Kier scoops Oxfordshire prison scheme

Kier has landed a job to build an accommodation block and workshop at HMP Bullingdon, Construction News can reveal.

The contractor scooped the design-and-build contract to construct a seventh houseblock at the category B prison, which will increase its capacity by 247 to more than 1,300.

The four-storey block will be built offsite in components using modern methods of construction.

It will also be energy-efficient, supporting the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) plans to cut the prison estate’s carbon emissions.

As well as the housing block, Kier will design and build a two-storey workshop to support prisoners’ rehabilitation, plus a two-storey multi-faith building.

The tier-one firm declined to provide a contract value or comment further, but the Bullingdon project was approved in September 2022 as part of a £500m prison-upgrade package contracted out to Kier and Wates.

Its work at the Oxfordshire prison will also include a single-storey extension to an existing medical site, demolition works and a two-storey extension to a physical recreation site.

Bullingdon is one of six prisons set to benefit from the £500m upgrade package, the others being Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley and Wayland.

Kier is already building a houseblock at HMP Elmley worth more than £100m.

The six-prison work package is set to deliver more than 2,600 new places across six accommodation blocks, as well as a set of workshops.

In 2022, Kier said it would offer work to serving prisoners and leavers to deliver the accommodation blocks under its Making Ground initiative, which provides temporary-licence jobs in the construction industry.

Kier became one of the first companies in England and Wales to offer apprenticeships to people in custody.

The firm is also working on HMP Glasgow, after it was appointed to carry out preconstruction services for the facility in July 2022 and submitted a masterplan in December 2022.

The new Scottish prison is being built to take pressure off the Victorian-era HMP Barlinnie. Its governor, Michael Stoney, told the BBC in August that it was running at 140 per cent of capacity and was at risk of “catastrophic failure”.

Kier declined to comment on the story.

Construction News approached the MoJ for comment.

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