Rachel Mellows – M&S. Project Manager in the Property Group Plan A teamToday we have been invited to share with you the story behind our Cheshire Oaks Store, due to open later in 2012, a store that will illustrate our company’s goal to be the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015. I would like to touch briefly on the environmental context that set the aspiration to make this M&S’ 3rd sustainable learning store – namely Plan A. Also – the challenges we set ourselves and our supply base.Ed Dixon - Environmental Manager for Simons group, our partner principal contractor on this project, will follow. He will focus on the challenges presented by the location of this site, in a densely populated area and the steps the team have taken to ensure our community remains at the forefront of what we do. We will have time at the end to take any questions you may have.
Property lead 21 commitments as part of Plan ASignificantly important deliverables such as Energy and WasteSince 2007, we have steadily reduced the energy our buildings consume and are very confident of hitting our -25% target by 2012 and in turn bring financial benefit to the business by saving costs. We now source/generate 100% renewable electricity for M&S stores, offices and distribution centres in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Confident about declaring zero waste to landfill imminently which is a huge achievement. Diverting waste from landfill is a good story but actually turning it into energy is also a great achievement for M&S.90% Food waste is now sent to anaerobic digestion.We have launched 2 sustainable learning stores this year in Sheffield on the left and Stratford CityRequired to change the way we manage our existing buildings and introduce new ones bringing Plan A closer to the way we want to do businessSustainable learning stores have allowed us to experiment, evaluate and embed successesWe have a holistic view that goes beyond carbon, water, waste and also tackles health and wellbeing and the sourcing of materials I will take you through the progress we have made against some of our commitments and where we need help from you in meeting some of the challenges we face.
Plan A commitment to launch 2 sustainable learning stores each year.Last year we launched our 1st in Sheffield on the left and Stratford City on the right. Designing and constructing these stores alone is not enough and we are now conducting an in depth post occupancy evaluation to identify what has worked and what hasn’t with the aim to embed successful learnings as quickly as possible. The same will apply to Cheshire Oaks
Looking ahead to August in this year we will launch Cheshire Oaks sustainable learning store near Chester in the North west.Not only does the store boasts a number of new sustainable features, it will be our second largest in the world and the biggest we have ever built. We have taken a holistic approach to sustainability in our learning stores, something we believe sets us apart. We are now finalising how we will assess this store in use to make sure that capture learning and embed it.
7 years ago, Simons development team worked to find the site and open it up for opportunitiesEarly plans set a clear agenda for a sustainable development focusing on low carbon technology and biodiversityLong planning process for many reasons, including proximity of local residences and businesses and change in local authority structureA heavily populated area with 600 homes immediately behind and businesses on every side means many stakeholders, lots of local interest and widespread concernsOther challenges:Most of the design choices at Cheshire Oaks have been made in order to meet specific Plan A KPIs such as the 30% more energy efficiency, project certification, BREEAM excellent.Community – hear from Ed
A few Plan A Highlights before I handover to Ed1) Energy performance 30% better than an M&S peer storeLarge amount of natural daylightAssisted displacement ventilation strategy with earth ducts passing below the buildingBiomass heating (using pellets from local FSC furniture wood dust waste)Thermal mass approach using hemcrete and earth bunds to balance dynamic energy loadRoof lights and DALI lightingComprehensive remote energy use tracking and BMSHFC free sitePost occupancy evaluation programme2) Zero Waste to landfill - Reducing volume, reusing where possible and recycling as a last port of call
Plan A Highlights contd3) Throughout the build we’ve tried to minimise the embodied emissions from materials by selecting low carbon products like hemp, grown 15 miles from site.
4) Timber features heavily in the design of the building with;Western red cedar brisesoleilGlulam roof structureGlulam first floorUltralam first floor deckTimber carcass wall panelsCedar cladding to plant decksM&S are committed to FSC and Cheshire Oaks has been a demonstration of that commitment;Project will receive a certification for timber chain of custody (around 99.5%)100kgCO2/m2 is effectively sequestrated by the use of timber this buildingMost of the design choices at Cheshire Oaks have been made in order to meet specific KPIs such as the 30% more energy efficiency, project certification, BREEAM excellent.We have achieved 30% recycled content by value, very difficult to do. Most of this value came from high waste product (GGBS, Fly Ash) content in precast concrete benches, stairs and features, recycled aluminium roof, 40% recycled interiuor tiling and 100% recycled wall boards in lieu of traditional plasterboard.Most concrete elements of the frame have been manufactured off site with the entire car park being bolted together on site with minimum wastage
The delivery of our Cheshire Oaks has only been possible by bringing together a group of like minded organisations on this slide here. We are delighted to be partnering with them.
Thanks Rachel. At M&S’ Plan A Conference last week we heard about the idea that perhaps we need our communities more than they need us,And as the main contractor tasked to develop and build Cheshire Oaks we needed our community from day one.
When we’re trying to address the idea of community engagement in construction, we could quantify it by number of people.The contractor, the operatives, the design team – they’re all part of a small community of people will a common goal for a set period of time. Let’s say, 500.The professional community, the people on the fringes of the project, the client, the press the naysayers. Let’s say 1000.But the local community, and for Cheshire Oaks this means anyone in the store’s catchment area, Ellesmere port 81,000, Cheshire over a million.
Lets flip it though and gauge it in terms of importance. You can always find an architect and there’s plenty of contractors.If you complete a good project you might get a good write up in Building Magazine and 3 more projects from the client.But if you don’t have the community on side you might not even get planning permission.
So challenge number one was to gain planning permission.This was always going to be tricky and we can see why from the slides.It’s a greenfield site, the area is heavily populated, there is already a variety of mixed leisure use in the area and the council were not confident about the road network’s ability to cope with the extra strain. From the 600 homes behind the plot came a community action group who were not completely opposed to the scheme but had a healthy list of wants if the building was to go ahead.
A leaflet drop to 13,000 homes in the area yielded 500 returns and 79% were in favour. The strong sustainability message and employment offer was evidently attractive to local residents so this just left the 21%..
To satisfy the planners, councillors and community action group that the store would make a positive impact. we agreed a variety of improvements;350 new positions in the store.Extensive planting in the landscaping scheme which needed to deliver biodiversity net gain in 5 yearsA £5m highways scheme which revamped the whole area, improving junctions, crossings, cycle ways and footpathsA town centre remodelling improvement fund and a new multi use play area.
So with the green light to build, challenge number two was how to build a 209,000 square foot store without upsetting the neighbours on a 525,000 square foot plot with neighbours including a £105 a month gym, a busy shopping park, three high end garages, an aquarium, a business park and a 600 home estate.We were never going to be popular.
With protected Cheshire Oak trees on the site, a water course, endangered great crested newts and established footpaths leading to the estate, public perception of the project in the early stages was negative to say the least.To top it all off we had 55,000 tonnes of clay and soil to reuse, somewhere..
So what does one do with 55,000 tonnes of clay and soil these days? Well around 4000 tonnes of topsoils went to a council Golf Course in Widnes which you can clearly see in the image there with the mersey estuary in the background.
9,000 tonnes of clays and road planings went to a land remediation project which was eventually to become an Equestrian centre.
Another 9,000 capped a contaminated quarry..
And 33,000 tonnes travelled half a mile to the BASE Moto-X Park, a community project brought about by the police and local council designed to cut the anti social use of moto-x bikes, something which has affected Ellesmere Port in years gone by. As Cheshire Oaks cut slowly cut it’s foundations into the ground the moto-x park sprung up, the two projects reliant on each other. This taught us the importance of using local suppliers at Cheshire Oaks. The benefits can never be underestimated, without the contacts, the know how and the trust element in place, such a massive cut and fill exercise would never have been possible.
All that muckshifting didn’t go unnoticed either..
Dealing with complaints and negative press can be a minefield. Regardless of how many times per day you operate a road sweeper, how many times you send a bowser round to keep the dust down, the limits on noise, selecting the right tools and plant to minimise vibration, construction is an invasive business and there will always be people who are affected. The removal of a dead oak tree even sparked an article in the local rag which suggested we’d cruelly logged a Cheshire Oak.
Another big part of the challenge was bringing the suppliers around to our way of thinking. In the early stages of the project we were exceeding our carbon targets due to the masses of plant and fuel needed to level the site. Learning to make our carbon footprint as accurate as possible was a very steep learning curve and I don’t honestly think we realised what we’d let ourselves in for. The sheer volume of data on a project this size seemed almost unmanageable at one point.
Trying to teach subcontractors the importance of buying sustainable timber was a constant battle, I had arguments on a daily basis, having to sometimes physically stand in the way to stop vans coming into site so we could check their documentation. After sending away so many deliveries we eventually got sick of it and ended up using reclaimed timber for shuttering in place of new.
Getting to grips with the installation of the displacement ventilation system was tough. These 6ft plastic polypipe sections needed to be perfectly straight to allow uninterrupted flow of air and needed sealing from the inside and out to prevent the ingress of water. With 600m to lay we really had our work cut out.
Finding our feet with the frame took time. Glulam swells and contracts when it’s exposed to the elements and fitting the giant sections over steel connection details and threading bolts was a tricky process involving some comedy oversized tools and some pretty hairy moments when the props came out.
The hemclad walls which give the store it’s efficiency are a very simple design but with a rapid programme and a product which had never been used before the installation process was a learning curve for all of us. We used a local crew of timber frame joiners and they really pushed themselves to stick to the programme despite teething problems in the first few weeks.
This massive 80,000L tank closed off a large area of the site which blocked our main haul road for weeks whilst we excavated and sured up the space around it. The look on the site managers face when it arrived.. Is that the site manager... Hang on.
So how could we bring it round? How could we master our methodologies and persuade the supply chain to come along with us?How could we win back public favour and win back that positive outlook which the residents held at planning stage.How could we spread a positive message about the project, our customer and sustainable construction?
Second, we communicated.Going back to the notion of three communites, we spread the message on site, through meetings, tool box talks and this sign we made out of old pallets and laminated A3 graphs.
We promoted ourselves through social media, sharing images, swapping stories and joining up the dots upstream, downstream and across the pond – I’m very proud of my 3 Likes from the states!A Newsletter e-mailed to over 400 recipients every month, Strategic press access led by M&S, a Camera portal for customer and off-site team to follow progress remotelyAnd a project specific website all helped towards the cause.
And we talked, a lot. By developing interactive presentations and delivering them to over 350 schoolchildren we really let people know that Cheshire Oaks was about one thing only. Through this communication, things started to look up.
Challenge number four was how do we make the best use of our time here.. Construction companies spend a lot of time talking about how dangerous building sites are, how big diggers are and how great careers in construction are, but what could we do which REALLY made a difference, something worthwhile.So we set up an art project with 11 schools, 100 entries and 1000 votes and got to know the schools and colleges through the drawing of newts, or crocodiles, or maybe newts, not sure.
Finding responsive partners in the community with a taste for sustainability and a passion for practical activities lead to bird boxes, lots of bird boxes.Some with cameras,
Some up ladders in woods.
Some group effort bird boxes.
Some complex ones which required concentration.
And some which required a little help.
And it wasnt just bird boxes.. We played recycling and learned about materials and waste.
Planted 105 trees.
Built insect houses
Did lots of digging.
And learnt an awful lot about sustainability along the way.
We also ran a design competition with BTEC Construction Students over one academic year which incorporated drawing and 3D sketching, cost planning, health and saftey, sustainability and presenting skills. From the 40 kids on the course not one had been on a construction site which had health and safety requirements and we know now that probably 50% will go on to study HNDs and degrees in construction. A handful will do work experience with us this year and all of them will pass their BTECs thanks in part to the marks they were awarded for studying at Cheshire Oaks. This is absolutely case and point on making it count.
Challenge number 5 was to share. How could we take what we’d done and share it. Share the building, share materials, share our stories, our knowledge and our enthusiasm for sustainability.So after all the activities we felt like we needed to give something back. The one commodity we had was time so we opened up the site to educational groups. Buildoffsite, Constructing Excellence, Salford University, West Cheshire College, Chester University, spending over 100 hours giving guided walks around the site.
We developed our newsletters, twitter account and facebook page, striving for a rich environment with videos, time lapse footage, photos and comment, Reaching 1500 people per week and 300 likes on facebook and gaining 450 followers.
Through social media we shared over 2000 pallets, donating them for reuse in the community.
They mostly got chopped up for firewood but if you pick the right ones you can build anything.
We also found that these, cable drums, are really popular with rabbits. Very comfortable to sit on, clearly.
This might look like a useless lump of plywood, but all the spare ULTRALAM went from us to a sanctuary for rehabilitated animals where they managed to fit out stables in an existing farm building with free materials from Cheshire Oaks.
And most of our spare shuttering went to community gardens.
The final point on sharing is the sharing of everything that we’ve done. With 500 M&S staff arriving to work at Cheshire Oaks the continuity demonstrated on all three levels throughout the five challenges provides a foot in the door in the local area. Through joint strategy, a mutual understanding and a big team of dedicated people, Cheshire Oaks should be a great store to work in, shop in, and visit. The building itself stands as a testament to sustainability and we’d like to think that the community feel like they played a part in that.
Greenbuild expo presentation
Building a sustainable future for retail M&S – Cheshire Oaks Green Build Expo – May 2012 1
Property Commitments Climate Change Energy efficiency Green energyWaste RenewablesConstruction waste Refrigerant gasOperational wasteWaste to energyRecycled content Health & Wellbeing Construction Health & SafetyMake Plan A HWDBSustainable Learning StoresClimate Change Adaptation MaterialsBiodiversity Sustainable WoodContinuous Evaluation WaterCarbon management No animal testingWhole life costingBREEAM