Managing a store relocation project
A Marks and Spencer case study

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Page 4: Planning

Marks And Spencer 2 Image 4Mike explains how the building work is likely to develop over the next few weeks and the current position on planning approvals. “The building contractor will have access to the site from 14th February and within a fortnight there will be scenes of organised chaos, peppered with hoardings, huts and hard hats. The building contractor will spend two weeks or so preparing the site and then two weeks stripping the building and putting in the new roof insulation. Then work can begin in earnest on the installation of new sprinkler, electrical and mechanical services and the new lift.”

“It takes time to get all the necessary permissions, because some of the process requires statutory public notice periods to see if anyone has any objections. The main things we’re seeking approval for are changes to the elevations and shop-front (moving from a 60’s Swiss chalet-look to a 90’s rustic-look, and relocating the entrances), new directional signs on Library Road and new signs on the front of the store and of course we’ll need building regulations approval.”

The Building and Fitting-Out Process

“The main objective for the building contractor will be to open as soon as possible. We’ll confirm the exact opening date once we’ve been on site a few weeks and we’ll have progress meetings every 4 weeks anyway to make sure things are going to plan.”

“We’ve got to fit-out three levels of the building (see diagram above) – the lower ground floor (underground car park, stockroom, refrigeration plant area and goods reception area), the ground floor (sales area, food hall and backstage areas including the cold room) and the mezzanine floor (kitchen, toilets, offices and EPOS room).”

“The ground floor fit-out will take place in three stages. It will take a week to install the high-level electrical, mechanical and sprinkler services above the sales floor and foodhall and fix up the ceiling grid ready for the ceiling tiles to be added later. The CCTV equipment will be installed as soon as the electrical work is finished. After that we can start putting in some of the Marks & Spencer design features like perimeter panelling, trims, skirting, coving, cornice and isometric lighting, which will take 5 weeks. Once these are sorted, we can get the vinyl flooring down in the foodhall, the carpets down on the rest of the sales floor, drop the ceiling tiles into place and put the doors on. We can then install the equipment - for the fitting rooms, the Marks & Spencer Financial Services desk area, the Customer Service Desk, the wall and mid-flooring merchandising equipment, food cases and shelving, till podia, tills and phones. This flooring and equipment stage will take about 5 weeks. The lobby area and the automatic doors on the shop-front will be left quite late so we can get some of the larger equipment (particularly the refrigeration plant) into the store more easily. The sales floor needs to be handed over to the Store Manager two weeks before opening, to give staff enough time for dressing.”

“Backstage we need to get the coldroom fully operational and down to the correct temperature in time for handover four weeks before opening.”

“On the mezzanine floor we need to fit out staff quarters. We’ll need 7 weeks to sort the basic services and joinery for the offices, kitchen and toilets and then probably 4 weeks to decorate, put the vinyl flooring and carpets down, do the final clean and take in the office furniture and kitchen equipment. We should be ready to hand over the staff quarters 3 weeks before the opening.”

“On the lower ground floor we’ve got some general improvement works in the car parking area and preparation of the stockroom and goods reception areas (including upgrading the dock-leveller/hoist and shutters), which will probably take 9 weeks.”

“In addition to all the fitting-out work, we’ve also got to get all the major equipment commissioned, of course, which means checking and testing the sprinklers, air conditioning, refrigeration plant, alarms and so on, to ensure everything works the way it should. All the IT gear will be dry-run and various tests done to make sure you can communicate and that the data checks out and all the tills will be tested once they’re hooked up. Then there’s the outside of the building - trolley corals, minor improvements to the layout of the car park and new white lining and signs.”

Marks and Spencer | Managing a store relocation project