Case Studies
High-Security Asset Management at Reduced Risk, Optimised Cost, and Minimal Environmental Impact

At a Glance:

  • New £253m resettlement prison required complete and secure cabling infrastructure
  • Manufacture and off site build of completed chambers reduced onsite labour by one third
    minimising COVID / H&S risks
  • Lighter, recyclable materials cut fuel use, accelerated installation and reduced environmental impact
  • HMP Five Wells has won 15 major industry awards

The Client

Kier ( is a leading UK construction and infrastructure services company, providing specialist design and build capabilities for vital economic and social building projects across the UK. Kier was awarded the contract by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for a new build resettlement prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire – as part of their New Prisons Programme. The aim of the programme is to reform and modernise the prison estate to provide more safe, secure and functional prison places focused on supporting rehabilitation.

The Challenge

Kier needed a cable access infrastructure that could satisfy the extremely secure access requirements of a prison environment spanning a 36-acre site.

Over 1100 components were supplied to ensure a fully secure cable access system with features such as custom cabling.

Kier’s goals for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as well as for environmental sustainability and social responsibility, is in line with their brand values.

The site required a simplified installation, reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions solution that would both endure and be recyclable at the end of their life. The benefits of Kier’s approach came to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Kier’s project director Rob Stanton explains, ‘new ways of working and offsite manufacture were embraced to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on project delivery’.

The Solution

Using polypropylene products from Clark-Drain, via subcontractor Mitchellson, significantly reduced the weight of the components as compared to traditional concrete. This removed the need for lifting equipment, reduced the on-site labour required (and the attendant health and safety risks), and dramatically shortened the installation time on this £253 million project.

From a sustainability point of view, too, these lighter components scored highly, not only in respect of reduced fuel consumption and end-of-life recyclability, but also in terms of provenance, robustness, and therefore long-life durability.

Clark-Drain also made several prior visits to site to assess the project requirements, and, based on these early engagements, added further value by designing, building and deploying, in relatively short timeframes, two new chamber bellmouths, to protect below-ground cabling. The bellmouths enable cables to be easily routed within the inner chamber walls during installation by site operatives, but also enable ducts to be securely housed and connected, inside the chamber walls, prior to concrete backfill being applied during installation. 

Clark-Drain manufactures over 70% of its products inhouse, including the completed chambers, which were manufactured and built offsite at its yard in Yaxley, Peterborough.

Demonstrating its commitment to social value and equitability throughout, Kier also involved its Digital Apprentice trainees in the project, and created a project bank account to ensure easier and quicker supplier payment.

Outcomes and Results

The figures speak for themselves:

  • Cable access for the project is being assembled 22% faster than if traditional construction methods had been used
  • Lighter materials meant that one third less labour was required on-site to install the chambers
  • Surveys were carried out 70% faster using drones
  • Millions are being saved on post-project snagging using cloud-based review and QA technologies
  • The project has won 15 major industry awards

And as for the environmental benefits, long life and recycling apart, the polypropylene chambers are only 38% of the density of concrete, greatly reducing the project’s fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Rebecca Wade, Bid Director at Kier, describes the project’s successes: ‘Thanks to the deployment of agile digital methods and next-generation suppliers, we are delivering efficiently and cost-effectively, whilst respecting our commitments to our society, our community, and our planet.’

For more information on how Clark-Drain can help your business deliver robust, cost-effective, environmentally responsible cable access solutions, no matter how big or small your project, get in touch.