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The multiplier effect matters in every area of the Ministry of Defence

ISG's sector director for defence, James Dimmock, explores the role of the 'force multiplier' effect in government property infrastructure and how it ultimately impacts operational effectiveness. James’ insight featured in the UK Defence Journal.

The ‘force multiplier’ effect is understood to be the impact technology, equipment, strategy or formation has on a military unit or individual, its effectiveness and the overall objective and outcomes it can achieve.

When our construction sector works with the UK’s armed forces, I firmly believe we should strive to contribute to this force multiplier effect, through our actions and the built environment solutions we deliver.

While our expertise does not include the development of battle winning technologies, we do have a role in building the physical infrastructure that supports living, working, training that ultimately impacts operational effectiveness.

The UK Government recognises this opportunity and has placed it at the heart of the Government Property Strategy, published in August 2022, focusing on the delivery of space that performs and meets the needs of its customers; that is the civil servants, the teachers, clinicians and of course our service personnel.

This unashamedly customer-centric approach provides a step-change in our client’s expectations, but also highlights how we all must respond to infrastructure procurement, planning and delivery. Contractors have a pivotal role creating facilities and accommodation to support our armed services personnel in the UK.

There are well over 100,000 single living bed spaces for service personnel across the UK, many being renewed or upgrade now, creating significant opportunities for our sector to demonstrate its force multiplier effect to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) through the provision of enhanced  built assets and facilities.

For many, maximising the wider impact of our activities requires a change in mindset and seeing the bigger picture. We must recognise that we’re not simply delivering a bed for our service personnel, but creating living accommodation that supports our defence capability, encourages comradeship and teamwork, enhances retention, attraction and wellbeing. I feel the opportunity here is to bring learnings from related sectors; for instance, in contemporary student accommodation, to then tweak and enhance single living accommodation (SLA) designs to further improve customer experience.

By focusing on the effectiveness of our armed forces, our strategy across every built environment touchpoint should be to support iterative gains that further elevate the capabilities of our service personnel. The eight-year scope of the property strategy provides the opportunity for closer collaboration between client and contractor, providing benchmarking and data collection to further inform decision making and build on that multiplier impact.

Our sense of pride, value and effectiveness is impacted by many factors. Service personnel are a unique community that are often called upon to do extraordinary activities in service of our country and way of life. Our collective industry response should be to approach every decision we take through a force multiplier lens, and we now have the framework and client focus to ensure this happens.

A version of this article was featured on the UK Defence Journal. View it here.

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‘Space to innovate’

ISG's latest research report, 'Space to innovate', reveals a link between built space and innovation, with our research showing that more appropriate space to innovate drives greater levels of innovation. Innovation which leads to more productivity, growth and nationwide prosperity.

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