DIO delivers digs for carrier crew

Sailors from Britain’s new aircraft carrier got all-mod-cons accommodation in double-quick time, after the Defence Infrastructure Organisation delivered a solution to Rosyth’s shortage of beds.

The two future aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, are currently being built in Rosyth. DIO-run MOD Caledonia is supporting the carrier programme by providing site security, messing and recreational facilities – and accommodation for the carrier’s crew.

Caledonia currently has 422 suitable bed spaces, which DIO calculated was 302 fewer than needed. The first phase of the work (36 cabins) was handed over to MOD Caledonia on schedule, and DIO Director Service Delivery Leo O’Shea welcomed the first sailors to move in.

Leo said:

“This has been a model of collaborative working demonstrating how DIO is delivering for Defence, in this case supporting the capability of our navy to defend British interests.

“It’s been a significant effort by everyone involved – the DIO Project Team, our site managers CarillionAmey, Aramark which provides the staff, and of course Bunkabin, which provided the cabins and its infrastructure partner Imtech - who all braved the Scottish elements to get this project done on time.”

DIO Head of Establishment Peter Bush said:

“We looked at various options to meet the shortfall, and from cost and time perspective the best solution was to provide self-contained portable cabins. This was quicker and cheaper to set up than building units from scratch and avoided the need to rent private accommodation, which would have cost more and seen crew members widely spread out. This way they will all be living together, just as they will be on board ship.”

Capt Simon Petitt, Senior Naval Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth said:

“MOD Caledonia has and continues to offer a fantastic level of support to the first crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth since they arrived in Rosyth in 2012. Then we were ten, now we are over 200, and that number will more than double next year as we prepare for sea trials.

“The accommodation is both modern and practical, and more importantly offers a real sense of home comforts for our sailors who are looking forward to moving in and being in one location so that we are all of one company.”

Work is now progressing for the next phase of 78 units being available in November with the full 302 units being available by February 2016.

Able Rate Leanne Roberts, who was among the first to move in to the new cabins, said:

“As soon as I heard about the new accommodation being built, I volunteered to move in straight away. It’s the best of both worlds - I have the luxury of my own en suite cabin but still feel close to my shipmates with use of the communal living spaces.”

But Leanne and her colleagues were not the first Royal Navy personnel to stay in the Caledonia cabins. That honour went to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, who spent a night in the new accommodation with a number of his staff.

Adm Sir George said:

“I had an excellent visit, and my guests and I enjoyed our stay.”

Leanne said:

“If it’s good enough for the First Sea Lord, then it’s good enough for me!"

Further information:

Press enquiries to Steve Roberts-Mee, Communications Officer 0121 311 3678 or email steven.roberts-mee100@mod.uk

DIO website: www.gov.uk/dio

Twitter: @mod_dio

Read DIO’s blog: https://insidedio.blog.gov.uk/

Notes to Editors  

1) The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing what the men and women who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.

2) DIO is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.

3) Our work includes supporting operational units by providing and improving single living and service family accommodation; training areas and historic military sites. DIO actively manages these to ensure the needs of Defence are met, value for money is achieved, and its heritage is protected, and to achieve its environmental goals.

4) Pictures show: DIO Director Service Delivery Leo O'Shea welcomes AB Leanne Roberts to her new accommodation at HMS Caledonia; DIO Director Service Delivery Leo O'Shea and HMS Queen Elizabeth Captain Simon Petitt open the first phase of new temporary accommodation for carrier crew at HMS Caledonia.