Laying the foundations – ground beam substructure nears completion

Substructure works near completion for HMP Millsike, for which PCE Ltd has been appointed superstructure and façade delivery partner by Kier.

The Ministry of Justice project once again sees PCE’s award winning HybriDfMA Secure Prison System being used, following the successful completion of HMP Five Wells, at Wellingborough and HMP Fosse Way, Glen Parva.


HMP Millsike, a ‘smart’ category C prison which focuses on rehabilitation opportunities for inmates, will house nearly 1,500 prisoners. In preparation for the construction phase of the superstructure, the installation of precast ground beams is underway.


The 613 precast concrete ground beams have been manufactured offsite, ensuring quality standards are consistently high in controlled factory environments where every detail is monitored and managed. The ground beams will support 6 houseblocks and one Care and Separation Unit (CASU).


Compared with traditional in-situ methodologies, the use of precast ground beams has proved far more efficient. Requiring less labour on site and fewer deliveries to site, not only has it reduced programme time by around 2-4 weeks per houseblock, it also reduces impact on the local community with less disturbance caused by deliveries.


Through its commitment to continuous improvement and a lessons learned philosophy, PCE developed the design of the ground beams from the HMP Five Wells project, built in 2021. Through advanced Building Information Modelling (BIM) expertise and cutting-edge technology, value engineering initiatives took place with the end result seeing a reduction in reinforcement. This aided casting and reduced material quantities, with speedier connections which in turn has reduced build time. These design improvements enhance efficiencies as well as commercial and sustainability benefits.

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