Carlsberg's Northampton brewery; Carlsberg's Northampton brewery;

Transforming Carlsberg's Northampton Brewery, Northampton

How do you transform a facility that saves time, money and energy in just six months?

As the original design engineers for the Northampton brewery in the 1970s, Arup continues to support Carlsberg's objectives more than 30 years later. The latest project saw the transformation of the brewery from a space no longer fit for purpose, into a modern canning facility that utilises pioneering new packaging technology. Carlsberg sought Arup's expertise to help in this unique challenge.

Speed of delivery was a key driver. The new line was to commence production in April 2019 and would see Carlsberg launch Snap Pack in the UK - a sustainable innovation that removes the need for shrink wrap or plastic rings by holding cans together with small glue dots, reducing Carlsberg's plastic usage by up to 76%.

As a result of a close collaboration, Arup's programme and project management experts ensured a seamless process from start to finish. From the initial conceptional ideas, through design, procurement, construction to completion, the client’s vision was converted into reality in just six months. 

Project Summary

25% saving on client budget

2monthreduction to programme

130,000kWhsaved due to improved lighting per year

Creating opportunities from challenges

The project proposed significant challenges. The tight deadline meant that the common approach to employ a single regional main contractor would not be the most efficient. Arup’s cost and project managers recommended an agile procurement process, engaging several small local contractors and specialists, allowing the project to progress with flexibility, quick responsiveness and supported the local economy.

The winter timeframe provided an additional technical challenge. The glazing façade needed to be replaced in winter weather conditions to ensure the programme was met. A temporary weather-proofing screen was erected on the 700m² wall where the old glass façade was removed. This allowed internal construction works and the new glazing replacement to proceed in parallel thereby saving two months - or 25% - of the total programme.

Arup totally controlled the contractors which took the hassle away from us – I knew it was in safe hands and everyone seemed to work well together. It’s probably been one of the easiest projects I’ve completed, and we were delighted for it to come in under budget due to the collaborative approach to sharing risk ” Richard Kingdom Senior Packaging Expert, Carlsberg

Delivery ahead of budget

Having set a budget initially, Carlsberg later challenged Arup to deliver the project within 85% of the original budget. This was achieved by establishing a strong and commercially collaborative relationship between all parties. Our innovative approach to governance was later documented and was rolled out to the wider organisation as a showcase for excellence in project governance.

Aerial view of Carlsberg's brewery Aerial view of Carlsberg's brewery

Supporting Carlsberg’s sustainability ambition of a Zero Accident Culture, staff safety and wellbeing were key business objectives. The refurbishment reinvigorated an unused section of the brewery, modernising it and providing a better-quality environment for staff compliant with Carlsberg’s European hygiene standards.

An energy-efficient future

The new glazing has improved thermal efficiency and safety standards whilst maintaining the look and daylight provision of the original features. The installation of a centralised building management system and upgraded ventilation infrastructure added to Carlsberg UK’s achievement of 600,000 kWh saving of energy a year, as did the increased thermal performance of the upgraded glazing. Conversion to energy-efficient LED dramatically improved lighting and contributed to Carlsberg UK’s saving of around 130,000 kWh per year. 

The layout of the new canning hall was designed in such a way that future changes to the process can be accommodated without amending the building services or drainage.

Carlsberg's new Snap Pack packaging Carlsberg's new Snap Pack packaging
The new packaging equipment enabled Carlsberg to introduce its pioneering Snap Pack packaging in the UK. According to Carlsberg, the change will reduce plastic usage by up to 76%.


RICS Social Impact Awards 2020, East Midlands - Commercial category

Fostering a collaborative culture

With Carlsberg, Arup tailored all commercial and contract information to the specific needs of the project. Continuous evolvement of the cost report format to capture the everchanging project drivers and sustaining a close contact with the client at every stage of the project allowed any changes to be responded to quickly. Working to the BS11000-1:2010 framework for collaborative business relationships, Arup fostered a culture of open and honest working between all parties. These strong relationships ensured all changes were processed fairly and transparently, eliminating the need for claims from contractors.

Learn more about our Advanced Manufacturing experience