Reaching For The Sky

April 17, 2016

Distribution CentreFace Consultants Australia have been assisting a major supermarket chain in the design and construction of their new fully automated distribution centre in Melbourne.

Food retailers are facing significant challenges in their warehouse logistics with ever increasing competition, whilst consumers are demanding a wide selection of fresh, high-quality produce and excellent service. To meet these demands, it is necessary to improve every level of efficiency within the distribution chain.

“For this particular retailer, part of that efficiency starts with the construction of a brand new 45 metre technologically advanced high-bay warehouse over 68,000 SQM” said Glenn Powell of Face Consultants PTY. “The completed facility will include order picking, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) as well as advanced robotics.”

Due to challenges with the ground conditions, piling work was required to assist with stiffing of the ground to support the highly engineered concrete slabs. The high bay slab to support the ASRS system required very little deflection and no long-term settlement, both of which could prevent the system from working.

The slab differed in thickness from 1400mm, 800mm, 600mm, 500mm and 400mm thick, all designed to assist with controlling deflection which is induced by the huge uplift forces caused by the high bay racking system. In other sections of the warehouse, a 300mm thick slab was laid. All concrete slabs were conventionally reinforced.


The main wearing slab was 6900 SQM and was a sawn cut conventional reinforced, 175mm thick slab incorporating mesh 50mm from the bottom. It was designed to TR34 specification. By introducing mesh to the bottom of the slab, the savings in concrete was significant.

“Had it been constructed to T48, with mesh in the top, the slab would have been thicker and cost more to construct” Glenn said.

Face Consultants have brought a wealth of experience to their part of the project, through expertise in designing and constructing high tolerance concrete floors in the Middle East and Asia for their other blue chip clients. Face are also on the board of FEM (European Materials Handling Federation) and are helping change the way floors are designed and constructed for high bay applications.

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