A Dexion racking system was installed at the new flagship Blenheim store of PAK’nSAVE, part of the Foodstuffs group, New Zealand’s largest grocery distributor.

Dexion’s seismic strength racking solution was supplied to the 100% Kiwi owned and operated PAK’nSAVE supermarket, which boasts over 50 stores across the North and South Islands. PAK’nSAVE is built on 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. Each store has a practical and functional environment, with 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. He explained that Dexion had been a supplier for over 25 years, consistently delivering a high quality range of products and armed with intellectual knowledge, built over many years of working with the PAK’nSAVE brand.

Dexion’s National Supply Centre Manager, Jeff Darby confirmed that the major project objective for Dexion was to install a racking system that would protect against the risks caused by seismic events. Following 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 its Speedlock racking system, a superior performing product during seismic events. Featuring five-point connectivity, which provides increased stiffness between the upright and the beam, enhancing the beam’s load carrying capacity and the lateral stability of the rack structure, the Speedlock system offered better performance during seismic events.

Dexion was required to produce 413 bays of racking, which comprised of 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 that are 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 such as using a new yellow and silver colour scheme to ensure visual consistency across the stores; and using specialised tooling to create a bespoke reverse punched upright and retail beam that would offer 25mm adjustment to all shelves for added flexibility.

Foodstuffs’ Retail Fitout Manager, Steve Rothwell agrees that Dexion’s intimate knowledge of the PAK’nSAVE business enabled the team to effectively respond to Blenheim’s special requirements complete with a new colour format and shelving configuration, and give the new flagship store a re-energised, fresh look.

Accordingly, Dexion was heavily involved with the Foodstuffs team from project inception right through to completion, working 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 system. 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.