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MoD seeks SMEs for maintenance and capital projects

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking SMEs to help deliver its new generation of contracts for the maintenance and development of the UK defence estate.

Low carbon and cost efficiency key

The MoD hopes to attract SMEs to its Next Generation Estate Contracts (NGEC) programme as subcontractors and suppliers, in the hope of driving low carbon innovation and cost efficiency.

“We see it as an advantage for us,” MoD NGEC head Steve Rice told NCE. “We believe we will be able to do things in a more economical way with SMEs.”

The MoD will use NEC3 instead of bespoke contracts for the first time, in the hope that a standardised contract form will open up the programme to smaller players.

SMEs will be scrutinised to determine their capability to manage NEC contracts, and encouraged to use NEC contract management software to avoid slip-ups, he said. The department has held networking events to encourage dialogue between SMEs and potential NGEC main contractors.

NGEC will comprise four Regional Prime contracts for maintenance and minor new works; a number of regional Core Works Frameworks delivering construction projects; one National Training Estate Prime contract for services including hard facilities management; and one National Housing Prime contract for housing maintenance. The new suite of contracts is estimated to be worth up to £600M per annum, and more than £5bn over 10 years.

Rice said details of specific projects likely to go ahead under NGEC are “difficult to predict”. But examples of recent projects include the £25.3M refurbishment of a 1950s Royal Air Force (RAF) taxiway in Norfolk and the construction of a new £13.2M Incident Command and Control Centre in Dunbartonshire.

Recent projects within the UK defence estate

Resurfaced southern taxiwayRAF Marham, Norfolk (£25.3M)

The existing taxiway is 30m wide and was constructed in the 1950s for the RAF V Bomber Force. The existing taxiway is a combination of pavement quality concrete (PQC) and bitumen-coated stone.

The bitumen sections have planned out and the materials have been recycled through a process called foam mix. Lime, fuel-ash, cement and bitumen are added to the planned materials, and after preparation the materials are then relaid back on the taxiway.

This is new technology which has been developed by DIO Professional Support Team (PST) Airfields and is the first project of this scale in which it has been used. 

Strengthened oil fuel jetty – Loch Ewe, Northwest Highlands (£3.8M)   

The project involved renewal of the jetty fender system. The existing timber fenders were removed and replaced by tubular steel piles. 

The whole project was undertaken from preliminary design to completion in under a year. The timing was critical as the installation had to be undertaken in the summer period.

Incident Command and Control Centre – Her Majesty’s Naval Base Faslane, Dunbartonshire (£13.2M)

This project is currently under construction. A structural steel frame and precast concrete wall units have greatly speeded up construction of the building shell. 

A more complex phase will now follow with the transfer and integration of major systems.

Upgrade to workshop and stores facility – Defence School of Transport (DST), Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire (£3.6M)

This project will increase the inspection and servicing capacity of DST. The extension will be constructed using a steel frame with insulated metal sheet cladding.

The finished facility will provide additional inspection pits and associated equipment and a new parts stores facility. In addition to the new extension the existing servicing workshop will have upgraded equipment installed.

Combined mess facility – RAF Fylingdales, North York Moors (£12.7M)

The new combined mess comprises single living accommodation (SLA) for eight officers, 10 senior non-commissioned officers and 27 other ranks, with associated public rooms including a central kitchen providing all meals for three separate dining rooms.

The mess was constructed using modular building technology for the SLA, and a steel frame and brick/stone faced cladding. It incorporates high levels of insulation, together with renewable energy technologies.

The new mess replaced three existing messes that were constructed in the 1960s, which did not meet current SLA standards, and which required increasing levels of maintenance.

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