Digital transformation winner: Glider for HMP Five Wells

Winner: Glider for HMP Five Wells demonstrated outstanding development or application of digital technologies that have a positive impact on building performance and construction sector productivity

Building information management (BIM) software company Glider provided information management support to Kier for the Ministry of Justice’s complex exchange information requirements and asset information requirements in the building of HMP Five Wells. Glider’s data management and verification system gliderbim® demonstrated the importance of a golden thread of information. 

HMP Five Wells is an adult male Category C resettlement prison designed to enhance rehabilitation. The 60,000m² prison has space for 1,700 prisoners and comprises 13 buildings, including seven houseblocks, classrooms, a workshop, a kitchen, an entry building and a visitors’ hall. The facility is now the biggest prison in England, with a unique design that enables more contact between staff and prisoners.

It is built almost entirely from standardised components and is project-managed by Mace. The client provided extensive asset information requirement documents, which covered everything from nomenclature to measurements. There were vast amounts of data that needed to be accurate and clean.

Glider consultants became part of the Kier team, attending meetings between the client, contractors and supply chain. Glider reviewed the client asset information requirements for each party and created tailored presentations for each sector to ensure they understood how to meet data needs.

Data requirements were specified and distributed to project parties for completion, down to attribute level for maintainable assets. This process relies on all parties updating the documentation, which can often leave room for error and miscommunication. During the construction process, especially for large projects such as HMP Five Wells, it is vital that everything possible is done to minimise this risk.

The process was one of constant monitoring and feedback between parties to ensure the project ran smoothly. Data from each trade contractor was submitted at agreed and regular intervals for verification and acceptance.

Judges’ comments

This was a digitally delivered construction project alongside a database that is usable and replicable across the prison estate. The prison itself is a real-world delivered, top-of-the-line fully digital construction and building operation, while the database is a transparent competence management system. The project represents the leading edge of what digital construction looks like.

The Ministry of Justice is really at the forefront in terms of BIM and asset management, digitisation of assets and digital twins – the lessons from this kind of project will be carried over to the health and the education sectors.

In this process, the submitted data was passed through the gliderbim® information delivery plan tool for verification to ensure each specific data point was populated correctly. Trade contractors and suppliers could instantly see any anomalies with their submissions, and correct missing or incorrect data via the auditable gliderbim® request for information (RFI) log.

Once verified and accepted, the trade and supplier data were added to a modelled dataset that was representative of the as-built asset. This allowed operational teams to integrate this data with their facilities management and building operations systems before and during handover.

Crunching the data

A key challenge on the project was ensuring that all data handed over by trade suppliers and subcontractors was accurate. Lining all of this data up with the COBie and operations and maintenance (O&M) requirements was imperative to ensure that there were no inconsistencies that could threaten the project. gliderbim® was successfully deployed to verify deliverables across 13 buildings and sitewide infrastructure, covering 68 major packages from 49 subcontractors, verifying over 380,000 COBie records and verifying 2.8 million data points. This was done by processing over 17,000 handover documents, and producing 437 O&M manuals, building user guides, health and safety files, and testing and commissioning records. Even though this was a huge and difficult task, Glider’s deliverables included a traditional O&M/handover package, plus full COBie and enriched IFC model data. 


Processing the amount of information presented by the project would not have been possible without the unique data management capabilities of gliderbim® in ensuring accuracy and transparency with datasets of this size.

Glider created a project-specific export script to ease the transfer and upload of handover information to the Ministry of Justice’s Asset Information Management Common Data Environment system. Due to the extent of data involved, and as a requirement mandated by ISO 19650-4, Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) was a briefed requirement. To fulfil this, Glider carried out an Industry Foundation Class (IFC) enrichment process, whereby all data gathered from contractors through the gliderbim® RFI tool was exported to create fully data-complete IFC models. Glider wanted to do more than just COBie spreadsheets, so the client will receive the IFC models with data included, ensuring a soft landing for operational teams.

To future-proof the project, the client created a comprehensive information requirement specification. Although the data may not be needed immediately, collating information during construction means there will be no need to retrospectively undertake equipment surveys or procure data from the supply chain.

Prisons are substantial projects that require thorough attention to detail, and gliderbim® enabled a high-quality and complete data handover for HMP Five Wells. 

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Image credit | Alamy



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