Training safety access control building opens at Caerwent

A £314k project to design and build a new access control building at Caerwent Training Area, near Chepstow in Wales and West, has been officially opened by Brigadier Bartholomew, Head of Overseas and Training Region at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

Caerwent Guardhouse_BTL

The new building replaces a former portacabin structure, which was no longer suitable for monitoring the wide range of users coming in and out of the camp or to operate safely as an access control facility.

Located on a former Naval Propellant Site, Caerwent is a dry training area with some 400 buildings and over 32 miles of road way, which are completely enclosed within a 6km perimeter fence. As well as providing an ideal rural and urban warfare training environment for around 20,000 troops each year, the site is also used for training by all three emergency services in support of Operation TEMPERER, the Government's security plan aimed at protecting civilians at times of high terror threat. Caerwent also hosts a large amount of third party income generation events, which require careful monitoring of civilian access, and many of the buildings are leased to commercial tenants, resulting in frequent non-military vehicle movements.

Phil Roberts, Programme Manager, said, “We knew we had to review the site's secure access requirements after the main gate was closed off due to a new local housing development. The existing portacabin was also no longer suitable for managing the complex movements in and out of the camp, so we worked with DIO to identify an alternative location at the West Gate, which is better located for more effective access control.

“This gave us the opportunity to create a new, modern Training, Safety and Access Control Building, with a wide range of facilities including offices, a guardroom, a training centre, briefing room, emergency operations room and hot desks, all with superfast broadband, enabling us to provide the required safety briefings prior to users entering the site. The new building will also help to prevent the increasing number of incursions experienced recently, ensuring civilians don't inadvertently stray into a training exercise."

Landmarc's Project Manager, Ben Hurford added, “This project was being delivered at the height of the pandemic, so we ran the operation with two teams to help mitigate the chance of an outbreak shutting the site down completely, keeping 15 members of our contractor's staff off furlough.

“It was built using a timber frame structure, clad in red brick with a slate roof, to complement existing buildings on the camp and we plan to plant trees next to the building later this year to help offset the already low emissions, with the aim of keeping it carbon neutral for the first 15 years of its life."

Billy Pike, DIO's Training Safety Officer said, “The relocation of this facility will allow a safe place to be provided and in doing so will enable us to provide a better service to exercising troops undertaking pre-deployment exercises. It also increases current training capabilities by providing a further training building which can be set up as an exercise HQ. This is a fantastic facility and a very welcome addition to the camp."