"I was in a cosy position in Brussels when I was invited back to look at Building Down Barriers," says Nigel Miller, Amec's commercial director. He adds that, at the beginning of the project, he felt "like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a truck when faced with what we had to deliver." Amec started on site at Aldershot army barracks in early March after spending 18 months developing the design and the building programme with Defence Estates, the barracks team and the DETR.

Calculations show that the project is on course to produce savings of 11% on Defence Estates' original benchmark figure.

The project, which is due for completion in July 2000, will include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a sports hall, squash courts, a weights and fitness suite, showers and changing rooms.

Amec's Miller admits that putting best-practice methods into practice in the Building Down Barriers project at Aldershot was a learning process.

"We have demonstrated that we didn't use the tools quite as well as we thought," he says.