some major national and international corporatism. Designing sites of a high quality is now at the top of every developer’s priorities ensuring expectations are met, including those businesses who initially only ever considered investment within the South.
Due to the town’s excellent road network many household names are opening distribution centres strategically placed alongside the motorways making Doncaster renowned for its logistics sector.
In February this year Doncaster saw the opening of the largest distribution centre within the B&Q network. Comprising 71,610sq m (770,000sq ft) of storage, it serves all 328 stores nationwide. The site has only been open for nine months and is already 90% full and holds more than 50,000 pallets of stock. Doncaster’s location at the heart of the M18, A1(M) and M62 triangle makes it the ideal position for the onward distribution of imported goods. The trend has been established by some of the largest manufacturing and retail names in the country. BMW selected Thorne for its National Car and Parts import centre; IKEA and Next both built 60,450sq m (650,000sq ft) developments at West Moor Park off the M18.
With serviced land values as low as £200,000 per acre and rents for units under £4.00 per square foot Doncaster’s economic argument is strong.
Anuj Joshi, development director for one of the leading developers in Doncaster, Priority Sites, explains what the key aspects are for any regeneration delivery strategy and just what makes Priority Sites special.
“Priority Sites has distributed substantial amounts of time and money into the South Yorkshire region and Doncaster specifically. We are a joint venture company between The Royal Bank of Scotland and national regeneration agency English Partnerships and we have created around 5,000 jobs in areas of economic need around England.
One of our biggest success stories to date was our recent completion of two million square feet of commercial and office space located in Doncaster.
“The milestone was recently celebrated with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott visiting the scheme. He announced the expanding role Priority Sites played within the regeneration field. Our developments range from industrial too business, town and city centres as well as potential joint ventures with residential developments on major mixed-use schemes.”
With a transforming economy and a dynamic approach, Doncaster’s an enviable place to do business in. n
Further information on Doncaster’s major projects or business sites contact the Doncaster Investment Team on 01302 736975.
Doncaster Investment Team is one of several development agencies exhibiting at Logistics Link 2005, which is being held on February 1 and 2, 2005 at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey. For further information contact Richard Milbourn on 020 8661 1160 or visit www.logisticslink.co.ukThere was a certain kind of action adventure film of the 1960s and 1970s, which would start with the angle: “Give me ten men and 24 hours and I’ll finish this”. You, the viewer, would spend the first quarter of these films looking at the CVs of the best in the business.
You would learn that explosives expert Corporal Miller, played by David Niven in the Guns of Navarone, or knifeman Brett, played by James Coburn in the Magnificent Seven, are spectacularly good at their jobs. Then you would find out about the big job (blow up guns / defend Mexican village) they had to do and you would wonder how on earth they could pull it off.
With ProShed we had a similar situation. ProLogis assembled a team not of marksmen, forgers, demolition experts and linguists but specialists in steel structures, cladding, services, pre-cast panels, architecture and engineering. We told them we needed a system of big shed construction that could get the job done in just 50 days.
ProLogis recognised that the standard method of constructing a warehouse building took too long for a client who needed to be in it quickly. So, we decided we would pull together a team where all the scheming and planning would be done up front.
An interesting factor about the ProShed “culture” is that the companies we like to deal with are usually owner-managed businesses. I like dealing with these kinds of organisation because of their speed of response, because they tend to be technical owner-managers and because the owners identify with our goals.
I also want them to be committed to working with us for the 25-year life of our buildings. Unusually for a developer, ProLogis retains ownership of its buildings so I am looking for cradle-to-grave relationships.
Evenwood, County Durham-explains the thinking behind one idea: “You tend to start building the roof and then you start the walls. We established a method of working that allowed the roof and wall to start on day one. That saves a lot of time.”
ProLogis could not compromise on quality, however. There would be no cutting corners for the sake of speed. The ProShed brand had to be trusted. For the cladding, CA offered us its Twin-Therm liner panel, a layer of steel with an outer panel. Logically, if we were looking purely for speed, we should have asked for a single composite panel. Composite panels are heavier and, if there is a leak, it goes straight into the building so, for our purposes, it is of poorer quality.
Then CA pointed out that Twin-Therm is not only high quality but actually saves building time. It is a liner panel that the contractors can float across spaces very fast. And it is not fragile, so you cannot fall through it, which brings with it health and safety advantages.
Roofing contractors normally have to install nets while the roof is being built. With Twin-Therm, they still install nets but they can move them forward as soon as steel is in place. “This is a monster saving in both time and money,” says Watson. “In the first ProShed project we did, 14,500sq m of roof went up in just five weeks.”
More recently, the Twin-Therm roofing system at ProLogis’s Bromford Gate scheme at Erdington, Birmingham, close to the M6’s J6, totals 28,950sq m of HPS200 Wedgwood Blue finished Twin-Therm roofing and 4,000sq m of horizontal Celestia finished Twin-Therm sheets in Cirius silver. Watson says his main aim was to provide me with “comfort”. Watson says: “Having agreed the design, Ken doesn’t want to have to think about the building envelope. We provide him with up to 25 years of guarantee and comfort for that building. Then instead of thinking about design and construction, he, in turn can think about what his client wants.”
Twin-Therm is non-combustible, which gives great confidence to our insurers. “Even if the client is a paper company and the goods go up in flames, the building will not contribute to the fire load,” says Watson.
Another supplier ProLogis went to for ProShed is services company Chapco, of Bittesby, Leicestershire. Chapco offers mechanical and electrical contracting on project values up to £5M and, over the past two years, has been involved with the services installation on more than 280,000sq m (three million sq ft) of warehousing alone – most of it for ProLogis.
Chapco believes that maintaining relationships with both customers and suppliers is paramount. “We wish to be a company with which everybody likes to trade,” is among its mission statements.
Yet another of our “star” suppliers is Roger Bullivant Group (RBG), which makes pre-cast panels. One of the ways RBG fell so well into our plan for ProShed is because it specialises in pre-cast concrete dock leveller pits for the distribution centre market. RBG wholeheartedly embraces the philosophy of off-site, factory-based prefabrication.
All specialised plant and equipment is designed and built “in-house” at RBG’s headquarters in Burton-on-Trent, thus ensuring it retains a unique standing within the market. Products manufactured at the factory site include mini-piling tube, heavy piling steel tube, pre-cast concrete piles, beams and floors.
Newark-based architecture and engineering consultant Burks Green provides a cornerstone of the ProShed philosophy. The company offers a range of services including architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering and planning supervisor services. As part of its delivery culture Burks Green appoints a director account managers to each of its clients.
Although not strictly a ProShed project, Burks Green has adapted many of the ProShed innovations for its recently-unveiled design for our new 93,000sq m (one million sq ft) distribution centre in Worksop for B&Q. The project will entail a two-phase development on the 87-acre site, with an initial building of approximately 80,445sq m (865,000sq ft) and future expansion to 104,625sq m (1.125 million sq ft). It is due to open in late 2005.
The building itself will incorporate a complex automated sortation system in the high-bay warehouse, and house comprehensive staff welfare facilities in the 4,650sq m (50,000sq ft) office block including a full catering canteen, a gym and a training/learning room.
In addition to the requirement of achieving a BREEAM rating of “Excellent” for the building for energy efficiency, the Burks Green team has adopted a sustainable approach to externals, including a balancing lake, noise bunds and acoustic fencing to shield local residential areas.
Burks Green designed the 14,880sq m (160,000sq ft) Daventry facility for fast construction. Thanks to innovation through supply chain collaboration – and over a 16-month R&D period – it helped cut the 130-day conventional build programme by 60%.
Innovation is a constant plea to our suppliers. Chapco’s innovation was to supply a mechanical/electrical/controls package that negates the need for external handling ?u it is all handled in-house. By avoiding the need to “double handle” works, the client gets a simpler system and we make a cost saving.
The fifth of our “Famous Five” contractors is Barrett Steel, which worked with Burks Green to produce standardised modular elements and the maximum amount of off-site manufacture. Bradford-based Barrett saw at once that the ProShed ideal was to have a totally pre-designed building to eliminate lead-in periods. The two companies designed a matrix-and-grid system in which modules can be added or subtracted to suit client requirements.
One of Barrett’s and Burks Green’s key issues was the identification of areas that could cause problems or delays to subcontract packages. The team drew up a list of potential sticking points and specialist technical teams were then set up to find solutions.
Several new methods and designs were developed during the course of this exercise. For example, safety handrails have been redesigned so that the handrail slots into brackets on the structural steelwork for easy lift-out, allowing the walls and roof to be completed independently. Another innovation is the use of steel ground beams, instead of concrete, so that there is no need to fix a bottom rail for the structural steel.
When the first ProShed went up, the system worked like a dream. “When this comes to site there are no surprises,” says Burks Green director Gary Senior.
The pre-packaged plant room took three hours to install, instead of about three weeks for a conventional package, and the pre-cast concrete lift shaft took only two hours. The project was completed within the 50-day time frame and to the fixed lump sum budget of £3.8M. Last, but not least, the system enabled the team to maintain an excellent health and safety record.
Our external environment changes on a regular basis. Those five organisations I have mentioned here have to work within that external environment. Together, they form part of a lobby group to Government. They believe passionately in the business. And we have been helping them to lobby.
Insulation standards are going up all the time. Unfortunately, the insulation manufacturing industry cannot meet demand. We can quickly get into a situation where regulations change and there is no supply for it. We do not object to the direction the regulations are going but they must be able to be implemented.
Because ProLogis is the single largest purchaser of insulation in the UK, we feel we have a voice with the Government. And the Government has been listening – and been helping – especially on improving the Part L regulations of the building codes.
CA, for example, developed the Twin-Therm system to respond to the implications of CDM requirements and improved thermal efficiency demanded by the revised Parts L and F of the Building Regulations. Twin-Therm