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Judges' Special Award

Commissioning authority: 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group
Principal designer: 62 Works Group RE
Principal contractor: 48 Field Squadron (Air Support)

Award for a building or civil engineering project of any size which the judges consider to be particularly inspirational in one or more aspects. Sponsored by Arup.

While political debate may continue over the rights and wrongs of the British Army’s activities in Afghanistan, there can be no doubt that the £53 million project by 48 Field Squadron (Air Support) Royal Engineers to construct Camp Bastion was a truly heroic achievement.

The Camp Bastion project has created a 2,350-person barracks, a 50-bed hospital,a helicopter base and a 1,000m runway, with the whole project not only delivered in just four months, but finished ahead of schedule and within budget.

Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan is perhaps one of the most inhospitable locations for a construction site; one reason why the main contractor was the British Army.

Despite the involvement of 180 local Afghans keen to embrace the legacy of new techniques, both local materials and labour were scarce. There was therefore a vast logistical operation to bring in 1,257 shipping containers of material and equipment from the UK. This came to Pakistan and then over the Khyber Pass to site.

The whole project involved extraordinary feats of logistics, engineering, management and construction, while dealing with barren conditions, dust storms, temperatures of up to 60ºC and, of course, the constant threat from the anti-Coalition Militia.

The determination and commitment shown by the entire construction team included numerous examples of individuals going well beyond the call of duty. Camp Bastion was a construction project like no other, and is a worthy winner of this year’s Judges’Special Award.

‘The most extraordinary feat of logistical, engineering, management and construction in the most inhospitable environment.’

‘Local Afghans embraced the legacy of new techniques.’


In effect all shortlisted projects were finalists for this award which is
made each year to a building or civil engineering project of any
size which the judges consider to be particularly inspirational.

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