Top dog! Charcon helps deliver sustainable savings for leading pet products supplier
As a nation of pet lovers, it’s no surprise that pet supplies manufacturers are booming. In 2021, one of the UK’s foremost pet supplies retailers further enhanced its logistics capabilities with the announcement of a 670,000 sq. ft. warehouse at the Stafford North Business Park, creating 800 jobs in the local area.
In addition to strengthening the business’s nationwide distribution capabilities, the facility was specifically designed to deliver the best possible sustainable performance – part of the brand’s wider plan to become the most responsible pet care business in the world.
That commitment to sustainability was evidenced throughout the build, from the materials specified to working with as many local suppliers as possible to reduce travel time to site. One of the most important eco considerations for the project was the facility’s drainage system, which was required to be as environmentally efficient as possible.
As with the rest of the world, the UK is facing up to a growing climate crisis. With the country’s weather becoming increasingly unpredictable, ensuring warehouse infrastructure is backed by a robust water management system is key. Such systems can not only safeguard against flooding and leakage, but they can also be utilised to play a leading role in a facility’s wider sustainability strategy.
McLaren, the contractor leading the project, soon realised that a collaborative approach would be needed to ensure that the right water management system was specified and installed at the supersized facility. That’s what led to the involvement of Charcon and Swarm Water Management in the project.
In partnership with water management experts Swarm, Charcon undertook a thorough analysis of the site’s unique make-up, considering a range of key metrics including overall flood risk and stormwater retention periods to understand the best system to implement. By undertaking this assessment, Charcon and Swarm were able to specify a bespoke sustainable drainage strategy (SuDs) for the site. All told, Swarm installed around 1,350m of its drainage systems throughout the site. Manufactured in the UK, the innovative linear surface of the drainage system is designed to withstand heavy rainfall, minimising the risk of flooding or weather-related damage. What’s more, the system is low maintenance and made from 100% recycled materials – an important consideration given the brand’s low-carbon ambition for the facility.
David Cash, regional director for Swarm Water Management, says: “For a project the size and scale of this distribution centre, collaboration is key. By combining our two areas of expertise, Swarm and Charcon have been able to deliver a truly stellar drainage solution for the site. What’s more, we were able to pool our knowledge to overcome specific challenges on site, helping streamline the installation process.”
The integrity of the SuDs is strengthened by a specially selected range of paving materials from Charcon. Among the products specified include 7,500m2 of its Infilta permeable paving range, a block paver that is functional yet attractive and capable of withstanding heavy vehicular loads, without compromising its drainage capabilities – a perfect product for an area that will see heavy HGV traffic.
Charcon also provided 2,500m2 of its functional and practical Europa paving blocks to the site, alongside a range of specialist kerbing solutions. Offering a high-level of durability, Charcon’s Europa slabs are easy-to-install and come in several variations to help them meet a range of specification requirements.
Stuart Chenery played a leading role in the project for McLaren. He says: “This was a major development that was being completed to a tight timescale, so responsiveness from our suppliers were key. Working closely with Charcon from the off, we were able to collaboratively identify and implement the best solution for the facility.
“The team from Swarm had a real hands on approach and the SuDs they specified offered good value for money and was easy to install – factors that helped ensure the project was completed to time and budget.”
Stuart Jupp, Key Contractor Manager at Charcon, explains: “As the UK’s weather changes, so too must the drainage systems, installed on buildings. They must be robust enough to deal with sometimes dramatic increases in rainfall, but also support the wider sustainability of a building.
“Drainage systems have a vital role to play in sustainable development, with a proactive approach to surface water management impacting everything from water quantity, water quality and even biodiversity. With better sustainability than traditional alternatives, SuDs can help create better places to live and work.
“That was the key impetus that led the Pets brand to implement a SuDs of their own at their Stafford distribution centre. The finished result demonstrates just how important a joined-up approach is to implementing an effective sustainable drainage strategy. By pooling our collective expertise, Charcon’s paving materials and Swarm’s drainage technology have been able to implement a solution that not only helps the site make significant sustainability gains, but improve overall profitability, too.
“As a business, Charcon was further able to help the business work towards their sustainability goals by supplying all of our products from our local Hulland Ward and Burton-Under-Needwood facilities, minimising the miles travelled for each product and ensuring the project had a small a carbon footprint as practical.”
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"This was a major development that was being completed to a tight timescale, so responsiveness from our suppliers were key. Working closely with Charcon from the off, we were able to collaboratively identify and implement the best solution for the facility.
The team from Swarm had a real hands on approach and the SuDs they specified offered good value for money and was easy to install – factors that helped ensure the project was completed to time and budget."