Maple Leaf Foods Refrigerated Distribution… | Magil Construction

Maple Leaf Foods Refrigerated Distribution Centre

Location Puslinch, Ontario
Contract Method Design-Build
Sector Industrial
Sub sector Food & Beverage
Client Morguard Investments Limited
Completion Date Completed - Jun 2013
Size 282,000 square feet
features LEED®
Maple Leaf Foods Industrial MCO 1

Maple Leaf Foods Refrigerated Distribution Centre

The centre combines, in a single facility, ambient, refrigerated and frozen product areas, as well as a laboratory. Staff facilities include office spaces and a service area.

This centre serves as a hub for Maple Leaf’s distribution in Eastern Canada.

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Design-Build and Lease Back

In December 2011, after a rigorous competitive process—administered by RBC Capital Markets, as well as the Morguard investment and development team—Magil Construction Ontario was selected by Maple Leaf Foods (MLF) to design-build and lease back to MLF a 281,000-square-foot refrigerated Distribution Centre (DC). The completion of this DC consolidated MLF’s network with the aim to improve productivity in new, state-of-the-art facilities.

MCO PHOTO Maple Leaf Foods DC

With Limited Time an Integrated Team was the Solution

Applying the principles of an integrated team—Magil Construction Ontario worked with over 15 consultants to design and build a facility that would be as efficient as possible. This involved working closely with MLF to understand its supply chain and develop a facility that would reduce operational complexity and increase productivity. It also resulted in green innovations that enabled the facility, initially designed as LEED Silver, to qualify for LEED Gold.


On Budget and On Time Despite a Major Change

This project proved to be complex: after beginning design work on fully serviced lands, Morguard’s due diligence process revealed environmental concerns regarding noise attenuation. In March 2012, with ten months to go until the required completion date, the team decided to abandon the original site for a new un-serviced site. This move required the introduction of underground servicing and new mechanical, electrical and refrigeration systems to be designed. It also created serious challenges for the schedule. Despite what could have been a debilitating setback, the Morguard/Magil/MLF team completed an exemplary industrial development on budget and on time.

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Overview of the Distribution Centre

The building is comprised of a 40-foot clear warehouse, 24-foot clear shipping docks, building services and a 30-foot clear office laboratory centre. There are 182 truck and trailer loading spaces, 138 car stalls and 38 loading doors with vertical dock levellers and 1 drive up ramp with roll-up door. This facility’s racking system—an example where applying “Lean” principles led to innovative design—is comprised of 3.7 million pounds of structural rack and components, different racking component types SKUs and fasteners floor anchors. Like most new DCs, multiple racking systems were incorporated to accommodate multiple product types.

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Taking the Centre’s Capabilities to a Higher Level

Compared to similar facilities, this DC takes multiple storage systems to a higher level: the 40-foot clear warehouse uses vertical space and economizes on building footprint costs. To improve cube utilization, 2-deep, 3-deep and 4-deep push back systems were also incorporated. Three deep pushes back racking were also incorporated into the pick tunnel, which was designed for high volume picking, permitting pickers efficient and easy access to multiple SKUs.

Maple Leaf Foods Industrial MCO 2

Efficiency and Versatility

A layer picker, an even more productive picking system, was installed in both the freezer and cooler section of the facility allowing operators to pick one or more entire layers or levels of cases from a pallet. This layer system working with the push back racking and pallet flow feeder system on the ground, results in some of the highest and most economical case pick throughput rates possible.

To adhere to the tight timelines, the team rallied around the values of transparency, information sharing, collaboration, and everyone having each other’s backs.

Trusting Each Other

Switching sites, revising drawings and redesigning systems three months into planning with ten months left until completion on a 282,000-square-foot facility should have stressed the project’s schedule and budget. Its success is a testament to the team of over 18 parties’ incredible cohesiveness and collaboration, and immense trust for each other.

Mitigating Risks— A Team Effort

Maintaining the schedule required unconventional risk taking in that revised drawings were commissioned, and site work commenced prior to the executed lease and closing of land acquisition. Consequently, Morguard, Magil Construction Ontario, and MLF entered a tri-party agreement, working closely to share but also mitigate risks. Overcoming the construction timeline challenges required the sequencing of the work to be predictable.

To ensure this, the team worked to identify long lead times and operational conflicts and sequence the trades to optimize performance.

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BIM Modelling and Meeting the Scheduled Target Date

The team also used 3D modelling as a tool to troubleshoot and ensure full understanding of the building design. The groundbreaking on the Puslinch site took place September 14, 2012, and the building construction schedule for this major facility began. The redesign of the mechanical and electrical systems was completed in parallel to the start of building construction to maintain schedule. Permanent power was running by May 31, 2013, in time for substantial completion June 7, 2013.