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Delivery of a complete new, sustainable prison using innovative design solutions

HMP Five Wells

HMP Five Wells is the first of six Prison Estate Transformation Projects (PETP) providing Category C facilities maximising the use of standardised building designs, achieving more efficient delivery and better value for money.

As Lead Designer for this project, we have played a central role in the delivery of a modernised custodial estate designed to enable prisoner reform. The PETP will simplify the organisation of the custodial estate to improve safety and to enable offenders to access appropriate services within modern buildings designed to achieve better educational, training and rehabilitation outcomes.

The project needed to maximise the use of design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) principles, utilising standardised components and assembly factories sited within the Ministry of Justice estate, enabling standardisation of products to reduce capital and operational costs. Standardised design solutions needed to be able to accommodate different locations, environments and orientations by utilising a platform design approach and site-specific design packages. The DfMA design process required significant collaboration with the constructors, manufacturers and suppliers.

To meet the DfMA demands, using our custodial experience, and applying our technical knowledge, we were able to advise on construction buildability and practicalities in use. Illustrated through the development of BIM modelling, our use of 3D presentation with live changes to prove or disprove options enabled quick decision making and avoided unnecessary abortive design. We were able to de-risk the project significantly by accessing detailed advice from the suppliers and constructors in a live environment - reducing design waste and allowing early cost certainty of major elements and the acceleration of key component procurement such as prefabricated concrete structures to seven identical houseblocks.

As BIM Information Manager we were able to: enhance collaboration and coordination, generate COBie data to support facilities management, implement early clash avoidance and resolution, provide 3D visualisations to support stakeholder engagement, and deliver within an accelerated programme. This stemmed from the production of a live BIM Execution Plan, aligned to the ISO 19650 industry standard and the Ministry of Justice’s BIM2AIM best practice guidance.

Key info


Kier Construction




Architecture, Building services engineering, Civil engineering, Interior design, Landscape architecture, Sustainability and energy, Structural engineering


Health and safety services





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