Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist QE Class Logistics Centre, Portsmouth Naval Base (By Francis Construction)

20 March 2023

Net Zero sponsored by Knauf

QE Class Logistics Centre, Portsmouth Naval Base (submitted by Francis Construction) 

Net Zero Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalist

QE Class Logistics Centre (previously known as 30 Store) is the first scheme that Francis Construction (FC) have undertaken at the Portsmouth Naval Base for its client BAE Systems, on behalf of the Royal Navy. The QE Class Logistics Centre (QLC) provides storage and kitting facilities to support the new Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers. The project forms part of a £350m investment programme which currently employees 550 people in the Portsmouth area.

The new stores building is located on the same site of a previous building within HMNB close to the QEC berthing points on Princess Royal Jetty and Victory Jetty. This building was part of an amalgamation of a previous building which has been developed and adapted over many years and was likely built over even earlier structures. The demolished building was a foundry in earlier times but more recently used as storage. It was some 63m by 63m with square masonry towers (sometimes referred to as chimneys) in each corner. These towers are listed and have not been demolished.

The logistics centre is the first carbon neutral asset on the Naval Base. Supporting the naval base’s objective of achieving net-zero carbon emissions from the base by 2040. The project was sustainably future proofed and harnesses renewable energy sources to supply the warehouse. The roof holds a photo-voltaic array which consists of 678 panels, generates 250KW of power and generates 3 times the energy that it uses.

During the construction phase FC focused on the use of local manufacturers, contractors, and suppliers. An example of this was using Kendall Group – a readymade concrete supplier based on Portsmouth Island. Francis Construction not only used concrete from Kendall Group due to the close proximity to the project site, but also because they are focused on the reuse of materials. FC's use of local contractors and suppliers ensured that it minimized travel time and emissions caused by transport. This strategy also meant the company kept money within the local community. Overall, across the duration of the project 49% of FC's subcontractor partners were within a 30 radius of the project, 32% of those were within a 10 mile radius of the Naval Base.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems on the roofing were used to achieve the target of net zero. It was recorded that 250KW was produced at peak times. The PV system was installed to the specifications and standards to achieve maximum sustainable benefits. The water was metered on site to improve overall efficiency throughout the project duration.

When conducting its Exceeding Customer Expectations report with the client, Francis Construction were scored 100%.

Captain Iain Greenlees, QE Class Programme Director, said:

 “Any project of this scale on a confined and historic naval base is a significant undertaking.  This was the final element of the nationally critical support to the QE Class. From the first day of the project, Francis embraced the ethos of daily operations having priority over construction traffic and throughout were focussed on delivering project success as part of a wider stakeholder community.”

Watch the opening of the QE Class Logistics Centre

Key achievements:

  • Francis Construction achieved a 100% satisfaction score on the Exceeding Customer Expectations report.

  • The Logistics centre delivers three times more energy than it uses.

  • Delivered the project to programme whilst achieving net zero carbon.


Client: Royal Navy

Project Partners: Royal Navy, BAE Systems, Francis Construction, Leonard Engineering Design Consultants, West & West


Find out more about Francis Construction:

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Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 Ceremony on Thurs 29th June 2023.


About the Net Zero Award (sponsored by Knauf): 

High environmental and climate performance in construction aims to meet present day needs for housing, working environments and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in times to come. It seeks to limit impact on the natural environment and demonstrate whole life sustainability. It is most effective when organisational culture, high design quality, technical innovation and transferability are abundant. More info

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalists here

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