Recently, Bridge Greenhouses completed the build of the 9,975m2 Venlo Glasshouse for Craigmarloch Nurseries. This makes up the first phase of Craigmarlochs brand new site, which when finished will total an approximate 25,000m2.
Expansion to produce their own bedding plants
Craigmarloch are a wholesale plant supplier who previously did not grow any plants on their existing site. They have since decided to produce their own bedding plants and subsequently invested into this 10,000m2 of growing area in 2020 with a further 10,000m due to be built in 2021/2022. Kenny Wilson, Director at Craigmarloch Nurseries, explains: “We have grown our own basket plants, heathers and strawberries for a number of years but we wanted to expand our range and increase the volume that we offer. Currently there exists huge opportunities within the UK horticultural market, we believe in this and as a result have invested in state of the art glasshouse facilities to enable efficient production and growing facilities. We are looking to significantly expand our own growing to meet the increased demand.”
Brexit and COVID-19
Glasshouse expansions have been on the rise within the UK, Jack Greenhill-Sadler, Sales & Marketing Manager at Bridge Greenhouses Ltd., explains. “In the wake of Brexit and COVID-19 there has been a newfound emphasis on shortening produce miles, as well as bolstering supply chain security and reliability. With this in mind, nurseries are having to expand their sites and to deal with the higher volumes and demand for their product. Nurseries are also expanding and adapting to new revenue streams and operational aspects that they had to develop during COVID-19. During the initial lockdown phase in the UK, non-essential retail was closed by the government, leaving garden centers closed for months, all during a lot of nurseries peak offload season – leaving them with tons of wasted and unsellable product. However, a lot of UK nurseries pivoted and began selling their product using other streams, such as online stores and delivery services. Many nurseries that we have spoken to ended up seeing huge success in their newfound distribution methods, with a lot of them needing to expand their sites to cater to demand.”
Highly efficient mass production
Work at Craigmarloch began with the foundations which were installed in early November 2020, the glasshouse build started in January and Bridge Greenhouses’ works (Glasshouse and Roof screen) were completed in early April. According to Greenhill-Sadler, Craigmarloch’s modern glass house is geared up for highly efficient mass production of bedding plants. “The glasshouse has 9.6m spans (3 Bays of 3.2m) with 4.5m sections, the front gable next to the road has insulated panels to the first purlin, the white toughened glass above to the second purlin and then insulated panels above to the gutter/ridge. The external sidewalls are hammered glass except for the future expansion sidewall. There are two vent zones which are split by twin roll partition screens, automatic doors are also installed internally at the partition position. Additionally, the customer also installed boom irrigation and conveyors to move the plants around the glasshouse.” Greenhill-Sadle says that in a more industry benefiting capacity, a build of this size is special in the sense that it further solidifies and bolsters the UK horticulture market, contributing heavily to the shortening of produce mileage, and increasing the security in the UK supply chain.
The construction of the their new and modern greenhouse did not come without its challenges. “The customer had to level the land by cutting and filling, also the complete site had a hardcore base put down to make it workable, with some of the glasshouse foundations having to go as deep 2m down in the fill locations. The weather was a bit of a challenge with rain, wind and snow, however a very experienced Polish erection team with the help of specialist equipment, including a tracked glazing platform, made the build possible.”
Yet, there is more construction to be done in the near future. “We have already begun working with the customer to finalize the last details of phase 2 of the project. Phase 2 of the build will incorporate a work area, with loading docks and up and over doors – the work area will also have under gutter trellis beams to enable some of the internal posts to be taken out making moving around much easier in this area. Craigmarloch have currently put in for planning permission for the next phase and is hoping to begin building later this year.”
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