U.S. and local construction practices harmonize at Ali Al Salem raising quality of life

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Patrick Evenson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

A new building was completed at Ali Al Salem Air Base recently. This one is a bit different from the rest that stand around it, with it’s red tinted brick that stretches to its roof. Using local building practices as well as material, this building is a first of its kind which might lead to a new engineering mindset for the future of the base.

The 7,000 square foot building will house the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s Force Protection Flight, with approximately 100 airmen who are responsible to protect personnel, facilities and equipment that support national defense missions.

Previously they were housed in trailers that were past their intended design life. As the base mission set goes from expeditionary to enduring, structures have to follow suit.

Patterned off of current local national construction standards, this $1.5 million building was the first of its kind, according to Capt. Ryley Paquette, engineering flight commander for the 386th ECES.

“The idea was to see what we could do to harmonize U.S. standards with international standards here, to get the cost down and decrease construction time,” said Paquette.

Since the workers who are often contracted to build the structures on base are locals or non-U.S. contractors working from mostly British building standards, spinning them up to the American way of building can be quite the learning curve for them.

“We were trying to push the American [building standards] into the local system,” said Paquette, “and that’s a lot of work.”

Another huge time and money pitfall has been construction material. Due to the requirement of U.S. building standards, a lot of material can only be purchased and shipped from the U.S., even though there are equivalent items available in the local market.

The 386th decided to have the locals do what they do best, and that’s to build it their way. From start to finish, construction took 270 days to complete.

According to Paquette, this was an ideal project to test this new mindset of design with, since it was a relatively simple building from the requirement perspective.

“We’ll take the lessons learned from this and use it as kind of a template for future buildings,” said Paquette. “A lot of the existing buildings are coming up on their design life.”

Moving towards this more permanent standard goal will definitely help try and get the base and the quality of life better for everybody.

“That’s the concept and it's been pretty good so far,” said Paquette.