New Houseblocks at HM Prisons Hull and Birmingham

Location: HMP Hull / HMP Birmingham
Client: HM Prison Service
Main Contractor: Interserve Strategic Projects
Budget: Birmingham £16 million, Hull £14 million
Project: New double house blocks on sites adjacent to existing prisons.
Duration: One Year
Work undertaken: Detailed architectural design, tender documentation, liaison with client authorities, on site inspection.

Government Developments



As prisons become more overcrowded there is a requirement to improve accommodation at existing locations whilst also increasing the total number of cells available.

As construction leader, Interserve selected MMP Architects to work with Deakin Walton Ltd, structural engineers, to produce detailed designs for a new type of prison house block. Interserve had secured the tender based on an innovative modular design concept, allowing a high degree of prefabrication through the integration of the services and structure. This enabled quality thresholds to be met and projects built within demanding timescales.


MMP had to consider a wide range of regulations and constraints all within the context of the operating environment whilst preparing the detailed information for the prototype prison houseblock. These included:

  • Security
  • Building regulations
  • Durability & Sustainability
  • Prison legislation & operational requirements
  • Life Cycle Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Health & Safety

The house blocks would initially be constructed at two prisons in HMP Winston Green Birmingham and Hull.

In order to become part of the team, MMP had to satisfy a number of specialist sub-contractor questionnaires as conditions of Interserve’s framework agreement with the Home Office.

The Prototype

Following initial consultations with the Prison Service and the Prison Authority’s consultants, MMP, working as Interserve’s architects developed detailed designs based on the prison service template for the prototype houseblock.

The proposed house blocks at Birmingham were four-storey construction with each configured as an L-shaped plan with two wings and a central core. HMP Hull consisted of a long linear plan of three stories with intermediate cores hence demonstrating the inherent flexibility of the design concept.

The Results

Following completion of the new prototype house blocks, further house blocks are currently underway at HMP’s Wymott, Wealstun and Ranby with future projects confirmed at Nottigham and Styal.

Moreover, the design-team will form the basis of Interserve’s new 10 year framework agreement with the Prison Service for secure, cellular accommodation.

MMP Chartered Architects
No 4 Thorp House • Thorp Street • Macclesfield • Cheshire • SK10 1LJ