from their permanent barracks. They might only be staying there for a matter of days or a couple of weeks, but comfortable, modern accommodation can make a real difference.
The remainder of the £200 million investment is being spent on Service Family Accommodation, training accommodation at Longmoor Training Camp, and improvements to Single Living Accommodation across Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy sites.
A carbon efficient building
Working with our industry partner Landmarc Support Services and contractor Reds10, we are installing 38 new carbon efficient accommodation blocks across the UK Defence Training Estate, which will provide more than 1,700 bed spaces.
Westdown Camp on Salisbury Plain was the first to receive a new carbon efficient accommodation block, with high-tech features such as air source pumps and rooftop solar panels providing the building’s heating and hot water requirements. Its A-rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) was further improved on for three new accommodation blocks at the second site, Nesscliff Training Area in Shropshire, which have an EPC rating of -5. This means they actually generate power for the site, reducing electricity costs.
Benefits of modular construction
All accommodation is being designed and constructed off-site by modular building specialists Reds10, before being transported to the site for assembly and installation.
The manufacture and installation process for the new accommodation block at Westdown Camp took just 15 weeks, and the team was then able to use the experience gained to complete all three buildings at Nesscliff in 13 weeks.
On-site installation takes about a month, minimising disruption for training troops compared to traditional construction timeframes. At each site, labour was locally sourced, reducing the carbon footprint and helping to boost local economies by providing 400 jobs across the programme, 150 of which were new.
A major benefit of modular construction is that it allows the same design to be re-used, but with the ability to make changes and improvements. This meant that Reds10 were able to build on some of the initial successes of the first accommodation block at Westdown Camp, with the subsequent buildings at Nesscliff achieving net zero and a 30% reduction of embodied carbon compared to Westdown Camp.
Over the next year or so, we’ll see very similar buildings being installed on a number of other sites, including Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire, Warcop in Northumbria, Knook Training Camp on Salisbury Plain, Brunswick Camp in Hampshire, and West Tofts and Wretham on Stanford Training Area in Norfolk.
This is a big project for us and it’s fantastic that this investment is allowing us to do something which will make a real positive change for personnel training on our sites.