North America’s largest joint-free concrete freezer slab system sets an industry benchmark
Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc.’s new distribution centre in Burnaby, BC, constructed by Coldbox Builders Inc., features a seamless 25,000 sq ft. freezer slab — the largest seamless single slab built to date for a freezer in North America. The innovative design is expected to generate measurable operating efficiencies over traditional multi-joint slabs.
Burnaby, BC — A new climate-controlled food distribution centre designed and constructed by Coldbox Builders Inc. https://www.Coldboxbuilders.ca/ features a 25,000 sq ft. (2323 m2) freezer constructed on a single concrete slab, making it North America’s largest joint-free slab system in a forklift-operated freezer. Commissioned by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., the new facility is scheduled to open in mid-March.
Wismettac Asian Foods, a leading importer, wholesaler and distributor of Asian food products in North America, requested a joint-free slab system during preliminary design discussions with Coldbox Builders Inc., a plan-design-builder that specializes in environmentally controlled facilities for the food and pharmaceutical supply chains. “To meet this request,” explains Coldbox Builders Inc. President Marko Dzeletovich, “we partnered with design-build concreting firm Alphacon https://alphacondb.com/ in Calgary.”
The end result: a freezer with a seamless freezer floor equal in size to a mid-sized grocery store, 1/3 of a city block, or 10 average-sized single-family detached homes. “It’s a true milestone for the cold chain food industries,” says Marko.
Why Wismettac Asian Foods wanted a joint-free floor system
These systems offer a number of advantages over traditional concrete flooring featuring multiple joints, says Marko Dzeletovich. For example:
- Faster to pour, saving valuable construction time
- No floor joints = no floor joint maintenance. “Over time, joints open up,” says Marko. “They chip, curl and collect debris, which could also lead to hygiene issues.”
- No floor joint maintenance = longer floor life
- Less wear and tear on material handling equipment and their operators. “Repeatedly hitting floor joints will speed the deterioration of forklift tires and could contribute to neck and back injuries in your forklift operators.”
Alphacon uses the PrimX® technology and processes to provide truly seamless concrete slab systems. “Such technology allows for true shrinkage suppression with PrimX steel fiber reinforced concrete mixes,” notes François-Xavier Destrée, Principal and Co-founder, Alphacon Inc. “Alphacon relies on using high performance steel fiber reinforcing together with chemical post-tensioning, as provided by PrimX® . Alphacon is then able to design and construct much thinner, entirely joint-free concrete slab systems of higher capacity, even in highly seismic areas such as Burnaby. Besides these long-lasting benefits reaped by the slabs’ end user, Alphacon’s slabs systems also use less concrete, reducing the slabs’ CO2 footprint by up to 50%. This too is often regarded as an advantage by customers.”
Why Wismettac Asian Foods chose Coldbox Builders Inc. and Alphacon
“The top concern when undertaking a project like this,” explains Dong Yang, Wismettac Asian Foods’ project manager, “is how knowledgeable the partners are. We have experience in commissioning this type of facility, but we rely on Coldbox Builders Inc. and Alphacon for their construction knowledge and experience, especially in a project like this, which is at the forefront of industry practices.
“I think what most impressed me is a sense that we’re working towards the same goal. While Marko and his team may propose a different solution to a challenge, they always walk us through their thinking, which makes it easier for us to make a decision and move forward.”
“Clear communication and collaboration are essential aspects of our ‘plan-design-build’ approach,” says Marko. “While we act as a single source responsible for project planning, designing, permitting and construction management, the process starts with a shared vision of the desired outcome.”
- Client: Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., Richmond, BC
- Plan-design-build contractor: Coldbox Builders Inc., Burlington, ON
- Slab design-build specialist: Alphacon, Calgary, AB
- Location: Burnaby, BC
- Facility components: cold storage (freezer and cooler) • dry storage • receiving and shipping docks • offices
- Facility size: 100,000 sq ft. (9290 m2)
- Freezer size: 25,000 sq ft. (2323 m2)
PrīmX is a game-changer compared to traditional concrete, providing unmatched durability, affordability, and efficiency — while improving safety and sustainability. The technology was developed in Europe by Primekss, with its sister company’s North American headquarters in Shakopee, MN. The jointless floor has transformed industrial and commercial floor performance, with more than 160 million feet of PrīmX floors and pavements in service around the world.
Alphacon is based out of Calgary, Alberta. It is Western Canada’s leading design build concrete construction firm, specializing in high performance industrial concrete flatwork. Alphacon’s expert teams serve demanding industrial clients and owners within the manufacturing, food distribution and climate-controlled warehousing (freezer) industries. Alphacon’s services include the turn-key design and construction for engineered, optimally designed industrial concrete slab systems; alphacondb.com/
ABOUT COLDBOX BUILDERS INC.
Founded in 2008 by Marko Dzeletovich, Coldbox Builders Inc. is a plan-design-builder focused solely on environmentally controlled facilities for the food and pharmaceutical supply chains. From box-in-a-box to greenfield automated facilities of any kind, our in-house engineering and construction specialists work collaboratively to deliver optimized turnkey projects that support the growth of our clients’ business. Today, Coldbox has completed millions of cubic feet of manufacturing, processing, storage and distribution facilities for new entrepreneurial business ventures as well as Fortune 75 companies; www.Coldboxbuilders.ca