Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist HMP High Down Training Facility Project of the Year (by Galliford Try)

21 April 2023

Project of the Year under 10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson

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

Building Project of the Year under £10m SECBE Award 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.

Outstanding health and safety performance: zero RIDDOR achieved through training, monitoring and safe behaviour culture.

No disruption to day-to-day activities in a challenging, live high security environment: delivered on time, without disruption to the prison’s normal operational routine through extensive logistical planning, communication with the Establishment’s stakeholder teams and implementing a robust security planning approach.

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 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 industry – a 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.

HMP High Down is sharing the learning from this scheme with other Establishments and across the MoJ as a model of exemplary standards, demonstrating the technologies and capabilities Galliford Try have at hand now, to transform the rehabilitation approach across the prisons estate. 

Key achievements:

  • 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.

  • Delivered on time and within budget, meeting technical and logistical challenges of construction within live operational prison. Delivered safely - zero RIDDOR achieved through training, monitoring and safe behaviour culture.

  • Collaboratively working with Establishment to achieve their overarching objective. Together Galliford Try created the Construction Mentorship Partnering Scheme (CMPS) – providing construction skills training, work experience and mentorship to prisoners on the live construction site. This is another first for the industry – a flagship programme developing a safe way to bring prisoners into the live construction activities, utilising construction as part of the rehabilitation itself.


Client: Ministry of Justice

Project 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 Building Project of the Year Award (sponsored by  Hill Dickinson) 

Project of the Year delivers outstanding outcomes for all those involved in a construction project.  It showcases the benefits achieved through the application of many of the principles described in the other award categories. More info.

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

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