A new Tesco in Warwickshire demonstrates the benefits of off-site construction and shows just how far this alternative to conventional site-based building methods has come in terms of scale, design and sustainability. The scheme was delivered on time and on budget – and is believed to be the UK’s largest retail project to be built using modular construction.

Off-site specialist Yorkon has worked with Tesco for more than a decade and has completed over 200 projects in the UK and Ireland – from Express convenience stores to interim supermarkets and now this eco-store.

The challenges
This project at Southam in Warwickshire had to be constructed as fast as possible to meet Tesco’s deadline for the store opening, without any compromise on build quality, and while meeting stringent planning requirements for the store’s appearance.

It was successfully delivered from green field site to trading in just 15 weeks – reducing the build programme by eight weeks.
In order to meet the deadline for the store opening, 24-hour factory shifts were employed at the Yorkon off-site production centre to manufacture and partially fit out the 70 steel-framed store modules, and the cranage phase included both weekend and night working.

Modular design
The scheme is the first application of a new modular store design, which provides 20,000 sqft of retail space and has uninterrupted spans for the sales areas of 28m. This is unprecedented in the modular industry and was achieved by reducing internal columns by 50%

The project represented a step change in the use of off-site construction in the retail sector and for a store of this scale. The scheme had originally been conceived and designed as a traditionally-constructed store. The design was subsequently adapted and developed to allow it to be manufactured off site.

Reducing waste
The use of off-site construction also helped the main contractor to minimise waste. As well as achieving the target of recycling 95% of waste produced during construction, the modular solution also ensured on-site waste was significantly reduced. For example, the building modules were delivered to site without waste and with very minimal packaging material.

Carbon footprint
As an eco-store, the new Southam scheme has a number of sustainability features to further reduce its carbon footprint, including:

• Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels to generate electricity
• A high level of glazing to the main elevation and above-shelving windows to one side elevation to maximise natural light
• Sun pipes to the offices and toilets
• Rainwater harvesting
• A draught lobby to the main entrance with sliding doors to reduce heat loss
• Timber cladding from sustainable sources
• Mixed mode ventilation
• Air scoops for additional ventilation.

Designed by the Saunders Partnership, the store design also includes back-of-house, staff facilities and office accommodation on the first floor, and has concrete floors with terrazzo tiling for the sales areas.

To see a video of the new store and its construction, see www.yorkon.info/tescosoutham .