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The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), Loughborough, Nottinghamshire

Creation of a 21st century clinical rehabilitation centre of excellence

Since 2009, Arup has been managing the £300 million project to create the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) in the East Midlands. The programme involves the creation of a 21st century clinical rehabilitation centre of excellence comprising two elements: a Defence establishment for injured service men and women and a National facility for the general population.

The Defence establishment is a state of the art clinical facility for injured service men and women. The programme also includes the potential to develop a national clinical rehabilitation facility where the expertise that exists within Defence medicine could be shared for the benefit of the Nation.

We played an integral role in the project, providing a project management-led multidisciplinary team including architectural and engineering design, planning, environmental, cost management and specialist consultancy services, drawing on expertise from our offices across the UK. Through its integrated approach our project managers ensured that all key decisions on design and cost were value-driven, leading to significant capital cost savings in the design and procurement stages. The team has managed the project through conceptual and detailed design stages, procurement and contract award, and managed the construction work on site.

The Arup teams successfully managed significant planning risks to secure consent for this development, including the refurbishment of a Grade II* building within registered parkland, whilst rationalising the conceptual design to reduce costs despite increases in scale. An innovative procurement strategy using competitive dialogue which we developed to overcome unfavourable market conditions gave further substantial cost savings, without reduction in performance or scale. In addition to the roles on the Defence establishment, we continue to support the progression of the National facility through the concept stage and is part of the team overseeing public consultation events with the local community.

Project Summary

£300m Project

43,000m2State of the art clinical facility

600+Arup staff have worked on the project

Listen below to hear Arup's Project Director Tim Crow discuss innovations that we have deployed on the DNRC programme:

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The defence establishment has completed construction and is a purpose-built 43,000m² facility which became operational in 2018. The building includes a state of the art integrated treatment zone containing gyms, pools, accommodation for complex trauma and neurological patients, diagnostic imaging and a prosthetics department. A specialist research laboratory houses the latest technology to optimise rehabilitation including a physiology laboratory, gait laboratory and a computer assisted rehabilitation environment.

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The percentage of injured military personnel returning to work after significant trauma injuries is substantially higher than for civilians. The colocation of the two elements, Defence and National (pictured), within a parkland estate dedicated to rehabilitation provides the opportunity to be game-changing in the field of clinical rehabilitation. Knowledge sharing and access to specialist facilities are of benefit to the civilian population in terms of clinical treatment and to the nation in terms of research and education and training.

The Duke’s Lake, is a 26,500m² lake that provides surface water attenuation and provides a restful environment to support the recovery of patients. The lake’s structures were compromised, and we carried out critical embankment stabilisation repairs. We provided a sustainable, cost-effective design solution that uses plants to stabilise the structure, instead of the originally proposed reinforced concrete solution. Collaborating with a specialist river restoration engineering company, we delivered the natural solution that means the biodiversity can thrive, enhancing the environment for patients. Utilising the setting, we delivered a wider scope, on time and within budget.

The Lake plays a pivotal role in the running of the centre, providing patients the opportunity to participate in activities including angling and art classes to support the restful environment. 


Consultancy & Engineering Awards 2019
Integrated Project Team - Public Sector

European Healthcare Design Awards 2019
Design for Health and Wellness

ICE East Midlands Merit Awards 2019
Small Projects (up to £750k) for the Duke's Lake

Watch drone footage from the DNRC site taken in June 2018 below:

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