Project Description

Custody suite, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Concrete structure built within Grade II building

The 50-cell custody unit was the first phase in a £28.5 million project with Willmott Dixon as main contractor, to provide a new police HQ.

Working within the existing listed structure with only centimetres to spare, some 490 lifts were completed to construct a new precast core housing custody cells and associated facilities. At times, the telescopic mobile crane boom encroached into the roof space as components were manoeuvred in a carefully planned progression along the 75m length of the 19th Century warehouse.

Huge challenge for PCE

With precast concrete components up to 8m in length and weighing up to 10 tonnes, the challenge was one of the most exacting ever carried out by the precaster, who installed 195 precast concrete wall units and 95 floor slabs, weighing in at a hefty total of 2500 tonnes, in a narrow time frame of just eight weeks.

The custody complex used the well-proven Home Office-approved Lambeth cell wall system and, for the first time, the precast units were manufactured using PCE’s own moulds, which it procured for this and future custody projects. The structure incorporates precast crosswall and duct units along with a precast roof to the cells and hollowcore to the storage areas. With no on-site storage space and an extremely confined working area, all units had to be delivered to site to a strict schedule and placed directly from the delivery vehicle.

Further information

Willmott Dixon – Police Headquarters in Newcastle »

Images shown above

  1. PCE used a crawler crane to erect police cells within the existing listed structure.
  2. The concrete frame for the new police HQ building during erection, with Kings House in the background.
  3. Control area for the new cell block
  4. External façade of the former engine shed.
  5. The crawler crane working within the former engine shed.

Location: Forth Banks, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Main contractor: Willmott Dixon

Building services: Desco (Design & Consultancy) 

Architect: Gateshead Council

Project: 50-cell police custody suite

In order to gain listed building consent, the scheme had to meet a requirement to retain the original façade of the building.