Entrance View

HMP Highland


Leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has been awarded the contract for the 1st Stage of the Scottish Prison Service’s (SPS) project for the Design and Construction of HMP Highland.

This marks a milestone in the SPS’ plans to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement for HMP Inverness.

The first new prison in the Scottish Highlands for more than a century, HMP Highland will serve the Highlands, Islands and Moray areas, holding up to 200 offenders in purposely designed accommodation units.

The SPS mission is to transform the lives of people in their care so they can fulfil their potential and become responsible citizens. The new prison represents a step-change in prison design and service delivery for the Highlands and has been developed taking full consideration of Highland Council’s Sustainable Design Guide. It is also designed to be “community facing”; to be physically part of the community and help offenders reintegrate back into their local communities from which they came.

Strategic aims of the prison include delivery of a range of innovative practices in order to stimulate, promote and sustain cultural change within a custodial environment that is more humane, civilised and so positively supports offender rehabilitation and reducing recidivism. The prison will build upon the existing community links of HMP Inverness and enable improved service delivery, whilst also improving the experience of visitors to the prison.

Sustainability is also a major focus of the design; energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions on site is integral to the design, in line with Scottish Government guidance on securing a green recovery on a path to transition to net zero emissions by 2045.

BakerHicks have been involved in the project from the early stages following their award of the contract for the concept design through the SPS framework in 2016. They have provided multi-disciplinary services on the project throughout the design stages, including architectural, civil & structural, mechanical & electrical, and principal designer services.

Laura James, Head of Scotland at BakerHicks, says the company’s considerable experience and expertise in the custodial sector helped shape the design process:

“We are proud of our continued work with SPS, helping them to achieve their objectives in delivering new and best-in-class prison facilities across the country.

“Our design team have been working on this project since its inception, and it is genuinely ground-breaking in terms of custodial design. This new style of prison creates an environment that helps aid rehabilitation, as well as being more inviting for visitors and family members. It is a far cry from the oppressive prison buildings of the past and I am excited to have the opportunity.”

Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s regional business in Scotland said: 

“We are delighted to be working alongside the Scottish Prison Service to develop the detailed design required to deliver HMP Highland, the first new prison in the Scottish Highlands for more than a century.

“Utilising our extensive experience and expertise, we will work efficiently and
collaboratively alongside the Scottish Prison Service and their design team, BakerHicks, to deliver a low carbon, sustainable prison facility.”

Teresa Medhurst, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service said:

"The investment that we have received from the Scottish Government means that we can continue to develop a prison estate which is fit for purpose for the 21st century. The award of the pre-construction services contract to Balfour Beatty represents a significant step forward in delivering HMP Highland.”

Aerial View