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On solid ground: Poundland's new distribution centre

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Poundland Distribution Centre, Harlow

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Finished concrete floor
1 of 3 | Finished concrete floor
Concrete pours in action
2 of 3 | Concrete pours in action
Pan mixers in action
3 of 3 | Pan mixers in action

Our shared value of Sustainability was considered throughout; while good communication, logistical planning and high quality products were vital in ensuring that Poundland's largest UK distribution centre was completed on time.

Key facts

Sub contractor: Stanford Flooring
Sector: Retail
Client: Poundland
Contractor: Mclaren Construction Limited
  • On time completion
  • Cost effective solution
  • Hard wearing and logistically sound

Brief

Well located, high-capacity depots and sustainable construction techniques ensured Aggregate Industries was able to supply high quality concrete and aggregate materials for the construction of Poundland’s brand new 350,000 square foot Distribution Centre in Harlow.

Simon Gillan, Territory Sales Manager for Aggregate Industries, explains how a combination of two important factors meant this massive project could be completed on time and able to withstand the busy operational activity of Poundland’s largest distribution centre in the UK.

Poundland’s new Harlow based facility was constructed to replace a temporary distribution centre in Hoddesdon. The centre was set to serve as the main depot for the South East, maximise logistical efficiencies, and support the retailer as it looked to expand its presence in the UK. Set to service up to 300 stores at peak capacity, the 350,000 square foot site was a huge project for all parties involved.

With council approval for the proposed plans in September 2013, construction began early in 2014. The £40 million scheme partnered Essex-based Mclaren Construction Limited as the main contractor, and Stanford Flooring, a specialist sub-contractor responsible for the internal warehouse floor slab.

Solution

Due to the sheer enormity of the site, the challenge was providing a cost effective solution for internal flooring. A hard wearing, logistically sound solution was needed to ensure the facility could be completed within the tight timescales, to the high specification and high quality needed to service what would become Poundland’s hub for the south.

Location, location, location

A national network of 63 well-situated plants meant Aggregate Industries was best placed geographically for the project. Concrete was directly supplied from its high-capacity plant in Harlow, and as a result the close proximity to the construction site ensured prompt delivery and refill, and customer support throughout construction.

As the Harlow depot had the largest capacity per hour of any plant in the area, the depot was able to cope with the large scale pours needed for this huge project. In fact, the depot exceeded expectations for the rate of supply, and on a number of occasions supplied concrete in excess of 600m3 in a single day. 

A concrete mix with Superplasticiser was supplied for a vast 5400m3 of the site, at a strength classification of C40/50. A further 90m3 of concrete was supplied with Superplasticiser at a strength classification of C32/40. The concrete was specified with Superplasticiser as it indirectly adds strength to hardened concrete by enhancing the workability of a concrete mix during its mixing and placing. This allowed a reduction in water-to-cement ratio, which in turn increased the strength of concrete - ensuring the end result was a high performance concrete mix, which also offered ease of distribution on-site.

Meanwhile, with quarries strategically located around the UK for rapid delivery by road, rail and sea, Aggregate Industries is able to ensure contracts of any size or location can be fulfilled. For this project, aggregate materials were transported from the Limestone Torr quarry in Somerset by rail to the Harlow plant.

The main aggregates specified for the project included 4000 tonnes of Type 1 aggregates, and 1500 tonnes of Type 3. Aggregate Industries also supplied 200 tonnes of single size 10mm and 6mm aggregate materials.

Demonstrating the flexibility and outstanding customer service Aggregate Industries is known for, the Limestone Torr quarry team and Harlow depot worked closely with the contractors to ensure orders were rendered with enough lead time to build up local stocks before supplying. This way the project team was able to receive the aggregate materials from Somerset, within suitable timescales, and without disruption from delays on the national rail network. 

Sustainable approach

With Poundland’s focus on sustainability, the project team needed to ensure they could create an eco-friendly warehouse that was designed to a Building Research and Establishment Assessment Method (“BREEAM”) rating of ‘Very Good,’ and through use of construction methods, which followed environmental best practice guidelines. 

Expert structural engineers, architects and sustainability advisors worked with the project team to find the most efficient and appropriate solution for this large development. This included a comparison of the carbon footprint, Ecopoint score and likely Green Guide Rating of different concrete mixes - all of which are capable of achieving the same strength classification.

This ensured Poundland could choose the most sustainable concrete for their purposes. And by using specifically designed concrete, the project team could achieve extra points in BREEAM scoring.

Good communication coupled with logistical planning ensured this project could be a success and all concrete and aggregate supplies being delivered to schedule. Ultimately this resulted in site completed on time, and ready for operational use by Poundland. In addition, the well thought out concrete design mixes ensured a durable finish that did not compromise Poundland’s overall sustainability targets.

View ready mix concrete section 

Poundland Distribution Centre, Harlow

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