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There’s a new addition to the Longbridge skyline, as construction of a residential facility for medical specialists who treat injured military personnel steps up a gear.

A 40 metre tall white tower crane has been set up at St. Modwen’s £1 billion Longbridge community to facilitate the construction of the accommodation block, which is being purpose-built for staff working for the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The crane is due to stay on site for seven months to assist with the construction of the six storey building. Work has also started on the concrete central core – which will hold staircases, lifts and service shafts. The process includes the use of slipform construction – a specialist technique that sees wet concrete pumped into the top of the core “mould” that continually moves around three metres upwards each day, enabling the core’s walls to harden before they slip free from below the “mould”.

St. Modwen is delivering the building on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) on land near the junction of Bristol Road South and Lickey Road. Galliford Try is the contractor.

Mark Batchelor, construction manager at St. Modwen, said: “The arrival of the crane and the construction of the building’s core mean that members of the public will quickly see this significant building for RCDM staff take shape.

“To ensure that it is built to time and budget, we are using slipform construction for the core, meaning it should complete within just two weeks – far quicker than using traditional methods. It also frees up the tower crane to start erecting the main in situ concrete frame and walls as soon as possible.”

The RCDM building will include 180 en-suite bedrooms and an all-ranks mess facility, bar area, gym, office and guards site. The first occupants are due to move in next summer.

Sinead McGoldrick, DIO’s Project Manager, said: “We are delighted to see that construction work on the accommodation is continuing apace. The crane is a real symbol of work getting underway.

“This facility will provide the high-quality accommodation that our dedicated military medical staff deserve. They currently live in numerous houses across the city, so this will create a central base that promotes a sense of belonging and teamwork.”

The new building is located at the heart of St. Modwen’s Longbridge community, so residents will be just minutes away from a wealth of retail and leisure facilities, in addition to excellent transport links to the hospital and Birmingham city centre.  

St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, is also creating new foot and cycle connections between the base and Longbridge Town Centre, by extending the existing path which runs alongside the River Rea through Austin Park and under the A38 bridge.

St. Modwen has invested £300 million into regenerating the former MG Rover site at Longbridge since 2003 – this equates to £25 million per year. Four hundred family homes have been created, along with a £35 million ExtraCare Retirement Village currently under construction. The developer has also delivered a £100 million town centre, offering shops, eateries, offices, the new Bournville College, and the new Austin Park.