Concrete Floors: RIGHT FIRST TIME

June 15, 2018

Warehouse Concrete FloorWhen you ask a warehouse manager of an industrial building, what is the most important part to their business, the answer should be the floor.

A warehouse floor is often the last consideration in a business whether this is a new build being considered or an existing facility being leased, when in fact it should be one of the first items that should be addressed.

The warehouse floor is the tabletop on which the business operates and the consequences of a ‘bad floor’ can be costly to DHL. This can lead to a loss of productivity, damage to MHE (material handling equipment), increased floor and forklift truck maintenance and issues with occupation health and safety. Furthermore, a bad floor could impact on future business requirements if the floor cannot be adapted to meet changes in the ever-evolving logistics industry, such as the implementation of automation, the cost can be significant.

What is a ‘bad floor?’

A bad floor does not necessarily mean one that is old; it could in fact be one that is being designed and constructed today. In fact, an older floor, of say 20 years, could well be one of DHL’s best, and far better than one constructed last week.

Concrete floors have evolved over the years driven by better knowledge, research and development of concrete and reinforcement, as well as new technology used to construct the floors, but new developments have also introduced issues.

We found that the performance of the concrete floors was not as we expected and this was impacting on our operations. It was also having a financial impact on the business and we needed to address the apparent shortcomings with our floors.

Bringing in the experts

After experiencing some poor warehouse floors and seeing the construction industry “race to the bottom” to save time and money on I took a completely different view of the way our floors were going to be designed and constructed. We were introduced to Face Consultants, a world leading expert in the design, surveying and testing of commercial and concrete industrial floors. Face Consultants are part of a global privately-owned business CoGri Group, specialists in the construction and repair of concrete slabs across the globe.

Part of the attraction of Face Consultants is their unique approach to concrete floors; as their understanding does not stop at the design and construction stage. Through their own experience and involvement with various governing bodies in the logistics sector, they understand how the floor interacts with the operation that performs on it. It’s a wholistic approach to the design and construction of concrete floors, which is combined with unparalleled advice on maintaining the floor throughout its lifecycle.

We initially engaged Face Consultants to review and update our existing concrete floor specification. It was vitally important to get the specification right and this is what FACE delivered. Almost, 70% of potential issues can be eliminated before a single batch of concrete is poured. The remaining 30% comes down to the contractors and simple detailing on site during construction.

During detailed design we conduct a peer review involving all parties involved in the process from the developer, structural engineer, concrete supplier and concrete contractor. All parties discuss the design, expectations around detailing and how to proactively manage any issues that occur during the placement. This is invaluable and it amazes me how much value all stakeholders take from this process.

Furthermore, Face Consultants are onsite supervising every pour, ensuring consistent quality during the construction process. Their engineer providing on site supervision every day and catching the many small errors that can be overlooked when a concrete pour is in full flight. A huge impact to the quality of the outcome for little cost.

The results of our involvement with Face Consultants has produced noticeable improvements in the quality of our warehouse floors, which was quickly recognised by developers. Through our partnership with Face Consultants, it has significantly helped change the way floors are designed and constructed in Australia and our specification is considered “Best Practice” by the development community. DHL has helped influence Australia’s largest developers to adopt our new concrete specification and adopt Face Consultants as a trusted advisor.

Face Consultants via CoGri Group are also a preferred contractor for the repair of slabs many of our Landlords given their proven track record.

Now with warehouse automation starting to become more prevalent, it has never been more evident to understand the requirements of our warehouse floors. As a result, DHL Australia moves towards the next exciting ‘era of the logistic industry’. We continue to innovate through the investment in our industrial floors after all, DHL’s growth depends on it.

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