Contractors asked to train engineers and rebuild estates in Surrey and Kent.
The Royal School of Military Engineering this week launched a £100m private finance initiative estate management and construction skills training project.

More than 100 construction professionals were invited to bid at a briefing held at the school’s headquarters in Chatham, Kent.

The successful candidate will manage the school’s 881 ha estate in Kent and Surrey and train engineers in construction skills.

The PFI contract will be for a minimum of 10 years, and could be extended to 25 years if the consortium proposes a significant capital works programme for the estate.

Bids must include plans to rationalise and develop underused and underoccupied parts of the estate, which houses the leading scientific military school in Europe.

The estate comprises 13 sites totalling 800 ha in the Medway towns in Kent and eight sites totalling 81 ha at Minley, near Aldershot. The Kent sites house the school headquarters at Brompton Barracks in Chatham, the construction engineer school and the defence explosive ordnance disposal school. The Minley sites house the combat engineer school in the Gibraltar Barracks.

The successful PFI consortium will also be required to deliver and manage military training in construction-related disciplines.

The winning consortium will be required to take over trade and career development courses currently taught at the construction engineer school, based in the Medway towns.

The consortium will provide 100 courses for 2700 students a year covering the following functions:

  • civil engineering, artisan and allied construction trades
  • electrical and mechanical engineering, utilities maintenance, building services and allied metal working trades
  • watermanship training on tidal waters
  • specialist driver training.
The 100 courses will provide trade training for carpenters and joiners, electricians, fabricators and mechanical fitters. The PFI partner will also provide a variety of technical courses.

Career development courses will train military engineers to become clerks of works, military plant foremen, professional engineers and project managers. The training should enable military staff to obtain national vocational qualifications at levels 2, 3 and 4, and City and Guilds craft awards.

The project brief requires the successful consortium to budget for teaching and support resources.

The winner will be invited to buy and manage parts of the estate and provide facilities management for parts retained by the school.

Other requirements include providing domestic services, transport of students and stores, supply and warehousing of tools and equipment, equipment maintenance and repair and IT support.

A key requirement will be “a spirit of partnering that engenders good morale, discipline and military ethos”.

Bidders are invited to submit a prequalification questionnaire by 11 June, in the first of a five-stage European Union procurement process. A long list of six will be chosen by July and a shortlist will be announced in February 2000.