This Regional Distribution Centre in Southampton is a 44,000 sqm new-build facility incorporating ambient and frozen storage spaces, administrative offices and regional head office and meeting spaces. The site area of 11.5Ha straddles two planning authorities, taking four years to secure planning consent for the scheme. Conditions of the consent included the requirement to construct new off-site dual carriageways to serve the site. This work was undertaken by the site vendor concurrently with the building’s construction.

The warehouse element of the building accommodates 109 loading docks. The freezer areas have double floor slabs, with heater mats in the lower slab to prevent the ground below freezing and in turn expanding and disrupting the integrity of the floors. The client’s operational arrangements are such that no refuse is produced, and an extensive recycling area is accommodated within the body of the warehouse.

The building has been designed to incorporate ‘sound-barriers’ within the form of the building structure to prevent noise pollution from the HGV manoeuvring areas effecting local schools and residential areas. The entire site is surrounded in acoustic fencing, although in the case of the side facing the adjacent M271 motorway the fence is designed to reduce the level of the sound entering the site, rather than the level emitted from it, as is the case with the other boundaries.

In addition to the loading docks, there are close to 100 parking spaces for HGVs, many with power supplies provided so that the refrigerated vehicles can connect with these supplies and so maintain the operation of their freezer units. This enables vehicle engines to be switched off, which contributes to reducing the noise emitted from the site.

Car parking is provided for 180 vehicles, and the entire site is surrounded by a landscaped bund in the region of 6m high. This also contributes to the reduction in sound emission, and visually masks the lower part of the building from ground level.