HMP Highland (front) (image courtesy of BakerHicks)Multi-disciplinary design and engineering company BakerHicks has started work on the full concept design for the new £70 million HMP Highland in Inverness.

The initial designs by BakerHicks, which were used to achieve Planning Permission in Principle, are now being developed by their design team to a point that the project can be tendered for construction.

The contract for the concept design, which includes the preparation of all ITT Documentation, was awarded to BakerHicks through the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) framework on a multi-discipline basis for Architectural, Civil & Structural, Mechanical & Electrical and Principal Designer Services.

The new prison includes a central Roundhouse as a focal point for visitors, the family centre and staff facilities, with the main building designed to reflect the river Ness. Using the long winding wave through the site means that, from eye level, the building can never be viewed in its entirety, making it less oppressive to pedestrians or prison visitors. The design is complemented by landscaped garden courtyards, which BakerHicks is partnering with TGP Landscape Architects on for landscape design services.

Laura James

Laura James

Laura James, head of Scotland at BakerHicks, said it is important that the best-in-class design also works well with the operational requirements of the prison.

Laura added: “We’re now taking our initial design and adding in detailed floor plans and internal layouts to the areas allocated on the Step One design.

“We’re working especially closely with the SPS team through a series of workshops to maximise the use of space and ensure the designs are appropriate for how the prison is managed and how it interacts with the local community.”

HMP Highland will serve the Highlands, Islands and Moray areas and hold up to 200 offenders in purposely designed accommodation units. It has double the size of the existing prison which it is intended to replace. It will be the first new prison in the Scottish Highlands for more than a century.

The project is being developed taking full consideration of the Highland Council’s Sustainable Design Guide which has been prepared to encourage agents, architects, builders and clients to opt for buildings that are designed to respond to the local landscape and climate. The SPS Three Step Process has been used, encompassing: Step One – Initial Concept and site investigation; Step Two – Planning Permission in Principle; and Step Three – Preparation of ITT Documentation. BakerHicks has been working with the commercial property firm Colliers International throughout.

BakerHicks has considerable experience in the prisoner and custodial sector, having previously completed projects for HMP Perth and the Young Offenders Institute at Polmont.