A R160-million contract to design and project manage the development of a state-of-the-art, 25 500m2 cold storage warehouse in Linbro Park, Johannesburg, has been awarded to Resolve Capacity by Imperial Cold Logistics.

“The facility will meet the company’s need for additional storage space,” reveals Resolve Capacity Director Arno Haigh. “Its development comes on the heels of Imperial’s recently concluded contract with McCain, which will see the group distributing some 190 000 tons of frozen vegetables annually, as well as providing world class warehousing for the frozen foods leader.”

Resolve Capacity has been contracted to design and manage this challenging retro-fit to a brand new building, to change its usage from ambient to freezer facilities at typical -20°Celsius.

“To meet the needs of Imperial Cold Logistics and McCain, we will deliver a customised cold storage facility with six high density storage areas, two standard racking chambers ranging from -20° to -30° Celsius and receiving and despatch areas at either +2° or -8° Celsius,” explains Haigh. “Excellent space utilisation and high pallet density will be achieved through the use of mobile and static racking systems.”

He notes that the optimisation of space is crucial due to the high cost of refrigeration storage, and says that this facility will achieve 2.2 pallets per m².

Outlining the scope of Resolve’s contract, he says the company will design and project manage the warehouse’s internal layout as well as all materials storage and handling equipment. “Resolve Capacity will also manage tender evaluation and awarding, and thereafter, design and implement coordination between the construction team and developer,” he says. “This integration is critical due to the bespoke nature of the facilities.”

Procurement and installation, managing the fit out of the facility, site services, flow and reticulation, and coordinating the insulation, refrigeration and fire prevention systems, will also be undertaken by Resolve Capacity.

In addition to the challenges associated with repurposing an ambient new warehouse to a customised freezer storage warehouse, Resolve Capacity will be working against the clock on this project. “We are working with some very aggressive project timelines, while coordinating and integrating multiple contractor programmes and ensuring the facility’s quality compliance with world class cold storage standards,” Haigh states.

Sustainability is a key element of this project and Resolve Capacity’s facility design incorporates green building initiatives that include water harvesting from condensation, rain water harvesting and a water treatment plant. “In addition, the warehouse features a low cost and highly efficient ammonia refrigeration plant, which capitalises on ammonia’s benefits as a natural, green refrigerant gas,” Haigh expands. Low energy, high efficiency light fittings and occupation activated lighting also form part of the facility’s green design.

Other significant features of the warehouse are its high tech security systems and innovative fire protection system. “Maximum storage flexibility for various pallet sizes has been achieved by utilising gas type fire protection versus a dry pipe sprinkler,” says Haigh, and notes that this will be the second largest facility in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) protected by a non-lethal fire extinguishing gas.

Resolve Capacity will source materials from South Africa and further afield for this project, including Malaysia, Austria, Germany, America and the United Kingdom. Haigh cites some noteworthy quantities in the undertaking: “More than three kilometres of refrigeration piping will be installed, along with 170 000 m of heater mat wire, 22 airlock dispatch doors and 12 airlock receiving doors. The facility will house some 55 000 pallets under one roof and boast a 3.1 Megawatt installed refrigeration capacity.”

This new Imperial Cold Logistics warehouse is due for completion at the end of 2015.

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