Fonterra Brands New Zealand’s (FBNZ) new distribution centre, affectionately named The Shed, has found its home at Auckland Airport's industrial business park, The Landing.

Constructed for its New Zealand consumer business, The Shed is the result of consolidating seven existing warehouses (four of its own and three third party) into a single, multi-temperature facility.

Ultimately, Fonterra wanted to take the pressure off its Takanini distribution centre through expansion. It saw the need for technologically improved facilities and acknowledged the need to create a more efficient product transportation system – all areas that Auckland Airport and Beca could help them with.

Off the back of a strong relationship, we were engaged by Auckland Airport to provide transport, refrigeration, structural, building services, and fire engineering services to Fonterra.

The project followed an early contractor involvement process. Due to the challenging programme, a key aspect was early design and procurement of the super structure.

The structural system consisted of large span custom welded portal frames with an intermediate support made up of a custom welded spine beam. This required only one column every second grid bay, maximising the functional space available for FBNZ.

The refrigeration system is an ammonia/carbon dioxide cascade system. This consists of an ammonia system contained in the plantroom and reticulated carbon dioxide pipework from the plantroom to evaporators within the freezer and chiller. This provides an inherently safer arrangement through easier containment and control of ammonia.

The presence of ammonia and other hazardous substances resulted in the need to have robust processes in place around the storage, operability, and potential environmental impacts. We were able to facilitate the HAZOP, HFSP, and HSNO processes to implement appropriate strategies to minimise potential impacts caused by the storage and operation of hazardous substances, and assess the environmental effects in order for the facility to achieve resource consent.

The Shed required special LED fittings and was not fitted out with sprinklers due to the low temperatures and the risk of freezing pipes. The solution was to utilise early warning systems such as VESDA and heat wires with an associated evacuation strategy to enable safe egress.

Should future demand increase, the design comprises future proofing aspects that enable the facility to expand the freezer and ambient stores.

The Shed has streamlined the distribution process for FBNZ, increasing efficiencies and reducing consumer delivery times. Demand is better catered for and expectations are continually met along the way – making every day better for everyone involved.


  • 2018 Property Council New Zealand Awards – Yardi Industrial Property Award, Excellence Award
  • 2018 New Zealand Commercial Protect Awards – Gold Award



9,000 m²



disciplines on the project

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Hamish Hickling

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