Project Description

The first of its kind for supermarket giant Morrison’s, MPH have successfully installed a modular external retail unit to accommodate a Specsavers franchise

With 38 years’ experience of providing modular building solutions, MPH took up the challenge of manufacturing the bespoke modular retail unit, having been contacted by Specsavers, Rotherham.

When Woolworths closed its doors overnight, leaving the resident Specsavers franchise unable to continue trading from their premises, directors at Specsavers, Rotherham, set about finding an alternative location to serve the local people of Catcliffe near Sheffield City Centre, where an extensive client base was established. They approached the adjacent Morrison’s supermarket – situated off the Parkway Motorway, recommending the siting of a franchise within the large retail outlet. However, as supermarkets today require greater retail space to meet the ever-increasing needs of the population, Morrison’s proposed the trial of an external bespoke modular retail unit on their vast site.

Bound by Specsavers’ strict UK-wide requirements, design guidelines and branding of their products, together with the constraints imposed by the Morrison’s site, MPH’s in-house CAD team began designing a modular unit to exact specifications that would house retail space, test facilities, individual test rooms, and waiting areas. In addition, the retail unit had to fit neatly on site, complementing the surroundings, and taking up as little car parking space as possible.

Initially presented with several design problems including the need to integrate large retail glazing, wall space for retail units and test rooms with no external windows, MPH successfully created a versatile modular structure, in accordance with Specsavers’ design brief, which was Building Regulation compliant and conformed to the Disability Discrimination Act. The design incorporated signage that mirrored all UK Specsavers branches, with a fascia designed around the signage company, together with a strict colour scheme for the external walls. The modular building was erected on foundations that could be easily dismantled, allowing the site to be reinstated to the pre-existing car park if requested at a future date.

The design was accepted and work began on the internal fit-out requirements, comprising, specific wall colourings, precision lighting for retail stands and the inclusion of internal fittings procured from nominated suppliers. Internal design considerations included floor loadings capable of taking heavy foot traffic and the installation of a fresh air make up system, as all windows were restricted opening. Throughout this process, the MPH project team met regularly with Specsavers representatives to ensure no omission of details and that the Company met exact requirements.

Following the exchange of leases between Morrison’s and Specsavers, foundations were laid immediately on site. Off-site preparation and manufacture of the modular building at MPH’s purpose-built factory commenced, and just four weeks after the installation of foundations, the building was delivered and positioned on site. In the following four days, specialist Specsavers shop fitters arrived on site to install the retail units, CCTV, test equipment, telecoms and data.

As well as meeting the stringent project requirements and tight timescale for completion, during the installation and fit-out MPH contended with security issues at the site. Security personnel were brought in to overcome this problem and after just three weeks, Specsavers Catcliffe was open for business, delighting the Rotherham directors, Morrison’s supermarket and customers.

Modular buildings are an environmentally friendly option in construction, providing sustainability and thermal efficiency. They are cost-effective, with no compromise on quality. Off-site preparation reduces noise pollution, congestion and carbon emissions. When no longer required, MPH can relocate the modular building to a different site of Specsavers choice.

The people of Catcliffe continue to be impressed by the new facility and the speed at which it was implemented. The Specsavers franchise is proving a great success and potentially this innovation will roll out to other supermarkets across the country.

The modular retail unit was manufactured, delivered and opened for business within the anticipated timescale and to a strict budget, which was essential, due to the short term of the lease. Disruption to Morrison’s and its customers was minimal throughout.
‘MPH has delivered everything we expected and has honoured both verbal and written agreements. We are delighted with the finished product. Well done everyone!’
Dusan Opacic, Specsavers