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John Lewis, Exeter

GHA transformed a problematic post-war tower in Exeter’s historic centre into a John Lewis anchor store. The swiftly implemented project followed extensive work by the practice to determine the most feasible use of the building for client Land Securities.

During the construction process, the store was upgraded from a John Lewis ‘At Home’ branch to the retailer’s first ‘Small Full Line’ department store. It was the company’s best performing store in its first year of trading. The tower was re-clad in pre-cast concrete and stone and a new curved-glass corner entrance sequence added that provides additional floor space and enhances the streetscape.



NDC were appointed by the M&E sub contractor, Lorne Stewart to carry out the designs for the mechanical and electrical services installations, based on the John Lewis brand specifications.

The duties included the production of SBEM calculations and BRUKYL report for submission to building control.

This included liaison with the CAD company responsible for 3-D modelling and coordination with the structure and other specialist services.



The project which began as an £8.5 million project to refurbish 65,000 sq. ft. over five floors of a former Debenhams building conversion to a John Lewis “At Home” store, the project was upgraded when it was decided to expand the plans and deliver a new flexible format outlet. This offers the same range of departments as in a full-sized store, supported with an online retail range available to collect from its counters.



The new plans required considerable further investment in the project shell and core works and retail fit out carried out by Midas Construction.



The contract value increased to £25 million, but the design and construction team were committed to the same contract completion date which was achieved.