Million square foot warehouse in Suffolk

A 1.17 million square ft. distribution centre has been completed for The Range at Stowmarket, Suffolk, using more than 500 tonnes of cold rolled steel purlins and side rails, plus associated accessories from voestalpine Metsec’s Purlins Division.

The high specification facility is the first building to be completed at Gateway 14, a new business, innovation and logistics park at Stowmarket, Suffolk. The development is committed to achieving a BREEAM rating of Very Good, and strive for Excellent where possible, and features a variety of innovative energy systems aimed at delivering reduced carbon and net zero carbon solutions. These include EV charging, LED lighting, solar PV, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting.

The development has been designed to provide enhanced accessibility through extensive, dedicated pedestrian and cycle routes as well as integration with public transport and, of course, road systems. It has also focused on assuring biodiversity throughout the park, with high quality landscaping,
green corridors and nesting boxes, creating habitats for wildlife and a vibrant, healthy working environment for employees. The design and build project was undertaken by main contractor, Winvic Construction with Caunton Engineering providing design, fabrication and installation for the steel package, worth around £9 million.


The Range’s distribution centre features a sevenspan portal-framed structure measuring 408m by 269m and comprising a hot rolled steel frame with Metsec cold rolled purlins and side rails to support roofing and cladding.

Working to the project engineer’s initial drawings, Caunton produced designs to value engineer both hot- and cold-rolled steel parts of the frame, using voestalpine Metsec’s MetSPEC software to create the most economical solution for the cold-rolled elements.

Ian Oliver, Design and Build Sales Director for Caunton Engineering, comments, “With just nine weeks to complete the steel frame, it was vital that we used suppliers that could not only match our expectations in product quality and performance but also assure reliability to deliver on time and in full.

“We have used Metsec for more than twenty years and they have proved to be exceptional in all departments. Everything progressed smoothly from start to finish, with Metsec contributing to the delivery of another successful large volume project.”

voestalpine Metsec’s heavy end bay sleeved purlin system proved to be the most efficient solution for the roof of the distribution centre, with the side rail sleeved system complementing both vertical and horizontal cladding used for the walls. In total, the project contained some 515 tonnes of coldrolled steel together with around 3,200 tonnes of hot rolled steel.

voestalpine Metsec Regional Sales Manager for Purlins, Gareth Bown, states, “Naturally, we are delighted to have played our part in delivering another prestigious project with Caunton Engineering.

“Its success demonstrates the importance of a strong, long-standing working relationship which has enabled Caunton to design a value engineered solution with total confidence that it will be delivered to the client’s satisfaction.”