Exol Warehouse and Laboratory, Wednesbury

Exol Lubricants is the largest independent lubricants company in the UK, employing some 110 staff.

In 2012 Exol Lubricants’ growth required additional capacity at its’ Wednesbury headquarters where research and development as well as manufacturing and distribution takes place. The site was congested and part of the operation was housed in dilapidated buildings dating from Edwardian times.

By spending time on site with the client and learning how the business operated DJD Architects were able to explore various options to expand. A key issue was to achieve the expansion without reduction in existing manufacturing capacity. It was important to have the buildings linked to avoid the damage to stock packaging which occurred with moving goods around the site in poor weather. A vehicle wash facility for the client’s tanker fleet was required and concerns about heavy vehicle manoeuvring and site congestion needed to be addressed. An improved laboratory for quality assurance and R&D was required.

The option chosen by the client, involved the demolition of the dilapidated buildings and created new buildings to achieve close to the maximum additional floor space for the site but avoided relocating an existing manufacturing facility to avoid loss of production.

An additional access point onto All Saints Road allowed for a one way system removing the need for turning of heavy goods vehicles on site and allowed space for the lorry wash bay.

Creating a new laboratory within the new building freed space for additional offices elsewhere.
The street boundary was replaced with bespoke screening and gates and new tree planting added.

Residential properties situated close to the site on the opposite side of All Saints Road meant much negotiation with planners and residents before planning permission was obtained.

Rainwater harvesting provides sustainable water for vehicle washing and cleaning of the site while the insulated warehouse with high efficiency, sensor controlled lighting reduces energy consumption.

The building contractor was selected by a traditional tender process and the work was carried out under a JCT Intermediate Form of contract with Contractor Design portions.

Above ground, retaining the substation belonging to and serving the adjoining factory (but located within the building being demolished) without disruption of the supply was just one of the many challenges of working on an industrial site with a long history that were met and overcome. Below ground, drilling and grouting of old mine workings and other voids was necessary as was the removal of buried asbestos and other obstructions.

Building up to the boundaries meant close liaison with the adjoining owners and because the Party Wall etc Act 1996 applied, our specialist knowledge as members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors enabled us to act for Exol Lubricants as surveyor under S10 of the Act.

When completed the development not only provided the client with the additional facilities but improved site operation and projected an image reflecting the quality and excellence of their products.

Project Details
Client: Exol Lubricants Limited
Work Stages: 0-6
Dates: 2012-2015
Approximate Value: £2,225,000
Contractor: GP Thomas & Son Limited