National furniture retailer Stokers has awarded a £3 million contract to building and civil engineering firm Britcon to build a new store for its Russell Dean brand in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Following irreversible damage caused by severe floods on Boxing Day of 2015 Stokers were forced to close the 16,000 sq ft store which has operated since 1960 as one of its most successful outlets. Whilst insurance covered the loss, as it did for previous floods in 2012, a third incident would not be recoverable.
Stokers is a family business operating ten stores across the UK. These include the 80,000 sq ft flagship Christopher Pratts in Leeds.
Managing Director Jonathan Stoker said, “Since Russell Dean is located adjacent to the River Calder the probability of further floods will always remain and so we had to consider relocating. However, given the heritage of the store and our loyal customer based we decided to buy the freehold and build a new store that could withstand future incidents.
“We appointed Britcon to design and build a flood resistant structure and they came back with a concept that was effectively a store on stilts with car parking in the under croft of two display floors. With the new design, we were able to almost double display capacity to 30,000 sq ft making our investment more viable and also providing a new light and airy customer experience.”
Britcon is currently on site with demolition and groundworks underway. The company is no stranger to challenging sites given its particular expertise in projects with restricted access and weather exposed locations.
Managing Director Paul Clarkson said, “We are working closely with the environment agency and various local groups to avoid any disruption to the high street and adjacent canal side towpaths.
“This involves working within very tight parameters to prepare the site and ground anchoring the existing stone built retaining wall to Midgely Road whilst the building is being demolished. We are building a new retaining wall to Midgley Road which climbs steeply to the North-West boundary of the site with the new building elevation right against the rear of the existing footpath and thereafter constructing a new building on three levels.
“We have applied value engineering techniques to keep the project within budget and expect to complete the project for trading in Spring 2018.”
Britcon remains in close liaison with the Canals & river Trust since the project is on piled foundations due to the variability of the ground and backs onto the canal which effectively sits at the first-floor level of the store. This presented its own challenges in getting a piling rig to site which had to be delivered at night under a special movement order.
Britcon has successfully completed multiple retail projects for clients including Aldi, Lidl, Skoda and Staples and it’s extensive civil engineering experience on complex Industrial & Infrastructure schemes have proved invaluable in tackling the challenges in the substructure on this particular project.