Leading retailer sees the benefit of prefabrication

Daryl Thompson is Pre-Construction Director, Sigma Retail.

A leading UK retailer approached Sigma with a very specific brief – they wanted to transform key areas of their store and refresh some of the existing facilities such as the customer toilets, as well as needing additional space for must-have features including a customer service desk, food to go section and a new click and collect point.

However, this all needed to be undertaken with minimal disruption, at low cost and as quickly as possible, which ruled out a traditional build and fit-out extension. The site itself also posed a challenge, as its remote location meant additional costs could easily be racked up through the need to transport labour and heavy equipment to one of the most northern parts of Scotland.

A prefabricated solution seemed the obvious answer. As well as being sustainable and cost effective, a modular ‘bolt on’ would allow a more flexible solution in the design of the extension whist offering consistency in the build.

Sigma partnered with a York-based modular builder which meant that around 80% of the work could be completed offsite at the manufacturer’s main site including first and second fix M&E work, plumbing and preparation for decoration before the build needed to go anywhere near its final destination.

Prior to delivery to site, groundworks could be progressed on site in an area segregated by hoarding to ensure that building work wouldn’t interfere with the brand’s shopping experience. Here, foundations and drainage were prepared ready for installation of the new buildings.

Once delivered, the modular build team took just five days to complete the installation of the units which was followed by only seven days of fit-out to get the buildings functional and ready for use. A simple opening with new bulkhead was installed to connect the existing store to the new modular buildings, creating a seamless extension with significantly more space.

The offsite and predominantly overnight-working nature of the installation meant that for many of the retailer’s customers, the extension seemed to appear overnight creating a real wow factor within the store. For the client, they were able to generate additional footprint at a significantly lower cost point than with a traditional built extension.

With the continued popularity of prefabricated construction, it is likely that it will only continue to grow in its diversity of applications. Retailers who choose this option are able to enjoy a high quality, quicker, cost-effective, and eco-friendly construction method. Prefabricated construction is proving to be an extremely viable option, and as manufacturing technology continues to improve, expect to see its benefits and advantages rise in the future.

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