ISG fast-tracks Hillsborough Inquests Court facility

ISG has successfully handed over a purpose-built Coroner’s Court facility for the Hillsborough Inquests in Warrington, two weeks ahead of programme, under budget and with zero defects. Procured via the Ministry of Justice’s Strategic Alliance Construction Framework – the project has created one of the UK’s largest courtroom facilities. The new Inquests will look into the deaths of 96 people as a result of the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster and will commence on the 31st March.

The fast-track scheme has seen ISG transform a ground floor open plan office shell at Birchwood Business Park into a high-specification, temporary court facility including a circa 4,300 sq ft courtroom with seating for 286 members of the public and 92 advocates. Adopting lean construction methodologies and through extensive client, stakeholder and supply chain collaboration allied to 24/7 working, ISG reduced the overall construction period to just 10-weeks, so that now a pre-inquest hearing can be held at the new facility on the 27th March.

Totalling close to 16,000 sq ft of space, the entire court facility also incorporates 14 confidential consultation rooms, a public waiting area with a seating capacity of 72 and a 1,100 sq ft court annex with an additional 99 seats. ISG has also installed new toilet facilities, accommodation for the Coroner and Jury, formed a new secure entrance and exit to the building, constructed a comms room and a range of ancillary office and administration space.

The conversion of the open plan office space into a high-specification Coroner’s Court has required a range of upgrades to the existing accommodation, especially as up to 600 people could attend on some days. In addition to stripping out and comprehensively upgrading the mechanical and electrical infrastructure and introducing data cabling throughout, ISG has also installed two large air handling units to provide the enhanced temperature control required within the courtroom and public waiting area.

To minimise waste and reduce cost, ISG re-used the existing raised floor and ceiling tiles and various mechanical and electrical elements, which were temporarily stored and reinstated during the fit out. The Ministry of Justice was also granted early access to install the complex IT infrastructure supporting the Inquests, providing live streaming of the proceedings to the on-site court annex.

Terry Stocks, deputy estates director and head of project and programme delivery at the Ministry of Justice, commented:

“The commitment, engagement and leadership shown in the successful delivery of this extremely important facility exemplifies the very best attributes of a high performing collaborative team.”

Alan McCarthy-Wyper, managing director of ISG’s Construction business, commented:

“As one of the most challenging and high profile projects we have delivered via the Ministry of Justice framework, the Hillsborough Inquest Coroner’s Court is a true exemplar for collaborative and lean construction processes. The quality and specification of the facility reflects the importance that the Ministry of Justice places on creating the correct environment for these nationally important Inquests to take place.”