Marking a decade of service:  the depot built in a weekend

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of a pivotal achievement for brothers John and Robert Weedon of Cornwall-based fuel distributor Mitchell & Webber who took on the ultimate challenge of building a much-needed, strategically located depot, in a weekend! As they mark a decade of successful service from the facility they built in just two days, the brothers reflect on the super swift establishment of the depot, which has since played a vital role in successfully servicing customers at the uppermost reaches of the delivery area.

Marking a decade of service: the depot built in a weekend

The project was initiated when the Weedon brothers sealed a deal with the landowner of the site and the team immediately set the planning process in motion, drawing upon the company’s design expertise and previous experiences to execute an admirably efficient establishment of the facility.

All in the preparation

To guarantee a seamless and rapid implementation, the Mitchell & Webber team engaged in meticulous preparation and planning. They mapped out a comprehensive groundworks plan, provided a precise interceptor and ensured the required concrete was the correct specification and thickness and had suitable barrier protection.

To maximise speed, they organised an innovative new system of on-site crimping of stainless-steel piping and had a specialist trainer from the manufacturer sent to the site to assist and certify the work over the weekend.

Detailed electrical planning played a crucial role, with accurate measurements of cable runs and connections meticulously thought through in advance, with partial cable trays prepared ahead to expedite the process.

Once the timing was agreed, storage tanks and equipment were booked well in advance for the set weekend with dedicated staff, including directors and managers, earmarked for the task. Mobile generators and lighting were all tested and set to support the installation. Artic drivers were also prepped and ready with fuel so that the depot testing could be implemented on completion.

A massive team effort

John explains: “We were very lucky that everything fell into place. We attribute the successful execution of the project to a culmination of our meticulous planning along with a stroke of very good fortune! The tanks were delivered on Thursday, which meant we had Friday and Saturday to complete the majority of the work and just Sunday reserved for the final touches.

 “It was a case of “all hands to the pumps” with pipework being put together, but, with no hot works required, it enabled a much quicker and neater assembly. Once initial pipework from the tanks was completed, we had artics on standby to fill them. Thanks to the communal efforts of everyone helping, the pre-made cable supports were quickly put together and cables attached, meaning the electricians only had to do the connections.”

Robert added: “It was thanks to a massive, dedicated team effort that we were able to complete the job by Saturday night, allowing deliveries to commence from the new facility on Monday morning. We couldn’t have been more proud of what we achieved in such a short time and to this day we remain in awe of the efforts of everyone involved in this epic challenge”.

Anything is possible

When reflecting on the achievement and whether it could be done again, both Robert and John acknowledged that, while certain equipment and materials have become more expensive, the development of a specialised Industrial Services Division means the company is able to handle alterations and maintenance on fuel systems and depots.

John mused: “If faced with a similar challenge today, I’m pretty sure we’d have the ability to do such work again, however, we’d be sure to allow ourselves more time to alleviate the massive time pressure we put upon ourselves and the team.”

Today, this rapidly erected depot remains a high-functioning cornerstone of Mitchell & Webbers’ operations. Embracing innovation and sustainability, the team have since expanded the facility to include storage and facilities for renewable fuels.

Robert concludes: “The depot we built in a weekend has certainly proved its worth over the years and it will continue to serve us well in the future. We will always associate it with one of Mitchell & Webber’s greatest (and fastest!) achievements and a testament to “anything is possible when you put your mind to it”, especially when you have the right team!