THERMOMASS®: ASDA freezer/coldstore distribution centre

  • External view of freezer plant
    External view of freezer plant
  • ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale
    ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale
  • Interior, ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale
    Interior, ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale
  • Thermomass panels being craned into place
    Thermomass panels being craned into place
  • ASDA Distribution Centre under construction
    ASDA Distribution Centre under construction
  • ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale
    ASDA Distribution Centre, Rochdale

Sector Industrial
Environment Distribution depots
Project scope Concrete structures
Structural components
Project type New build
Services provided Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
Year completed 2012
Project location North West England
Client ASDA
Consultant Concast Ltd
Contractor Concast Ltd


Concast Ltd used the Thermomass system from Construction Systems Marketing in manufacture and installation for a new coldstore/freezer distribution centre for ASDA in Rochdale near Manchester.

The construction of temperature-controlled distribution centres is fraught with issues. The areas around detailing, in particular, need special attention in order to prevent any of the products inside the building from spoiling.


The proven Thermomass system helps to eliminate this problem. It has been successfully used on over 80 million square metres of wall world-wide, including temperature-controlled manufacturing and distribution facilities. A full technical back-up providing the proven details for construction, iso-thermal data and dew-point calculations are all supplied.

Thermomass buildings are constructed using concrete sandwich panels where the Thermomass system forms the heart of the wall, providing both the thermally broken connection and also the very low U-values required for low running costs.

The patented Thermomass connectors are designed provide a stronger-than-steel connection between the internal and external wythes of concrete. Moreover, they do this in a way that provides a thermal break from outside to the inside, thereby eliminating three important building issues construction issues:

  • Thermal heat loss through thermal bridges.
  • Interstitial condensation that forms on the cold bridges within the structure, separating warm, moist air from cold areas.
  • Surface condensation where the transferred warm or cold bridges form damp regions on the wall and attract airborne dust particles, which either cause witness marks where the connectors are or - worse still - harbour dirt, which could affect sensitive production locations.

However, low U-values are only part of the overall solution to lower running costs. The thermal mass of the concrete helps to even out the peaks and troughs of temperature gradients during a day, which means the heating and ventilation equipment operates much more efficiently, saving energy costs.

The large size of the panels improves airtightness and because of their robustness have less chance of the airtightness being disrupted.


Other expensive running costs of distribution centres revolve around mechanical damage, either from fork-lift truck damage or other related handling issues. The robust surface of Thermomass panels resist all forms of mechanical damage. Replacing a metal sandwich panel, such as the type used in most temperature-controlled buildings, is almost prohibitively expensive: these unforeseen costs are eliminated for the life of the building.

This same robust nature also improves security, making it almost impossible for thieves to break through the external fabric and either steel produce or cause serious damage by destroying produce through mischief or arson.

Fire is one of the most emotive problems associated with food distribution centres and is, unfortunately, quite common because of the fats and the packaging products inside. However, where a metal sandwich panel system would burn down, the Thermomass sandwich panels have BSEN four-hour fire resistance certification. The structure of the building will remain safe while the fires can be fought. This particular property should lead to reduced insurance costs.

Because the system is made off-site and then erected on-site, certainty of programme and cost are ensured. This means that all aspects of project management are simplified, from planning and estimating to building programme. The Thermomass panels provide the structure as well as the cladding. This significant simplification helps to reduce construction costs, including the detailing and building costs, therefore a much-valued element of certainty is introduced.

Construction Systems Marketing

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