Port Augusta Prison

WGA AU | Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec - Photo: Port Augusta Prison

The Project

Port Augusta Prison is South Australia’s largest regional prison. It accommodates both male and female high, medium and low-security prisoners. WGA was appointed structural and civil design consultants for the development of additional medium/high-security cell blocks at the Prison.

Stage 1 consisted of a $16 million, 90 bed, high security, two-storey facility made from precast with in situ concrete floors and steel framed roof structure. Unique features of this facility include double skin insulated precast. The two layers are separated by insulating foam but the panel is delivered as one unit. The building has two halves, symmetrically set out around central services and operational core. The design also included large north-facing windows providing significant amounts of natural light to all parts of the accommodation.

Stage 2 consisted of 128 beds in four precast accommodation blocks, an industries building and visitors facility. Insulated precast was used again drawing on the success of the stage 1 facility, allowing fast erection of all the accommodation blocks. As part of the upgrade, three additional buildings, perimeter fence modifications, carpark extension and supporting civil works were delivered. 

Technical Solutions

Stage 1 was our first ‘flatpack’ precast prison design utilising Thermo-Mass Precast. This precast allowed a section J achievement while maintaining a precast outer face and inner face and a central core of foam all in a single two-storey panel element. This was so successful that the Department approved it's use for designs at Mt Gambier and Yatala.

Significant attention was also paid to providing ample natural light, bearing in mind Death in custody findings which point to a lack of natural light and exercise as one of the major contributing factors to this problem.

Client focus

Select areas of Stage 2 required the construction of buildings within the prison environment. Works needed to be staged and detailed to support the client’s security of operations while allowing conventional building techniques to be used. Extensive use of prefabrication and lightweight materials was considered to minimise time inside the fence and minimise the number of people requiring daily security clearances

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