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Developing the naval dockyard of the future

Delivery Partner for the 10 Dock Programme and the Major Infrastructure Projects (MIP) at Babcock’s Devonport facility

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Babcock International

(With the Submarine Delivery Agency and Royal Navy being the ultimate customers)

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Costain in joint venture (JV) with Mott MacDonald

Key Benefits

Best practice and specialist procurement expertise

identified collaborative procurement arrangements to aid schedule acceleration opportunities and identified modern methods of construction (MMC) strategies including prefabrication, modularisation and specialist plant across the major infrastructure projects (MIP).

Early maturity assessment and routemap assessment captured a variety of observations that were moulded into a transformation and integration plan to form one integrated team.

Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) workshops have resulted in considerable opportunities including 10 months of potential critical path saving.

Babcock’s Devonport facility is co-located with HM Naval Base Devonport and forms the largest naval support site in Western Europe. As owner, operator and Licensee, Babcock is upgrading a number of the site’s docks and berths. As well as surface ship life extension and maintenance programmes, onsite operations focus on the deep maintenance (in a dry dock allowing re-fits and improvements) of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet, for which Babcock is the UK’s sole provider. 

The Naval Base has been selected as the base port for the Navy’s new Type 26 frigates and will become the maintenance centre for the future submarine programme including the Astute and Dreadnought class. These ships are integral to the Continuous At Sea Deterrent programme, helping to keep our nation safe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  

Major infrastructure works are required to  meet the future needs of the UK’s Royal Navy. To support Babcock with this work and provide construction industry expertise, a joint venture between Costain and Mott MacDonald was awarded a 5-year framework as Delivery Partner for the 10 Dock Programme and the Major Infrastructure Projects (MIP) business unit.  

The Delivery Partner role brings best practice and learning from the construction sector and provides capability and capacity through the deployment of People, Processes and Tools. We are shaping project management and construction management strategies to build new nuclear-standard facilities within an existing operational nuclear site and operational Navy base. 

Maturity assessment  

During the initial project design phase, we undertook a maturity and Infrastructure & Projects Authority (IPA) Project Route Map assessment to develop a robust understanding of the challenges faced and shape delivery strategies.  

Alongside ongoing project management operations, this detailed, government-recognised process, combined with construction industry best practice, took three months. Based on findings, transition plans were produced for each business function including commercial, project controls, project management, constructing, commissioning, and design management, taking a further three months to implement as a joint transition plan to create an integrated team comprising Babcock and the Delivery Partners.  

Team culture  

The vision was to create a single joint, high performing team, bringing together the capability, knowledge and experience of Babcock and the joint venture of Costain and Mott Macdonald as delivery partners, The Submarine Delivery Agency, the Royal Navy, additional delivery partners, design partners, construction partners and the local Plymouth community. 

Collaborative working and a one team culture was encouraged by bringing everyone into an integrated team office at 10 Dock. Our Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) active management controls and roll out of cultural behavioural coaching is designed to enhance successful programme delivery and minimise risk. 

Assured delivery strategies   

Over 200 people have now been mobilised across numerous work streams, providing the capabilities and expertise required in terms of people, process and tools.  

To accelerate the schedule and further reduce risk, a specialised, cross-functional Tiger Team was stood up to solve and investigate specific challenges and critical issues.  Action included implementing Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) workshops to drive innovation and reporting dashboards to ensure consistency and best practice. We brought together individuals across nine organisations within the supply chain for a number of workshops, which resulted in considerable opportunities including 10 months of potential critical path savings. 

Digital innovation 

As Delivery Partner, we have used the BIM strategy defined and implemented by Babcock, to identify areas where time can be saved in the schedule. As the project progresses, the models will enable smooth, unambiguous transfer of knowledge between designers and construction contractors.  

Prior to the construction phase, BIM models will also be used to rehearse construction methods, which is crucial to ensure that full benefit can be made of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) which will include the off-site manufacture of various elements. Long-term, the BIM information could enable Babcock and the Ministry of Defence to use innovations such as Digital Twin virtual representation to support proactive preventative maintenance and asset optimisation.

It is a privilege to be involved in Devonport, working with Babcock and the Royal Navy to deliver key infrastructure improvements that will support the next generation of maritime platforms. MIP is a once in a generation opportunity. This major programme in the Defence industry will create substantial opportunities and development for the construction professionals of the future as well creating improved social value opportunities and a lasting legacy in the area where my friends and family live.

Andy Firth, Programme Director

Contact and social

Defence and nuclear

Bob Anstey, Sector Director
01628 842444
[email protected]