Building your own Squadron HQ


RFCA in effect rent buildings out for functions to non MoD groups, how are they insured?

Seems as if one law for one law for another. Could they rentout your squadron building for a function of some kind as you don’t own it there’s nothing you could do about it.


Yes and no, it’s in the agreement with RFCA that can attempt to rent out buildings… HOWEVER it is also in the agreement that if this happens personnel from the unit are required to be present.

so in theory yes RFCA can rent it out but you need someone present… you aren’t there, its not being rented.

That is one of the problems with them, there are so army orientated is beyond belief, the local RFCA sent out info with 6 pictures on the front for the volunteer day and giving a big well done to those who work with the cadet forces, not 1 picture was of something related to the air cadets or sea cadets it was all ACF.


Sorry to all if I sound like a broken record regarding RFCA and my loathing of them but I had been working with 2 other units reserve and cadet relating to issues with our RFCA so had gotten quite a lot of info on how they operate.

apologies if I go on


I think we can all agree that RFCA are ‘poor’.

However this is not the question at hand.

Let me ask a different one…

Are there any people out there with DIRECT experience of their unit being based in a non-RFCA controlled building.

How is the ‘legality’ handled, the insurances, the maintenance and the annual checks such as PAT, electrics and fire extinguishers.

I assume if your building is outside the MOD estate you can just do whatever maintenance you like?

The very fact these questions are even asked is a testament to the total unmitigated failure of HQAC to manage the most basic of basics like buildings in conjuction with the bent and corrupt, uslesness of RFCA.

Like I said they are 'poor.


Dig out the old Thurston Squadron FOI stuff. I’m 90% certain that the Civ Com was trying to raise funds for a new building and were prevented from doing so. I just can’t remember the exact circumstances. I think it was a school squadron which added in extra issues.


Got it in one.


WRT build costs, land aside the last figure I heard was £300K for what was in effect a big shed.

Near to us a 3½ acre plot was up for offers of £100K plus.


North West RFCA have built several modular portakabin style buildings that have cost around £600k each. This doesn’t include land costs as the squadron’s in question are having their new build put on the same sites.

The architects themselves say would only last 30 years. They are shared, but are all under the 300m2 scaled for joint cadet centres. How buildings of this type could cost so much I really don’t know.


Considering you can get very good quality second hand for approx £18k each, you do have to wonder where the money is going???


Considering you can build a 2 storey house for £200k - £250KI (excl land) you have to wonder where the money is going?


That is a preposterous amount of money.

Given that a Sqn building is essentially a medium-sized bungalow with a lot of things taken out (central-heating, major hot water system, most of the kitchen) if it’s costing any more than £100K (exclusive of land) to build then someone is being ripped off.


Our new “building” (3 prefabricated parts all stitched on to the existing ACF prefab) cost £300k, 10 years ago. The build quality is terrible with cracks appearing at the seams.

We had a quantity surveyor as a member of staff at the time who was mortified and told us that he could have built a 2 storey brick building for the amount ours cost.


Yes. We had a temporary building whilst ours was being built. RFCA instructed us to close for 6 months whilst the build happened. We declined the kind offer (with evidence that a neighbouring Wg had a sqn “temporarily close” for a build and it took nearly 3 years to get the building signed off!). Instead we talked to a local volunteer bureau, they sourced us an excellent facility. It was 3 miles out of town and meant an extended commute for cadets and staff alike.

It cost the sqn nothing. RFCA picked up the rent. We had 24/7 access and worked closely with the landlord to “improve” the site and make it suit our needs. RFCA just paid the bills and provided the insurance top cover. To my knowledge, they visited site once to check suitability.

We (sqn) had to do all the leg work to move in and out (RFCA still provided us an ISO container to pack the sqn into - despite us agreeing very early on we didn’t need one!).

Annual checks were all done by the new landlord - although they did only check their fire extinguishers - not the RAF inventory ones we had at the time.

The arrangement lasted around 8 months IIRC.

AFAIK there are other sqns in my wing have worked out of schools, community centres and one continues to work out of a Scout hut. RFCA give them the once over and just pay the rent.

In many ways - from my experiences - the landlords have always been far more accommodating than RFCA when it comes to making changes to fabric, fixtures and fittings. Even ensuring adequate heating was done a dam site better. However, it does limit some activities - storage of A&A for one! Even air rifles- even when an air rifle range is available in the Scout hut - they still aren’t allowed to store anything there!!!


Very interesting.
Thank you


There is a sqn in our wing that owns its own building and land. I know it was given to them years and years ago on the understanding the mod paid for the up keep and it’s huge, also the land it’s on is even bigger.
RFCA carry out the maintenance etc.

The sqn also rent it out the land for car boot sales every few weeks pocketing the money for funds.


Maybe the challenge should be to RFCA to justify the cost of pre-fabs to HQAC, against brick built.
However the problem will be going to the same old supplier, no competitive sealed bid tendering, hence the buildings are what they are.


My information was that the whole project was approved and agreed in writing with the ACO of the day and RFCA and the School Head and the local Government. When the project looked within 6 months of breaking ground to go ahead, the CAC had changed and got cold feet. The then Regional Commandant also did a 180 degree turn in support before eventually being proved wrong and it later emerged that there had been a botched investigation into the CO for several counts of alleged inappropriate behaviour to certain cadets. The committee chairman had informed the Regional Chairman of the issue and been told to get the relevant parents under control !!!

So frankly, while 863 may fuel the debate over committees, it may be more appropriate to be asking how could a whole community spend years fundraising against the written word of the RAF only to be let down at the end, apparently as a defensive move to protect the CO (who continues to serve having been thoroughly investigated by the police and given serious warning). From the little I know, this was a squadron supported to the limit by parents and committee which in itself was too much success for the ATC structure to handle.

Always more to these things than often gets written …


This maybe an indication for not having ex-VRT/CFC people near a Wing upwards CivComs.


looking for something else I stumbled across this

g. Purchase of buildings and/or land. Purchase of property/land may be considered where this is the only means of providing accommodation after all other options in para 3 have been exhausted. In no circumstances are sqn committees to enter into negotiations or commit MOD or its agents in any way over the terms of the purchase.

taken from ACP21 Sharepoint link paragraph 3 (g) - the whole of para 3 is of interest to the topic to be fair…


It is ironic that it flies in the face of the original remit of committees and why shouldn’t committees be involved in things.