Project Description

Luxury car dealership prioritising aesthetics over function

The project involved the construction of the two connected buildings on the same plot with very different uses; a showroom and a workshop, connected by offices and hampered by the discovery of unexploded bombs on site.

The workshop was designed to be a portal frame building with long spans of steel work that would mean there was no need to rely on bracing or trusses which resulted in a slim roof profile. There was however, one snag in this design, as the slim roof profile meant there was a reliance on columns, which could encroach on the space. This was acceptable in the workshop but needed to be avoided in the showroom.

Maintaining the integrity and aesthetics of the building were important to the client in this case, so we carefully considered the movement of the building during this phase. The lack of internal columns and the inclusion of eighteen-metre-wide windows, necessitated the use of fabricated steel trusses to support the roof. We had to pay careful attention to the behaviour of the trusses under wind and snow loading to prevent damage to the ribbon windows.

These trusses had to be very stiff both laterally and vertically to ensure the structure’s shape was maintained. A number of options were explored, and we made full use of the bi-directional links between our analytical and drafting software to ensure that this process was as efficient and seamless as possible.


Project Team

Client: Dick Lovett

Architect: NC Architects

Contractor: Square One Construction

JLR Melksham was built on the site of a World War II RAF airbase and during the excavation of the foundations, unexploded bombs were discovered. There was a short delay to the build while some controlled explosions took place to ensure the area was safe to work on.

There were no issues to report during the second phase of the process and up till completion the build went very much to plan. This is very much to the credit of the cooperative technology that SWJ use as digital construction allows for the necessary coordination needed between all parties involved in the design and build process.

If you would like to speak to SWJ Consulting about a showroom or large specialist retail build, please call on 01993 225085 or email