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Hotel Chocolat Warehouse

WSP Engineering partners with Hotel Chocolat, as principal contractor for their new warehouse facility. 


Contract start date
June 2022

Chocolate Manufacturing

Building size
430,000 sqft


Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolate manufacturer producing a wide range of products, from luxury chocolates to  drinking chocolate and its iconic Velvetiser™, the industry-leading at-home hot chocolate machine. The company has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a portfolio of more than 120 Hotel Chocolat stores around the UK.

With Hotel Chocolat’s growth and rise in popularity came a need to increase its storage and distribution capacities, and a new warehouse site near Northampton on the M1 proved ideal.

This new site would allow the company to store large amounts of stock and also provides a central location to distribute its goods. The warehouse space is over 430,000 sqft and needed to be completely fitted out, including an outlet store and cafe that would be open to the public.

WSP Engineering is Hotel Chocolat’s engineering and project management partner and has worked with Hotel Chocolat on a variety of projects, from manufacturing improvements to capacity increase projects.

The Challenge

One of the main challenges in this project was managing the scale of equipment and materials that were required. The warehouse would be storing plenty of chocolate, requiring a sufficient cooling system to be engineered and installed. WSP Engineering was the principal contractor, principal designer, and project engineer responsible for the following:

  • Electrical installation mains into the building

  • Complete office fit-outs including a training room, meeting room, staff welfare including electrical and plumbing installation

  • A temporary cooling system was installed to provide a suitable product temperature and allow stock to be relocated from existing warehouse sites

  • Racking installation for over 32,000 pallet spaces

  • Onsite health and safety management

  • Contractor selection and management

  • Project managing the installation and fit-out of warehouse equipment

Berashan Rajagi, Project Manager at WSP Engineering, said, “Great communication and planning with all parties involved helped to streamline the project and any changes that came up throughout. It was incredibly satisfying to see this space turn from an empty shell to a fully operational warehouse facility

The Result

The main challenge in this project was ensuring products could be stored and moved efficiently, maintaining product quality, and effectively managing the numerous contractors onsite.

The project was carried out safely, to scope and to timescales, meaning the warehouse was operational in under four months. This allowed Hotel Chocolat to bring this asset to use quickly and start to reap the rewards of their investment.

The warehouse was fitted out with an impressive range of racking, state-of-the-art CCTV, fire alarms and electrical panels, a permanent air respiration fire safety system, MHE charging points, network cabinets for communication and cooling units to maintain optimal temperatures.

There was also extensive works carried out to provide Hotel Chocolat’s staff with offices, a canteen and staff welfare areas.

This project had over 40 contractors working on site simultaneously over a period of five months without any incidents.

The end result is a state of the art 430,000 sq ft warehouse facility that will vastly improve Hotel Chocolat’s storage and distribution capabilities.

Simon Brough, Consultancy Manager at WSP Engineering, said, “Seeing a blank canvas turn into an operational warehouse is very satisfying. The racking installation particularly is a real benchmark as to the progress that is being made, and the speed that it is erected once the foundations are in place is fascinating.“

In Summary

This project’s main challenge was coordinating the various contractors in installing a wide range of equipment across a large space.

WSP Engineering was able to plan and phase the works in an order that allowed sections of the warehouse to become operational and put into use by Hotel Chocolat.

The WSP Engineering team onsite displayed fantastic organisational skills and communication to ensure the project was delivered safely, to scope and on time.

Hotel Chocolat now have a great improvement to their storage and distribution capabilities.

Dave Pickup, Director of WSP Engineering, said, “We are proud to have worked on a project of this scale, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the capability within the WSP Engineering team. Turning 430,000 square feet into an efficient and fully functional warehouse was no small challenge, and we are pleased with the result, particularly the safe management of numerous contractors.

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