VolkerStevin was principal contractor to design and build a new offshore munitions facility for the DIO – the Portsmouth Upper Harbour Ammunitioning Facility (UHAF).  Boskalis Westminster, as strategic partner to VolkerStevin, undertook all dredging activities. The jetty is 85m long and 15m wide with berthing space for one warship and docking space for six ammunition barges. The main berthing face is continuous to allow full flexibility for a wide range of vessels.

The newly built facility provides off-shore docking and loading for Royal Navy vessels, primarily for the Type 45 destroyers based in Portsmouth Naval Base.

The scope of works included; dredging a berthing pocket for the new ships: Approximately 8,500m³ of sand and silt was dredged in just three days. Constructing a 15m by 85m jetty: The jetty was constructed with 35-40m, 1.2m diameter tubular steel piles and precast concrete elements which guaranteed a quick construction period with minimal disturbance to the environment. The project included, installation of two luffing cranes and support generators: New cranes were required to lift ammunitions.

During construction, we ensured that we were compliant with the rigorous MOD Joint Services Protocol (JSO) 467 for the Specification of Power Driven Lifting Appliances used for handling Conventional and Nuclear Armaments. This ensured lifting operations were safe and in line with operational military standards and suitable for mounting on a fixed structure isolated from shore in a marine environment.

  • Cathodic Protection
  • Installing marine infrastructure: Constructing two mooring dolphins, two small vessel pontoons and installation of accommodation and welfare facilities
  • M&E works: These were overseen by our in-house M&E team and consisted of the supply, installation and commissioning of a wide range of equipment, including: Kenz Figee electrically powered “luffing” cranes; 400kva Duty/Stand-by generators; 25kva Duty/Stand-by generators; a generator bulk fuel system; lighting and services to jetty and accommodation; small wind turbines; and, fully automated control systems
  • Demolition of the original UHAF structure: Following completion of the new facility we were responsible for the removal of the old UHAF structure. Over 99% of all waste generated by the project was recycled

A number of sustainability measures were also taken as part of the project including:

  • 99% of waste recycled at a local recycling facility
  • Re-use of an existing hard-standing area used for the site compound, avoiding the use of greenfield land take and the need to import aggregates to create a suitable area
  • All timber certified as being responsibly sourced through Chain of Custody evidence, in accordance with the government’s timber procurement policy
  • As many of the concrete elements as possible were pre-cast in order to reduce the need to pour concrete in the harbour, reducing risk of water contamination
  • All steel piles and pre-cast concrete units were imported to the site by sea rather than by road, reducing the impact of the project on the local roads as well as the associated carbon emissions from transport
  • Works were undertaken from the deck of a barge, enabling materials and liquids to be stored appropriately
  • Two wind turbines were installed to charge a battery pack in order to minimise the need for generators during periods of low energy demand
  • During the construction phase, a timer was installed on the site compound floodlights to ensure it was switched off overnight, minimising both nuisance to local residents and electricity consumption
  • Energy use was tracked monthly using a spreadsheet and displayed on site notice boards to ensure everyone was aware of energy consumption

Project manager for the DIO, Paul Simmonds, said: “The fact that the UHAF has been completed on time and within budget is testament to the excellent collaborative approach taken between VolkerStevin, DIO and naval base staff.”

The project was delivered one month ahead of programme and within budget.

key facts

Ministry of Defence

‘Very Good’ from CEEQUAL Award

Design partner


Sept 2011 to August 2012

The project
VolkerStevin was principal contractor and Boskalis Westminster, as strategic partner to VolkerStevin, undertook dredging activities


For more information about VSBW,
contact Eddie Tattersall

  01772 708 620