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December 2023

Institute of Collaborative Working Chairman’s Award

Ministry of Defence Main Building Collaboration Partners

On Wednesday 22nd November, at the Institute of Collaborative Working (ICW) Annual Awards, the Ministry of Defence Main Building Collaboration Partners won the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

A Key Public Asset

The Vercity team are an integral part of the Greater Modus organisation, with the partnership including Amey, Skanska, and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). These partners worked together for the delivery of the Main Building’s role in Operation London Bridge (the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II) and Operation Golden Orb (Coronation of King Charles III).

As a significant public building on Whitehall in London, the Main Building became a hub of activity and base of operation for those involved in both ceremonies, including accommodating over 1000 armed forces personnel and 120 VIPs for both the event rehearsals and events themselves. This involved not only the logistics of supporting these individuals at short notice but also of ensuring the usual function of the building was not impacted.

The no-fail operations demanded a significant range of skills, expertise, responsibilities, and assured timely outputs. The four organisations needed to be totally focused on the outcome, committed and flexible to accommodate a dynamic, short term demand signal from the myriad of senior stakeholders. The only way to guarantee success was to integrate the governance methods and form a single collaborative delivery team.

Protecting a Grade 1 Listed Building 

A building is listed when it is of special architectural or historic interest considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting. Historic England describes a Grade 1 listed building as being of “exceptional interest”, with only 2.5% of listed buildings in this category.

One example of the measures that had to be taken to accommodate military personnel while protecting the Grade 1 listed flooring was sourcing and deploying 2,750m2 of carpet. While that might sound straightforward in writing contingency plans in practice it brings a myriad of challenges to implement at short notice and relied on all parties working together.

Recognising the Achievement

The ICW recognised the achievements of the partners in their remarks on the award:

The judges were impressed by the collaborative delivery of Operation London Bridge (The Queen’s funeral) and Operation Golden Orb (The King’s Coronation), by Modus, Amey, Skanska and DIO. They worked seamlessly as a single-focus team, under huge pressure, ensuring the Ministry of Defence successfully delivered its critical role in prestigious royal events broadcast around the world. Main Building was required to support 1,000 military personnel and 100 military VIP’s and other specialist teams for both occasions and overnight rehearsals. These no fail operations demanded world class collaboration, which the judges felt were delivered.”

To learn more about how Vercity’s approach to collaborative management of infrastructure click here.

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