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Frozen DC deploys 'single envelope' approach

24 April 2017

ISD Solutions has won an A$12m order from Dutch cold chain logistics specialist NewCold, to build a freezer storage and distribution facility near Melbourne, Australia, which will be largest automated high-bay freezer warehouse in the Southern hemisphere.

The contract involves the design and construction of the external single envelope for a 35m tall high-bay freezer operating at -25 degrees C and a detached 15m tall low-bay section. Together these will have a combined floor area of 19,000 sq m and storage capacity for 100,000 Australian standard pallets. ISD expects to use some 60,000 sq m of Kingspan CS panels during the build and once completed, mid 2017, the facility will be the largest automated high-bay freezer warehouse in the Southern hemisphere.

The technical details

Significantly improved thermal performance compared to conventional construction materials and polystyrene based insulation is a key factor for the Australian market. High-bay single envelope solutions are also faster to build with a 20% saving on site time, lower carbon and becoming more viable as land prices increase. The ability to operate with oxygen reduction fire safety technology partly as a result of the airtightness of the structure brings further benefits.

The team are using BIM level 2 processes during the project to ensure seamless collaboration with the design team, structural engineers and lead contractor Hansen Yuncken. This is particularly important for single envelope structures at this height where high tolerances for the structural steel supporting the composite panel envelope are crucial. 

ISD is sharing knowledge and expertise with the structural team and is responsible for load and fixing calculations for the envelope, all independently approved, to ensure long term integrity and thermal performance of the envelope. High wind loadings in the Melbourne area have made this doubly important. The team is also advising on insulation and specific sequencing for the floor construction required for this type of building, as this is fundamental to forming an insulated envelope in its entirety where all interconnecting insulation junctions need to be continuous. Careful attention to detail is required around the dual purpose high density timber blocks used, which act as a supporting foundation for the steel frame as well as an insulant and are integral to the floor design and insulation.


Bram Hage, Founder of NewCold said: “We’ve found the ISD team to be great partners, bringing with them a successful track record of delivering complex projects to plan. In Melbourne, they have overcome significant challenges from unprecedented regional floods and high winds and we are confident their flexible, pragmatic professional approach will deliver again.”

Expansion to Australian market

ISD Solutions is a specialist subcontractor in the design and construction of composite panel, single envelope coldstore warehouses.

This is ISD Solution’s first Australian cold store construction project and follows the creation of an Australian subsidiary earlier this year. ISD Solutions have previously delivered several single envelope high-bay freezer projects in the UK.

The fast expanding frozen and chilled food industry in Australia combined with growing demand for more thermally efficient, sustainable, chilled and frozen storage facilities globally makes single envelope construction and clad rack freezers using PIR insulated panels increasingly attractive, says the firm.

In their expansion into Australia, ISD will initially target the design and construction of external single envelope storage and distribution facilities, but also sees opportunities similar to those in the UK market for internal chill-store and cold-store facilities within the grocery and food manufacturing sectors as well as clean rooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing and storage, and other temperature critical sectors.

Commenting, Tony Wall, Managing Director for ISD Solutions said: “We are delighted to have been chosen for NewCold’s first venture into the Australian market. With other projects on the horizon, this is a clear sign our decision to target the Australian market is bearing fruit. The design team has worked hard to deliver workable solutions that overcome high temperatures and extreme wind loadings to ensure a resilient structure and it’s been a steep learning curve with very different site working practices and challenging material logistics simply because of the vast transport distances involved.”

Aside from extensive design work for fixing calculations, accommodating high summer temperatures, typically above 40°C, has been a major factor in the composite roof build up. The 200mm composite roof panel, normally suitable in the UK, was enhanced with a further 40mm thick layer before adding the final waterproof finish. This will ensure thermal efficiency between the internal chamber at -25°C and the extreme temperatures of the upper roof surface during high summer.