Service families in Cyprus will benefit from brand new, seismically compliant homes following the completion of 34 houses at RAF Akrotiri.Brig Andy Sturrock, ACOS Infrastructure for StratCom, Air Vice Marshal Peter Squires, Commander British Forces Cyprus, and Mike Green, DIO Chief Executive cut the ribbon to officially open the new properties.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) worked with UK Strategic Command, contractors Ramboll UK and the Cyprus Services Provider Joint Venture to complete the properties five months ahead of schedule.
The homes, which were completed under the first phase of a £20m project, have been specially designed to be seismically compliant, meaning that safeguards against earthquakes, including reinforced concrete frames, have been incorporated into their construction.
A total of 34 seismically compliant houses have been completed for British Forces Cyprus (BFC) under the project, along with landscaping works, solar panels, drainage, water and power supply.
The project was initially commissioned to deliver 28 properties at RAF Akrotiri, but additional funding, which became available under UK Strategic Command’s APOLLO programme, meant that it could be expanded to deliver 34 Other Ranks houses on the original site, with an additional eleven properties for officers to follow on the site of the old Akrotiri House.
APOLLO is a funded project within the Defence Capital Infrastructure Programme through which DIO, UK Strategic Command and their delivery partners are providing seismically compliant schools, blue light services, technical infrastructure and family homes across the UK Sovereign Base Areas of Episkopi Garrison, RAF Akrotiri, Dhekelia Garrison and Ayios Nikolaos in Cyprus. Queen Berengaria School in Dhekelia, which opened in January, is another seismically compliant building constructed through the APOLLO programme.
Dominic Hirst, Project Manager, DIO Major Programmes & Projects, said:
Providing safe, good quality homes to our personnel and their families is DIO’s priority and I am delighted to be part of the team delivering these new houses at RAF Akrotiri.
The completion of these homes is the first step in our wider plan to bring seismically compliant housing to the wider British Forces Cyprus community. The project has been a huge success and is testament to the hard work and dedication of the delivery team.
Station Commander RAF Akrotiri Group Captain Simon Cloke, said:
I am delighted that these new houses have been completed and that families are already enjoying the benefits of this modern development. It is absolutely right that we provide good quality housing for our people who work so hard to ensure that the mission here at RAF Akrotiri is a success.
And, this is just the beginning, as we continue to invest in the lived experience across British Forces Cyprus and the modernisation of RAF Akrotiri.
Tracey Fuoco, APOLLO Programme Director, UK Strategic Command Infrastructure said:
I am very pleased to see these new seismically compliant homes for Service families being delivered. I would like to thank all of those involved for their hard work in getting us to this point. This is part of a much wider programme of work to update the estate for our Service personnel and their families, who are living and working in Cyprus. I look forward to the progress and positive outcomes that can be made with this significant investment.
The new buildings boast a number of features which make them more sustainable, including solar water heating systems and photovoltaic panels, which will provide photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Air Source Heat Pumps have replaced previous gas heating systems and Electrical Vehicle Charging Points have been installed. The project also involved the demolition of 12 buildings which previously occupied the site to make room for the new homes, as well as removal of old High and Low voltage power cables, foul drainage runs and water distribution systems.
The project represents an evolution of earlier Service family housing delivered in Cyprus, building on an established design and construction process. The design of the buildings incorporates a seismically compliant, reinforced concrete frame with block infill and external insulation, with a timber gable or hip roof.
Cyprus is not the only MOD location benefiting from new Service Family Accommodation. In the UK, a new programme is underway which aims to replace some of the MOD’s poorest housing stock and reduce the use of substitute accommodation.
As part of this work, known as the Capital Purchase Programme, 310 brand new homes have been purchased in the last 12 months, in areas including Aldershot, Brize Norton, Lossiemouth and Portsmouth. All are due to be occupied by the end of the year and will have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of B. DIO has also bought 113 homes that it previously held on long term leases, to secure their tenure for future use.
In addition, DIO has agreed to purchase a further 176 new homes over the next three years to support Imjin Barracks in Gloucestershire, bringing the total investment for the Capital Purchase Programme in 2022/23 to £251m.
£173 million investment in hundreds of new homes for UK Armed Forces families.