John Lewis Cambridge

Conamar have worked with John Lewis Partnership for over 20 years, and we regularly deliver a range of projects across their network of nation wide branches, distribution centres and also their head offices in London.

John Lewis’ Capital Works Construction Programme Manager recently gave the following statement:

“During the past 20 years, Conamar have successfully delivered a variety of projects for JLP and me specifically. They consistently deliver, meeting all of our joint KPi’s. This includes meeting critical end dates, on budget and to an excellent quality. They are proactive, helpful and professional to work with and I would highly recommend them to other retail clients as a skilled competent contractor.”

Our most recently completed project for JLP was the refurbishment of the Grand Arcade shopping mall on St Andrews Street in the centre of Cambridge, which was live to customers throughout.

The works were predominantly fabric repairs to historic building fabric, which required extensive and complicated scaffolding along St Andrews Street from ground to fifth floor, over the roof and back of the glazed central atrium area. We removed existing sash windows and carried out repairs to bring the structure up to compliance for fire safety regulations, such as installation of intumescent strips, etc.

The building was listed, however required repairs to brickwork – in order to meet heritage officer requirements, we had to procure suitable comparable bricks for replacement (which was done using samples and mock ups at design stage), and then locally cut out existing mortar around failing bricks to replace and re-mortar with a suitable product.

We also carried out roof repairs, and surveyed / repaired / replaced elements of the gutters and lead downpipes.

One of the largest issues we had to overcome for this project was the sequencing of works – the scaffolding needed to be built before we could carry out any works, and as this was a live building with a significantly heavy footfall, we arranged this aspect to be installed on nights. Unfortunately this programme got behind the planned critical path, so to rectify this and maintain our agreed timescale we added weekend working and additional labour to bring works back in line. We actually managed to get ahead of programme which allowed fir earlier sign off and inspection for release to the construction team.

Due to access requirements, the brickworks had to be sequenced as first floor, then fifth floor, then fourth floor. The sequencing and quality control required good planning and stringent on site management. This included day to day reviews of progress with email updates to client / professional teal to keep everyone updated. Our contracts manager had daily phone calls (as required), and issued a weekly update with live programme showing actual progress, and details of the planned works for the following week.

The lessons learnt on this project regarding complex sequencing of works for working in live environments and minimising disruption / maintaining safety to members of the public will be directly transferrable to the requirements of the DWP framework schemes.

John Lewis Partnership