A store extension and site refurbishment programme recently completed at one of ASDA’s stores in Bristol was helped by the installation of a 268 space TopDeck modular car park erected in just 27 days.
The store at Longwell Green is one of the busiest in the country. Despite being open 24 hours a day Monday to Saturday plus 6 hours on Sunday, the store did not have the capacity to meet its customers’ needs and demands. In order to provide a better service to their customers, ASDA decided to expand its capacity and put the project in to the hands of its strong design and project management team. The target was to provide an overall increase in store size of nearly 25%.
In many ways this was an obvious solution but not necessarily a simple one. To build a sizeable store extension, upgrade warehouse capacity and facilities, then refit a fuel filling station requires a complex planning and logistical exercise. However, Asda, with the support of ISG Pearce and the design team have the knowledge and experience to do just that. Modifications to a store of this size will inevitably present a multitude of issues that can affect the operational side of ASDA’s business and thus their valuable customer base. The capacity of the parking facilities is a key aspect in supporting the store’s turnover and minimising the potential congestion with the surrounding area.
The footprint of the new store extension reduces the space available for parking and, in the short term, the space required for contractors plant and equipment reduced it further. Yet the long term need is for more parking not less as a larger store will generate more sales from more customers and also employ more Asda ‘Colleagues’.
The plan for Longwell Green identified an initial loss of 150 parking spaces but the new business plan identified the need for up to 100 more.. With a finite site the only viable option was to build upwards and install a 2nd deck over the existing one. So plans were drawn up and submitted for planning permission and a 3 phase programme developed. Phase one was the installation of the parking deck to be undertaken in late autumn 2009. Phase 2, for January to Easter 2010, was the construction of the store extension and changes to the warehouse, goods inwards and the petrol station. This phase also included the bridging link between the store and the car park.
The final and shortest phase from Easter to May 2010 was the interior refit to seamlessly integrate the new and original parts of the store. Also the final landscaping and removal of all works equipment.
Once planning approval had been granted the search was on for a company that could provide a parking deck that matched Asda’s own parking specifications, could be fitted efficiently into the site configuration and could be built very quickly and without disrupting the regular business of the store more than was absolutely necessary. This meant the preferred solution was a modular steel construction with flexibility to adapt to the local site conditions. Modular construction meant the bulk of the build could be carried out off site and the time on site reduced largely to an assembly operation.
Specific requirements from Asda included an interface between the new extension and the parking deck. This included sufficient clearance for trolley parks, light commercial vehicles and also to provide customers with a pleasant parking experience. The exterior of the upper deck required cladding to reduce any potential glare from vehicle headlights and reduce the visual impact of the deck which is located at the front of the store.
The TopDeck modular system was ideally suited to this project as it already provided most of the specification requirements including the 2.4 metres parking bays and an anti-skid, grit coated deck surface that gives a water sealed deck. There was also an integral water run off/drainage system and provision for both under deck and upper deck lighting.
But what impressed Asda and ISG Pearce most was TopDeck’s ability to adapt their system to meet the other requirements in a very short timescale and fit into their production programme the custom modules needed.
Following a two week foundation preparation programme, the construction of the deck commenced on the 15th October 2009 and Phase one was completed on schedule on the 12th November. This involved the delivery to site of 160 modules, each approximately 16 metres x 2.4 metres and weighing a total of 1500 tonnes. This had to be done at between 60 and 90 tonnes per day over the 27 days with deliveries restricted to 2 hours a day from 8.00 am to 10.00 am. This was to minimise disruption to customers and to tightly control the potential for clashes between normal store traffic and large articulated lorries in the customer car park.
Between phases 1 and 2 of the programme the use of the new deck was restricted to Asda Colleagues and Contractors personnel. The contractors offices were also re-sited onto the deck to free up the ground space they had previously occupied.
The increased height of the deck necessitated a fine balance between conforming to car park guidelines and containing the deck within the existing planning boundary. The entrance ramp was also positioned at the edge of the original car park to minimise the number of spaces lost. This meant it needed a longer reach and a bridge section to the new deck. Pedestrian access is via a bridge to the mezzanine level of the new store extension. Travelators then take customers and their shopping trolleys to and from the ground floor level. There are also two sets of DDA compliant access stairs at opposite corners of the deck.
Ian Long, Project Manager for ISG Pearce said “This project has gone pretty smoothly and TopDeck did exactly what they said they would. It was difficult for them to have to cope with the site restrictions regarding deliveries and space available and they also had to fit in with both our strict health and safety requirements and Asda’s as well. Every company has their own way of doing this and they showed the flexibility throughout to adapt their methods to dovetail in with ours.