Main ContractorKey Property Solutions
ArchitectUrban Edge
Structural EngineerWaterman
DatesSeptember 2016 - March 2017


To create a self-sustaining restaurant that could be replicable in future Nando’s builds.

The Results

A restaurant that is sustainable yet doesn’t compromise on aesthetics. Nando’s Next Generation is an excellent example of how offsite construction can be used.

About the Client

Nando’s is a major UK restaurant with a presence in almost every town and city and, as part of its ever growing estate, chose to locate its latest property in Cambridge. Cambridge is the UK’s first ‘Next Generation’ restaurant. Developed as a prototype to trial a number of new ecological features. This design will subsequently be utilised across the company’s wider estate.

The Brief

PEFC Certified timber from well-managed forests was specified for this build, not only to reduce the carbon footprint but to create a high-performance building envelope. The structural form was to include timber cassette walls, with glulam roof beams and a visual cross-laminated timber soffit. The cross-laminated timber roof panels act as horizontal diaphragms which distribute horizontal loads through the glulam beams to the wall cassettes below.

The build was designed to incorporate a number of sustainability measures including a flat sedum roof, with PV panels and a rainwater harvesting system to hydrate the plants within an external ‘living wall’. The restaurant’s smart heating system was designed to automatically die down when the air-conditioning is on and switches off entirely when the temperature rises above 15°c. The ‘Next Generation’ Nando’s is the first of its kind in the world to be powered by 100% renewable electricity and gas.

The Solution

This project is the perfect example of how the use of offsite technology can quickly transform an area of unused car parking into a retail outlet that makes a positive contribution, visually, environmentally and economically, to the nature of the surrounding area.

DfMA was used as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to simplify the structure. This process helped to eliminate waste in the building design and facilitated greater offsite manufacture to meet the challenging schedule, with an average of 100m² of cassettes installed each day to keep the programme on-track.

By taking full advantage of offsite manufacturing techniques – this development was optimised in terms of speed, cost, performance and sustainability. Only by using offsite technology could the exacting building schedule, environmental, performance and sustainability targets be achieved.

To complete this building using traditional ‘onsite’ methods, the project would take nearly a year to construct. From possession of the site in September 2016 to the completion of the building envelope just five months later, to the fit out and opening on 31 March 2017 – took under 30 weeks. This was achieved as most of the work took place offsite and the factory manufactured components were assembled rather than constructed onsite.

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