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They’re Under Starters Orders…


June 2020

SMR never rushes recruitment and has spent months waiting to find the right people to support Team SMR… and then they come along like buses.

Each new starter brings with them specific set of skills and experiences to enhance SMR as a whole. SMR’s continued growth during lockdown, has seen seven new arrivals and more on the way. This growth is designed to ensure our client based is well served during these unprecedented times.

It will not easy joining a new company who is efficiently working from home, but this group have taken it in their stride. A warm ‘virtual’ welcome to all!


Mathew Smalley commented “When asked of late how SMR is coping with the effects of the pandemic, lockdown and working from home, I have found myself rather flippantly explaining; Well let me put it this way, we had 2 new starters last week and another 4 new recruits this week!”


Simon Rispin added “SMR are delighted to continue to grow the  team, serving our operator and developer clients and helping us deliver over 5M sqft currently on site.”



WH Smith HQ Refurbishment


June 2020

This newly refurbished 1960’s office building is now officially completed and handed over to WH Smith after a six month construction programme. The five storey building will provide WHS with a consolidated HQ facility, offering four floors of open-plan office space, many new individual meeting rooms, an IT suite, localised kitchen and printer pods to each floor and a fully updated staff restaurant and kitchen. The project also includes the introduction of a range of accessibility provisions to current standards – WCs, lifts, visual identification and full access. Despite these interventions, all new and upgraded elements of the design were carefully considered by SMR and WHS to compliment the unique character and details of the 50 year old building.

The original building however, fell short of current fire safety standards, elements the design team spent much time addressing. Fire protection was applied to all steel structural elements, fire lobbies introduced to both staircases, a fully approved and completely new fire alarm system introduced to the whole building and, in light of recent problems with cladding systems, fire barriers introduced to the external envelope.

All parking facilities for cars, motorcycles and bicycles, have been upgraded and extended to provide a safe environment for all staff and visitors. The project management role was fulfilled by David Okeefe of Underwood Carpenter, who commented

‘ The Project Holland refurbishment project for WHS was very demanding in terms of timescale, procurement strategy and budget. Some great work was undertaken by SMR to help deliver the end result. Overall a very good professional service’.


Critical Retrofit Works Complete


June 2020

SMR have recently assisted a dedicated team of contractors to deliver two critical retrofit works packages to online delivery sites in the UK.  Providing new additional shelving, walk in chillers and freezers the works increased food and produce capacity significantly.

This allowed the customers to have a massively increased selection of critical food stuffs delivered. The clients representative noted “I am the first to acknowledge what we ask of you doesn’t always appear (at first glance) entirely possible or in step with the industry norm with me always asking you to go faster.  Yet, somehow you deliver success. Special thanks for delivering excellent work! This achievement wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and readiness to go the extra mile.  You really did build the plane while flying it.

WFH & Thriving

May 2020

When SMR actioned their WFH plans 10 weeks ago, like most companies we entered a ‘controlled’ survival mode.

SMR’s Leadership team put processes in place, sent home test teams to prove our ongoing effectiveness, and worked closely with our IT and Telecoms support companies.

Microsoft Teams has been a godsend, allowing us to undertake Leadership huddles, daily team catch-ups, company-wide meetings, interview potential new staff, manage our projects, speak to potential new clients and last but not least has sparked Friday lunchtime silliness.

Friday Lunchtime Silliness, has so far seen TeamSMR undertake; countless quizzes, scavenger hunts, bingo, cryptic photo puzzles and simple chats in peoples garden with a glass of beer or pop.

Luckily, the practice was already well versed in video and conference calls and guiding our clients through scheme development via screen sharing. These processes are now utilised by all SMR staff throughout the day, to ensure we deliver the best possible service.

Amanda Marsey notes “We hope all our clients and peers have experienced a seamless transition as SMR actioned our WFH processes. This swan-like shift occurred because our full team pulled together and the Directors would like to thank our entire team for continuing to go the extra mile to ensure our Clients are well looked after.


This pandemic was never wanted and has left its scares, but we’re pleased to say that SMR isn’t simply surviving, it’s thriving! Furthermore, we’re on the lookout for future challenges to keep us busy.”

Ashbank Assisted Living Scheme


May 2020

SMR were instructed on behalf of Anchor Hanover to prepare design proposals for a new 54no. bed Assisted Living scheme, combining two existing sites on the outskirts of York city centre.

The site is located within Clifton Conservation Area, and required a sympathetic and high quality design response to sit naturally within the local context. The scheme comprises of one and two bed apartments along with communal areas and amenities such as a café, lounge and also hair and treatment rooms. The scheme also includes the conversion of a 19th Century Victorian Villa which will be converted into additional apartments.

We are delighted that the scheme has received Planning Approval from the City of York Council.

Lidl Chichester


May 2020

SMR Architects are pleased to see our latest Lidl store opening occurred on 12/03/20, in Chichester. The sales area of this replacement supermarket has increased in size to 1,325m², with associated facilities including a bakery, customer toilets, baby changing and ample parking for both cars and bicycles. The store is replacing an existing branch at Portfield Way. The new supermarket forms part of Lidl’s ongoing expansion and regeneration plans which will see it open more than 50 stores a year. The two-acre site off Westhampnett Road is owned by Chichester District Council and has been developed in conjunction with Brookhouse Group Limited, whom appointed SMR Architecture as part of the site wider master-plan development. The opening of the store marks the latest phase of the wider retail masterplan and includes ample areas of public open green space to the front of the store, a new outdoor WWII exhibit, and valuable pedestrian links through the site.

Lidl GB’s regional head of property, James Mitchell, said: “We are delighted to have opened the doors to the new Lidl store in Chichester today. It is great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area… We would like to thank all those who have played a part in improving our Lidl store in Chichester.”

In a statement last year, the district council said: “The development also brings this unused land back into use and will help generate vital income for Chichester District Council.”

Waitrose – Enfield CFC

May 2020

As part of Waitrose’s long-term expansion plan to double its online grocery orders in London, by September 2020; SMR Architects was asked to reconfigure and fit-out an existing 6 acre site, located in Enfield; following on from the success of and earlier fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, South London.

The project comprised the refurbishment and reconfiguration of an existing 18,000 sq.ft. Office space and 90,000 sq.ft Warehouse space. In addition, a purpose built 2,100 sq.ft. Vehicle Maintenance Unit and associated site works were constructed to provide 118 delivery vehicles, including EV Charging stations, all to suit Waitrose’s specific operational requirements.

SMR Architects were delighted to support the delivery of this new facility on behalf of Waitrose, working with Contractors, UC Build. The facility will operate alongside the existing fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, which delivers grocery orders across the South London area.

Due to the ambitious original timeframe and recent National events the project encountered some unexpected challenges; however, the final development has been well received by the Client.

Rob Large, Waitrose Construction Programme Manager commented:

“The programme was ambitious from the start when we identified the site, the due diligence and pre-contract activity needed to progress at pace and the contractor selection was paramount to the can-do approach and success of the phased delivery; and now the C19 challenges! … Yet again the known and trusted team have pulled it out of the bag.”

Ansty Park – Meggitt Completes on Site




April 2020

SMR are pleased to announce the recent completion of Ansty Park-Meggitt, adopting BIM principles in line with the Employers EIR with Winvic Construction

SMR were appointed to the team to set up BIM strategies and processes including:

  • BIM Goals and Objectives
  • Roles, responsibilities and design ownership
  • Design Coordination and information authoring
  • Clash Detection and Resolution
  • Information sharing in a Common Data Environment
  • COBie
  • Model federation

The success of this project in relation to BIM project delivery was achieved through the implementation of a BIM Execution Plan and structured responsibilities matrix aligned to construction packages, as well as utilising the model as the main discussion tool at design and client team meetings. Clash detection processes ahead of meetings allowed the team to focus on problem areas during the meeting and come up with design solutions prior to packages reaching site. This proved to be very beneficial.  The MIDP also set the basis for decision making from the client on maintainable assets and the information collected could then be checked against COBie requirements.

Projects Implementation and Delivery Facts

  • 20 discipline models were developed and coordinated to assist with the delivery of the project
  • 50 clash tests were carried out to highlight issues and form the basis for resolution in a virtual environment
  • 185 model iterations from all disciplines were shared over the course of the project aiding design development
  • 35 coordination and clash detection model iterations were developed and shared over the course of the project aligned to construction meetings
  • 64 projects members participated in the project information delivery

Logistics Delivery Station in Wembley

March 2020

Following a lengthy planning process which saw SMR working closely with our client’s planning and highways consultants, planning permission has successfully been granted for a substantial logistics delivery station in Wembley.

The project comprises an internal fit-out to an existing warehouse and a dedicated multi-storey delivery van storage deck adjacent, the first of it’s kind in the UK. The deck will be clad with a mix of expanded mesh and laser-cut perforated panels to break up the structure and create an eye-catching street scene.

The scheme includes provision for electric home delivery vehicles, which provides another first for our client in the UK. This will be a key strategic location for this rapidly growing area of London, and we look forward to working closely with the main contractor over the coming months to deliver a successful scheme.