Market Walk expansion, Chorley
Leisure and Recreation
Through the development of a flexible range of units on the site of an existing car park, Reel Cinemas and Marks and Spencer were signed up as the anchor tenants, with the remaining units designed to offer flexibility to suit a wide range of potential occupiers.
The scheme represents the revival of a previous contract that had to be halted due to delays in securing Marks and Spencer’s signature for the lease agreement, resulting in the contractor’s original tender offer lapsing. Perfect Circle was appointed quickly through Scape Group’s Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework to represent the client for this revised scheme throughout pre-construction and the ongoing construction stage.
Time pressure was significant due to the halting of the original contract and Chorley Borough Council’s aim to have works completed before Christmas 2019. This was compounded by the two key tenants, Reel Cinemas and Marks and Spencer, needing to take possession of units in time to complete their respective fit outs and begin trading during the lead-up to Christmas.
Since the new units would be developed on the site of the existing Flat Iron car park, the project demanded the delivery of several linked call-off contracts – including creation of a new semi-permanent modular deck above a different surface-level car park to replace the spaces lost at Flat Iron. This meant Chorley Borough Council needed to decide on whether to push the programme forward and carry the risk of not having the modular car park completed in time for the start of the Market Walk contract, or to delay and ensure the parking was ready but risk the units not being ready in time for the two key tenants to complete their fit outs before Christmas 2019.
Given the contractor had to submit a revised tender including market testing of sub-contractor packages, Perfect Circle needed to scrutinise proposals to ensure they remained technically and commercially viable.
Being delivered as part of a wider town centre masterplan, the project is currently under construction and has coincided with delivery of various other enabling works and public realm improvements to provide replacement car parking, improved pedestrian accessibility and a more attractive public realm.
Collaborating with the contractor, Perfect Circle was able to save time by overlapping the various call-off contracts, which included road crossings, utility diversion and public realm improvements around the town’s First World War Pals Memorial. Early placement of orders for key sub-contractor packages and intelligent scheduling of works to allow for sectional completion and handover of the Reel Cinemas and Marks and Spencer units achieved further efficiencies.
It was decided meeting the two key tenants’ fit out requirements was essential, leading to the decision to proceed with the more aggressive construction programme at risk of the replacement car park not being completed. The team successfully mitigated this risk by having pre-fabrication of modular car park components and site enabling works commence immediately after planning permission was granted. Ongoing close monitoring of enabling works and regular liaison with the car park supplier ensured programme issues could be quickly raised and resolved.
Perfect Circle reviewed contractor’s costs for key work packages, identifying an additional £400k compared to the client’s budget. The contractor’s cost plan was reviewed on an item by item basis to determine the causes of the increase, which included inflation of materials costs and necessary design changes. Perfect Circle determined prices were realistic and that more than half of packages were competitively tendered with at least three quotes received, with the majority of other packages having been market tested previously – giving surety that a competitive price had been achieved.
Appointment of Perfect Circle through the Scape BECS framework allowed Chorley Borough Council to reappoint the consultancy quickly and easily, meaning teams could hit the ground running after the scheme was halted to allow for further tenancy negotiations to be undertaken and new design options to be prepared. This ensured Chorley Borough Council benefitted from continuity of project management and quantity surveying services when the project restarted.
Additional social benefits include improvement of the public realm around the Chorley Pals War Memorial; completed as part of the works. And economic benefits from the attraction of key tenants Marks and Spencer and Reel Cinemas into the Market Walk centre, alongside numerous other retailers.