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HMP Five Wells Opening - Beyond Five Wells

10 Mar 2022

Tim Irons

Operations Director

It’s hugely encouraging to see how much press coverage and celebration of the opening of HMP Five Wells there has been. As lead designers and providing many of the design roles for this project, Pick Everard played a central role in the successful delivery of this project. As proud as I am about how the project team overcame the challenges of this project; doubled and redoubled the effort when problems were encountered, I can’t help but think about how far we have come since this scheme left the drawing board and also how much further there is to travel.

HMP Five Wells quickly became the baseline design for HMP Glen Parva, which we are delivering with Lendlease, which in turn has become the baseline design for the development of reference designs, a commoditised set of building designs for the MoJ which will be applied to their latest four new build prison programme and beyond. An idea for which value is immeasurable, bringing acceleration, consistency and efficiency.

Whilst the DNA from HMP Five Wells is still there, latest designs drive towards Net Zero Carbon by reducing operational energy demand, a significant reduction in embodied carbon and designs moving away from direct fossil fuel energy sources to electric only solutions, supported by onsite renewable generation. Solutions are now BREEAM Outstanding across the majority of the buildings where practically possible.

We’ve tested a range of DFMA and MMC solutions and incorporated a ‘best fit’ for the programme available… certainly there is more advancement to happen here. We have rationalised, standardised, applied platform design principles and improved project delivery processes across the board. The product is more efficient, leaner and cleaner to deliver than it ever has been before.

But what about the future? Central government clients are bold in their ambitions to hit NZC by 2040. Our own practice aspirations mean our sustainability offer will go further still. No longer is it acceptable to follow the herd, we must lead by example in the way that great clients like the MoJ have done for us. We must make commitments that safeguard the future of our planet.

From a prison of the future perspective, there is no doubt the new resettlement prisons mark a step change in the approach to ensuring the future of those who enter the prison system is brighter on release. It has been insightful and a privilege to work closely with HMPPS and specialists in the operation and psychology of prison design, to see their passion and to better understand the impact of our designs.

We’re dedicated to moving this space on, with R&D investment, and increased expertise to ensure we contribute to the next generation of prisons, which will be better still and deliver further improved outcomes, in turn making our communities safer, protecting the public, and making society a happier place to exist.

People ask me what makes me get up in the morning, what makes me bring the energy I bring to every day in my role? It’s simple, the job is never done. There will always be advancement that can be made, innovation must be continuous, I have the conviction to bring the best solutions to life. At the foundations of this, a great team of committed experts and a culture and values that make the decision to do the right thing easy.

To all those involved in Five Wells, from our friends at Kier, our consultant design partners, to the ex-offenders who helped build it, you’ve done a terrific job. When we’re done celebrating this success let’s regroup and make sure our impact is even greater next time.