Refit & Remodelling – M&S Peterborough

A full refit and remodelling of the 140,000sq.ft. existing M&S store within the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough. All works had to be undertaken whist the store was still trading in a business as usual environment causing no disruption to the Queensgate shopping centre.

As part of the works involved a major strip, demolition and excavations, one of the major challenges was getting materials in and out of the building To facilitate, an external hoist was erected to service the three-storey building with a temporary opening created in the external façade. A full temporary works design had to be undertaken in agreement with all necessary stakeholders, including the centre management.

Communication was key, particularly with the store team and the centre management team. Meticulous planning and engagement was undertaken from appointment. A very strong and open relationship was quickly established and works were planned around business operations and key events. Phasing documents were produced which established actions for relevant parties.

As this was a two-stage tender, the relationship between the design team was quickly established. The concept was turned into reality and a buildable solution was co-ordinated between the different disciplines.

The works involved a major re-modelling of the second floor, which was previously back of office areas. To facilitate the installation of new escalators and lifts extensive building work and the breaking out of floor slabs and excavations was required. A major amount of steel had to be designed and installed.

All the disruptive works had to be undertaken out of hours and behind ‘fire rated’ hoardings. The removal of old escalators and infill of slab openings also had to be completed.

The site team consisted of day and night shift working and hand over between the two was critical in the smooth running of the scheme. Temporary solutions had to be devised to enable the store to keep trading and all this was achieved due to a great understanding of what was important to all relevant parties.

The retail fit out was over 3 floors and involved a new food hall, kids, homeware, womenswear and menswear departments; new café and toilet area.

Excerpt from email received from Joanne Herd, M&S Peterborough Store Manager:

“However, from the moment I started working with the team my expectations were exceeded. Every part of the operation was centred around not causing disruption to the store, the city customers and local business. It also included educating and engaging within the local community.”

There are numerous examples of how Audas completed the complex construction with a broader mindset then purely their goals and considering the local community and these included;

  • Creation of a close working relationship with myself to ensure their work did not have an adverse impact on our customers. Throughout the development, we received complimentary feedback from our business stakeholders in relation to how well the works were handled.
  • Creation of an effective working relationship with the shopping centre with weekly meetings to ensure there was no disruption to the centre or other retailers.
  • Implementation of a professional decor package throughout the store educating the customer on the programme and the CCS commitments.
  • Large construction works causing impacts to local customers were completed out of hours. A prime example of this was the installation of the store escalators requiring a road closure being completed mid-week at midnight so not to cause disruption to local residents.
  • Representatives from Audas created and delivered presentations to educate the store staff on the works and their progress to ensure they could explain this clearly to the local customers.
  • Representatives from Audas visited local primary schools and care homes to present the work. This was something that impressed me and would not have been something I expected from a construction company.
  • A member of the Audas team attended a local Rotary club with myself to engage them on the project and their CSS commitments. The club gave some great feedback and were impressed by the professionalism of the scheme. This feedback was particularly impressive with some of the Rotary Club having had experience in construction during their employment.
  • Visits from local authorities including the fire service were very complimentary of the health and safety of the project. Internal audits from M&S also highlighted no risks to the public or staff.