Defence Estates, the property arm of the Ministry of Defence, is bringing in a new director to oversee the overhaul of its procurement strategy

Steve Rice, a chartered surveyor who has held numerous roles within Defence Estates, will be responsible for reforming the way the client’s £20bn development pipeline is procured under its Next Generation Estates Contract (NGEC) programme.

Diane Rampling, who previously oversaw the programme, will remain as head of commercial procurement for Defence Estates reporting to the client’s chief executive, Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, but will no longer oversee NGEC.

According to one source her long-term involvement with the NGEC programme is “uncertain”; for the foreseeable future she will act as a senior commercial adviser on the scheme.

A source close to Defence Estates said: “NGEC has grown and now has a need for its own director. It is fair to say that Steve will take on a big chunk of responsibility that originally fell under Diane’s remit.”

Several in the industry had previously questioned whether Rampling was suited to the role owing to her lack of a construction background.

Steve will take on a big chunk of responsibility that fell under Diane’s remit

Defence estates source

Rice is head of profession for MoD construction professionals and was project manager for the client’s Project SLAM scheme to renovate forces housing.

His most recent role was as head of operations, overseeing the upkeep and development of the military estate in the north of England.

Last month, Rampling said in an interview with Building that the MoD was planning a BAA-style overhaul of its procurement system.

She said: “One plan could be that projects between £15m and £50m go through a framework and anything over that goes out for competitive tender.”