Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist Value HMP High Down Training Facility (by Galliford Try)

24 March 2023

Value sponsored by Southern Construction Framework

HMP High Down – Training Facility (submitted by Galliford Try)

Value Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalist

Galliford Try has designed and built the new DHL workshop at HMP High Down Cat C men’s prison in Surrey. The Establishment is transitioning from a Cat B to a Cat C facility and is implementing new initiatives tailored for the Cat C environment.

Cat C typically houses inmates who pose a lower security risk and are closer to being released, so preparing inmates for reintegration into society through work, training and education programmes is a priority.

It is proven that effective rehabilitation can reduce reoffending rates (a 2020 study by the Prison Reform Trust shows programmes can reduce reoffending by 25%). The new workshop, a partnership between the Establishment and DHL, provides real-world work and training for 90 men at a time, and is integral to the Establishment’s overarching objective - to reduce reoffending through safe and effective rehabilitation and support.  

Delivered safely, on time, to budget, meeting the quality standards of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) building regulations and the additional DHL operating systems, the scheme has demonstrated many successes, including:

Achieving a BREEAM Outstanding rating: a first for a facility of this kind in the prison environment, achieved through early engagement and continuous collaboration. Implementing innovative technologies, the facility has attained exceptional sustainability and environmental credentials, raising the standard for facilities of this kind, considering the long-term costs and benefits of the project, impact on environment, maintenance costs and overall lifecycle.

Optimal design and function: workshop is efficient and functional with a layout that supports the prison’s education rehabilitation objectives, a cost effective and efficient warehouse that delivers against the prison’s education targets whilst also providing real-world training through the DHL operations. The durable design is also built to last – to withstand wear and tear and future-proofed.

Cost efficiency: project completed within the agreed budget, achieving all requirements without compromising the construction schedule or building requirements.

High quality results – right first time with no snags on completion with a rigorous quality management approach that has assured snag-free completion – a high priority for construction in the prison environment. Galliford try have collaborated with the Establishment from DPP Stage (early design development) working closely with the client’s technical advisor to ensure solutions developed met the specification objectives and could deliver to the required standards.

Working together to support the Establishment’s overarching objectives: Prisoner rehabilitation learning and development is a key objective for HMP High Down, and through the construction of the workshop Galliford try offered capabilities and experience to support this goal. The company developed a Construction Mentorship Partnering Scheme (CMPS) – whereby it provided construction skills training, work experience and mentorship to prisoners on the live construction site. This is another first for the industrya flagship programme developing a safe way to bring prisoners into the live construction activities, utilising construction as part of the rehabilitation itself. Success of this initiative is demonstrated through HMP High Down adopting the CMPS on future projects, and Galliford Try are also now implementing similar schemes on its other MoJ projects too.

Ian Vandersluys, Reconfiguration Lead, HMP High Down, said: “I wanted to express my gratitude for the excellent job Galliford Try has done on the High Down DHL workshop build. This was a challenging project, delivered in the live prison, with many first-of-a-kind outputs, from the environmental sustainability objectives to the prisoner rehabilitation collaboration. We targeted BREEAM Outstanding which has never been achieved before on a prison scheme. The workshop was designed and constructed during our transition from a Cat B to a Cat C establishment, so an essential element to our vision. From start to finish, the Galliford Try team showed professionalism, expertise and attention to detail that has resulted in a final product that exceeded all of our expectations. The communication throughout the project was excellent collaboration at its core. This proactive approach meant that challenges were resolved quickly, resulting in a high quality sustainable workshop, completed on time and within budget and surpasses everything we could wish for to support our vision going forward.” 


Key achievements:

  • Adding value to an existing building asset by extending upwards.

  • Achieving BREEAM Outstanding, a first for a prison warehouse, whilst maintaining the budget and programme.

  • Delivered on time, snag-free, with a delighted client effectively managing significant logistical challenges (construction works within live prison environment).


Client: Ministry of Justice

Partners: Galliford Try, HMP High Down, Carbon Plan, CTG Architects


Find out more about the Project Partners:

Galliford Try (LinkedInTwitter)

Ministry of Justice (LinkedIn, Twitter)

HMP High Down (Twitter)


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 Ceremony on Thurs 29th June 2023.


About the Value Award (sponsored by SCFramework)

Judges are looking for an initiative, project or series of projects that has focused on the value of facilities in use and the outcomes for owners and users. More info.

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalists here

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