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Building Envelope Case Study: Chivas Brothers Maturation Facilities, Mulben and Keith, Banffshire

31 August 2011 No Comment

An ambitious refurbishment project, featuring approximately 190,000m2 of Panels and Profiles solutions. Bonded warehouses on the two sites now benefit from enhanced levels of protection.

The Chivas Brothers maturation facilties in Mulben and Keith service about a dozen nearby malt distilleries. Each unit is a bonded warehouse, secured to Customs and Excise requirements. Malt whisky casks remain on the sites for a minimum of three years, but more typically 8, 12 or 15 years.

Three types of wooden barrels are stored in the units: –

  • Butt – holds approximately 500 litres.
  • Hogshead – approx. 250 litres.
  • Barrel – approx. 190 litres.

About 2% of stored whisky is lost per year, due to natural evaporation. This is rather affectionately termed “The Angel’s Share”. Although the exact amount varies annually depending on atmospheric conditions, 2% is typical, meaning that approximately 20% is lost naturally, over a decade.

Malt whisky storage is a cyclical process. Casks are taken out of the warehouse at the appropriate maturation date and sent for bottling. They are then refilled and returned to the Mulben and Keith sites, and the whole maturation cycle begins again.

The 190,000m2 refurbishment of bonded warehouse building envelopes at the Mulben and Keith sites has been a major undertaking, by any measure.

Bill Lamb, Chivas Brothers’ Senior Bulk Operations Manager (North), outlined the motivations for the project.

“The refurbishment project is primarily intended to modernise a number of our warehouse facilities to continue to provide safe storage for our whiskies over the coming decades.”

“Although we do lose a quantity of whisky due to natural evaporation of ethanol, which is a very gradual process, this does not lead to a corrosive environment. We store our casks in both steel racked and palletised warehouses , which require to be well ventilated and dry to avoid corrosion of the mild steel hoops.

“A major factor in our plans, however, was that the selected Tata Steel roofing and cladding systems would give us a long building life between 30 and 50 years.”

Each of the Mulben site’s 36 2,000m2 existing warehouses were re-clad in R32 profile on the roofs and C32 profile on the walls. Both products feature 0.7mm double sided Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra® with a Merlin Grey external finish and Hamlet for the internals.

The two refurbished warehouses at Keith both feature approximately 20,000m2 of the Trisomet® 333 System insulated panel system, again in Merlin Grey/Hamlet double-sided Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra®. Featuring a straightforward side-lapping detail, the Trisomet® 333 System affords faster installation and a broad pan trapezoidal pre-finished steel external profile.

The system provides optimised water drainage, strength and durability. Its autohesively-bonded polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation uses the latest foam technology, providing exceptional thermal performance from a relatively shallow foam core, enhanced environmental benefits, together with fire performance approved by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB). Backed by a Confidex® guarantee and available in 40 standard colours, Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra® combines outstanding performance with unrivalled reliability and impressive sustainability credentials.

Made in the UK to ISO 14001, for a lower carbon footprint, Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra® is the most durable pre-finished steel on the market. It incorporates advanced coating technology, providing superior corrosion resistance, especially in challenging environments, with twice the colour and gloss retention of standard plastisol products.

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