HMP Fosse Way: Government’s latest ‘smart’ prison opens

PCE Ltd were appointed by main contractor Lendlease as the superstructure and façade delivery partners for HMP Fosse Way, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). HMP Fosse Way, which forms part of the Government’s New Prison Programme (NPP), is a near 2,000 capacity innovative and modern category C Resettlement facility focusing on prisoner rehabilitation.

It adds to PCE’s portfolio of successful secure prison deliveries, following the completion of the award-winning HMP Featherstone and more recently, HMP Five Wells, in Wellingborough.


In what is a true hybrid project, a total of 23 different architectural, steel, and reinforced precast component types were used to design and build the seven four-storey houseblocks, Care and Separation Unit (CaSU) and an entrance building, comprising of three separate spaces.


The implementation of PCE’s HybriDfMA Secure Prison system, part of its suite of HybriDfMA systems, delivered significant benefits in terms of speed and scale. With industry-leading safety, quality, efficiency, and value, the project was completed in a total of 38 weeks, 6 weeks faster than the target date.


Covering over 48,000m2 of floor space and nearly 30,000m2 of varied façade, in excess of 14,000 hybrid components were manufactured, totaling more than 54,000 tonnes. Optimal standardised construction techniques ensured speed of assembly, with lifting operations equating to around 285 tonnes of material and circa 74 hybrid units installed daily. On average, PCE installed 45 cells per week, or 9 cells per day, each with unwavering consistency and quality. These figures were achieved by an on-site workforce averaging around 70 highly skilled, multidisciplined operatives, with up to 7 cranes operating at peak, evidencing the speed of operation. The team included prisoners on ROTL (release on temporary license), with PCE providing upskilling and training opportunities to assist in their rehabilitation back into society.


In addition to the circa 14,000 offsite manufactured components, the modular solution saw over 74,000 M&E, security, and utility components integrated within them across PCE’s extensive supply chain. This included integration of shower feeds, outlets, and heating mats, as well as secure barless windows cast in, all whilst undergoing rigorous quality checks and monitoring to ensure consistency.  Such a comprehensive approach with an expansive, adaptable supply chain of multiple partners ensures quality levels are managed to the highest degree, regardless of scale.


Utilising a lessons learned philosophy and culture of continuous improvement, PCE were able to build on the successes of HMP Featherstone and HMP Five Wells, delivering elevated excellence across the HMP Fosse Way project. By integrating the latest Modern Methods of Construction, PCE leveraged its digital capabilities, data-driven insights, and the innovative HybriDfMA Secure Prison system to expertly coordinate the design, manufacturing, logistics, and assembly of the superstructure, ensuring an expedited project programme.


PCE’s platform approach is a clear blueprint for success within the custodial sector, helping position it as the market leader for the design and build of high quality, high security, modernised prisons. The company’s unique Secure Prison system, using DfMA principles (design for manufacture and assembly), offers hybrid flexibility of material components interchangeable within a streamlined, optimised ‘kit of parts’ package with assured, predictable tolerances. The fully scalable system, which is fully compliant with NOMS (National Offender Management Service) and Home Office design guides, leverages the benefits of modular construction and standardised methodologies through a repeatable, predictable, offsite DfMA approach for fast, accurate, and efficient construction.


On the project, the Ministry of Justice made the following comment:

“PCE have demonstrated an absolute commitment to the Ministry of Justice and the Government’s priorities by supporting precast manufacture at the rate needed to support challenging construction programmes.  The success of delivery is now promoted across Whitehall, with growing interest in the way PCE have utilised Modern Methods of Construction to deliver pace, quality and innovation, including reducing embodied carbon to support the sustainability agenda.”


PCE’s HybriDfMA system solutions deliver significant benefits, including up to a 30% reduction in construction programme, waste reduction up to 90%, site deliveries reduced by up to 80%, as well as a reduction in required onsite operatives by up to 80%.


Figure 1: HMP Fosse Way under construction - Credit: Rikesh Patel

Figure 2: PCE and Lendlease after installing the final precast component

Figure 3: A completed X-wing houseblock

Figure 4: Team PCE and Lendlease as the final precast component is installed

Figure 5: HMP Fosse Way tennis court

Figure 6: HMP Fosse Way interior recreational area

Figure 7: Houseblock façade after build completion

Figure 8: HMP Fosse Way houseblock interior corridor

Figure 9: HybriDfMA Secure Prison system assembly visual

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