9 buildings and 1,680 prison cells built in just 45 weeks

Structural completion of HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough

Structural completion of the Award-Winning new prison ‘HMP Five Wells’ by Principal Contractor Kier Strategic Projects, situated in Wellingborough 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 CASU (Care and Separation Unit). In addition, PCE utilised its hybriDfMA Frame system to deliver the Entry and Visits Building which takes benefit of robust concrete walls where required for security, coupled with the ‘open plan’ nature of a frame structure where greater flexibility is required. Collaborating with Kier and the utilisation of 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 project represents one of the largest Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) strategies within the UK construction industry with multiple designers and manufacturing partners coming together under PCE’s management and coordination to safely and efficiently deliver over 14,000 structural concrete components with integrated M&E, security systems together with offsite plant modules and services risers all being as part of the structural assembly operations.  In total over 50,000 offsite manufactured components from multiple locations around the UK and Southern Ireland went through PCE and Kier’s stringent quality regimes prior to being delivered to site. This was only possible through effective collaboration and the adoption of sophisticated digital tracking tools linked to the BIM model. Duplication was avoided through resource sharing and real time data capture at the manufacturing and assembly stages meant that the project team maintained control at every stage of the process. 


Project duration of just 45 weeks

The scale and speed of the project was unprecedented with 9 buildings and 1,680 prison cells being constructed from pile cap to roof by PCE’s multi-skilled site teams in just 45 weeks, 250,000 site hours safely completed with no reportable accidents. This included the installation of preassembled M&E riser modules provided by the M&E specialists which were progressively craned into position by PCE.  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 quickly implemented to ensure the project could continue given that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had assessed the project as ‘high-priority’. Fortunately, PCE’s hybriDfMA system approach, meant that changes to site procedures were minimal and simple to introduce, resulting in little or no disruption to the project due to the inherent benefits of an offsite manufacturing and onsite assembly strategy which relies on much smaller teams of operatives and has much greater process control which allowed effective social distancing and risk minimisation measures.


PCE’s Project Manager Adam Clarke commented:

“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. Our collaborative and longstanding relationships with Kier and the MoJ is testament to the PCE Project Team’s perfectly blended strengths and expertise with dedication to safety, precision and quality.”  


Aerial photography courtesy of ProDroneWorx

Videos courtesy of Kier

Let's Talk