top of page

Army Reserve Centre






Following a complex groundworks package, Vale Southern Construction created a range of new facilities for the Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association.

The Brief

The Wessex Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting the 4,600 tri-service Reservists and 15,000 Cadets across seven counties in the southwest and on the Channel Islands. The organisation also provides support and assistance to the employers of Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.

The Association wanted to transform a redundant space at the Army Reserve Centre in Swindon into new workshops, garages, storage, and a gym.

Complex groundworks

Before construction could begin, a large concrete slab had to be entirely removed from the site as asbestos was discovered in the ground. This process created a hugely challenging workspace for Vale Southern. Underneath the concrete, the ground was heavily waterlogged and unstable. To create a suitable, temporary base for the groundworks, the team had to keep filling the area with Type 1 aggregate allowing a new concrete slab to be installed with a double layer reinforcement.

The discovery of asbestos also meant the existing drainage system was no longer usable for the new facilities, so had to be replaced by Vale Southern.

Rising to the challenge

Two main units were constructed to house the new facilities which were then segregated into six smaller spaces to accommodate different departments. One end of the structure was designed for lockable storage to keep equipment safe and secure. This required high security fencing to be installed inside the building. Specialist shelving was also sourced and installed for gun equipment.

To help minimise environmental impact, the development was built to meet standards set by the Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology (DREAM). This tool has been developed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for new build and refurbishment projects. To achieve the DREAM rating, Vale Southern installed a number of energy saving measures, including solar roof panels.

The project also included a mechanical and electrical package, which saw Vale Southern upgrade the power supply, install data points, and energy efficient lighting.

Stakeholder engagement

Adding to the complexity of the work, was the site’s location. A large nursery is situated next door to the development and the main railway line from London to Bristol runs along the back.

Throughout the groundworks phase and during construction, Vale Southern liaised closely with the staff of the nursery to keep them informed and any particularly noisy works were timed to minimise disruption.

The team also consulted with Network Rail to manage the timings and operation of a crane, and deployed specialist engineers to oversee the lifts.


bottom of page