In recent years, land shortages and rising costs have driven companies to seek solutions for optimising their investments. The issues are pressing and builders are innovating to find ways of increasing clear height while keeping operations viable.
Technical solutions are known but it is essential to analyse the specificities of each type of merchandise and every clients’ requirements in order to find made-to-measure solutions for gaining the clear height needed for each operation - and at an acceptable cost. That is where Co Design&Build becomes so valuable: by co-designing the project with our clients and all partners, we reach decisions collectively about balancing the demand for increased storage with the necessity of respecting budgets.
It is important to recognise that several constraints limit the options. Firstly, the cost of sprinkler systems increases significantly if aiming for floor to roof height of more than 13.70m. To comply with prevailing regulations (APSAD or NFPA) and keep up with technical developments in terms of fire protection, it is necessary to adapt and choose the optimal ratio.
What is more, the load on the roof and, more particularly, the building of solar power plants, must be factored into the size of the frame. The material used in the structure – wood or concrete – has a big influence on costs but also on floor space and the amount of space needed for laying grids. A balance must be struck between reducing posts and increasing height and between functionality and aesthetics.
The choice of rainwater drainage system often carries strategic importance when looking for height: avoid under paving systems and opt instead for swales that carry water towards the front (but which often impact storage height). Alternatively, a stench trap solution is ideal for achieving more height (but does have consequences for maintenance) and a more traditional gravity-based solutions is also possible (but takes up more space). Our teams examine all of these options carefully to determine the most suitable for each given case.
In the two recent OpenBox projects, this issue of clear height was at the heart of discussions. In one case, in order to cope with unusual pallets stored four tiers off the surface, we chose a wooden frame and were able to reach clear height of 10.5m with a span of 29m, with floor to roof height of 12.2m, and all at a cost that satisfied the parties. This project also involved a rooftop solar power plant that added 25kg/m² to the load.
In the case of the Barjane project in Louvres, a concrete frame was used and clear height reached 12.2m (surface +5 storage) with a span of 24m and floor to roof height of 13.7m. This resulted in gaining an additional level of storage, representing 20% more storage space across the whole building.
The increased use of stock picking systems in mezzanine (heavily driven by e-Commerce) is another reason to seek more vertical clearance in projects.
OpenBox’s expertise is continually challegned by our clients’ needs : with them, we innovate on a daily basis.
A graduate of the prestigious ESTP Civil Engineering school in Paris and holder of a Master of Science (Eng.) from the University of Birmingham, David Fitoussi, has, at the age of 49, 25 years of experience in the construction and engineering sector.
After 16 years working for general contractors (Bouygues first, then Vinci), notably as subsidiary manager, he joined the engineering and construction company SNC Lavalin, serving first as the head of their Lyon office and then as regional manager. In early 2017, when SNC-Lavalin was taken over by EDEIS, he was appointed deputy general manager in charge of the Building & Industry business.
In his new role as general manager of OpenBox, he will shape operations from design to successful completion and will be responsible for organising and managing the company.
His duties will also include helping to devise the strategic plan and to accelerate growth by diversifying products and services in tandem with Bertrand Chabanne, OpenBox's chairman.
“I was won over by Co Design&Build straight away,” said David Fitoussi. “You have to be bold to base your business on being innovative in the way you enter contractual relations with customers, but this is win-win for both parties! My aim is to support the development of OpenBox by drawing on my experience and encouraging agility, transparency and the inventive spirit that make the company DNA.”
“We are delighted to welcome David Fitoussi,” declared OpenBox's chairman Bertrand Chabanne,. “His technical skills, managing expertise and his contacts will enable us to nurture our strategic vision and pursue our growth goals.”
A duo of such entrepreneurs, benefitting from the support of the OpenBox team, perfectly encapsulates the founding values of the company: collaboration, co-construction and commitment.
Marine Dumas of Etyo, Project Manager on the Papeteries Pichon project, tells us about Co Design&Build
What is your role in the Papeteries Pichon project?
We are providing project management for Papeteries Pichon. So, we have provided support from the start as technical advisers for the construction of the building up to launch of the automated process.
How is the collaboration with the OpenBox teams going?
In both design and construction, the OpenBox staff were highly attentive to our requests and they anticipated the process-related constraints from the design phase onwards, enabling the project to be completed smoothly and on time. Despite these constraints, OpenBox also created an elegant architectural style which is very appreciable for a company for which this will be the place of work.
We also appreciated the responsiveness of our contacts. The operation evolved in a professional but very pleasant atmosphere.
For you, how does Co Design&Build come to life?
At this stage of the project, what stands out most are the concepts of transparency and dialogue: we had access to all the contractors’ quotes, which is not always the case. This enabled us to measure our negotiation leverage on global purchases and to arbitrate more easily regarding the execution of additional services. All necessary information was available and all choices and decisions were made through balanced dialogue.
Was that a highlight of this project?
The special feature of this project was the integration of an automated Savoye process. Throughout the project, we had to coordinate between the construction workers and the automation technicians, who did not necessarily take the same approach. This was all done in a cooperative manner, and even enabled us to get ahead of the schedule.
Why did you choose OpenBox?
Our project was strategic: there were challenges involving time, business continuity, installation... We had already managed one property project, but we did not have all the resources needed to succeed by ourselves. OpenBox provided us with support at a very early stage. However, we also conducted a competitive bidding process in order to obtain the best proposal. Their experience and knowledge of the regional eco-system, their prices and their motivation made all the difference.
Regarding the project, they were available and ready to listen, they put forward the best solutions. Their obvious knowledge of logistics and its constraints is reassuring. What's more, it's a small, dynamic and innovative company. We were attracted by their way of working and their mindset. We are proud today to have helped them to grow.
How did the collaboration with the OpenBox teams go?
We never doubted their professionalism. They are experienced and know how to find the right people. They are also very attentive and have handles our requests, even the last-minute ones. They use a model that enables this to happen. We felt we were supported before, during and on delivery of the project. Despite the difficulties associated with their profession, I believe they always have the desire to satisfy their customers.
How did the delivery process go?
Delivery is always a delicate moment. We quickly realized that OpenBox shared, as we do, the desire to maintain a steady pace and to remove any reservations as quickly as possible. They remained highly available during the acceptance period and they resolved problems as they arose.
What does Co Design&Build mean for you?
We had to ask OpenBox to adapt their proposal, which they agreed to very quickly. They were very transparent, especially regarding costs over the entire project, and changes were far easier to manage.
OpenBox has also collaborated with numerous stakeholders with a great deal of integrity (three project management assistants, a developer and an investor).
Regarding the sharing of savings, as commonly happens with Co Design&Build, we preferred not to consider this alternative during the competitive bidding stage. We only addressed this proposal after selection. They agreed to pay €60,000 for renovations to our old platform. This is a kind of variation on the sharing of savings offered by Co Design&Build.
You have been in your new building for a few months now. Are you happy with it?
Everyone is happy with our new working environment. As part of the acquisition of Transports Charvin by BBL INVEST, it was a question of successfully accommodating four of the group’s companies at the same site and making people comfortable there. We wanted a high quality, well thought-out building: the choice of materials, the architecture, the services and the organisation of the building are all elements that have created a great logistics platform to work at!
A look at the collaboration between OpenBox and GLD with Pascal Dominois, Director of Operations at GLD
Why did you choose OpenBox?
When consultation began at the beginning of 2016, it seemed to us that OpenBox, as a company, was too young and was not, therefore, a credible option for us. But OpenBox insisted on delivering an offer, they were extremely motivated!
For our part, we wanted to assess the proposal of the contractor with whom we were already working. We were surprised by the gap between both prices. The determination of the team, indeed its obligation to succeed in the operation, convinced us. We decided to trust them. And we have no regrets!
How would you describe your experience with Co Design&Build?
The Co Design&Build meetings were very reassuring and they enabled us to move forward with the project together as a whole. Reports on accounting, planning, costs, everything was reviewed each month. A completely different way of working. We were able to see that the OpenBox strategy didn’t involve margin recovery but was more concerned with information sharing and collaboration. When issues arose (which inevitably occur on such projects), they were discussed and resolved. Everything was done progressively as we moved forward, in a collaborative way. When you don’t discover things too late, you can’t suspect a hidden agenda. So tensions are quickly dissipated.
Given the highly competitive circumstances and the consensual efforts made during the negotiation, the “shared savings” at the end of the operation were limited, but the transparency was a reality that made the offer unique.
Objectively, this transparency and collaboration allowed us to conduct this operation in a relaxed and constructive way, until the snagging list was resolved. Throughout the entire project, we felt supported.
Are you satisfied?
Of course, because the timing and the price were kept in check and the building is consistent with what we wanted!
Our new 24,000 m² tool means we can work with large industrial clients, who are careful about the handling of their goods (like Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear, Hager, etc.). We offer them tailored solutions for storage, procurement, industrial packaging and transportation.
Whatever the sector (pharmaceutical, food, energy, mass distribution), our expertise in logistics and our set-up are the hallmark of our reputation, but our warehouses are a definite advantage: now when we tour the warehouses with our clients, the design quality wins them over.
The building is also scalable, as demonstrated by the 25-tonne-capacity overhead travelling crane, which are already being installed for our industrial packing and handling operations for large volumes. We will therefore be able to offer integrated solutions under the same roof, in a high-end environment.