Distribution & Logistics


UK’s leading distribution centre designer and winner of multiple industry awards

RPS is the UK’s market leader in distribution centre design, having been involved in the design of over 80 million ft2 of distribution space. Building sizes range from 10,000ft2 to 1.5 million ft2.

From site assessments and Masterplanning to detailed design and project completion onsite, we provide integrated Planning, Transport and Environmental expertise which enables our Architects and Engineers to develop sustainable designs 'from the inside out'.

We have extensive experience of a wide variety of project scenarios, newbuilds and refurbishments, single and mixed-use schemes, intermodal with rail, port or air links or simply road access, on both greenfield and brownfield sites. Our experience covers 'mega' sheds, automated and high bay projects, temperature-controlled, air cargo and rail-linked facilities and projects on challenging and operational sites, in the UK and overseas.

RPS has been the winner or finalist of 41 awards for distribution centre design since 2002, including a prestigious award in 2009 from the Industrial Agents Society recognising the contribution we had made over 27 years in the industry.

Our services include:


Building Services Engineering

Civil & Structural Engineering


Environmental Assessment & Management


Landscape Architecture & Management

Planning & Consents

Project Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

Transport & Infrastructure.

Download our Distribution & Logistics Capability Statement here

Case Studies

Co-operative Distribution Centre

Co-operative Distribution Centre, Andover Co-operative Distribution Centre, Andover

RPS designed a new, 468,000ft2 distribution centre to serve 400+ stores in Southern England.

The centre was designed to meet the Co-operatives requirements for a 15m clear internal height to accommodate the ambient, chill and frozen warehouse temperature regimes, plus two and three storey integral office accommodation, 70 crossed docks connecting to the three different temperature chambers, plus an onsite VMU and MOT testing bay.

Planning permission was granted upon submission of acceptable designs to minimise the visual impact of the unit on the surrounding area whilst sitting comfortably within its landscape context. The chosen innovatively designed organic form of the building, carries the roof down as a canopy at the northern end and is supported by a considered planting scheme. Considerable earthworks re-profiling was also undertaken to further reduce the impression of the building’s height.

The development realised a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Innovations include, rainwater harvesting not only for toilet flushing, but also for consumption associated with the warehouse’s refrigeration plant.

Distribution, Warehouse

Distribution, Warehouse, Office & Retail Accommodation, Nottinghamshire


RPS provided design services for a new build, three-story, 575,000ft2 facility on a site with extremely complex ground conditions.

Although remediated, the c.62 acre site required specific attention to avoid lift shafts, mineworkings and methane drift whilst still delivering a facility optimised to meet our client’s needs.

The single storey warehouse has mezzanines above the dock elevation with an office mezzanine above the other dock face. The main office accommodation has meeting rooms, a restaurant on the ground and 1st floor with additional Pod offices over three floors and a roof terrace.

Externally, cladding was installed on all elevations, curtain walling and perforated aluminium mesh around stair towers, brise soleil around the office elevations and steel feature fins on the roof overhanging the feature structural columns that provide support, resulting in an architecturally striking facility.

A fuelling, vehicle wash and truck maintenance area was also provided as was a Helipad.

This was phase one of two and supports Sportsworld’s expansion plans. RPS has been involved in subsequent phases.

Drift ll, Zone 1

Drift ll, Zone 1, Daventry

Prologis for End User Tesco

RPS advised on the development of a 825,000ft2 cross dock, distribution centre located at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT).

The development includes a rail link with a dedicated set of rail sidings to actively reduce carbon emissions whilst supplying the park’s occupants with the majority of their incoming produce.

The sloping nature of the site required a considerable earthworks operation to maximise the sites potential with a level platform.

RPS provided Civil, Structural and Highways designs for the following elements:

Pad foundation with the cut and fill areas

Ground bearing floor slab

External hardstanding slabs

Heavy duty concrete hardstanding suitable for use by reach stackers

Large retaining structures separating rail sidings from the external service yard

Long span link bridge multi-storey car park across service yard to main building.

Royal Mail Group

Royal Mail Group, nationwide

RPS CgMs have been advising Royal Mail Group Property for over five years on their property portfolio. This ranges from advising on the asset management of individual post offices to local delivery offices to major mail and distribution centres.

Royal Mail are a major employer with a unique set of requirements in terms of their operational buildings. Their large mail centres and regional distribution hubs need to be located with excellent access to the strategic road network, whereas their delivery offices need to be located in urban areas to allow the post to be delivered with ease therefore often having to knit seemlessly into residential areas.

Key services that RPS CgMs have provided include asset management of their existing building stock to ensure an efficient and streamlined postal service, advising on the suitability of new buildings for use by Royal Mail and obtaining planning permission for major new developments across the country.

Sainsbury's, UK

Sainsburys Distribution Centre Sainsbury’s Distribution Centre

Multiple projects throughout UK

RPS has a long established relationship with Sainsbury’s, designing 31 projects since 1999 with the completed developments valued at in excess of £500,000,000

This relationship has provided a robust distribution network to deliver frozen, chilled and ambient foodstuffs as well as non-food and clothing to their retail outlets across the UK. In this time our Architects and Engineers have been involved in the design of in excess of 6,000,000ft2 of national distribution space plus an additional 2,000,000ft2 of refurbished space.

Through the use of sustainable solutions, innovations and considered design many have achieved excellent BREEAM ratings and awards for sustainable achievements.

Recent projects include the fit-out completion of Sainsbury’s warehousing and distribution facility at Bedford to accommodate additional clothing lines. Sainsbury’s has also approached us to develop a further £100m+ of space to upgrade and improve their distribution network to continue to meet their customer’s demands in the future.

Shurgard UK, Self-storage units

Self-storage units, Shurgard UK Ltd

RPS CgMs are retained by Shurgard UK Ltd to provide full planning consultancy from initial site identification and pre-acquisition to project completion. This includes managing the design team and negotiating with senior LPA officers.

RPS CgMs secured planning permission in September 2014 on behalf of Shurgard UK Ltd for two new self-storage facilities. Although both sites are located within land allocated for employment use, initial pre-application discussions with planning officers suggested a demand for increased job creation at both sites. CgMs worked extensively with the Councils during the course of the application to demonstrate a high quality self-storage unit delivers employment retention and generation and that the proposed floorspace met the Council’s development plan objectives. This required detailed negotiations with relevant officers to overcome various land use, design and massing concerns to deliver a development that adhered to local level expectation which enhances the client’s asset portfolio within the M25.