9th April 2024

Perega helps phoenix rise from the ashes

In July 2023, our engineers were approached by Coolkit Ltd., a Blackburn-based manufacturer of temperature-controlled vehicles, following a catastrophic fire at its core distribution facility.

Initially sparked by the accidental ignition of flammable chemicals, the 80s-built depot, which had minimal design redundancy, quickly succumbed to the intense heat of the flames, leading to complete structural collapse.

Putting the extent of the damage into perspective, the incident totally destroyed the site’s 75m long x 50m wide double-span portal frame steel shed, as well as an attached office block. Fortunately, no one was injured or hurt.

With the incident seriously affecting the business’s ability to function and operate, its owner knew they needed to act fast to address the situation, turning to our Leeds-based team of fire-specialist structural engineers for support.

Arriving on site in August 2023, our initial task was to ensure the facility was safe and a clear pathway available to allow a delicate forensic investigation, to determine the fire’s origin, ensuring key evidence was preserved without further compromising the site’s integrity. Taking a lightest-touch approach, the team was able to safely navigate the ruined structure, conducting localised demolitions to facilitate this crucial activity.

Next, the team moved on to direct the complete demolition and removal of remaining assets, ensuring the site was cleared for rebuild before being appointed to spearhead and oversee the subsequent reconstruction phase.

Here, not only did we restore the building, we also improved its resilience to prevent a similar occurrence in the future, while also boosting its green credentials through sustainable specification. This included thorough evaluations of the existing foundations and the potential reuse of existing materials to reduce embodied carbon; however unfortunately, they were found to be insufficient to support the new structure, resulting in full replacement.

Investigations, including gas monitoring, are ongoing, with our team finalising drawings and necessary regulatory documents to assist the planning application for the rebuild.

Associate Mathew Fairie, the Perega project lead, said, “The consultancy we’re providing for the rebuild of the Coolkit distribution centre really showcases our understanding of the structural expertise required when remediating a fire-damaged building. The speed and skill with which the team worked is a testament to our commitment to innovation, sustainability and client service. As we move forward managing the tender process and subsequent construction, our role goes beyond project management. We are rebuilding a facility that is crucial, not just for the client but for the countless individuals relying on the essential services it supports.”

To find out more about Perega’s work in the insurance sector click here.