A leader in the grocery retailing industry, ALDI has expanded to the West Coast of the U.S. to grow their regional presence with a facility built to be safe, flexible, efficient and durable to ensure optimal performance. The 835,000-square-foot building houses cold storage space, ambient dry storage, two-story Class A Corporate Office space and space for break areas, locker rooms, support and trucker dispatch.
Operating under a tight construction schedule, it was imperative the modifications to the building design met the needs of ALDI while minimizing deviations from the entitlement and conforming to the state’s strict environmental conditions. This included building compliance to achieve, at a minimum, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Silver certification level. Any significant deviations may have caused major delays for re-entitlement. It was also equally important for the design to incorporate the company’s requisites for quality and efficiency, new seismic regulations, sustainability, Cal Green and Title 24 as well as a host of other site specific requirements.
The ALDI | Graycor Team expeditiously collaborated on the programming size and orient and appointed the building as appropriate for ALDI. Working closely with local and state agencies, the team assembled and managed approval submissions to City Planning, Eastern Municipal Water District, Riverside County Flood Control, Army Corp of Engineers, California Department of Fish and Game, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
Working with City & State Agencies
The city of Moreno Valley and the state of California were elated to have ALDI join their community. Both entities were vested in the growth of ALDI in the region, and more importantly, to the success of the project. Building the ALDI Regional Headquarters and Distribution Center was the start of what the city and state hoped would be a prosperous long-term partnership. This shared desire between all parties benefitted the project and by working closely together the team was able to obtain permits and approvals in a timely manner.
The lead architect, civil engineer and major design-build mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) subcontractors were all local to Southern California and contributed to the ease of the plan check process with the city of Moreno Valley, Caltrans, Eastern Municipal Water District and Riverside County Flood Control.
Commitment to Green Building + Sustainability
The ALDI corporate initiative to help keep the planet green is clearly reflected in the design and construction of the new headquarters. By using sustainable building materials and construction techniques, the project complies with the USGBC’s LEED green building rating system. Sustainable building features include on-site bicycle storage, employee changing/showers rooms, preferred parking for low-emission vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations to promote alternative transportation. The roof consists of a white reflective membrane designed to reduce the heat island effect. The facility has also achieved significant reductions in water consumption with the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures and the selection of a drought-tolerant landscape design. The irrigation system is expected to save 3,556,386 gallons below the local allowable usage annually.
The 2.5 Megawatts roof-top solar panel system, a prominent feature of the building, satisfies the municipal requirements for green power, LEED renewable energy points, and the client’s own internal green initiatives. Invisible from the adjacent streets, the roof solar system was designed to minimize aesthetic impact to the area as desired by the city. An added benefit to ALDI for using a solar system included an interconnection agreement with the power utility entitling them to a financial incentive for the solar produced power.
Notable Safety Program
The Graycor team approached jobsite safety in a manner that promoted positive incentives, awareness and communication. Graycor’s company culture of Zero Injuries holds safety to be of the utmost importance on our projects. Supported by ALDI, Graycor developed a Safety Program that recognized, promoted and rewarded safe behavior. Each month one subcontractor was recognized as “Sub of the Month” and that crew was rewarded with a BBQ lunch. During jobsite walks, the Graycor team had on-hand gift cards so that if exemplary safe behavior was observed, that individual would be rewarded on the spot and a picture of the recipient would be added to the “Wall of Fame” in the Graycor trailer. Every time a major safety milestone was achieved, such as 250,000 man hours with Zero Lost time, a safety lunch was held on-site for all workers.
Graycor also believed the best way to communicate the ever-changing risks and hazards at the project was to speak directly to the workers. Every other week, Graycor hosted an “All-Hands” safety meeting to discuss the current risks and hot-button safety issues at the site. Coffee and breakfast burritos were enjoyed by the team at each of these meetings. The result was a site that continued to nurture a sense of teamwork and cooperation. This type of interaction with the workers gave Graycor a sense of identity with the field and the appreciation of our efforts was obvious.
Building Something More
The ALDI Regional Headquarters and Distribution Center was much more than building a building; it had more to do with building lasting relationships. It was essential for all stakeholders to work together in unity and harmony to ensure the project was delivered successfully. Greg C. Hanoian, a Sr. Sales Agent at JMG Security Systems, Inc. was very pleased to say, “In the 16 years I’ve been in this business and working with many highly reputable general contractors, Graycor is one of the best companies I have worked with. From estimation, to construction negotiation, to project management and field level supervision, my company was treated with an incredible level of respect and trust in implementing to the specifications provided to us.”
While it was important for city and state agencies to start their relationship with ALDI on the right foot by working in cooperation, it was equally important for ALDI to be well received by the public and its communities. What motivated the trades to perform well in every aspect of the project was their desire to forge new, long-term relationships with ALDI, a client with a development program in place to create future contract opportunities in Southern California. In turn, ALDI truly values its relationship with the subcontractors.
Building an environment of mutual respect, collaboration, communication and trust enabled this entire team to make timely and appropriate design and construction decisions which kept the project moving forward. ALDI gave its commitment to the Graycor team to establish a positive work environment as well as support suggested initiatives to make sure project goals were met. This was evident by the consistent high morale that was contagious throughout the entire project.