Project Allenby Connaught

Project Allenby/Connaught is a 35 year commitment to provide modern, high quality, fully serviced, purpose built living and working accommodation for 18,700 soldiers.

Allenby/Connaught project summary

Project Allenby/Connaught has one simple mission – to make life better for some 18,700 soldiers (nearly 20% of the British army) by providing modern, high quality, fully serviced, purpose-built living and working accommodation. The contract was awarded to Aspire Defence Limited, a joint venture between Carillion and KBR, in April 2006.

In addition to a major £1.45 billion, 8 year construction programme involving the new build or refurbishment of 562 buildings and the demolition of 496, the 35 year project encompasses a wide range of support services including catering, cleaning, transport, estate management, document production and handling, stores and waste disposal. The project has a total through life value of some £8 billion and covers army garrisons across Salisbury Plain and at Aldershot.

On average, one new building is delivered to the army each week. Buildings include offices, stores, training facilities, dining centres, sports and leisure facilities, but the core is 261 accommodation units and in all the project will deliver or maintain 11,500 single en-suite bedspaces for single soldiers. This is not just a “quick fix”. Buildings will not be allowed to degenerate and they will be maintained throughout the life of the contract.

A key feature of the contract is the help desk physically located at each of the garrisons. The help desk provides a telephone, walk in and email point of contact for advice and assistance on all of the services that Aspire are responsible for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The helpdesks receive an average of 5,600 calls per month of which in excess of 98% are answered within 30 seconds.

  • in the first 6 years since the project began over 9,000 bed spaces have been delivered
  • 466 new and refurbished buildings constructed and 423 demolitions completed with 97% re-use of material
  • over 2 million meals served annually.

Contact details

Secretariat and Communications
Project Allenby/Connaught
Wellington House
St Omer Barracks
GU11 2BG

tel: 01252 348245

Who are Aspire Defence?

Aspire Defence is comprised of three entities:

  • Aspire Defence Limited (ADL)
  • Aspire Defence Capital Works (ADCW)
  • Aspire Defence Services Limited ADSL).

ADL is a special purpose vehicle set up specifically to deliver the 35-year Project Allenby/Connaught (PAC) awarded to ADL in 2006. The PAC contract aims to improve soldiers’ quality of life across the Salisbury Plain Training Area and at Aldershot. As a private finance initiative, funds were raised through a combination of bond funding and equity to complete the initial construction phase of the project. ADL is owned by three shareholders - KBR (45%) and funds managed by Innisfree (37.5%) and InfraRed (17.5%). Both ADCW and ADSL are owned by KBR.

From 2006 to 2014 ADCW completed a construction programme involving some 500 new or refurbished buildings to enhance the defence estate at the five garrisons it serves (Aldershot, Tidworth, Bulford, Larkhill, Perham Down and Warminster). In 2016, a variation to the PAC contract was signed to provide more infrastructure for around 4,000 personnel relocating under the Army Basing Programme.

By 2020 ADCW will have delivered around 130 buildings, ranging from single living accommodation and dining facilities to garages, stores and technical buildings. Approximately 200 extensions, alterations and refurbishments will also be completed. The new and improved accommodation will ensure that soldiers live, work and train in the best possible environments.

ADSL works with a number of key partners and a small number of support contractors to continue to deliver a broad range of hard and soft facilities management services across the garrisons including building, utilities and grounds maintenance, catering, stores management, transport, and Helpdesk and leisure services. Teams are based at each garrison location providing accommodation and support services for the Army.

Contact details

Aspire Defence
Aspire Business Centre
Ordnance Road
Wilts, SP9 7QD

Tel: 01980 886000

Agreement reached with Aspire Defence Limited

Information on the agreement reached with Aspire Defence Limited - April 2006

Agreement on Land Command’s Project Allenby/Connaught, the largest estates private finance initiative (PFI) project the MOD has ever undertaken, has been reached with Aspire Defence Limited.

The contract, which will last for 35 years, will provide modern living and working accommodation for some 18,000 military and civilian personnel in Aldershot garrison and in garrisons located in the Salisbury Plain training area. It has a particular focus on single living accommodation providing nearly 11,000 single en-suite bed spaces.

It will also include new dining facilities, theatres and community centres offering a high street style experience to army personnel. The project also encompasses a number of other support services including domestic services, estate management, document production and handling, stores, transport and waste disposal.

Service delivery commenced across the project footprint during July 2006, starting at Tidworth, Netheravon and Bulford Garrison on 10 July, Aldershot Garrison on 17 July and in Larkhill and Warminster Garrisons on 24 July. 381 civil service posts have TUPE transferred. This followed the formal 90 day TU consultation period, which commenced on 31 March 2006. There have been no redundancies as a result of this transfer.

Aldershot Garrison facts

Information on Aldershot Garrison

Facts on what PAC has delivered at Aldershot as at end October 2011

  • 57 new buildings including:
  • Wellington House – HQ of Ald Gar and 77 AEC
  • 1 junior ranks’ super diner
  • 1 pub
  • 22 new 36-man SLA blocks
  • 8 new 8-man houses
  • 7 new 48-man student blocks
  • 1 training wing
  • 2 offices
  • 4 technical Stores
  • community centre
  • P+RTC
  • combat sports centre
  • 1 guardroom and armoury
  • 1 ‘Pair and Share’ officers mess
  • 8 refurbished/altered buildings
  • 121 demolitions
  • 1,322 single en-suite bedspaces.

Major milestones:

  • contract award - 31 March 2006
  • construction start - May 2006
  • service commencement - July 2006
  • first key milestone – Wellington House - Oct 2007
  • St Omer phase 2 commenced - Jan 2009
  • construction phase completed - Dec 2014
  • end of contract - 2041.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Aldershot

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 4,800
  • 102 new buildings, 23 refurbished, 12 altered and 151 demolitions
  • create, maintain and refurbish 2,809 single en-suite bedrooms
  • local helpdesk available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • junior ranks dining centre delivered in March 2008. Capable of seating 450 soldiers at one sitting
  • St Omer phase 2 commenced Jan 2009 with 35 demolitions and 35 new buildings.


  • 2,900,000 safe man-hours have been worked without a serious incident.
  • Aldershot construction has an approximate value of £405 million.


  • helpdesk exceeding contractually stipulated deadline to answer 98.4% of all calls within 30 seconds. The number of calls average 900 per month.
  • Aldershot Garrison Radio

Garrisons within the project

  • Tidworth and Bulford Garrison
  • Larkhill
  • Warminster.


Preserving the past

Many buildings on the PAC site at Tidworth date back to the early 1900s.

Although many are due to be refurbished a large number of them have been demolished to allow for the provision of 21st century living accommodation.

To allow the demolition programme to proceed, it was agreed with English Heritage that a comprehensive historic building recording programme should be completed.

The programme, now complete, ensured the layout, structure and form of the buildings was recorded for posterity. It involved surveys and photography to record the important features, their setting and relationships to each other.

Together with this historic record a set of buildings within the Jellalabad barracks complex have been retained and formally listed in order to preserve them as a representative example of the military barracks of the Edwardian period.

The building recording programme was carried out using leading edge laser scanning technology which allows virtual ‘fly throughs’ of the site to show the layout and format of the site before demolition began.

The use of state-of-the–art recording techniques represents one of the largest digital scanning programmes to be carried out in Europe and will preserve a visual presentation of how the site looked for posterity.

Our commitment towards preserving significant artefacts was clearly illustrated in January 2007 when an excavator was carrying out a soil strip in Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth. He uncovered what turned out to be 3 Bronze Age pots full of human bone fragments.

The area was sealed off to allow Wessex Archaeology to investigate the find. They confirmed that the graves were 3,500 years old, making them the oldest finds from Tidworth.

Due to the close relationships that had developed between the parties there is a mutually agreed procedure to be followed in the event of such a find. The twin interests of documenting and preserving this significant archaeological find and maintaining progress on a major construction programme were both satisfied. Work resuming on the site within 2 days.

Project Allenby/Connaught news

Army takes delivery of 200th building in Bulford

A senior non-commissioned officer single living accommodation block became the 200th building to be accepted into service by the Ministry of Defence under Project Allenby/Connaught – the 35 year contract through which Aspire Defence, a joint venture between KBR and Carillion, is replacing and improving army living and working accommodation across the garrisons of Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.

The building, dating back to the early 1970s and located in Picton Barracks, Bulford, has been substantially refurbished to bring it up to 21st century standards with former 2 and 3 man rooms converted into 29 single en-suite rooms with modern finishes, furniture and fittings. Gone are the communal washrooms which have been converted into utility rooms, baggage stores and living out changing facilities. This newly refurbished accommodation block will be occupied by members of the sergeants’ mess 4 Military Intelligence Battalion.

The handover marks a significant milestone for Aspire Defence and the Ministry of Defence. In a little over 3 years 200 buildings including living accommodation, restaurants, regimental headquarters, messes, armouries, stores and leisure facilities have been built or refurbished, with on average, more than 1 new building being completed each week.

Once handed over, they are maintained by Aspire Defence Services Limited which provides a broad range of services: from technical stores management to tailoring of uniforms, from the provision of transport to catering – in fact just about everything needed to run a military garrison other than the physical security and guarding. These services will continue to be delivered for the full 35-year term of the contract. These improvements are helping to make soldier’s lives better by creating a modern living and working environment on the garrisons.

Doug Weidner, the MOD’s project manager, commented: “To deliver 200 buildings in just over 3 years, on time and in some cases ahead of schedule, is a great credit to all those involved with this landmark project, which really is making soldiers’ lives better. The MOD and Aspire set out to provide, on average, 1 building a week, and here we are delivering on that commitment and indeed exceeding it.”

Peter Smart, Chief Executive, Aspire Defence said: “This is an important achievement in a continuing success story. With 200 buildings delivered, we now have close to 3,600 soldiers living in the new accommodation. That means a step-change to the quality of life for those people and a real sense of satisfaction for all of those in Aspire Defence and the MOD who have worked so hard to bring this about”.

In all, in excess of 540 new and refurbished buildings, including 105 in Bulford, will be delivered and serviced under Project Allenby/Connaught, creating campus-style communities with high quality accommodation, amenities and services for some 18,700 soldiers – 20% of the British Army.

Aspire Defence continues to manage the changes, carrying out demolition and construction on numerous sites across the garrisons, often working alongside the army as they continue their everyday activities. Diggers and dumper trucks can often be seen next to tanks, horses and soldiers operating in a safe and considerate environment.

Bats in line for a good night’s sleep at new army barracks

As children up and down the land prepare to celebrate Halloween, the army have been doing their bit to ensure that one of the creatures most closely associated with the annual ghoulish celebration - the bat - will soon be able to look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Some of the buildings at the army’s latest purpose-built new barracks at Tidworth in Wiltshire have been specially designed to help house protected bats meaning soldiers aren’t the only ones to benefit from them.

Over 700 special ‘bat bricks’ – designed to mimic the bats natural habitat of cracks and crevasses - are being installed as part of a 35-year £8 billion rebuilding programme that is seeing new barracks and military offices being put up around Wiltshire and Hants.

The bat bricks (essentially bricks with holes in them for bats to roost in) along with cavity voids, partitioned loft spaces and squeeze boxes, are placed in the brickwork and lofts of the barracks where bats may roost.

Bats are a protected species and ensuring they have new roosts is an important part of the refurbishment and rebuilding programme which is seeing old Victorian barracks being replaced by state-of-the-art new ones.

It may seem ‘batty’ but the commitment to look after the bats is just one of a number of innovative environmental initiatives put in place by the MOD and the contractor, Aspire Defence. Rainwater is collected and used in the building process and thermal panels have been used to help provide hot water. Over 90% of the waste from the old demolished buildings will be re-used on the site.

MOD spokesman Paul Munro said:

Looking after the bats is one of a number of initiatives we and Aspire Defence have undertaken to help look after the environment. It is important we look after bats such as the brown long eared and common pipistrelles. It is a huge project and we commission a survey by a licensed bat worker of every old building before it is demolished and make sure there are new bat roosts in the modern accommodation buildings to compensate.

Defence Estates have set up a number of projects in recent years to protect wildlife. A project to protect a Bronze Age burial site on MOD land from a clan of badgers, while resettling the badgers at the same time, won the MOD’s 2007 Sanctuary Award. The Sanctuary Awards recognise both groups and individual efforts towards conservation of MOD land in the UK or overseas.

Commander in Chief visits new barracks for Royal Engineers

The Commander in Chief Land Forces, General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE, visited Perham Down to mark the completion of the newly rebuilt Swinton Barracks - home to 22 and 26 Engineer Regiments, by Project Allenby/Connaught. General Wall was received by the MOD’s project manager Mr Andrew Mathewson and Aspire Defence’s chief executive Peter Smart, before being taken on a tour of the new barracks by the commanding officer of 22 Engineer Regiment, Lt Col Andy Noble.

General Wall met soldiers from 22 Engineer Regiment in one of their new modern junior ranks single living accommodation blocks. The soldiers now benefit from living in single ensuite facilities - a far cry from the old barrack rooms with shared ablutions. Each accommodation block provides 36 ensuite bedrooms split into ‘6 room flats’ each of which have their own communal room, kitchen, utility, drying room and space to store extra kit.

22 Engineer Regiment’s Regimental Sergeant Major WO1 (RSM) Padley then invited the Commander in Chief into the new ‘shared facility’ - the warrant officers and sergeants mess - where he met mess members and was shown how both regiments use the flexible layout to host individual and joint functions.

The visit concluded at the junior ranks dining centre where General Wall was shown the new catering and dining facilities, as well as the café bar, shop, internet cafe and clubs provided on site for the soldiers. General Wall commented:

I am delighted to be at Perham Down today to mark the completion of a new barracks for 22 and 26 Engineer Regiments. The standard of accommodation – living, working and recreational - is nothing short of first class. The guaranteed maintenance element of the contract is also novel and should ensure the continued high standard over time.

The General continued: “Talking to some of the soldiers here today, I was pleased to hear how much they appreciate their new environment, and these superb facilities. This project and others across the country are delivering new campus-style barracks, with en suite accommodation – just what we need for our people in the 21st century.

I served at Perham Down when it was first built in 1975. That barracks had run its course and had become dilapidated and unsuitable over 30 plus years. The transformation here under Allenby/Connaught has been spectacular and we have similar progress elsewhere under this project. There is of course a long way to go to ensure that all our soldiers are provided with the very best living and working accommodation but this is an important step down that path.”

Peter Smart, Aspire chief executive said: “It’s a great achievement in a little over 3 years. This is the first complete camp delivered by Project Allenby/Connaught and provides soldiers with the standard of accommodation they deserve. Across the project we now have 4,000 soldiers living in modern, purpose built single ensuite rooms - just like the soldiers here today. Aspire Defence is proud that the provision of this first class accommodation and supporting services is directly improving the soldiers’ quality of life.”

Garrisons within the project

Information on the major garrisons that are within the Project Allenby/Connaught area.

The Allenby/Connaught project will redevelop the army barracks in Aldershot and around Salisbury Plain to create modern and flexible living and working environments for soldiers; including delivery of a wide range of support services, from catering and cleaning, to transport, utilities and stores management.

It has a particular focus on single living accommodation (SLA) providing nearly 11,500 ‘Z’ standard (single ensuite) bedrooms. It also enables the disposal of a large area of land in the Aldershot area. The project has an expected value of £8 billion over 35 years.

Larkhill Garrison

What PAC delivered at Larkhill by October 2011

  • 33 new/refurbished buildings including:
  • Watchkeeper and Bowman training buildings
  • 13 new 36-man blocks
  • 7 new 8-man houses
  • 2 refurbished JR block
  • community centre
  • 3 new workshops
  • 1 refurbished officers’ mess
  • 2 new SNCO SLA blocks
  • 821 new single ensuite bed spaces
  • 26 demolitions completed.

Key milestones:

  • contract award - 31 March 2006
  • construction start - Apr 2008
  • Service commencement - Jul 2006
  • first major milestone – Watchkeeper TRG building - Feb 2009
  • construction phase completed - Jul 2012
  • end of contract - 2041.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Larkhill

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 1,800 soldiers
  • 28 new buildings, 14 refurbished, 6 altered and 37 demolitions
  • create, maintain and refurbish 1,424 single en-suite bedrooms
  • local helpdesk available 24/7, 365 days a year.


  • nearly 1,000,000 safe man-hours have been worked without serious incident
  • Larkhill construction has an approximate value of £72 million.


  • helpdesk exceeding contractually stipulated deadline to answer 98.4% of all calls within 30 seconds. The number of calls average 700 per month.

Looking ahead

Sustainability issues never stand still and the project will embrace new and useful initiatives and techniques as they emerge.

BIOMASS option - self-generating energy solutions which include the use of rapeseed oil and wood chippings to provide heating/water on an industrial scale are actively considered.

Using BIOMASS as a fuel offers a number of advantages: it is a carbon neutral process and can offer potential economic advantages when a local fuel supply is used.

Project Allenby/Connaught is participating in field trials for Project Charcoal. The project is being carried out by the Universities of Surry and Sheffield with the forestry commission and has a funding of £500,000.

Project Charcoal is the research into the effect of the introduction of charcoal treated with selected micro-organisms to contaminated soil. Charcoal treatments have been shown to provide exceptional results in terms of controlling or eliminating pollutants. While at the same time using renewable, sustainable materials and standard construction techniques.

It is hoped that this technology, once proven, could bring widespread benefits to the wider UK redevelopment industry.

Modular construction

Accommodation blocks using modular construction

In excess of 350 new buildings will be erected during the project’s 8 year construction programme, a large number of which will be provided through offsite modular construction.

The various bedrooms (with ensuite shower rooms), lounge, utility room, storage area, corridor and bathroom modules are constructed under factory conditions. These are made to a virtually complete standard and then transported to site for assembly into a completed building.

This method offers a higher and more consistent quality control and a more cost effective solution than traditional onsite methods. It also presents other benefits from a sustainability standpoint.

  • shorter build time – factory construction of a module takes about a week. The assembly of the modules onsite into a 36 man, 6 man flat, accommodation block takes a further 5 days. The brickwork outer skin and roofing taking just over 4 weeks. This is a saving on overheads, cost of capital and provides the facility for earlier use
  • low carbon footprint - less energy is required to produce the modules given the economies of scale associated with the manufacturing facility
  • the risk of weather damage to components is reduced by pre-fabrication offsite thus minimising unnecessary wastage
  • the ability to stockpile modules within the factory to protect critical timelines on the construction programme
  • health and safety performance is improved as most of the works are completed in a controlled factory setting.

This sustainable approach is entirely consistent with ensuring rapid progress on a project the scale of PAC.

Project Allenby Connaught news

Allenby/Connaught scoops 3 awards

Project Allenby/Connaught scooped 3 major awards at the Public Private Finance Awards ceremony held last night in London. The 3 awards presented to Project Allenby/Connaught are: Best Operational Defence Scheme, Best Government/Government Agency Team award and the Grand Prix award for the ‘Best Operational UK Project’. The awards which are now in their tenth year are sponsored by Public Private Finance Journal, and recognise innovation and excellence in the public private partnerships industry.

The awards also recognise leading organisations which offer services as well as buildings and applaud those which strive for innovation and efficiencies.

PAC progress to date has been nothing short of excellent and just 2 years into the contract Aspire Defence and the MOD have already achieved outstanding results:

  • a full range of much improved services commenced within 90 days of contract signature and are making a real difference to the quality of life for the soldiers we support.
  • more than 100 new or refurbished buildings handed over and continue to do so ahead of programme, at an average rate of 1 a week.
  • nearly 2,000 soldiers have moved into their new single ensuite rooms.
  • we have shown flexibility by handling well over 200 significant changes since contract close with local requirements flexed on an almost daily basis.
  • all of this has been handled in a genuine and committed partnering relationship, held up as a model for other projects.

As a consequence, all soldiers returning from demanding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are now increasingly moving into new accommodation of a standard which they deserve and of which the nation can be proud.

Doug Weidner, MOD project manager, commented: “To win these awards is a fantastic accolade. To win the Best Government Team award recognises the efforts my team have put into this project. They are all totally committed to delivering what we have promised and Allenby/Connaught really is making soldier’s lives better and I am delighted to receive this award on their behalf.

“To also win the Grand Prix award and the award for the Best Operational Defence Scheme is a further endorsement of the progress we have made to improve the living and working accommodation for the British army. This is a complex project covering a huge area, which has the opportunity to improve the daily lives of more than 18,700 soldiers. Proof that we are delivering on this commitment can be seen around the garrisons which is recognised by winning these prestigious awards.”

Project history

Historical background

The War Office first purchased land on Salisbury Plain in 1897 primarily for army manoeuvres. The main acquisition programme was completed in 1902. Work started on building Tidworth garrison later that year with full occupation of the 8 barrack areas achieved by 1910. The other major Salisbury Plain garrisons followed over the next 30 years or so.

Aldershot Garrison, described as the “Home of the British army”, is one of the larger garrisons occupied by the services with about 4,700 troops. It is host to several formation headquarters, including HQ 4 Division, and a number of logistic and mechanised infantry units. It also serves as the army’s centre of sporting excellence. The garrison is bordered by the towns of Aldershot and Farnborough, the army Training Estate (ATE), and the Blackwater Valley Road.

The site has traditionally divided into North Camp, north of the Basingstoke Canal, and South Camp. The garrison is around 500 hectares in size and relatively open, with numerous sports pitches and other green areas. The area includes a number of individual barracks and other facilities and family quarters (FQs), which are leased from Annington Homes. The area represents 28% of the land in Rushmoor Borough Council.

The building stock ranged from listed buildings to Poulson “system buildings”, and included 3 new barracks completed since 1995, the most recent being New Mons.

Aldershot Garrison is unusual in that it owns a considerable proportion of its utilities and roads. These include an electrical network, tied into the partially operated Aldershot military power station, a district heating system covering South Camp, a water catchment area with treatment facilities and its own sewage network and treatment plant.

MOD policy on private finance initiative

In order to implement a number of changes to the organisation and location of many elements of the army across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot a PFI had to be examined as a potential procurement strategy. Land Command established two projects, ‘Allenby’ for Salisbury Plain and ‘Connaught’ for Aldershot, to undertake a scoping study to identify the potential for a public private partnership (PPP) solution.

Scoping study phase

The ‘Allenby’ and ‘Connaught’ scoping studies were started in late summer 1999. They concluded in February and April 2000 respectively. Both studies found that there was sufficient potential for PPP to justify undertaking a more detailed feasibility study. TU consultation was undertaken on the outcome of the scoping study and the ‘terms of reference’ (ToRs) for the ‘feasibility studies’ and no comments were received.

Project management

During the early stages of the feasibility work Land Command recognised the significant potential synergies between ‘Allenby’ and ‘Connaught’ and so in July 2000 it was decided to combine the management of the 2 projects. In addition, discussions with the approving authorities indicated that the 2 projects would not be considered in isolation. Work on the procurement options also highlighted the potential for combining the 2 projects into a single procurement activity. Hence it was decided to combine the reporting of the 2 projects into a single coherent document and merge the 2 teams.

Invitation to negotiate

An ‘invitation to negotiate’ was issued to three bidders on 31 July 2002: Abraxis; Aspire Defence Limited and Defence Accommodation Services Limited (DASL). However, DASL subsequently withdrew from the competition in October 2002.

On 11 December 2002 both consortia submitted their bids which were then subjected to rigorous evaluation and comparison to the departments own Public Sector Comparator (PSC). As a result of this demanding process Aspire Defence Limited were selected as the ‘provisional preferred bidder’ for Allenby/Connaught.

Main gate approval

In August 2004 the Investment Approvals Board and MOD ministers considered the Main Gate Business Case submitted for the project and approved, subject to final contract negotiations, Project Allenby/Connaught proceeding with Aspire Defence Limited as ‘preferred bidder’.

Contract award

Once Aspire Defence Limited had been appointed as the preferred bidder both parties undertook some detailed planning. This is a highly complex PFI contract and care had to be taken to ensure that the contractual details were absolutely right for a contract lasting 35 years. This was time very well spent as a smooth transition, a key project objective, was achieved and one that had to be delivered. The need for the garrisons to remain operationally effective at all times is absolutely essential. This is particularly relevant at the present time given the army’s current operational commitments around the world.

Sustainablility and design

Sustainability has been taken fully into account in the design of the new and refurbished buildings.

The project agreement requires all new buildings to achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating in the bespoke BREEAM and EcoHomes standards. Refurbished buildings must achieve a ‘Very Good’ rating.

As a result, all new and refurbished buildings will achieve one of these BREEAM certificates making PAC the largest concentration of such certification in the UK.

This adherence to BREEAM certification is not simply an aspiration. A demonstrator block, constructed to prove the design in 2005, was subjected to the same stringent sustainability requirements demanded by the contract. The building gained a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The sustainable development and energy management measures that are built into the contract are comprehensive and seek to deliver long term improvements in ‘quality of life’ on the estate.

Sustainability principles are observed in the siting of new buildings in order both to minimise the impact to the surrounding areas and local wildlife. They also encourage the use of alternative means of transport to the car.

More efficient land use in the project allows more troops to be accommodated across the project footprint but still releases 160 hectares for disposal.

A suite of sustainable design measures are being installed including ‘combined heat and power plants’. Extensive harvesting systems are used to collect and re-use rainwater. 17,500 cubic metres of water is collected, harvesting enough rainwater to fill 10 Olympic sized swimming pools each year. Or the equivalent of approximately 4,000,000 toilet flushes a year.

Solar thermal panels are used to provide hot water

The approach to environment and sustainability

PAC made sustainability a key requirement in its negotiations prior to contract award. Aspire has embraced this requirement. As a result a large part of the MOD estate, accommodating 20% of the British army, is to be built, maintained and serviced to very high sustainability standards.

Many of the Allenby/Connaught sites are located adjacent to designated ecologically-sensitive areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty or within regions of archaeological significance, such as Stonehenge, a world heritage site. Therefore sustainability was a key criterion during tender evaluation and throughout negotiations and embedded in the heart of the project.

The project has received an independent endorsement of its approach to sustainability, winning 2 awards at the 2007 Building Magazine Sustainability Awards – overall winner of the Sustainable Development of the Year and Best Sustainability Initiative for the public sector. These awards recognised the projects outstanding sustainability achievement and environmental excellence. Further awards include the 2008 Contract Journal Award for Environmental Leadership.


Sustainability is at the heart of what is important to the supplier, Aspire Defence Ltd, and the customer, the MOD, over the duration of this 35 year contract. It is tempting to think that at the end of this period sustainability will not rate such special consideration because PAC and other major estate development projects will have made the issue an accepted part of daily business.

Tidworth, Perham Down and Bulford Garrison

What PAC delivered by October 2011


161 new and refurbished buildings including:

  • 39 new 36-man SLA blocks, 27 8-man houses 3 new SNCO blocks
  • 1 new P+RTC
  • more than 140 new/refurbished buildings including 2 x junior ranks dining centres, 9 office blocks, 17 technical stores and 5 workshops
  • 142 demolitions
  • 2,524 single ensuite bed spaces.


88 new and refurbished buildings including:

  • 1 junior ranks’ dining centre capable of seating 406 soldiers at one sitting
  • 1 triple SNCO mess
  • 31 new 36-man SLA blocks, 6 8-man houses, 2 refurbished SNCO blocks, 1 new SNCO accommodation, 1 new Officers block, 2 refurbished officers messes (all Z standard ensuite)
  • 1 armoury
  • 4 technical stores
  • 1,579 single ensuite bed spaces
  • 66 demolitions.

Perham Down

  • all 31new buildings completed
  • 18 new 36-man SLA blocks, 4 8-man houses, 1 new 76 SNCO block (all z standard en suite) delivered
  • junior ranks dining centre delivered in June 2009. Capable of seating 140 soldiers at one sitting
  • all 13 refurbished/altered buildings completed
  • 28 demolitions
  • 810 single ensuite bed spaces.

Major milestones

  • contract Award - 31 March 2006
  • construction Start - May 2006
  • Service commencement - July 2006
  • construction phase completed - Dec 2013
  • end of contract – 2041
  • first major milestone Tidworth – completion of 2 RTR Bks - 21 July 2007
  • first key milestone Bulford: Detention Centre - Feb 2008
  • first key milestone: Technical Offices - 4 May 2007.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Tidworth

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 5,200
  • 119 new buildings, 42 refurbished, 16 altered and 149 demolitions
  • create, maintain and refurbish 3407 single ensuite bedrooms
  • local held desk available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • refurbishment of 8 x officers messes creating 113 ensuite bedrooms.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Bulford

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 3,500 soldiers
  • 70 new buildings, 15 refurbished, 27 altered and 90 demolitions in total
  • create, maintain and refurbish 1,954 single ensuite bedrooms
  • local helpdesk available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Perham Down

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 1,300 soldiers
  • 31 new buildings, 6 refurbished, 7 altered and 28 demolitions
  • create, maintain and refurbish 810 single ensuite bedrooms
  • local held desk available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • refurbishment of 2 x officers messes creating 54 ensuite bedrooms.


  • Tidworth nearly 3,400,000 safe man-hours have been worked without serious incident.
  • Tidworth construction has an approximate value of £455 million
  • Bulford nearly 100,000 safe man-hours have been worked without a serious incident.
  • Bulford construction has an approximate value of £255 million
  • Perham Down nearly 37,000 safe man-hours have been worked without serious incident.
  • Perham Down construction has an approximate value of £140 million.


  • help desk exceeding contractually stipulated deadline to answer 98.4% of all calls within 30 seconds.
  • the number of calls averages 3,000 per month

Tidworth celebrates the 100th building accepted into service

The newly refurbished Assaye Officers’ Mess for 1 Royal Horse Artillery (1 RHA) became the 100th building to be completed in Tidworth by Project Allenby/Connaught, thus making the Edwardian living accommodation fit for the 21st century and bringing the total up to 161 buildings delivered across the whole of the project.

The mess, which includes a lodge and annex, can accommodate up to 51 officers. The refurbished building provides modern dining and living facilities with ensuite accommodation which has been converted from single rooms with communal facilities.

To preserve the architectural heritage of the 1 RHA Officers’ Mess, the original facade and entrance to the building have been retained, along with the formal sweeping driveway to the pillared main entrance.

The Commanding Officer of 1 Royal Horse Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Humphrey said:

The completion of Assaye Mess is a milestone for both 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and Aspire Defence, and appropriate that the 100th building on Tidworth Garrison goes to the 1st Regiment. Its re-occupation will mark the near completion of a completely redeveloped barracks providing much improved infrastructure and facilities. Most importantly the redevelopment of Assaye Barracks has given my soldiers a quality of life they have deserved for many, many years.

Doug Weidner, project manager for the MOD’s Project Allenby/Connaught said:

This is another significant milestone for the project and further evidence of the outstanding progress we have made here in Tidworth just 2½ years into the contract. The work here, and indeed at other garrisons in the project’s footprint, has transformed the lives of the soldiers who live and work on the garrison. It is also testament to the effectiveness of the working relationship we have with our contractor, Aspire Defence, who has been set some very challenging deadlines for the delivery of new and refurbished buildings and, I am pleased to say, they have proved up to the mark.

Peter Smart, chief executive of Aspire Defence Limited said:

We are delighted to hand over to the CO 1 RHA, this, our 100th building at Tidworth. In refurbishing this mess we have brought it up to modern standards, with single ensuite rooms but have also preserved the very distinct and important character of the building. Perhaps more important than 100 buildings, 30 months into the contract we already have over 2,500 hard working soldiers living in new accommodation across the project – we really are making their lives better and with the delivery of another building every week we look forward to extending that to many more soldiers over the coming months.

Warminster garrison

What PAC delivered by October 2011

To date:

  • 23 new/refurbished buildings including:
  • 1 new super diner built
  • 12 new 36-man SLA blocks
  • 4 new 8-man houses
  • 2 SNCO SLA block
  • 1 community centre
  • 674 single ensuite bed spaces
  • 23 buildings demolished.

Major milestones

  • contract award: 31 March 2006
  • construction start: January 2008
  • Service commencement: July 2006
  • first major milestone: junior ranks dining centre: 30 March 2009
  • construction phase completed: December 2013
  • end of contract: 2041.

Project Allenby/Connaught in Warminster

  • 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Ltd
  • home to approximately 2,100 soldiers with a throughput of 17,000 per annum
  • 33 new buildings, 10 refurbished, 0 altered and 41 demolitions
  • create, maintain and refurbish 1,415 single ensuite bedrooms
  • local helpdesk available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • 12 new 36-man SLA blocks (all z standard en suite) delivered 2010-2011
  • junior ranks dining centre delivered in April 2009. Capable of seating 233 soldiers at one sitting.


  • nearly 825,000 safe man-hours have been worked without incident
  • Warminster construction has an approximate value of £140 million.


  • helpdesk exceeding contractually stipulated deadline to answer 95% of all calls within 30 seconds
  • the number of calls average 600 per month.

Wildlife protection

Homes for bats and a new home found for lizards

Every building to be demolished is fully assessed for bats and nesting birds by licensed surveyors. A number of bat species have been encountered to date, including brown long-eared and common pipistrelle. In order to compensate for the loss of roosting areas, the single living accommodation blocks are fitted with a range of bat mitigation features. These include bat bricks, bat cavity spaces, squeeze boxes and partitioned loft spaces.

This range of design measures is intended to offer the various species of bats a variety of habitats to encourage them to roost within the buildings and so preserve their continued presence in the area. Allenby/Connaught is one of the largest bat mitigation schemes ever undertaken.

Before construction began at the Perham Down site reptiles, slow worms and common lizards were found. Using specialist reptile relocation techniques around 1,000 animals were successfully moved to an approved receptor site in advance of the ground works commencing.

Working together

Sustainability has been at the heart of the project since the outset. A cooperative approach with interested external organisations will continue for the duration of the project. A collaborative project was undertaken during 2007 with Natural England, Defence Estates and Kennet District Council. This was to compensate for the unavoidable loss of calcareous grassland (a highly valuable bio diverse habitat) in the Perham Down area as a result of the PAC build programme.

Salisbury Plain is the largest calcareous grassland area in Europe and the project compensates for the loss of such grassland by providing new areas offsite to ensure this valuable resource is protected.

Further information

Affordability and risk

A Public Sector Comparator (PSC) was prepared which represented what the MOD would do if a PFI were not an option. The PSC has been used as a benchmark against which the bids from the private sector have been compared to ensure that best value for money is being achieved.

The contract has been negotiated such that services are periodically benchmarked throughout the life of the contract, thus ensuring continuous value for money.

The PFI solution offered a number of qualitative benefits including:

  • a single partner providing assured standards over 35 years, underwritten by a taut incentivised payment mechanism
  • transfer of key risks, such as planning permission, design maintenance and construction, etc, to the commercial sector
  • faster build programme
  • enhanced residual value and condition of accommodation at end of contract.

Aspire Defence Limited is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up specifically for the project and brings together Carillion and Kellogg Brown and Root in a consortium. They bring a wealth of experience in managing large scale and long term PFI projects. We are working closely with Aspire and are confident that the contractual obligations placed on both parties will deliver a value for money product.

Under the PFI, Aspire will be responsible for the key construction and support related risks, such as maintenance and through life costs. Performance will be incentivised by a payment mechanism linked to performance and availability.

Services will be subject to benchmarking and/or market testing 10 years after financial close and every 7 years thereafter.

One of the strategic aims set out in Defence Estate Strategy 2006 is to have an estate of the right size to meet the military need. This will be an estate of fewer, larger sites in the UK and overseas, appropriately located and making the best use of available resources while remaining fully capable of meeting military needs. Sites identified as having the potential for future development include Aldershot and Salisbury Plain.

The strategy for the army estate contains a concept of ‘super garrisons’ of which Salisbury Plain and Aldershot are 2, into which under any future organisational changes the army will seek to concentrate. Therefore while some units might relocate or be disbanded, they will be back-filled by units from other locations. The requirement for significant investment in the garrisons included within the project footprint is therefore robust.

PFI and background to the project

A Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project is one in which the private sector partner invests in assets and facilities from which it then provides services over the long term to the public sector. In the case of Allenby/Connaught the private sector will provide serviced accommodation and other support services. PFIs are widely used both within the MOD and across the wider public sector. MOD has PFIs for housing, simulators, vehicles, office accommodation and training establishments. Other sectors use PFI for roads, schools, hospitals, rail and office accommodation.

Project Allenby/Connaught is a long-term venture of 35 years with a scale and diversity that brings efficiencies and gives Aspire Defence the chance to invest in facilities and staff. It also provides a high degree of stability.

More army units, along with their associated personnel and equipment, needed to use and/or be accommodated in the garrisons adjacent to the Salisbury Plain Training Area and within Aldershot Garrison. A reorganisation of force structures also resulted in some unit moves. Allenby/Connaught, was established to examine the best way of meeting these requirements. The ultimate aim was to improve the living and working environment of all personnel, while achieving long term value for money and it is flexible enough to take into account any new additional initiatives.

Construction and service delivery

During the first 8 years of the contract there will be a significant capital works programme (new buildings/demolition/refurbishment). This started in the areas of greatest need (Aldershot, Perham Down and Tidworth) and will involve the construction of new buildings that would cover an area twice the size of Hyde Park.

Serial (a) Site(b) Construction Start Date (c) Construction End Date (d) Remarks (e)
1 Tidworth May 2006 Dec 2013  
2 Bulworth Jan 2007 Jun 2013  
3 Larkhill Apr 2008 Mar 2013  
4 Perham Down May 2006 Oct 2011  
5 Warminster Jan 2008 Mar 2014  
6 Aldershot May 2006 Dec 2014  

Three months after contract award Aspire started to provide an extensive range of support services, these will be provided over the 35 year term of the contract.

Aspire will provide a wide range of services including the management of nearly 1,000 green and white fleet vehicles, the management of garrison stores facilities, catering (some 430 military catering staff will assist them), domestic services, utilities and waste management.

Demolition works

Based on current plans, in excess of 450 buildings will be demolished across the project footprint.

Many of the sites within the project’s footprint have been in use since the early 1900s and much of the built estate dates back to that time. Although there have been some new buildings on these sites, much of the accommodation is beyond its economic life, and is also unfit for today’s need, for example, shared rooms instead of single rooms.

Aspire has compiled a detailed programme of construction and where necessary demolition, in order to meet the army’s requirements. Buildings for which future use remains unclear will be made “wind and weather proof” in order to reserve our position and reduce costs.

Buildings affected by site

Site New Refurbished/Altered Demolished
Tidworth 116 48 142
Bulworth 69 36 83
Larkhill 17 26 22
Peham Down 31 11 27
Warminster 30 14 38
Aldershot 105 36 137
Totals 368 170 449

Personnel impact

Approximately 380 MOD civil service posts were transferred to the Aspire Defence Limited consortium under TUPE rules. TUPE legislation protects the terms and conditions of transferring employees. Occupational pensions are outside the scope of TUPE legislation however the MOD requires that when its staff transfer to a private company they are offered a pension scheme by their new employer that is comparable to their existing civil service scheme. There were no redundancies.

Approximately 1,800 personnel employed through existing contracts were transferred to the Aspire Defence supply chain.

Community benefits

It is envisaged that a particular benefit to arise from the project will be the opportunities for closer integration between military and civilian communities.

This could occur for example in areas such as further shared use of leisure, recreational and community centre facilities, including a new community centres at Larkhill and Warminster and a new theatre at Tidworth, all of which will be available to the local residents as well as army personnel and families.

The scale of the proposed developments means that close co-ordination with regional government offices, county and district councils as well as statutory bodies and non-governmental organisations has been essential. The local authorities have been consulted on traffic, schooling and primary health care. Planning authorities have been engaged at all stages and their agreement to proceed has been essential.

Environmental impact

Full external scrutiny of the project has been undertaken and the new and refurbished buildings will be BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) compliant. All new builds are required to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and any refurbishment must achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. Also, as part of their contractual obligations, Aspire are required to implement key environmental efficiencies such as rainwater harvesting, solar thermal and combined heat and power solutions.

The project team and Aspire are working very closely with county and district councils, the Environment Agency, English Heritage, English Nature and others to ensure that environmental and sustainability issues are taken into account. The assessment of potential environmental impacts has progressed jointly with local authorities and statutory bodies and various reports have been submitted as part of the consultation process.

Separate studies have been commissioned for Aldershot and Salisbury Plain Training Areas and have been used to support the project’s proposals. The project will adhere to sustainable development principles and environmental management systems. Aspire Defence has undertaken a full environmental impact assessment to support their detailed plans.

In addition, buildings will have solar panels, rainwater harvesting and metering. Buildings will be regularly monitored to ensure that energy efficiencies are maximised. Buildings will also conform to the latest standards for insulation.

Updates to this page

Published 12 December 2012
Last updated 27 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added the About Aspire Defence section.

  2. Changed misleading page title as project Allenby/Connaught doesn't related to Services Familiy Accomodation (SFA)

  3. First published.

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