‘Store on stilts’ innovation eases flooding fears at Tesco Galston


When Tesco confirmed the land they’d acquired for a new store in Galston was prone to flooding, an innovative solution was called for. The answer? Barr Construction’s ‘store on stilts’ concept

BARR Construction has deployed its innovative ‘stores on stilts’ concept to the Tesco Galston store in East Ayrshire to great effect.
With pressures on floorspace an ever-present problem, Barr has carved a niche for delivering innovative stores on stilts, which feature the trading store and the service yard on the first floor with the store car park located underneath at ground level.
The company has already delivered more than a dozen supermarket on stilts projects for retailers and has been one of the pioneers of this approach to design since the concept began to gain traction in around 2008.
The construction company has now applied the concept to tackle a new set of challenges for the recently opened Tesco Galston store.
Tesco stores Ltd had acquired the land at Galston, which borders the River Irvine, and established it was susceptible to flooding.
To gain planning permission for the site, extensive surveys and reports were carried out in discussion with the local authority to estimate the flood event levels and to create a workable design solution for a new store on the site.
Barr Construction brought their past experience of store on stilts projects to design an elevated store where, instead of the usual car parking area, the undercroft would be used as a large holding reservoir in case of flooding.
The elevations of the undercroft were designed with aesthetically pleasing timber louvres which allow water to pass through the area but restrict access by the public.
The base of the undercroft was constructed in concrete to ease any possible cleaning operation after a flood event.
Colin Richards, project manager, Barr Construction, said, “The Galston store represents a new chapter in our relationship with Tesco, allowing us to apply our established store on stilts concept to a new challenge.


“While Barr has built a number of elevated stores for retail clients in recent years to maximise floorspace, this is the first project which has tackled flooding issues. We are proud of the resulting build which answers a number of complex issues relating to the riverside location.”
The lower atrium walls were constructed in concrete with waterproof reinforced slabs and walls, while the external face of these walls was finished in a robust natural stone and the internal face finished in a plastic panel.
The only openings within these walls are the entrances to the lifts and automated door accesses. In order to seal these entrances and protect the installation, a manual flood barrier system was designed to safeguard the travellators, ATM and lifts in the event of a flood.
The most important flood measure installed for the store was the flood alarm system, which gauges the river levels and issues text messages and emails warning Tesco staff of flood risks.
This allows adequate time to react, install the manual barriers and evacuate the store.
Should staff or other individuals not have the time to evacuate, the final feature relating to flood conditions is an elevated high level steel escape walkway. Located at the rear of the store, connecting the supermarket with a position level above the flood levels on Polwarth Street, this allows unrestricted access in the event of a flood.