three/four storey buildings

SECTOR: Military
CLIENT / END USER: DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) with Kier & Balfour Beatty
PROGRAMME: 13 months
LOCATION: Lyneham, Wiltshire
SIZE: 12 three/four storey buildings constructed from 1196 modules
SCOPE: Full design and build of accommodation complex comprising 1145 bedrooms plus communal areas and entrance foyers
VALUE: £27.5m
BREEAM: Very Good

One of the major benefits of using modular systems in construction projects is that high levels of safety, productivity and quality can be reached for our clients

Roger FrostBalfour Beatty Project Director


A major part of the £121 million Ministry of Defence contract entitled ‘Project Hercules’, a joint venture between Kier Group and Balfour Beatty, the project at Lyneham, Wiltshire has helped transform the former RAF airbase into the new Defence College of Technical Training.

Project Delivery

Specified to an equivalent standard of a three-star hotel, each of the new individual bedroom units manufactured and installed by Caledonian comprises wardrobe, desk, lighting and power fittings, an ensuite shower room and curtains. Each individual module was approximately 90% fitted out before leaving the Newark-based factory.

The Defence College of Technical Training project was particularly time sensitive and a modular solution for the accommodation was always a key consideration. The client, the DIO, has for more than a decade championed the use of modern off-site methods of construction and modular building was an obvious fit.

Roger Frost, Balfour Beatty Project Director said; “One of the major benefits of using modular systems in construction projects is that high levels of safety, productivity and quality can be reached for our clients”.

A preliminary 3D model was created by Architects, Scott Brownrigg to help visualise the project. 3D modelling based upon BIM principles was utilised to create structural details for factory manufacture and to co-ordinate with M & E design. 3D modelling enabled the design team to produce larger volumes of drawings for steelwork fabrication in order to increase factory production volumes and to enhance accuracy of manufacture. Lean manufacturing methodologies enabled the manufacture of 10 modules per day to meet the required programme.

Caledonian leveraged past experience, in-house knowledge of the technical standards and performance criteria required by the client, production capability (as the United Kingdom’s largest supplier of offsite solutions), the ability to meet a very tight programme (and still remain cost competitive) to drive a successful selection process.
The diversity of size and scale of the buildings (initially 11 buildings – however, a 12th building was added post contract award), providing 1145 bedspaces covering five different variants of Joint Service Publication (JSP) Scales, required a careful, diligent and professional approach by all involved in delivering the completed project in 11 months.

An opportunity for inherent efficiency existed due to the sheer scope and scale of the scheme. Efficient design lead to efficient production. In addition, as the 12 buildings are three or four storeys in height, commonality of parts enabled replication across the scheme. In general terms during the modular manufacturing process, when utilising a repeat working method, by the 100th unit, 30% efficiency savings are achieved.

Caledonian buildings meet the DIO’s DREAM (Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology) Excellent rating.

The Completed Building

The new Defence College of Technical Training brings together training for the RAF, Army and the Navy. The college delivers training in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering and Communications and Information Systems.

The development provides new single living accommodation, purpose-built teaching facilities, a large outdoor training area and a publicly-accessible museum for the Army’s Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Lyneham’s history of repatriations will be preserved and honoured with a memorial dedication, an area of the museum, and a Garden of Remembrance.