Client Defence Infrastructure Organisation/RNAS

Sector Defence

Location Somerset

Value £15m

The Aircraft/ Amphibious Vehicle Underwater Escape and Survival Training (AAVUEST) facility is dedicated to training forces personnel to cope with emergency evacuations when submerged in water.

Delivered through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's Next Generation Estates Contracts framework, the building houses two deep water pools complete with dedicated specialist lifting equipment and eight underwater escape modules designed to simulate British Armed Forces aircraft and amphibious vehicles.

Up to 8,500 service personnel per year go through the training which sees them move through increasingly different scenarios, including escaping in the dark and facing wave and simulated spray machines.

A jump platform, personnel winch and countercurrent jets facilitate life raft, parachute dragging and simulated helicopter winching drills in a controlled environment that replicates open sea conditions.

Constructing the 5m deep pools was recognised as one of the key risks for this project with a high water table less than a metre below ground level. By using collaborative knowledge share with our Infrastructure partners, our solution of secant piling to form the safest, quickest and driest form of support was developed with a specialist piling contractor.

Galliford Try and the design team proposed an alternative supply air ventilation strategy to provide whole-life cost savings and improved functionality of the building. The team also had to face the removal of contaminated materials from site and an extensive archaeological investigation was carried out without affecting the programme.