Demolition work has started at RAF Lakenheath as part of a Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) project to prepare the base for the arrival of 2 squadrons of US F-35s…

A total of 18 buildings are being brought down to make way for construction of a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities. Last November DIO awarded a contract worth £160 million to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver infrastructure to ready RAF Lakenheath for the aircraft in late 2021.

The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe and continues the base’s long and proud history of supporting US Air Force capability in the UK.

Many of the old buildings were built with heavily reinforced concrete so contractors have had to employ specific techniques and equipment to bring the buildings down efficiently. They are using a hydraulic excavator equipped with specialised attachments that can break concrete and steel, effectively ‘chewing’ the structures apart.

Timber and metal will be carefully preserved for re-use if appropriate. The concrete waste will be crushed, graded and re-used on the project. The metal reinforcements in the buildings will be separated from the concrete and sent away to be recycled, possibly returning to site or to another construction project as reinforcement or structural steelwork.

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