DIO completes state-of-the-art gym for Royal Navy

The building was officially handed over to the Royal Navy this week. All parties have collaboratively worked to maintain momentum on the project and deliver this essential training facility for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The project adapted working practices to ensure health and safety of all staff following new government and construction industry guidelines related to COVID-19.

The £9-million facility is scaled for the occupants of the college of 800 people, including cadets and BRNC staff, and will support the college to deliver 21st century physical training to modern Navy standards.

A multi-purpose main hall and three versatile activity spaces will allow cadets to undertake essential military fitness training and a wide range of other sports.

Front view of the Britannia Royal Naval College.

Britannia Royal Naval College’s newly completed physical training centre, MOD Crown copyright, 2020.

DIO worked closely with Navy and DIO’s Consultants Mott MacDonald to develop the design into a fit for purpose facility in line with the agreed requirements while taking into consideration the College Navy Physical Training Instructor (PTI) staffing levels, the site constraints and through life building and maintenance costs.

The agreed location and design also required DIO and its consultants to undertake extensive consultation with numerous stakeholders including the Local Planning Authority, Historic England and Natural England over a number of years.

Of particular importance was ensuring that the building did not impact any of the local indigenous wildlife while still meeting all Royal Navy training requirements.

Close attention was paid to material choices to seamlessly blend the structure into its agreed location while maintaining consideration for both the historic significance of BRNC and the wider community in Dartmouth.

The design also considered emissions and BRNC’s carbon footprint whilst improving the building’s resilience to future climate change. This included incorporation of both solar thermal heating to reduce gas demand on the hot water supply and photovoltaic panels to reduce use of electricity. Wind catchers on the roof will help to naturally ventilate the main sports hall which is a greener alternative to air conditioning.

Simon Jones, DIO Senior Project Manager, said:

DIO has been proud to deliver this important facility for the Royal Navy.

We used our expertise throughout DIO along with our partners Kier and Mott Macdonald to overcome several pre- and post-construction challenges to see it completed is incredibly rewarding.

I am very proud how all parties pulled together to complete their respective tasks for this Defence project especially in these unprecedented times.

This modern and fit for purpose gym will ensure that cadets, staff and others will be able to access the training facilities they need for many years to come.

Doug Lloyd, operations director at Kier Regional Building in Western and Wales, states:

The completion of the new physical training centre at Britannia Royal Naval College builds on our successful delivery of infrastructure for the DIO on projects across the UK. We are delighted to have completed and handed over this first-class facility.

Our highly skilled teams have worked compassionately within the Royal Navy’s grounds and the building has a number of features to help offset the MOD’s carbon emissions. Throughout the duration of this project, we have also worked with our local supply chain and provided job and training opportunities as we look to leave lasting legacies in areas in which we build.

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