Home > Earthquake proof racking solution delivered to New Zealand store

Earthquake proof racking solution delivered to New Zealand store

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Dexion was commissioned to deliver a complete racking solution for the new PAK’nSAVE flagship store in Blenheim.

PAK’nSAVE is part of the Foodstuffs group, New Zealand’s largest grocery distributor. Today, the 100% Kiwi owned and operated PAK’nSAVE supermarket boasts over 50 stores across the North and South Islands, achieving its renowned low prices by keeping costs down so savings can be passed directly onto the customer.

PAK’nSAVE has been able to reduce its costs by following a food warehouse format unique to New Zealand supermarket shopping, buying and stocking a range of everyday basic products in bulk to significantly reduce costs for customers. In addition, by offering a practical and functional environment, costs are further reduced; PAK’nSAVE’s plain style stores have no fancy floor covering, extravagant shelving or expensive lighting.

In 2012, PAK’nSAVE introduced a new store to Blenheim, which was the first in many years to be opened in the South Island.

According to Foodstuffs’ General Manager Property and Retail Development, Roger Davidson, Dexion was engaged to fit out PAK’nSAVE’s new flagship store because it was a trusted and reliable supplier. The brief also required Dexion to ensure the supply of racking solutions that could withstand seismic activity.

Dexion’s National Supply Centre Manager, Jeff Darby said that the major project objective for Dexion was to install a racking system that would protect against the risks caused by seismic events. Given the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, Foodstuffs was understandably concerned about the risk to staff and customers from earthquake damage to the store, and how Dexion would be able to mitigate this risk with its pallet racking system.

Dexion offered the Speedlock racking, which features five-point connectivity to provide increased stiffness between the upright and the beam, enhancing the beam’s load carrying capacity and the lateral stability of the rack structure, leading to better performance during seismic events.

Dexion was required to produce 413 bays of racking, which comprised seven different types of racking: foodhall main racking, wine racking, foodhall perimeter and aisle racking, checkout shelving, bulk store racking, general chiller racking, and produce prep and chiller racking. All the racks were designed to suit the bulk storage of pallets commonly used in retail applications. The Speedlock system provides bulk storage capacity in the upper location of the rack and features retail picking locations within the lower part of the bay, up to a height of 1.8 metres.

According to Dexion’s Supply Centre Christchurch Design Engineer, George Simpkin, the project was particularly unique, featuring a number of bespoke design elements. The racking was designed in a new yellow and silver colour scheme to ensure visual consistency across the stores; specialised tooling was used to create a bespoke reverse punched upright and retail beam that would offer 25mm adjustment to all shelves for added flexibility.

For Foodstuffs’ Retail Fitout Manager, Steve Rothwell, Dexion’s intimate knowledge of the PAK’nSAVE business enabled the team to effectively respond to Blenheim’s special requirements, especially the need for the flagship store to feature a re-energised, fresh look.

Davidson notes Dexion was involved in the design meetings from as early as the concept stage. The team worked together with Foodstuffs’ architects, fire engineers and structural engineer designers, providing expert advice and input in relation to fire safety and seismic issues.

For Simpkin, regular and close communication with the Foodstuffs team was vital to the timely launch of the Speedlock racking system in Blenheim.

According to Blenheim’s Owner Operator, Mark Elkington, the installation process was particularly seamless.

Perhaps the greatest hurdle Dexion faced pertained to the newly implemented council requirements. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, building codes and design criteria were significantly tightened, requiring Dexion to obtain council consent for the racking design, manufacture and install, which had to comply with the newly upgraded pallet racking standards including AS/NZS1170 Structural Design Actions, BRANZ Seismic Design of High Level Storage Systems with Public Access, NZS 3404:1997 Steel Structures Standard, AS/NZS 4600:2005 Cold Formed Steel Structures and AS4084:1993 Steel Storage Racking.

Despite all these challenges, Dexion was able to deliver a product that was safer due to the added seismic strength of the Speedlock racking. The new look racking also offered a brand facelift, freshening up the look of the store.

In July 2013, Dexion’s racking installation was tested by the Seddon earthquake. The Blenheim PAK’nSAVE store was the only supermarket to open immediately following the earthquake, with minimal stock loss and no racking damage.

With another PAK’nSAVE due to open in Christchurch in 2015, Dexion is excited to once again work with Foodstuffs to implement its Speedlock racking system that will share the refreshed look and improved design of the Blenheim store. 

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