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Construction completes on £12m new home for Sandhurst band

16 Apr 2024

Matt Carter

Matt Carter


A £12 million facility supporting army musicians at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) has completed, delivering a flagship environment for military performances.

The new purpose-built space, which held its topping out ceremony last September, can now house all 54 musicians serving under British Army Band Sandhurst in an acoustically optimised space for rehearsals and performances.

The new and refurbished buildings feature an instrument store, music library and rehearsal rooms, as well as offices, storage, changing rooms, and a crew room that will support performances such as passing out parades and Sovereign’s parades.

The project was funded by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) under the Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO) Army Programme, which is investing £3.35bn over ten years to improve living, working, and training accommodations for those who serve in the Army.

Multi-disciplinary consultancy firm Pick Everard was behind the scheme, operating through Perfect Circle to deliver project management and NEC supervisor services alongside contractor Willmott Dixon and HLM Architects. Accelerated under the SCAPE Consultancy framework, the completed work achieved Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology (DREAM) ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ ratings, contributing sustainably to the built environment.

“This has been a complex undertaking, which involved close collaboration with our project partners to navigate several onsite challenges, including ecology operations to ensure our work would not interfere with natural habitats present onsite. Our teams were committed to delivering a facility of the highest standard, with green credentials, which is reflected in our DREAM ratings.

“British Army Band Sandhurst musicians now have a modern and acoustically optimised environment, that is befitting of their reputation for excellence on the UK Defence stage.”

— Matt Carter, director at Pick Everard

To enhance the sustainability of the site, air source heat pumps and solar panels have been included, as well as prefabricated containment kits and programmable lighting systems to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

Social value was also integral to the project, with the team providing free decoration services to community centres nearby, as well as hosting coffee mornings with veterans to discuss and raise awareness about mental health.

Several apprentices also worked on the project, with work experience given to local school leavers.

Debs Thorne, Joint Bands School Programme Manager, said: “This project is a fantastic example of the significant investment underway across the Army estate, to support military training and future capability through delivery of modern, sustainable infrastructure. I have been really impressed by the quality of the finished buildings and I trust that the British Army Band Sandhurst will soon feel at home in their new, purpose-built music facility.”

Aleksia Xhaferraj, DIO’s Project Manager, said: “We are proud to have delivered this new purpose-built facility, which will bring significant benefits to Army musicians. The successful completion of this project is testament to excellent collaboration between DIO, the Army and our contractors.”

Willmott Dixon quote: "We take great pride in our contribution to the creation of this cutting-edge space, dedicated to those who serve our nation. The building is truly exceptional, and I hope that musicians are inspired to flourish here."

Luke Riggall, regional defence lead at HLM Architects, said: “The project represents a milestone for the sector as we champion truly sustainable construction, and has been built using innovative ultra-low carbon cross-laminated timber.

“From concept to completion our design philosophy has been endorsed by passionate individuals, delivering a building responsive to the historic context and embeds the warm character of acoustics.

“The new band practise facility offers world class musicians the ability to practice as a band, ensemble or individually using adaptable acoustics and a fit-for-future approach ready and waiting to respond to the Army’s requirements.”

The Ensemble Band will move into the building over the summer. An official opening event for the new Band facility is planned for autumn 2024.