Warehouse construction – the secret to faster build times and cheaper running costs

Published on 15th Sep, 2015

Sleek, economic to build and with reduced operational costs, single envelope construction pioneered by ISD Solutions using composite panels is fast changing conventional warehouse and cold store design. Why?

High-performance composite panel systems, together with single envelope construction techniques are leading a new wave of cold store and warehouse developments that are faster and less costly to build and more efficient to operate than traditional buildings.

UK building envelope contractor ISD Solutions, a leading proponent of this approach, sees upfront savings in build costs of at least 20% and significant long-term energy efficiency gains compared to traditional construction methods for a range of sectors including retail distribution, cold stores and manufacturing.

Benefitting from off-site manufacturing, construction is faster and the inherent strength and spanning characteristics of modern composite panels reduces the requirement for secondary steelwork – often by more than 30% – a further cost saving. Meanwhile, the thermal qualities of metal-faced composite panels keep temperatures constant and completely airtight, regulating heat loss and gains to reduce a building’s energy consumption.

The composite panels used are a low carbon building material with a reduced ‘global warming potential’ (GWP). Since fewer materials are used and less energy is required in operation, single envelope construction better satisfies WRAP and BREEAM targets. This approach also helps customers with carbon debt reduction and improved carbon reporting, now a boardroom issue.

Aldi’s new cold storage warehouse and distribution centre at Goldthorpe with Kingspan solar panelsAldi’s new 52,000 m2 Goldthorpe distribution centre recently completed by ISD Solutions, for example, includes warehouse, chilled food storage areas and office space, serving stores across South and West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. Designed to operate 24/7, 365 days a year, the specification for the project provides a high performance, environmentally friendly solution, with extremely low running costs. A single envelope was chosen, being faster and more cost effective to build, with significantly improved thermal properties and consequently minimal issues from frost and moisture in the refrigerated storage areas. The range of composite panel technology incorporated in this project, together with a solar PV system, makes it a truly state-of-art warehouse structure.

Frozen food retailer Farmfoods is another company to benefit with a recently opened facility in Avonmouth. Incorporating frozen and ambient storage facilities as well as office space, the distribution centre will equip Farmfoods with one of the greenest, thermally efficient retail distribution centres of its type in the UK.

Another example is a fully automated high-bay frozen warehouse, operated by Partner Logistics in Cambridgeshire, designed to operate down to temperatures of -25 degrees centigrade. The warehouse contains a staggering 77,000 pallets of frozen food and combined with the loading and picking building the project required over 36,000m2 of composite panels to build.

A careful assessment of the location, wind loadings and temperature cycles was required to ensure the single-envelope design could accommodate normal shrinkage and expansion, as much as 40mm, and still remain airtight.

With air leakage measured at below 0.1m3 per hour at an increased pressure of 60 pascals, the building far exceeds 0.5m3 design guidelines set by the International Association for Cold Storage Construction, all testament to ISD Solutions’ design and installation.

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