Nine buildings and 1,680 prison cells constructed at Wellingborough's new prison in just 45 weeks

The new prison is due to open early next year

HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough is due to open early next year
HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough is due to open early next year

Nine buildings and 1,680 prison cells have been constructed in just 45 weeks at Wellingborough's HMP Five Wells.

Structural completion of the new prison by principal contractor Kier Strategic Projects has been delivered by PCE’s Secure Prisons System.

Working in collaboration with Kier, PCE installed a precast concrete solution for substructure, superstructure, and facade for the seven, four-storey houseblocks and the care and separation unit.

Collaborating with Kier and using a ‘kit of parts’ approach enabled PCE to assemble the buildings quickly and efficiently from a suite of standard structural components which are manufactured offsite and can be configured to the specific needs of the building.

The scale and speed of the project was unprecedented with nine buildings and 1,680 prison cells being constructed by PCE’s multi-skilled site teams in just 45 weeks, with 250,000 site hours safely completed with no reportable accidents.

But the project was not without its challenges with the Covid-19 Pandemic striking the UK part-way through the construction phase.

Working closely with Kier, mitigation measures had to be agreed and implemented to ensure the project could continue given that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had assessed the project as ‘high-priority’.

PCE’s project manager Adam Clarke said: “For PCE the HMP Five Wells project was a genuine example of real supply chain collaboration delivering measurable benefits.

"The results are clear: from nothing to nine structurally complete, complex buildings in just 11 months."

Kier was awarded the £253 million contract by the Ministry of Justice under its Prison Estate Transformation Programme for the new prison.

The new category C resettlement prison is taking shape on the same site as the former HMP Wellingborough and will provide a modern facility which will create a safe and secure environment for staff and prisoners.

The new category C resettlement prison incorporates the latest design and technology to enhance security and rehabilitation.

It will hold around 1,680 prisoners and is due to open in early 2022.

The Northants Telegraph reported in October that G4S had been awarded the contract to run the new prison, creating 700 jobs.

Wellingborough's former prison was shut down in 2012 because of its poor condition.

But it was then revealed that the site would be brought back into use as part of the government's Prison Estate Transformation Programme.

Work on the new prison began in 2019.

To read more about the new prison, click here.

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