Distribution centres are not often praised for their aesthetic qualities, but in 2011 Prologis won the top Structural Steel Design Award for the 1.1 million square foot facility it had built as a joint venture with Marks & Spencer at Prologis Park Bradford. As the judges said:
“The exterior conceals the sophistication of the engineering design, fabrication and erection for economy and speed. The extremely slender columns, at wide spacing, soar upwards to support a very light curved roof, avoiding valley drainage. Roof lights allow daylight to fill the cathedral-like space.”
When the building was first conceived, supply chain efficiency and sustainability were higher priorities than aesthetics, but when the building completed, all three criteria had been achieved.
Sustainability and Efficiency
In 2007, M&S announced a fundamental change to its supply chain with plans to run its entire UK distribution network from four large logistics facilities, each of which had to meet the standards set by its Plan A sustainability initiative.
We had recently acquired a site on Rooley Lane in Bradford close to the M606 and just three miles north of Junction 26 of the M62, so we were able to offer the ideal location for the North of England logistics centre. Also, because we had already established our sustainable development metrics, we were able to provide the low carbon facility that M&S was seeking.
Since M&S was interested in the site, we revised the original masterplan drawings to reflect the proposed scheme and submitted a new planning application to Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Once planning permission had been secured, we formed a 50/50 joint venture with M&S and work started on the new 1.1 million square foot facility, which would bring hundreds of jobs and training opportunities to the local area.
When the building completed in July 2010, it achieved BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation and an EPC A (25) rating. The embodied carbon emissions were measured and reduced, then all unavoidable emissions were mitigated through a fully audited carbon offsetting scheme. As a result, the combined operational and carbon emissions of the building were 64% lower than other new buildings of a comparable size.
Beyond the Building
To ease potential traffic congestion that the new distribution centre could create, we installed two sets of traffic lights with pelican crossings close to the site entrances. Also, to help avoid motorway-bound queues, we constructed a left turn slip road from Rooley Lane directly onto the M606.
Once the building was operational, a Green Travel Plan was put in place with measures to encourage employees to cycle to work or join a car sharing scheme.
Looking back, the project has been a great success and as Darrell Stein, the Logistics and IT Director at Marks & Spencer said when the facility opened:
“This is an exciting step forward for our business. The new distribution centre at Bradford will deliver a better service for our customers and it is a key part of our strategy in preparing our supply chain for the future.
“Bradford has fantastic transport links and, thanks to our partnership with Prologis, our new warehouse not only meets our operational requirements but also helps us achieve our environmental sustainability targets. We are very pleased with it, particularly as it brings hundreds of new jobs to Bradford.”