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Military Bases, Ramping Up On New Construction

05 Feb 2021 1:52 PM | Sandra Wills (Administrator)

The United States Military budget has always been generous. However, on December 21, 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) increased the military budget to $738 billion. That’s $22 billion more than 2019. 

The bill lays out how and where to allocate the funds, but a lot is left open to DoD discretion. Per usual, a large amount is allocated to specific military bases ramping up new construction. 

The United States government is one of the largest consumers in the world. In fiscal year 2020 alone, they awarded $554 billion in contracts. If you’re in the construction industry, you ought to want the U.S. government as a customer. Federal spending for the construction industry averages around $30 billion each year.

They pay well, and they have plenty of upcoming and ongoing construction projects. Let’s take a look at some of the new construction going on in U.S. Military bases.

The NDAA Funds

The NDAA listed several projects and budgets for those projects. Here are some examples of those: 

  • In North Carolina, $2.2 billion was allocated for military construction, and $1.1 billion was allocated towards Hurricane Florence recovery at Air Station New River, Air Station Cherry Point, and Camp Lejeune.

  • Fort Bragg received $96.6 million for new construction, including a special operations facility, dining facility, training complex, and more. 

  • At Camp Pendleton in California, $71.7 million was allocated for a new warehouse and mess hall, and $17.7 million for a new dental clinic and ambulatory care center. 

  • Fort Drum in New York has $21 million to go towards transportation projects. 

  • Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida was given $3.4 billion to rehabilitate hundreds of buildings that were destroyed by Hurricane Michael. 

  • Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was given $14,5 million to demolish and rebuild 137 facilities that were damaged during flooding. 

  • Foot Hood in Texas received $32 million for new soldier barracks. The Joint Base San Antonio was given $207 million to modernize several buildings. 

The interesting thing is that these projects list the bare minimum of what’s needed for each project. 

For instance, most facilities need to meet energy standards, exceed building codes with a fire suppression system, and any of the bases wrecked by floods will need to be built on elevated structures versus grounded foundations.  

However, these needs and details aren’t listed on the government contract boards. They’re very basic listings.

Additionally, the following other bases received more than $100 million to use towards construction. 

  • Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona ($189.7 million)

  • Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana ($235 million)

  • Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado ($148 million)

  • Naval Base Coronado in California ($165.8 million)

  • Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia ($143.3 million)

  • Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay located in Hawaii ($134 million)

  • Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia ($139.1 million)

  • Hill Air Force Base in Utah ($114.5 million)

  • Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in California ($123.3 million)

  • Fort Gordon, Georgia: ($107 million) 

While it might seem like these bases received a lot of money, all of these military bases have much more needs and plans for future years. This is evident if you peek inside any base’s plans. 

Let’s take a look at Fort Gordon, located in Georgia. 

Upcoming Projects at Fort Gordon, Georgia 

In Fort Gordon, there is already $1.6 billion worth of planned investments in major R&M (restoration and modernization) and MILCON projects. These projects include a variety of different tasks to modernize and meet the mission and growth requirements of Fort Gordon. 

Here are a few of those projects: 

  • Permanent Party and NCOA Barracks Renovations - The buildings have mold and mildew issues due to outdated HVAC systems. They estimate the cost to be around $8M per building (7 Buildings total).  

  • Child and Youth Services Facilities – There’s an enormous amount of plans for various childcare facilities. 

  • New Fitness Facility, located in AIT barracks - The cost is estimated to be around $39 million. The new facility will include: 

  • 114,540 square feet 

  • 20,000 square feet  

  • a fitness module

  • exercise module

  • gymnasium 

  • structured activity module

  • locker rooms

  • control desk

  • administrative areas

  • laundry

  • storage 

  • 3-lane indoor jogging track

  • 25-meter pool  

  • New Chapel with Religious Education center - The cost is estimated to be around $44 million. It will include: 

  • 116,400 square feet (2 stories) 

  • 600 seat sanctuary

  • activity center for 580 people 

  • 17 religious educational classrooms

And these are just four of the projects at Fort Gordon. Some other projects are already underway or have already been awarded to contractors. 

So, how do you make the U.S. government and military your customer? How do you become a construction contractor for the U.S. military?

Getting Started with Military Construction

At a base level, you need to be good at what you do. You’ll have to bid on contracts, so you want to ensure that your company is better than the average company on the street. Moreover, any specialized construction skills will go a long way in winning those contracts. 

If you specialize in using specific materials or techniques like using tilt up panels and optimizing for energy efficiency – you’re going to stand out. But getting on the radar isn’t always easy. 

It’s wise to use small business set-aside programs like HubZone, SDVOSB, WOSB, or the 8a Certification program which can open doors faster and limit the competition. For example, through the HubZone program $122 million was awarded to construction companies with this certification. Using programs like HubZone can help you get your foot in the door with military contracts, making landing future jobs easier. 

The most critical thing is to start now. There’s plenty of money in military construction, and it seems to be increasing all the time. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will get your piece of the government contracting pie.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow contractors, homeowners, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

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