Intelligent off-site design improves efficiency, safety, costs and quality for Tesco Express store construction programme


Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket retailer, wanted to improve efficiency and develop the optimum building solution for its Tesco Express convenience stores.


As the supermarket chain’s sole modular building supplier, Portakabin Group worked with the Tesco construction team on a 12-month development programme to create a new store design for Tesco Express.

This major re-engineering initiative examined every aspect of the Express store design, from specification to structure and fitting out. The new design uses a standard module, rather than a bespoke structure, allowing Tesco to benefit from the standardisation of module components and economies of scale for both stand-alone Express stores and those on petrol forecourts.

The standard 3.3-metre wide steel-framed building module is supplied in 12-metre or 14-metre lengths, according to individual site requirements. The 14-metre long modules reduce the number of units required for a 2,000sqft store to just six, and provide more retail space in the same floor area. There are also options for stores with retail areas of 2,500 or 3,000sqft. 

“The Portakabin Group has provided a very good product for our staff and customers and we are happy with progress to date.”

Simon Walker, Tesco Express Director 

The glazing system for each store is now fully fitted off site in York, reducing time on site and improving quality. Other design changes include redesigned back-of-house areas, white pre-finished wall panels to minimise internal painting, and a new angled fascia detail.

The Express store modules are manufactured and fitted out in a factory environment and are delivered to site by road where they are craned into position complete with freezers, chillers, checkouts, toilets, flooring, internal walls and glazing.

This approach reduces the programme time for a typical store to just two weeks from installation to handover, while improving quality, cost control and safety on site. 

Building Location


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