Clarkebond became involved in the £14m Project Goldfinger while extension of the bottling facility was underway. The increase in production capacity will result in a requirement for additional warehousing and associated distribution facilities. This will be provided by a new high bay fully automated warehouse and attached loading bays, together with an extended service yard area. The new development will attach to the existing production facilities via a conveyor tunnel.
When complete the warehouse will extend to 35m high (14 tiers of racking), 135m long and 5.2m wide. The high bay will provide storage for 37,632 pallets, which can be dispatched via 10 loading bays, at a rate of 266 pallets per hour.
To complicate these ambitious expansion proposals, the development is to occupy an area that rises steeply through a level difference of 11m over the footprint of the warehouse. The loading bay and service yards will be formed 4m above the production facility.
Clarkebond are appointed to provide the civil engineering design including foundations and ground slab for the warehouse development, and full structural design of the conveyor tunnel. All elements were to be tailored to suit the automated warehouse that was designed by others.
The initial challenge was to determine the most efficient means of accommodating the level differences across the site. This requires a maximum retained height in excess of 10m. Particular constraints included the absence of space for permanent props (the superstructure being incapable of supporting the lateral loads) and that the wall is to be close to the site boundary precluding the use of ground anchors.
Additional challenges came with the strict differential settlement tolerances across the warehouse slab. A suspended slab solution has been designed with piles supporting each of the racking legs and local slab thickening to provide a corridor for use by the mobile crane during superstructure construction, and to carry the automated storage and retrieval cranes when operational.
Additional storage area has been added as phase 3 recently, which is being designed now under the name Thunderball.