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Costain hunts out £80m defence job

CONTRACTS - OXFORDSHIRE

COSTAIN is set to outflank rival Carillion and pick up an £80 million defence training facility in Oxfordshire.

The firm, which is on board with services giant Serco, has been appointed provisional preferred bidder for a revamp of the Defence Academy at Shrivenham.The 30-year Public Private Partnership deal is worth more than £400 million once the 23 year FM contract is included.

The Ministry of Defence also shortlisted an alliance between Mansell and defence specialist Flagship Training but the group decided against bidding.

The winning consortium will revamp the Academy with a combination of refurbishment and new build.The construction work, which will be carried out over three phases, is expected to last six years.

The Shrivenham campus was originally built in the 1930s to accommodate two Royal Artillery regiments but instead became a university for American troops based in the UK during World War II.

Many of the existing buildings date from this time and the new contract is expected to replace these with new facilities suited to the Defence Academy's current needs.

Serco is already working at Shrivenham on a separate PFI contract providing support to the Joint Services Command and Staff College, which is part of the Defence Academy.The JSCSC moved to the Shrivenham site several years ago when specialist training for the separate branches of the armed forces was combined.

A spokesman for the Academy declined to comment on whether Costain had the job and would only say: 'At the moment things are still in detailed consideration mode.' Formal confirmation of the award is not due until early next year.

The Defence Academy provides training for staff from the army, navy and Royal Air Force as well as civil servants working on defence.Teaching at the site has undergone a recent shift to a more management-focused curriculum. The revamp of the campus will reflect this change.