Constructing the most sustainable M&S store to date

Constructing the most sustainable M&S store to date

M&S Cheshire Oaks


With Barbour Product Search being part of Barbour ABI, the UK's leading supplier of construction companies data and project leads, and our office just down the road from the new M&S Cheshire Oaks, I was able to interview Ed Dixon, Environmental Champion of Simons Group, for an architectural insight into specification, environmental standards and views on BIM.

After the success of this year’s Ecobuild - the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment - and the launch of our new Ecobuild Product Search site, I was particularly keen to find out how the project teams’ product specification enabled them to deliver the most carbon efficient full-line M&S store to date.

– Grace Lewis, Editor for Barbour Product Search.


Alex Hearder of Aukett Fitzroy Robinson Architects explains that products were typically chosen from previous projects where they had been used before and proved to be successful. Product selection tools were also used, as were company’s own websites including Schueco, TRADA and

From stunning living green walls and landscaping elements promoting native flowers and wildlife, to FSC certified wood cladding and heating being provided by a biomass boiler plant, sustainability and M&S’ Plan A commitments were always at the forefront of the project teams’ minds when specifying the products and materials for M&S Cheshire Oaks.

M&S Cheshire Oaks landscape

M&S Cheshire Oaks bird boxes

Even bird nesting boxes have been incorporated within the building wall - and I’ve been told birds have already been seen using them!

Living Green Walls

M&S Cheshire Oaks green wall

Designed by ANS Group, the stunning living green wall consists of four sections installed on the south face of the car park.

The four walls include 30 types of plants and flowers with many native species reflecting plants found in the local area.

M&S Cheshire Oaks green wall

The living wall was specified to provide natural insulation and encourage biodiversity by attracting native birds and insects.

Click here to view ANS Group’s profile on Barbour Product Search.

FSC Certified Glulam Wood

Over 1,400m³ of 100% FSC-certified glulam timber (glued laminated timber), has been used as an alternative to steel in the roof and first floor. Glulam timber is aesthetically attractive, environmentally-friendly and also absorbs CO₂.

M&S Cheshire Oaks glulam timber

Click here to search for suppliers of glulam timber.

Biomass Boiler Plant

70% of the store’s heating will be provided from heat reclamation and a biomass boiler, which produces heat with less effect on the environment than fossil fuels due to it using agricultural, forest, urban and industrial residues.

Click here to search for suppliers of biomass boilers.

Tradical® Hemclad® external wall panels

M&S Cheshire Oaks

Over 226 pre-fabricated Tradical® Hemclad® panels have been used for the external walls of the store. This bio-composite material is made with hemp and a lime binder, offering advantages over traditional brick building materials such as low energy costs in use, negative embodied carbon and high performance fire resistance.

Click here to search for suppliers of external wall panels.


With sustainable building products, technologies and practices being adopted for M&S Cheshire Oaks, it will be no surprise that the store has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for the building shell and fit-out as well as becoming M&S’ third Plan A Sustainable Learning Store, following the opening of Ecclesall Road, Sheffield in April 2011 and Westfield Stratford City in September 2011.

M&S Cheshire Oaks

Was the product specification for M&S Cheshire Oaks affected by the recent changes to Part L of the Building Regulations? Alex Hearder comments that as the requirements from M&S’ Plan A programme regarding energy efficiency, energy performance and reducing carbon emissions were above and beyond those required by the Regulations, Part L only provided a useful minimum standard to aim for.


With interest surrounding BIM (Building Information Modelling) rapidly growing, and manufacturers and specifiers being faced with the challenge of adapting their working processes to meet the demands of BIM-savvy clients, I wanted to find out whether BIM featured in the design process, and if BIM will be adopted in future projects.

Alex comments that BIM wasn’t used by the lead architects on this project, although he understands M&S is keen to use it on future projects. BIM was used, however, by the structural engineers to draw the main structural frame and calculate loadings, but this was 3D only with no cost, time or other records attached.

Alex’ experience is that more and more clients are requiring BIM as the preferred modeling system.

For more information on BIM, check out bimstore’s website.


For more information on M&S’ Plan A commitments, visit

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