Facility at Belmarsh West completed seven week ahead of schedule

Skanska marked the handover of its first completed building at Belmarsh West prison yesterday, seven weeks ahead of schedule.

The official ceremony, held at the newly completed Visitors Centre at Belmarsh West prison in south east London, was hosted by Skanska, Serco and Barclays Infrastructure Funds.

Skanska won the £100m contract for the design and construction of the new category B local prison in July 2010. The project is due to be completed during the first half of 2012 and will then be operated by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Belmarsh West, which has a target of achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating is centred around a 600-cell four-storey house block as additional buildings to provide education, health worship and sports facilities to name a few.

The Visitors Centre includes a full mock-up of a cell so those visiting the premises can see, first hand, what sort of facilities prisoners will be provided with at Belmarsh West. Each cell has a computer and flat-screen TV and the aim is for each prisoner to be able to access information online to book doctor’s appointments, chose their weekly activities and make meal choices.

Prisoners will also receive services including wake up calls for court dates.

Paul Chandler, executive vice president of Skanska UK said: “Today’s ceremony marks a significant milestone in the construction of Belmarsh West.”