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Wed June 16 2021

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Robertson unveils progress on £31.5m ‘frigate factory’

14 Dec 20 Defence secretary Ben Wallace has attended a virtual ceremony marking progress on the construction of a hall big enough for two frigates to be assembled side by side.

The Robertson Babcock team (left to right): Reid Gilmour, Liam Short, Andy Fleming, Kirsty Allan, David Cairns, Jim Smith, Chris Patterson, Peter Chambers and Andrew Melville
The Robertson Babcock team (left to right): Reid Gilmour, Liam Short, Andy Fleming, Kirsty Allan, David Cairns, Jim Smith, Chris Patterson, Peter Chambers and Andrew Melville

Robertson Construction was appointed by Babcock, which will initially use the £31.5m facility at Rosyth for the delivery of five General Purpose Type 31 Frigates.  The 147m x 62m x 42m assembly hall has been designed to provide Babcock with productivity gains through improved access, digital connectivity and protection from weather disruption.

Speaking virtually at the opening ceremony of Babcock’s mammoth module hall in Rosyth defence secretary Ben Wallace said: “Defence underpins a wealth of jobs and investment across the entire United Kingdom. Babcock’s ‘frigate factory’ in Rosyth demonstrates the huge footprint of prosperity that defence brings.  This vast industrial facility will see Scottish shipbuilders build our latest warships to take pride of place in the Royal Navy fleet.”

Enabling works began in April and the main contract began in September. Phase one of piling is complete which enabled the steel structure to start in mid-November, with the facility due for completion in summer 2021 ready for ship assembly to commence.

“Throughout the Assembly Hall build we will be seeking to support local employment and spend where possible,” said David Cairns, regional managing director of Robertson Construction. “We have already committed significant orders to local Scottish suppliers and created five new full-time roles which have been filled by members of the local community.”

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Access to both the north and south of the facility for the clear flow of materials and ship sections is being accommodated through four ‘mega doors’ which are 30m high and 25m wide with a demountable centre piece to create one large door if required.  Two 125t gantry cranes will also be installed inside to assist with ship assembly, providing cover to the entire internal area.

Derek Jones, chief executive of Babcock Marine Sector, said: “It is great to see the progress being made across the programme as we put in place new infrastructure and technologies to support the build phase of these fantastic new frigates. I know the team are looking forward to working closely with Robertson Construction on the development of the new assembly hall.

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