Following on from our appointment to deliver a new prison at Wellingborough on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), we have been profiling some of the supply chain we are working with to deliver the offsite elements of the project.

For our next blog in the series, Lynda Rawsthorne, Director of Prison Infrastructure at the Ministry of Justice, talks about how our approach of integration and collaboration at Wellingborough is driving benefits in the immediate, as well as much more holistic outcomes in the longer term.

“The design and construction of the new build prison at Wellingborough is a key focus for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and is the first prison we have designed to better meet the needs of the type of offenders it will hold. It will be an adult male Category C resettlement prison and will allow Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to move those in that category to a better environment to meet their needs and enhance rehabilitation.

A core part of our purpose is to create spaces where we can reduce reoffending, resulting in safer communities – all offenders will be waiting for release, and rehabilitation will be at the core of everything the prison does. This has meant the design has some fundamental differences when compared to other modern prisons, including smaller communities within each houseblock and rehabilitative surroundings. For example, now each unit on the new houseblocks will have just 20 single cells.

Kier and the wider supply chain have embraced the design challenges and worked with us to apply the innovative design to the site while using a Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) approach. This is something which MoJ is committed to and which has helped us drive time efficiency through the construction programme.

Visiting the site, the progress continues to be impressive. Manufacturing offsite has enhanced confidence in delivering on time and quality, seeing the cell components lifted into place enables us to demonstrate the progress and allows stakeholders to get a feel for how the prison will be.

We worked hard to discover solutions to create normalised environments in the prison. Kier worked with us on this and arranged for us to visit one of its precast suppliers, Bison. This gave us the opportunity to understand more about the mechanics of production and the route to deliver. It has enabled us to include bar-less windows as part of the new design; seeing them on site and the difference they make to the cells is inspiring. Kier’s work with Bison highlighted its dedication to both quality and precision through the supply chain.

It is important to us as a client that we have a shared vision with Kier and that is being delivered via collaborative working. Early engagement with the preconstruction team enabled us to consider options and make the right choices for the design, fully understanding the implications. Value for money had to be central to what we took forward and that had to be balanced with innovation and approach – we are very pleased with the approach we took and design we have taken forward.

We always planned to use the design for the new prison at Wellingborough for the basis of further prisons and with the announcement of further funding of up to £2.5bn for 10,000 additional places it has become even more important. Wellingborough is the blueprint and we are all focussed on how it progresses and how we are working together to create something that will impact on the lives of those who reside there but also their families, the wider community and the staff who will operate it.

The design and construction team are driven to deliver the best in everything they do. The team do this by ensuring that, at every challenge and at every key milestone, every decision is robust and remains true to the following principles:

1. We will safely deliver new prison places, ready for operation, on time
2. The design will support improving our prisons
3. The new prisons will provide a safe, secure and decent environment
4. We will deliver best value for money both in the build and in the operation of our new prisons
5. We will support the Government’s commitment to Smart Construction

Taking our design forward and using MMC and digital applications during the process has given us more certainty that we have an environment which will meet our aims.”

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