Refurbishment project goes to plan
Mark Freemantle, project manager for construction business Watts & Hughes Limited describes the signiﬁcant refurbishment at Countdown Masterton as a successful construction and logistical project, despite the many challenges it presented. “We started late March last year by initially setting up temporary staging.
“As you can imagine, before you can get underway with major structural and layout changes in a supermarket that will continue to operate throughout the build, there’s a long list of processes that need to be completed,” says Mark. He describes the project as signiﬁcant in other ways as well.
Not only will the community enjoy shopping in a supermarket future-proofed to meet their needs for years to come and built to the highest standards, using the latest technologies but during the build, Watts & Hughes Limited as main contractor engaged many local trade subcontractors along with six local carpenters.
“We try very much to create opportunities for locals to work on our projects throughout the country. “It makes sense to have local trades connected with the build and it’s a way of helping create economic benefits to the community.”
Once the initial setups were in place so that essential services, such as food-prepping and storage were being managed, the project proper got underway.
This began with the demolition of the produce, meat and fruit -prepping areas. These were shifted into refrigerated containers.
“We extended part of the building by approximately 380sqm and it went very well,” says Mark. “The project also involved construction of a new plant room servicing the refrigeration and freezers in the retail area.”
Mark says that this meant that in the wee-small hours between 2am and 4 am the switching over of power from the old plant room to the new had to be take place.
Again, Mark says the process went smoothly. When Business Central spoke with Mark, an adjacent building had just been demolished, to make way for an extension to the supermarkets’ car-park.
Phase Two in the supermarket was also underway, rebuilding part of the existing structure to open up for a new entrance-way, deli, ﬁ sh supply, bakery and ofﬁce spaces.
This phase began in December, with the work completed in June. “In some areas we were ahead of schedule, in others slightly behind, but this is how things tend to go with projects of this nature.”
Supporting the projects’ successful outcome was company senior contracts manager Shane Rowse, who Mark describes as the ‘Countdown Guru’. “Shane and I have a brilliant working relationship.
We’ve worked together on a number of Countdown projects. “We have built up a very positive track-record with Countdown owners Progressive Enterprises,” Mark explains.
Extending the car-park could only occur after some signiﬁcant drainage issues on the existing areas were addressed.
“All storm-water had to be retained on its own site and some areas of the car-park used to ﬂood, so we’ve constructed new drainage. “By the end of the project there will be about 30 additional car-parking spaces created.”
With a disruption for shoppers that a project of this scale would create, Countdown were expecting sales losses to happen, however Mark says that in fact sales dropped by far less than originally envisaged. “Actually what happened was that customers came back to see how the supermarket was changing from one day to the next.”
Countdown Masterton also boasts a nationalﬁrst in the form of the new beer fridge, which at 22.5 metres is the longest of any in their chain of supermarkets.
“Countdown has its own design team who are coming in to stamp this supermarket with some new elements, including brick veneers and striking coloured tile walls.”
For Mark and the team working on the project at a daily level, it was very satisfying to see it come together so well. “I have some challenging projects come my way from time to time.
“Overseeing a build of this nature means you have to be ﬂexible, try and remain calm and make good calculated decisions. Any issues that come along you just deal with them and move on.”
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