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BES completes £50m upgrade

BES has completed a £50 million project to upgrade and future-fit the warehousing, packing and logistics facilities at AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield site.

Working collaboratively with AstraZeneca as an integral part of the company’s user, quality assurance and project management team, BES was principal designer and principal contractor on the three-phase programme. The project involved full design, construction and commissioning of a new high bay warehouse, a low bay warehouse refurbishment and a technically-demanding Global Packing Centre.

Co-ordinated to enable business-as-usual operations for AstraZeneca and delivered in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards, the project was carried out over a four-year period and involved more than one million man-hours.

BES’ multi-disciplinary team worked closely with the client to co-ordinate all construction work and upgrades to mechanical and electrical services to prevent any risk of business interruption. The company also implemented a range of SHE initiatives, resulting in an excellent safety record throughout the project and an award from AstraZeneca for management of health and safety.

The new high bay warehouse was designed by BES as a fully-automated storage facility to enable increased pharmaceutical stock holding and capacity for future expansion. The 18,000 metres squared, 30 metres high very narrow aisle (VNA) facility incorporates complex air handling engineering to maintain mission-critical temperature and relative humidity parameters and ensure consistent airflow for all racking throughout the building.

BES also incorporated a hypoxic fire suppression system into the mechanical services to reduce fire risk and protect stored goods from fire suppressants.

The low bay warehouse refurbishment required careful sequencing of construction works by the BES team to enable operational continuity for AstraZeneca while a section of the existing facility was refurbished. This included adaptations to service routes, which were mapped in a Revit model to ensure effective co-ordination. Dedicated HVAC services were installed and commissioned for each warehouse area without disruption to the client’s critical activities.

For the final phase, BES designed and delivered a global packing centre, comprising nine grade D packing cells adjoining a common secondary packing space, along with wash bay, tool store and associated office accommodation. Stringent air pressure regimes were engineered into the facility to restrict microbial and particulate contamination within compliant limits, with air locks employed to eliminate cross-contamination.

BES also designed, installed and commissioned a complex HVAC system using primary and secondary air handling units, along with modularised service distribution units, to deliver a temperature, humidity and pressure-controlled environment for each area.

The finished project provides a storage, packing and logistics infrastructure to support future growth at AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield site.

Christine Haigh, senior engineering project manager, AstraZeneca, commented: “This has been an extremely challenging project and by working in partnership with BES we have delivered a modern, forward-looking warehousing and packing facility to programme and cost with no unplanned business interruption and an excellent safety performance. For now, and the foreseeable future, this facility will benefit patients all over the world who depend on AstraZeneca’s life-changing medicines.”


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