Aurecon was engaged to design a Woolworth’s distribution centre in Midrand, Gauteng, to serve its network of stores in that region and replace five separate distribution centres to maximise efficiency.
The structural and civil engineering of the distribution centre was carried out with consideration given to the size and refrigeration technology required, and the large number of vehicles that move through the complex. Centres of this type can have significant social and environmental impacts and Aurecon’s brief included the need to avoid any potentially negative impacts on the local environment and surrounding communities.
Following an investigation into the sustainability potential of a number of sites and gravity analysis, a suitable 96 hectare plot was purchased.
A two-metre wide area of opaque sheeting runs through the length of the centre, allowing for natural light and minimising the amount of artificial lighting required throughout. In addition, solar panels were installed to cater for the centre’s energy needs, further reducing energy consumption. To capture water for re-use, six retention ponds were constructed, together with a large single-roof structure.
Construction requirements were fulfilled through the provision of a long platform, freezer and chilled area, a tray wash area, peri-ambient storage with wide aisles and high racking, and a multi-level clothing storage and processing area. The distribution centre succeeded in reducing travelling distances for vehicles and met Woolworth’s environmental requirements.