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MoD Main Building: SPV Management

Vercity’s management of complex Ministry of Defence (MOD) office accommodation in London has deployed innovative approaches to service delivery and the partnership approach was recognised with the coveted Service Sector award at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW).

Vercity provides services including:



Key Stakeholders


Original Investment Value


The Building

Funded by significant debt and equity investment, a £600m refit undertaken from 2000 to 2004 has been followed by a requirement to maintain full availability of the services to the building, both soft and hard. The requirement is to provide 100% availability in compliance with statuary, mandatory, and contractual requirements. This includes strict environmental conditions for occupiers, alongside a 24-hour cooling capability for IT systems. The service obligations include reactive responses within strict time criteria, scheduled planned preventative maintenance in line with industry best practice, and a long-term detailed asset management plan and Lifecycle planning of replacement strategy.


The Main Building was designed by neo-classical architect Vincent Harris in 1915 and built between 1939 and 1959. It was built on the site of Whitehall Palace, London, which was the residence of Elizabeth I and James I before it was destroyed by fire in 1698. The wine cellar of Henry VIII remains in the sub-basement level. The building contains five Georgian rooms that are re-used from houses that were on the original site. The MOD building is a historical and significant London landmark and a Grade I listed building.

Vercity’s Role

Vercity provides management services to the Modus SPV and has done for 20+ years.

In the building itself, working with the MOD in setting the priorities and objectives of the redevelopment and the nature and scope of the services, we lead and manage the supply chain partners and ensure contractual compliance and exemplar service delivery. Our experienced site-based team deliver the project, and where required, expand the team resources and capabilities to meet additional demands.


Collaborative Compliance

In addition to systems and processes being compliant with ISO 9001 and ISO 55001 for asset management, our award-winning, collaborative work on the project, to ISO 44001, creates a positive impact for all parties involved. The MOD see evidential benefits from this way of working, the key providers see the tangible benefits, and so do the investors. Through open collaboration and proactive management, the occupier’s risks are identified and managed to ensure conduct of business is maintained.

A key aspect of Vercity’s role in the project is managing the Modus SPV entity, a business with annual turnover of more than £50m which is the cornerstone of the supply chain contracts and funding structure. Managing this entity requires strong financial leadership to ensure operations run smoothly, covenant and debt obligations are met, and effective strategies are employed to maximise investor returns. Vercity deploys talented senior finance experts, with all the prerequisite skills of the modern-day Finance Director, with professionally qualified accountants to support.

Strategic Facilities Management

The building is fully air-conditioned and in addition to being a Grade 1 Listed Building it is also subject to strict security restrictions. There is 40+ plant rooms within excess of 80,000 assets including a wide range of air handling units, chillers, UPS, and security systems as well as associated distribution networks, 100+ toilet facilities, 100,000m2 of flooring, 80,000 light fittings supporting 3300 occupants, and in excess of 100,000 visitors per annum. The performance and the flexibility of the environment to respond to changing operational demands is critical.  The focus on sustainability, carbon reduction, and ESG feature as high priorities for both the building users and project shareholders.

Environment of Innovation

The approach taken to meet the requirements of the building and the stakeholders has seen the project evolve into a centre for learning and innovation. Working with UCL and all parties has seen six PhD’s achieved from research placements.

One key initiative has been the implementation of a strategic condition centred maintenance and monitoring regime covering closed water systems, rotating equipment, building cooling equipment (chiller and cooling tower), lighting, and UPS systems. Using a variety of monitoring and reporting tools integrating with the BMS and interrogating the findings allows the maintenance regime to be optimised. This allows the early identification of issues and proactive repair or replacement strategies to ensure a cost-effective approach that minimises interruption to building users.

By sharing expertise across our portfolio, the MoD benefits from over two decades of learning. With our extensive knowledge of the defence sector, we’re able to adapt our processes, systems, and personnel to continually meet the MOD’s requirements.

The result

The MOD Main Building team won the coveted Service Sector award at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW). While a small representation of the shortlisted companies was present, over 150 joined the awards online from around the world. The event was sponsored by BSI and was hosted by Lord Evans, the Chairman of the ICW. The award recognises the enterprising approach that the MOD’s DIO, Modus Services, Skanska and Amey have adopted to support the present demand on the Building. It also recognises the service changes required to support a fully functional facility in the midst of COVID-19.

Collaboration and Partnership

The enterprise has benefited from the support of the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW) and from BSI in developing the four-way partnership and developing new joint systems and ways of working.

The team won the coveted ICW Service Sector award. While a small representation of the shortlisted companies was present, over 150 joined the awards online from around the world. The event was sponsored by BSI and was hosted by Lord Evans, the Chairman of the ICW. The award recognised the enterprising approach that the MOD’s DIO, Vercity, Skanska and Amey have adopted to support the present demand on the Building.

An extract from one of the many NAO audits carried out on the project: ‘’MOD and Modus have agreed a common goal ‘to work together and develop a strategy that delivers on time, an environment that will satisfy the majority of users and one where the operational functions are optimum’. All parties recognise that an open and trusting relationship is essential to the successful delivery of the project’’.

Project impact

To celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the lifting of the ban on LGBT personnel joining the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence Head Office was lit in Rainbow colours. Vercity staff at Modus created and installed the lighting solution on behalf of the MOD and were proud to be a part of the occasion.

‘‘We have welcomed [Greater] Modus’s commitment to collaborative working and seen clear benefits with our aims for Main Building better understood, more effective working relationships and a united approach to addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19.’’ (Dec 2020)

David Blackall
Director Head Office, Ministry of Defence

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