Weston Logistics, part of volume housebuilder Weston Group, has opened the Braintree Logistics Centre, a distribution and offsite housebuilding factory
Braintree Logistics Centre is a vast new 75,000 sq ft distribution and build-offsite complex, which is thought to be one of the most advanced in the UK construction industry. The ‘housebuilding factory’ introduces automotive-industry style logistics, assembly and quality-control to the homebuilding sector.
The new £12m Braintree Logistics Centre is a huge warehouse and manufacturing complex designed by PRC Architects, Gideon Hillman, the supply chain consultants, Globe Tooling Ltd, the precision engineering firm, and Weston Group.
Constructed over a period of 18 months, the new complex offers 60,000 sq ft of warehousing space, a 10,000 sq ft state-of-the-art manufacturing, assembly and quality-control workshop and 5,000 sq ft of high-tech offices.
Sophisticated IT allows raw materials, goods and components being freighted from suppliers around the world to be tracked via GPS from the complex’s control centre. The entire supply chain is remotely monitored – from the start of a journey from the supplier until the goods arrive at the Braintree Logistics Centre.
At the centre items are barcoded, stored until needed; then retrieved, products assembled and quality control tested; packaged as per homebuyer customer’s individual specification choices; then shipped to the group’s different residential development sites.
The storage centre holds the components required to build a house or apartment including flooring, cladding, wall tiles, panelling material, kitchen components and bathroom components including up to 400 vanity units at any one time.
The 10,000 sq ft state-of-the-art manufacturing, assembly and quality-control workshop is designed around a series of conveyor belts and stillages-on-wheels which transport items to processing machines, precision engineering tools and site assembly plants.
Bob Weston, Chief Executive of Weston Group said: “The new Braintree Logistics Centre is a highly advanced distribution and build-off-site centre and represents the future of the volume housebuilding industry.
“Within the next 10 years technology will allow for new homes to be fully manufactured off-site by robots and computer-assisted engineering tools; customer specification choices fully automated; with factory-made components then built on-site using machines like a highly advanced lego-system. This step change will help enhance site safety, quality control and automotive-like precision. Our blue-chip factory at Braintree is another pioneering part of the process.”
Shaun Weston, Managing Director of Weston Logistics added: “This new Braintree Logistics Centre transforms Weston Group’s logistics and offsite manufacturing capacity and enhances our ability to control our supply chain, improve the delivery of customer specification choices and ensure the quality of the products that form the specification of the homes we sell.
“Weston Group has a £2bn development pipeline of 6,000 new homes and this new complex helps us manage this expansion. Streamlined processing and inventory also allows for significant cost efficiencies and reducing the processing time for customer orders.”