UK appoints contractors for €1.2bn prison programme

By Leila Steed13 July 2021

ISG, Kier, Laing O’Rourke and Wates to work in collaboration on four new prisons for the UK Ministry of Justice

UK Ministry of Justice scales of justice image

Kier, ISG, Laing O’Rourke and Wates have been chosen as the main contractors for the UK’s £1 billion (€1.7 billion) New Prison Programme by the government’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Initially comprising four new prison buildings for adult males, the New Prisons Programme will create over 6,000 modern prison places. According to Kier, safety, security and rehabilitation will be central to the construction of the new state-owned facilities.

James Hindes, managing director at Kier Strategic Projects, said, “Bringing together four Tier 1 contractors to work collaboratively through this programme is a progressive approach by the Ministry of Justice, and one which will not only be beneficial in harnessing innovation across the industry, but it will also create new jobs and help the MoJ to better rehabilitate offenders.”

The four companies were appointed in line with the UK Goverment Construction Playbook, through the Crown Commercial Services framework.

It uses the Alliance form of contract, which requires the contractors to work together on a “delivery methodology that prioritises modern methods of construction (MMC)”.

According to Kier, this includes the standardisation of components, platform design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA) and digitisation of the construction process.

Zoe Price, COO UK Construction at ISG, said, “The innovative use of an alliance model by the MoJ unlocks the vast potential of the UK’s most forward thinking and creative Tier 1 contractors to partner on a repeatable construction solution that lies at the heart of the government’s Construction Playbook aspirations.

“This is a radical step forward by the MoJ as we prioritise whole life costs, embodied carbon, circular principles and focus on maximising the societal benefit of this significant capital expenditure and reflects an exemplar framework for building back better.”

During the planning stage ISG, Laing O’Rourke, Wates and Kier – collectively known as the ‘Alliance 4 New Prisons’ – will collaboratively develop a standardised design and construction approach that can be used for all four of the prison sites.

While the locations of three of the prisons is still to be confirmed, the first will be built at Full Sutton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Construction is currently due to start on the first facility in the summer of 2022.

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