01 / 12 / 2020

Service Family Homes

average handover rate per week

handovers per week at peak output

distinct sites

of waste diverted from landfill

Service Family Homes

average handover rate per week

handovers per week at peak output

distinct sites

of waste diverted from landfill


Salisbury Plain Training Area, Service Family Homes (SPTA:SFA)


Salisbury Plain Training Area, Wiltshire


Start – November 2017 

Bulford SFA Completion – July 2019 

Ludgershall SFA Completion – August 2019

Larkhill SFA Completion – August 2020


Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)


£260 million


  • nominally a £1.6m fee to firm up the contract value but in order to ensure the key Army Rebasing Programme dates were met, Lovell undertook extensive (c.£14m) enabling works prior to Main Contract
  • construct and deliver 917 Service Family Homes by August 2020
  • project spans 3 distinct sites, Bulford, Ludgershall and Larkhill and extensive Section 106 Offsite Highway Works
  • a the high-speed delivery requirement of output well in excess of industry norms, average handover rate of 16 house per week, rising to 20 per week at peak output
  • purged of extensive archaeology associated with the adjacent Stonehenge and circa 200 Anglo Saxon burials and Romano-English graves were also discovered and exhumed prior to construction


This project has been completed as part of the Army Basing Programme 2020. Under the SCF two stage tender Lovell was named Preferred Supplier in July 2016 and entered a Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) in October 2016. This was nominally a £1.6m fee to firm up the contract value but in order to ensure the key Army Rebasing Programme dates were met, Lovell undertook extensive (c.£14m) enabling works prior to Main Contract. 

The JCT Constructing Excellence Main Contract was awarded under the Southern Construction Framework to Lovell (utilising Morgan Sindall’s representation under the framework) by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in November 2017.  It was to construct and deliver 917 Service Family Homes at Bulford (225) and Ludgershall (242) by February 2020 and at Larkhill (450) by August 2020. This is a collaborative form of contract that had seen very little exposure prior to this project but the parties have engaged enthusiastically and with success.

Salisbury Plain N12 medium

Lovell’s ‘consultation’ with the User representatives (and subsequently individual users) has been exemplary and thoroughly effective throughout. The Lovell ABP SPTA SFA team have been exemplar in stakeholder management, community engagement and communications. Their reputation with Wiltshire and local councils is very high and they have been frequently commended... Lovell place the highest priority on Health and Safety. Education and process has been of a high standard – as has site discipline. Supply chain welfare has also been very well attended to.

Neill Page,

Army Basing Project Director


The design utilised 6 core house types to provide Officer, Other Ranks and adapted living properties.  The project spans 3 distinct sites, Bulford, Ludgershall and Larkhill and extensive Section 106 Offsite Highway Works.

Due to the high-speed delivery requirement of this project, the output of the scheme has been well in excess of industry norms, with an average handover rate of 16 house per week, rising to 20 per week at peak output. This complex, high-volume, fast-track homes project is Lovell’s largest exclusively contracting scheme and the delivery rate is unprecedented in UK low rise housing, building on the success of our performance at MOD Stafford. In addition to the housing development, Lovell has undertaken extensive Off Site Highway works associated with the 3 sites as part of the Section 106 obligations MOD agreed with Wiltshire Council.

Notwithstanding numerous unforeseen Relief Events and the extensive replanning of Larkhill following Lovell’s appraisal of the original outline Client design; the works have been carried out largely ahead of programme. The final Larkhill handovers suffering due to the effects of Covid-19.

From a standing start in 2016 with no local presence in the area Lovell has effectively created a new Regional Business that became its biggest revenue producer within a very short space of time, involving new premises, staff recruitment, transfer, logistics, accommodation, etc.  The project has by necessity been innovative.  We entered into the Pre-Commencement phase of the project with our focus upon building a strong supply chain and a robust programme for delivery. Having no pre-existing regional presence in Wiltshire, the early assembly of a portfolio sub-contractors and suppliers was key.  The success of the project and strong relationships built up in the area will be pivotal to the company’s future success in the locality.


Build Programme

During the Pre-Commencement phase a feasibility study for the Larkhill site revealed major topographical issues within the outline design.  Lovell undertook a re-plan of the design on behalf of the client resulting in a vast cut and fill operation of c. 250,000m3 of chalk movement and the addition of Phase 4, the eastern facet of the design.  This involved a new Planning submission to Wiltshire Council. 

The key differentiator of this project is the speed of delivery and the safe management thereof.  Due to the necessity for speed of build out, safety has been at the forefront of all planning and so with lessons learned from MOD Stafford we inserted 2 buffer periods, the first of 4 weeks after foundations to remove civil engineering from the superstructure build. A second was introduced upon completion of the superstructure envelope allowing construction of the garage and service connections prior to internal trades commencing.  This may feel counter intuitive but is crucial to the safe progression of works at such a demanding run rate. The plot build cycle is extended but the buffer periods ultimately hasten the build process, enabling a safe, sequential and methodical approach.

Speed of Delivery

Speed of build has demanded extensive use of off-site manufacture, i.e. timber frames enabling superstructure completion within 22 weeks from foundations (including an extensive Acceptance process).  This innovative approach has been taken a step further at Larkhill where we engaged two timber frame providers to work ‘side by side’ collaboratively in an arrangement not seen before in UK housing development. Through the use of a highly efficient form of modern construction and further enhancing of renewable energy the development provides a standard equivalent to level 4 of the erstwhile Code for Sustainable Homes.

Challenges and Successes

The SPTA:SFA scheme, will deliver 917 homes, having commenced handovers in mid-December 2018.  The key challenges that have been overcome to achieve this incredible delivery profile are:

  • Remoteness – with no regional presence the Lovell Major Projects team have had to establish a complete operation suitable to provide high quality, high speed delivery for the client.

  • Trust – the project required pre-contract engagement with the prospective supply chain and delivery team due to the fixed delivery milestone, which required 917 SFA by summer 2020, with no “award” until the end of November 2017.

  • Brevity – The project offered no long term prospect and therefore no continuity for employment or supply chain engagement.

  • COVID–19 - The project final delivery date has been delayed by three months due to the worldwide pandemic and its impact on construction practices.

These challenges have been overcome, evidenced by the ongoing successes of the project which include:

  • Team – the successful assembly of a delivery team which very much exhibits a “can do” mentality.

  • Supply Chain – intelligent selection based on early explorative work

  • Collaboration – supported by a shared project office environment the scheme has benefitted from an open and fully collaborative working relationship between the client (DIO) and Purchaser’s Representative(WYG) throughout the project.

  • COVID-19 – Following a brief 2 week shut down period during early April 2020 suitable Health and Safety measures were swiftly established, allowing the project to be completed by the end of July 2020, still within the contractually agreed time frame as set out by the Army Basing Programme.

These new estates have now successfully become extensions to the existing local communities and are already thriving, full of young families who have integrated well in the local service family lifestyle.


The project will be delivered on budget and ahead of schedule, despite the current challenges presented by the COVID 19 pandemic.  Each site presented its own challenges throughout the development but despite this the joint Project Team including our client (DIO) and Purchaser’s Representative (WYG), have succeeded in delivering an exemplary scheme that showcases innovative approaches in the build programme, pace of delivery and high-quality construction. 

Our use of a dedicated supply chain, including key partners and where possible incorporating local companies, thus boosting the region’s economy and supporting sustainable employment for local people.  Throughout the project we have liaised with the local schools, providing careers support for the senior school students, promoting work experience opportunities and construction career guidance. In local primary schools we have provided construction activity mornings within a variety of classroom environments.  

In addition to the significant development project we have also focused on building a Lovell Legacy in this region and have nurtured extremely positive relationships within both the County Council and Local Councils where we have been operating, working with them on a variety of Lovell Legacy projects including the Ludgershall Great War Memorial Garden, the Nga Tapuwae New Zealand High Commission Centenary event for the Bulford Kiwi and as platinum sponsor of the Armed Forces Day National Event in Salisbury 2019.

Health and Safety has remained a primary concern throughout the project and our induction and site monitoring procedures have ensured that our quality, safety and environmental performance was of a consistently high standard we have achieved between 98% and 99% of waste diverted from landfill and a number of Performance Beyond Compliance ratings from the Considerate Constructors Scheme for outstanding ratings on each inspection across all three sites.

Salisbury Plain N9 medium

We are very proud to have worked in partnership with the DIO under the Army Basing Programme 2020, strengthening our long-term relationship with the DIO and MOD housing projects. The Salisbury Project has been a complex, high volume, fast track homes project within a time frame that was client led and I am delighted that Lovell have risen to the challenge and delivered quality Service family homes at a rate which is unprecedented in UK low rise housing.

John Leary,

Major Projects Director