HM Prison Oakwood, West Midlands

A 1,605-place prison incorporating a high level of prefabricated elements – including 60% of the building services installation.


  • Featherstone, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, UK

Project Status

  • Completed in 2012


A multidisciplinary team from WSP began working on it in early 2008, providing a range of services, from building services design to BREEAM consultancy and waste management.

WSP has a strong track record in the justice sector and had already completed a number of successful prison projects in the UK. But on this project, it decided to adopt a radically new approach to the design of the building services, fabricating as much off site as possible, to reduce man-hours on site and improve quality. 

As the building was going up, the services were being installed concurrently, allowing the project to move at a very quick pace. WSP constructed a full-blown mock-up cell to get the details right.

There are 200 four-storey service risers, and the traditional installation of each of these would normally take 200 man-hours. But in WSP’s design, these were prefabricated components delivered to site, saving 40,000 man-hours and also removing the risks associated with working at height.

Each cell light fitting requires 24 fixings, which were also added to the precast concrete components, avoiding an enormous amount of drilling on site.  

We provided building services, building physics, sustainability, fire engineering, BREEAM, ecology, acoustics, waste management, sustainable travel.