The Project and Background:
In 2014 The Cooperative Group finalised a deal to open 63 new Coop stores on former or existing Marston’s pub sites. Most of the c-stores where to be built on surplus land and car parks, but some would involve conversions and new builds on the sites of existing pubs. Most of the sites also had dedicated or shared parking for 10 to 25 cars. The deal for the Marston’s sites was announced in 2013, when The Coop struck an agreement with NewRiver Retail, which had acquired 202 Marston’s pubs for £90m. This deal supported Coop food in the realisation of parts of the ‘True North’ strategy where 100 new stores per year was targeted.
The Project Goals:
- Smart Design to drive planning approval: Planning applications for all the sites was being submitted by New River (technically the shell contractor) and needed close co-ordination to achieve compliance.
- Positive engagement with the Local Community: All the sites were sensitive to public perception and required statutory and non-statutory consultation with local communities (business/residents etc).
- Deliver the benefits quickly: The deal took longer than expected and to meet the ROI projects both NewRiver and the Coop required the units to be operational 2014/15.
- Maintain Board Expectations: Although there was pressure to deliver volume, the clients did not want to reduce their expectations with regards to Health & Safety, Quality, Impact to the Environment or community impact.
Jason McEwen, our Managing Director at Optimise was appointed in a perm position to lead the construction of all 63 New River sites and any additional sites to make the 100 per year. The sites where concurrent and Nationally spread meaning a consistent and standard approach needed to be used. Jason used the RIBA stages and adapted templates from CIOB guidance to facilitate this delivery. In relation to the project goals our role specifically involved:
- Pre-construction / board approval / reporting:
Jason created then managed the pre-construction process. He led the multi-disciplinary team to ensure that the clients (NewRiver & Coop) expectations where met, that all CDM / BREEAM risks where discharged and that the designs (Architect/Constructor) maintained a cost-effective solution. In addition, Jason was accountable for obtaining board approvals and for ensuring his board was informed of progress.
- Procurement of professional team and contractors:
The nature of the work enabled a framework to be established for Contractors and Professionals. Jason delivered the framework and contracts based on the JCT Design and Build arrangement – he directly managed companies like Mace, T&T, WCEC, WYG, ISG and others.
- Programming / Project Execution Plan / Contract Management
In addition to creating and monitoring the delivery programming which at peak involved 30 projects being ‘on-site’ at the same time he focused the PEP (Programme Execution Plan) on stakeholder engagement / consultation. Through this focus, strong successful relationships were forged with Coop operations / local council offices / planning officers / local parishes or organisations. Jason also delivered an internal programme to get the Coop to become a considerate constructor’s client partner and therefore ensuring all suppliers were CCS scheme assessed.
- Handover – from shell to coop and coop construction to food operations
Jason managed a structured approach that controlled costs and quality for the handovers.