PDfMA Unlocks Continuous Improvement at HMP Millsike Project

Constructing Excellence

On Wednesday 26th April, we were delighted to be hosted by the team at Kier at the HMP Millsike Project in East Riding of Yorkshire.

The new jail follows Kier’s successful build of HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough and supports the MoJ’s drive for platform design (PDfMA); the new prison is based on the blueprint of Kier’s design for HMP Five Wells, and part of the houseblock design used in the Accelerated Houseblock Delivery Programme. The group were truly inspired by the approach which embodies where construction needs to get to.









This visit was a fantastic opportunity to hear about the project and see the many innovative approaches that had been implemented across the site.

The nearly 1,500-bed Category C prison will run fully on electricity, once built. Other sustainable design features include solar panels, heat pumps and more efficient lighting systems to reduce energy demand. In a further drive to reduce embodied carbon, Kier is using elements of modern methods of construction (MMC) as well as cement replacement for the build, along with biofuel and renewable sources.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement has long alluded the construction industry, but the DfMA approach building on the learning from the Five Wells project across a programme of similar projects has brought significant advantages.  Working from Five Wells as a prototype the team has been able to iterate the design further.  Elements such as windows and M&E conduits and underfloor heating were optimised for pre-cast, not only saving time on site but also saving carbon and through elements such as raised M&E on the roof providing an easier to maintain asset.


Of course, at Constructing Excellence, we focus on collaboration, but an alliance approach with four contractors working across four prisons mean that all parties can work on the design together, share learning and build on continuous improvement. HMP Millsike is the most advanced site and this sequencing means that the supply chain capacity is in place to service the programme as pre-cast capacity can be constrained.


The digital approach in the design and delivery phase is exceptional. In particular the trial of Ynomia for component tracking is providing greater accuracy at significantly lower cost as well as providing chain of custody and reducing erroneous ordering through better inventory. The system uses tags and bluetooth gateways to track components and comes in at approximately one third the cost of traditional man-marking. In future this kind of approach could be used for payments.

Social Value

The team’s commitment to deliver a better environment for workers on site and for the eventual users of the facility was evident throughout our visit. In an area of limited labour availability there was a focus on excellent site welfare facilities to attract workers. The MoJ had KPIs around the use of ex-offenders in the workforce, in addition to this there were 8 ROTL (Release on Temporary License) workers on site, re-enforcing the MoJ’s desire to support offender rehabilitation and integration into society once sentences have been spent. The team were impressed by the quality of workers through this route.

We very much look forward to seeing the finished facility – although at the quick speed of progress on site it won’t be very long before it is fully up and running!