Case studies

Homes for heroes

Defining a sustainable housing model for Ministry of Defence personnel

Lifestyles have changed, and continue to do so, across all sections of society. It can be hard to define what a typical 21st century family unit is, and as diversity grows so does the variety of accommodation required to cater for it.

The modern military is no exception to these changes, and the housing owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) no longer meets the needs of the majority of people who use it.

So the MOD asked us to assist in defining a sustainable ‘Future Accommodation Model’, to enable military personnel to move from MOD accommodation to the private market in the places where they’re stationed. The challenge was to understand whether, and how, the MOD could switch from a bricks-and-mortar solution to a financial subsidy that would support this approach.

The first step was to assess the suitability and availability of the private real estate market in over 170 UK locations. To do this, we undertook a feasibility study looking at factors such as rental costs, commuting time, proximity to amenities, employment opportunities and social deprivation.

Combining the experience of our digital analytics and real estate consulting practices - and drawing on our expertise in areas including defence, customer analytics, business modelling, employment tax and audit - we were able to provide the MOD with an unprecedented understanding of the private housing market, and a comprehensive view of availability of property that would meet the housing requirements of the 21st century military.

The impact of our work is immense. If approved, it will help the MOD usher in one of the greatest changes to military lifestyle in a generation, fundamentally altering the way approximately 160,000 military personnel live and work today; and also contribute to providing them with a better understanding of post-service civilian life.

The solutions adopted will address one of the government’s most significant challenges. Military personnel will now have far greater choice over their accommodation, and unmarried families, in particular, have more options open to them.

What’s more, by releasing surplus MOD land, our approach also fully supports the government’s objective to build more affordable homes for the people who need them most. It also eases the financial burden that came with maintaining the MOD’s huge housing portfolio.

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