PFD Food Services expands distributions

Credit: Nick Billings Photography

With the help of Vaughan Constructions, Australian-owned PFD Food Services recently expanded its operations with a new 25,484 square metre warehouse and distribution centre in Melbourne’s east.

Ranked 14th on the Australian Financial Review’s Top 500 Private Companies list for 2017, PFD Food Service can trace its company lineage back to the 1940s, proving themselves a commanding force in Australia’s $21.6 billion wholesale grocery market.

The company’s new automated facility is set to see the $1.86 billion food service distributor continue to dominate local markets.

Positioned on the prominent corner of Ferntree Gully and Henderson Roads in Knoxfield, the facility boasts a hefty 8,500 sqm of freezer space, a 5,500 sqm cool room, 25 loading docks and a 1.5 million litre recycled rainwater system.

Located next to the company’s existing site, the new centre includes a dedicated seafood processing space, refrigerated food storage and dry food store areas.

Staff amenities include ample breakout space, a wellness room and outdoor areas, setting the standard of employer of choice environments within commercial and industrial grade facilities.

Appointed under a Design and Construct contract, Vaughan Constructions began work on the project in late November 2016, and handed over the site in October this year.

Partnering with PFD’s appointed project manager TM Insight, Vaughan Constructions internal design team scoped the detailed distribution needs of PFD to develop a comprehensive design which now holds a commanding place in the local landscape.

“To facilitate an integrated base build and fit-out, Vaughan programmed early accessed dates to allow for fit-out works to be completed simultaneously with the base build,” explained Vaughan Constructions managing director, Andrew Noble.

With a large portion of the build delivered during the winter months, Vaughan’s project delivery program was unorthodox in that external works were prioritised and completed early.

“This included laying the freezer base slabs while the structure was being prefabricated, effectively mitigating potential time delays due to heavy rainfall saturating the site,” said Noble. “Further precautions were taken to avoid inclement weather delays, with the entire site stabilised with cement and lime to improve subgrade performance.”

Key areas of the project build were strategically prioritised as part of this detailed program to allow subcontractors early access to facilitate the install of fit-out equipment. Vaughan further coordinated building services and racking too, as part of the fast-tracked program.

Harnessing the power of the environment, the now completed building includes impressive sustainable water saving initiatives. Tanks on site have the capacity to collect and store over one and a half million litres of rainwater, which can be re-used for refrigeration, irrigation and bathroom facilities.

“The project’s quality is to the highest standard in every aspect, excellent execution and finishes, cementing Vaughan’s reputation as the leading Design and Construct contractor for the food and beverage sector,” noted Noble.

He said Vaughan were recently recognised by the Master Builders Association of NSW for construction excellence on similar distribution facilities for Torino Food Services in Ingleburn, NSW. “Other leading food and beverage customers include Coca Cola Amatil, Diageo, Pepsico, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi,” he added.

With this portfolio of experience, Vaughan focused on functionality to be at the core of PFD’s new distribution centre design, but the completed project really sets the standard in the industrial design aesthetic, accurately reflecting the strength of the food giant’s brand.

PFD’s strong corporate governance and a strategic approach to business growth has seen the company approach the development of their new Knoxfield facility with the same careful planning.  With expansion in mind, the new build’s refrigeration design has allowed for current ambient storage to be adapted to create additional cold storage should anticipated business growth occur.

At project inception, PFD Food Services CEO Kerry Smith outlined the importance of appointing a builder with a like-for-like business structure.

“Partnering with a contractor who had similar business synergies to our own was important. Vaughan Construction’s wholly Australian-owned business model, supported by a strong family ownership framework appealed to PFD Food Services,” said Smith.

Photo: Nick Billings Photography