Main ContractorSimons Construction
ArchitectAukett Fitroy Robinson
Structural EngineerAECOM
LocationEllesmere Port, Cheshire


To construct a first-of-its-kind project for M&S in line with Plan A.

The Results

A 100% FSC Certified building that paves the way for other stores of its kind. M&S is a retailer that prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and this store was a cornerstone of their pledge.

About The Client

Launched by Marks and Spencer in January 2007, Plan A is more than a building strategy. It’s a sustainable commitment for the company and a further pledge to help its customers lead healthier lifestyles.

As part of this plan, the company started to develop ‘sustainable learning’ stores to trial new technologies with the aim, through post-occupancy evaluation, to build a bank of knowledge to develop sustainable building best practice.

The Brief

Cheshire Oaks is one of the largest outlets ever built by the retailer, with 148,000 ft2 of selling space, incorporating a wide range of ecological technologies. For M&S, this was a ground-breaking project for their estate and for their sustainability commitment. For B&K Structures, it was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of optimised hybrid structures. Opened in the summer of 2012, the store was predicted to be the company’s most carbon-efficient, full-line store to date.

The Solution

M&S Cheshire Oaks was the first project of its size to use FSC certified wood across the build. This was a huge achievement for sustainable construction as a whole and was a great success for M&S’ Plan A project.

Each beam was made of 38 lamellas of white wood sourced from Austria and Germany. They used carbon fibre rods in certain key woods to prevent de-lamination. The roof is supported with 48 steel tree arms and joined with 5,000 steel bolts, meaning it can be deconstructed easily. This type of roof is 20% lighter than structural steel, which saves on the foundations.

Through the combination of all of the sustainable measures the project has achieved BREEAM Excellent for the shell and fit-out, one of the prerequisites under Plan A.

The Outcome

The first-year performance evaluation commissioned by M&S and completed by Faithful and Gould in September 2013 reports that Cheshire Oaks sustainable credentials in operation are even more impressive than predicted. From their independent assessment, it genuinely stands out as an exceptional building in terms of energy performance and user satisfaction.

The Cheshire Oaks store is well-liked by all groups of people surveyed in the report and it is clear that the store is living up to its expectations. It presents an excellent image to customers and the environmental conditions in the store are highly praised. Furthermore, the project has received an FSC Project Certification and an FSC Outstanding Contribution Award.

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