Helping create a “template” for eco prison estate transformation

Government plans to transform prisons to make them more modern and sustainable have begun with the completion of the first of six new prisons, the award-winning(1) HMP Five Wells.

The design for the new £253million, approx. 1700 place Category C custodial facility at Wellingborough delivered by Kier Construction with a nationwide support team working to BIM Level 2 has deliberately been standardised as far as possible.

This should enable up to 80% of it to be replicable across the prison estate going forward,  optimising build efficiency and reliability. Almost all the building services- mechanical (including ventilation), electrical and plumbing- were digitally engineered. Kier’s digital first process has been cited as a “blueprint for future public infrastructure”. Gilberts Blackpool was able to support Kier’s process, by providing information that could be directly input to the model. As a result, Gilberts has provided the ventilation supply and extract grilles- compliant with Ministry of Justice guidelines- for the 60,000m2 of accommodation via 7no. house blocks, plus smoke control dampers for each corridor and plant ventilation louvres.

The combination of Gilberts’ EG extract grilles, GPS4 perforated fascia grilles and FR security grilles that ensure a comfortable, fresh environment within the house blocks was all validated in advance. For fire control, Gilberts contributed to a scheme whereby its  and  Series 60 smoke evacuation dampers were doubled up to achieve the required level of smoke evacuation within the build constraints of structural opening limitations. The EN13501-3 compliant dampers and grilles deliver up to 120 minutes’ fire integrity. Gilberts’ WGF factory-built louvre screens provide a compact appearance with 50% free ventilation area to maximise efficient working of the plant screened behind.

“HMP Five Wells is exemplar in co-operative working/BIM Level 2,” observed Ian Rogers, Gilberts Sales Director. “With a site in the Midlands, main contractor, design consultant and the MEP delivery team scattered around the country with some working from home, it shows what can be achieved with separate disciplines pulling together in the same direction and making the most of digital technology.”

Added Chris Downs, Project Director @ Kier, “Utilising digital engineering, we have been able to reassure all parties via virtual reality that the services would function correctly; this process and using off-site manufacture (as we did with the plant louvres) helped deliver the project more than 20% faster than traditional construction, saving thousands of hours on site.

“The integrated approach of digital engineering and MMC at HMP Five Wells has proven to be a blueprint for future prison building.”


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