Waitrose: Building Retail With BIM | Andy Smith


How can building information modelling (BIM) help to create highly effective retail space? Join Andy Smith, General Manager of Future Planning at leading UK retailer Waitrose, for this short presentation on how BIM is streamlining the delivery process, reducing costs and ‘lifting the food trade to a higher plane’.

Andy has a refreshingly focused take on the adoption of BIM: “It needs to be what the organisation needs it to be” he explains. “Think about the end game. Consider what the organisation requires, and then define it backwards”.

At Waitrose – part of the John Lewis Partnership – BIM has not been used for the sake of it. It’s uptake by the Property Services team has been led by benefits and a value proposition that is bespoke to their business. “It’s about making life simpler, cheaper and quicker” says Andy. “How quickly can we build a Waitrose store? How quickly can we build a 250,000 sq. ft. John Lewis store?”

“If I talk about merchandise availability on shelves in a Waitrose, I get the Commercial Director listening. If I talk about building Revit families he switches off”.

The John Lewis Partnership’s BIM strategy is built on a foundation of standards, libraries and clear end user requirements. With this platform in place, the various elements of design and project team collaboration are facilitated, enabling further innovation to be driven beyond that.

Demonstrating that Waitrose practice what they preach, Andy goes on to highlight a number of project case studies where this approach made a difference. At the forefront is the recently opened store at London’s Kings Cross, housed in a listed former railway shed to the north of the station.

The complex project – a flagship store for the brand – required careful design, planning and liaison with stakeholders, including English Heritage. The image below demonstrates how key elements of the store were developed virtually, enabling both Waitrose and their project team to test proposals before constructing them. “There’s a huge amount of technical expertise behind this work, but the guys in the business just needed to understand what it looked and felt like” explains Andy.

He goes on to highlight two other schemes in Dorking and Horsham respectively where working in a BIM environment played in crucial role in project delivery.

Andy closes with a powerful note: “Our architects offered us a 25% fee reduction if we would build libraries and allow them to design in 3D. That speaks volumes in our business for our supply chain wanting to help us deliver an efficient strategy”.

Filmed at University of Westminster. Find out more about the UK’s London + South East BIM Region and register for future events here: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/faculties/architecture

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