Enterprize Zone Creation, BAE Systems


For 15 years Sewell Group, as BAE’s strategic estates partner, has worked as part of the Brough site team, providing project management and construction services. The site, which previously accommodated over 2000 employees working on high security aircraft and test facilities, was being consolidated as a result of a business restructure.  An ‘Enterprise Zone’ for new tenants was also required.

The complex programme would see the intertwining of various projects including:

  • Decommissioning
  • Infrastructure works
  • Refurbishment and remodelling
  • Manufacturing relocations

A principal contractor was required to manage the safe, secure and timely delivery of the various projects; all the while ensuring operational parts of the site were not affected. As the long term trusted partner, BAE Systems appointed Sewell to deliver this highly complex scheme.



As part of the overarching master plan for BAE Systems’ UK estate, parts of the manufacturing assets from Brough were to be transported and reinstalled in Lancashire. Sewell developed early relationships with key individuals at the Warton and Samlesbury sites, along with maintaining relationships at various levels at Brough to allow for a smooth transition.

Sewell knew the 100 year old facilities at Brough inside out, having worked around the various high security facilities for 15 years. The teams worked collaboratively, engaging various BAE departments to develop a programme that was primarily engineered around access to available buildings.

The team developed a proposal, utilising both open book and traditional procurement, with design and risk transfer, to ensure value for money for the client. A series of around thirty contracts, with Sewell as overarching principal contractor were issued, breaking the programme down into deliverable phases.

Although there wasn’t a formal contract in place, as BAE’s long term partner, Sewell introduced measures to ensure collaboration, site security and site safety across the entire estate.


Sewell deployed a highly experienced project management team to Brough, with 14 managers at the schemes peak, along with a full time Health and Safety Manager to effectively oversee the projects and manage up to 350 operatives working on the various programmes. Wherever possible Sewell utilised local, preapproved contractors, with trusted track records to execute the programmes of work; as a result 96% of operatives where local to the site.

As part of the rigorous induction process, all operatives sat a BAE induction in addition to a bespoke, project specific induction delivered by Sewell; this ‘people focused’ approach reinforced BAE and Sewell’s high expectations. Spot checks, tool box talks and best practice sharing sessions were also utilised as part of a robust quality assurance programme.

The complex project delivery was heavily reliant on communication and collaboration. Daily briefings and weekly project manager meetings were held, involving the BAE team, to discuss challenges and best practice across site operations.



Sewell worked with BAE, its partners in Lancashire and the supply chain to rationalise the Brough site and create the Enterprise Zone, six months ahead of programme. The works were completed to meet BAE’s brief:

  • Under budget
  • Safely
  • No ICT or security downtime
  • No interruptions to power
  • Using 48 local contractors


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“The disruption has been absolutely minimal and that’s a credit to the team. Potentially, business continuity could have been a major issue but the whole process has been managed really well.”

Andy Woodward, Head of Engineering Management and Governance, BAE Systems.