Sainsbury’s Pineham Distribution Centre was a 190,000m2 carbon neutral, cost-efficient facility that servicesthe Midlands and South-East England. Careys was appointed principal contractor for this design and build, twelve-week contract, working to increase the capacity of the depot by installing nine pod dock loaders. The project required extensive planning due to works taking place in a live environment and our team was responsible for ensuring that works made no impact on Sainsbury’s daily operations. Our health and safety record was exemplary on this project despite the presence of ammonia, low temperatures within the chiller systems and the requirement for operatives to work in confined spaces.

In our role as main contractor we were responsible for managing and coordinating structural steel fabrication and construction, and installing an insulated white wall panelling system, external cladding, curtain walling, prefabricated pod docks and M&E (as well as its initial strip out). We were also responsible for the civil engineering and groundworks packages, which were delivered sequentially and requiring close liaison with Sainsbury’s to ensure their smooth progression. 

To create the necessary space for the pod dock loaders, we ‘cut and carved’ into the existing building fabric, modified the electrical services and installed a structural goal post steel system. We then fitted new Kingspan cladding panels to the steel frame and purlings, and modified all of the flashing details accompanied by rebuilding and tying in the insulated white wall system. We also adapted the surrounding areas and roads to create added space within the original footprint of the depot.

Throughout the contract we faced numerous constructability challenges, requiring Careys Design Team to work with the operations team to provide appropriate solutions. For example, the as-built drawings had provided erroneous information, requiring us to develop a solution to remodel all levels and kerb lines. Consequently, the concrete slabs over the services remained in-situ, mitigating the need for costly service diversions.

Throughout the works, the depot remained a live environment and at tender stage the Sainsbury’s project team and stakeholders challenged us to develop a proposal to guarantee the safety of its 150 staff and keep the depot running at full capacity, minimising any down time and loss of stock. The project team’s solution was to install 8m high temporary insulated panels in front of each proposed dock. This segregated the works from Sainsbury’s operations by enabling us to open up the building without negatively impacting the temperature of the chilled floor space and causing loss to fresh produce. This successful approach led to a commendation from Sainsbury's for preventing negative impact on daily operations.

Once completed, we recycled and reused the panels for the side reveals to the new pod docks in order to reduce the waste from the 8m high temporary wall system. This project was extremely successful from a health and safety point of view and met the high expectations of the client on a site with high amounts of ammonia, (ammonia is a liquid used in chiller systems but when it reacts with air it forms a gas that can remove oxygen). Despite the occurance of two leakages (caused by events outside of our remit), we maintained the health and safety of all operatives and did not let the incidents slow down work or impinge on an otherwise impeccable health and safety record.

Pineham, Northamtonshire
Principal Contractor
Careys Civil Engineering
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