UK government's £30m Energetics Analysis Centre officially opened in royal visit
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has seen its new £30m Energetics Analysis Centre (EAC) officially opened by royalty.
Dstl’s new facility, based at its headquarters near Salisbury, Wiltshire, will provide the UK with world-class science and engineering capabilities to provide a defence against the use of energetic or explosive materials and protect against terrorist and criminal threats.
It provides Dstl with a modern, safe, and regulatory compliant strategic asset that will play a vitally important role in keeping the UK and its people safe.
National independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard – operating under Perfect Circle’s unique collaboration and as one of its shareholders and founding partners – provided project management, cost management (QS), risk management and NEC supervision services for the project, which has been accelerated and performance managed by SCAPE, the UK’s leading public procurement authority.
Lance Hodges, programme director for the project at Pick Everard, said: “The complex nature of the EAC required a totally inclusive approach to all works from the very outset.
"This included early contractor involvement from the principal contractors Willmott Dixon and NG Bailey, during which value management and cloud-based building information modelling (BIM) and contract management software helped to improve design efficiency.
“While construction was underway, there were some complex changes that needed to be made, presenting the team with challenges.
"This is where our role as NEC supervisors came in, allowing us to implement the use of NEC’s change management mechanisms so that the contractor was able to openly develop prices, proposals and solutions with minimal impact to delivery timescales and overall cost.
"It also allowed us to identify any supply chain delivery issues or design anomalies as early as possible throughout the build, allowing resolutions to be sourced speedily to maintain the overall programme – something critical to the client for such a strategic asset for the UK.”
Doug Embers, chief operating officer at Dstl, said: “I am very impressed with the work that has been completed on the new Energetics Analysis Centre.
"This new state-of-the-art facility will be where we will conduct world-class research and analysis across government, including the Ministry of Defence, Home Office, Department for Transport, and other agencies to give the UK military and security advantage, protecting against terrorist and criminal threats.
"This was a highly complex construction project and Pick Everard, alongside Willmott Dixon and NG Bailey, has delivered a first-class building, which will enable the capability to continue to deliver its expertise for years to come.”
The EAC saw a rare royal visit during the COVID-19 pandemic when Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the new £30m facility, accompanied by The Duke of Cambridge, in her first public appearance outside her household since early March.
The royals were shown around the specialist centre, including a demonstration of explosives detection capabilities. A simulated forensic explosives investigate was provided by scientists from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL), which is one of several world-leading capabilities found in the EAC.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also met Dstl staff who have been providing specialist scientific advice and support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those involved in providing a rapid operational response to the Novichok incident in 2018.
Lance continued: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been part of this exceptional project, but to see it opened by The Queen and Prince William in such a high-profile visit is a huge honour and testament to the fantastic facility added to Dstl’s portfolio thanks to hard work and true collaborative efforts from the entire project delivery team.”
Victoria Brambini, managing director of Perfect Circle, said: “It is a privilege to have a project that Perfect Circle was involved in opened by The Queen and Prince William – a truly great accolade, particularly during a pandemic, and a real demonstration of the importance of the world-class EAC, which will benefit us all in the UK.
“Procuring Perfect Circle’s services via SCAPE Consultancy drove collaboration and helped to maintain the overall programme timescales, which was critical given the national significance of the centre, which will be used by hundreds of scientists to conduct research and analysis – creating a lasting legacy for our country and protecting us against terrorist and criminal threats.”
Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, added: “It is a privilege and an honour that our framework has helped to accelerate the successful delivery of the Energetics Analysis Centre.
“The Perfect Circle team should be commended for the care, expertise and quality of service they brought to such a complex and strategically important project.
"The results are absolutely clear; that this world-class facility was delivered to an exceptional standard and it will undoubtedly play a vital role in protecting the UK population for many years to come.”