INTERNATIONAL Timber has completed the first of three phases of development which will see a new state-of-the-art timber processing and distribution facility built in Purfleet, Essex.
Formerly home to British Gypsum, the redevelopment project represents around £7m of investment by International Timber in the area and once complete will create approximately 40 new skilled jobs for local people, in addition to those created during the redevelopment stages.
The facility has been designed to service major timber and panel operators from across the South East and will be carried out in three phases, with the completed facility due to be fully-operational by early 2014.
Strategically located just one mile from the M25 motorway and the Dartford Crossing, the 11.5-acre Purfleet site provides easy access via main routes to the wider network of motorways servicing the South East region and beyond.
Phase one has seen the existing panel storage shed onsite re-clad and fitted with roller shutter doorways to create a new more modern storage facility. The storage warehouse has also been fitted with a bespoke hi-bay storage system which includes ‘guide aisle’ technology alongside mechanical handling plant equipment, which has been manufactured specially for International Timber to aid fast and efficient storage and order-picking.
The site’s existing mill warehouse has also been refurbished, with a new floor installed to enable a bespoke timber racking system, incorporated for the storage of finished timber profiles. Concrete plinth bases have also been added to support the new mill equipment, which is currently being installed.
The first phase of development also included the refurbishment of the site’s transport office, Purfleet sales office and staff facilities to ensure that operations carried out from the two newly refurbished buildings can operate efficiently and are sufficiently supported during the completion of the final phases of development. Transport infrastructure and signage has also been completed for phase one to ensure proper traffic management and health and safety operations are in place throughout.
The distribution centre, which is now open to the trade, offers the full range of timber and panel products and a comprehensive stock-holding of specialist panel products, offering International Timber customers the opportunity to purchase all their panel product requirements, no matter how specialist, under one roof.
On the completion of phase one, Tony Miles, managing director, International Timber, said: “Offering the full range of timber and panel products, Purfleet is ideally located to provide an easily accessible hub for builders’ merchants, joiners and product specifiers to service their clients across the region. We have invested significantly in the redevelopment of this site and are confident this new state-of-the-art facility will put the South East back on the map as a hub for timber and panel manufacturing and distribution. Phase one has been a great success and with phase two now well under way we are on track to meet our development schedule and be fully-operational by spring 2014.”
Phase two began in June 2013 and will primarily focus on completing the installation of the high-tech mill equipment within the new warehouse facility. It will also include the installation of a new substation and associated switch gear to provide the energy requirements for the entire site. Phase three will begin in October 2013 and will see the construction of a new warehouse for order-picking as well as a new timber treatment processing facility.
Mr Miles continued: “The new facility completes International Timber’s national coverage as a one stop shopping experience with a broad range, competitive pricing and comprehensive service offer. Our customers can now get a mix load of softwoods, constructional softwood and joinery, a full range of sheet materials, hardwoods and clears all from a single source, along with state-of-the-art manufacturing and treatment facilities. For example, for the merchant customer this means; single multi product deliveries, less stock holding, opportunity to hold a broader range, faster stock turn so better quality material, reduced working capital and less invoices and admin to deal with. The investment underlines our commitment to change the way timber and panel products are offered in the UK.”