Supplying top fruit to several of the UK’s major supermarkets from its 27 farms across the county, the growing family fruit business is investing cold storage at Howt Green to help limit the number of lorry movement during the summer months. Fruit can be harvested and put straight into the cold store, to remove the field heat, with delivery to Flanders Farm for packing and distribution when it is needed.

Constructing the 70-tonne steel frame, roofing and cladding, which had been predesigned and planned by Bloomfield and Lambert and Foster, is Scorpion Engineering Construction, who bolstered its presence in the South East of England in November 2017 with the opening of its new office in Glynde, East Sussex.
Having merged with D + D Construction, the combined team has over 85 years’ shared experience in the agricultural buildings construction industry and has installed numerous cold stores across the region over the years.

“Cold stores seem to be a sign of the times and we are doing more in this sector than ever before,” said Matt Wickham sales representative at Scorpion. “There are numerous orchard plantings in progress and the resulting fruit requires storage of the highest specification to ensure its quality and shelf life. We have also been working on an increasing number of cider and juice processing buildings as more growers look to diversification to add value to their crops.”

A combination of providing good support after the project is finished, with a developed understanding of customers’ requirements, a hands-on approach and a drive to complete zero-issue projects has contributed to Scorpion’s high levels of repeat business and this will not be the company’s first project for AC Goatham and Son.

“We are very pleased to work with Scorpion again on this cold store project at Howt Green,” said Ross Goatham, managing director AC Goatham and Son. “This 12-chamber cold store has been built to our design specification and so far, everything has been smooth running with the project, aside from the weather.”
A crucial factor in determining the quality and longevity of any building is how it has been erected and the materials used for its construction. With its own steel fabrication workshop, Core Steel in Hereford, Scorpion ensures that the best materials are used for the job. The company is also able to deliver bespoke buildings to specific customer requirements.

“We can work to whatever the customer’s requirements are,” said Matt Wickham sales representative at Scorpion. “Rather than retrofitting, it has all been designed and engineered with the other aspects of the project in mind. We have added cooler support steels through the building and the cross support steels across the rafters have tied portals with braces across to the eave beams so that the coolers can simply be hung in place.”

With a strong level of enquiries for Scorpion’s services from its South West office in Marlborough, through to Kent, the business has grown in recent months to ensure it is able to cope with increasing demand.

“Agriculture is still the lifeblood of the company and it’s through repeat business from the rural community that Scorpion derives 80% plus of its annual turnover,” said Andre van Heerden, managing director at Scorpion. “Over the past 12 months we have been through a period of modernisation to bring the systems and procedures in line with modern construction practices. Our customers are beginning to see real benefits in terms of Scorpion’s approach to health and safety, CDM compliance, and general professionalism.”

Scorpion will be on site at Howt Green Farm until the end of June 2018 before moving on to other projects in the region.