Balfour Beatty picked for Highland prison


The project has been designed by BakerHicks

The project for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has been designed by BakerHicks. Balfour Beatty will work on the detailed design as well as the construction of the project.

HMP Highland will serve the Highlands, Islands and Moray areas, holding up to 200 offenders in what will be the first new prison in the area for more than a century.

Architecturally, the entrance building takes the form of a central roundhouse with an integrated family centre as a focal point for visitors; historically roundhouses were used by communities not only as homes but as places of work and for communities to come together in.

The main building reflects the flow of the River Ness and the colours of the Highland scenery. The long winding wave building form through the site means that, from street level, the building can never be viewed in its entirety. One of the aims of the design was that it should not be visibly institutional or custodial in the architectural concept or design of the public-facing elements. Internally the focus has been on delivering good design in communal and service delivery areas for staff, visitors and prisoners.

Sustainability is also a major focus of the design, with energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions on site playing an integral part in line with Scottish government guidance relating to its path to transitioning to net zero emissions by 2045.

BakerHicks has been involved in the project from the early stages following the award of the contract for the concept design through the SPS framework in 2016. It has provided multi-disciplinary services on the project throughout the design stages, including architectural, civil & structural, mechanical & electrical, and principal designer services.

Laura James, head of Scotland at BakerHicks, said: “We are proud of our continued work with SPS, helping them to achieve their objectives in delivering new and best-in-class prison facilities across the country.

“Our design team have been working on this project since its inception, and it is genuinely ground-breaking in terms of custodial design. This new style of prison creates an environment that helps aid rehabilitation, as well as being more inviting for visitors and family members. It is a far cry from the oppressive prison buildings of the past and I am excited to have the opportunity to have seen the building develop from its original concept right through to construction and completion.”

Balfour Beatty managing director Hector MacAulay said: “We are delighted to be engaged by SPS to work up the detailed design and delivery of the new HMP Highland. We will draw on our extensive expertise in modern methods of construction and decarbonisation to deliver this ground-breaking new facility.”

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