A Time-Critical Project to Support a New Manufacturing Plant

Completed after just 10 weeks on site

A new office complex was required following an investment of around £100 million in new paper manufacturing facilities at Smurfit Kappa’s Townsend Hook paper mill in Kent. This would allow the relocation of managers and engineers from a number of old brick buildings into a purpose-designed, modern and centralised office complex.

The office scheme was delivered by the Portakabin Group after just 10 weeks on site. It was constructed off site using a Portakabin Design and Build solution to bring the facilities into use as fast as possible.

Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging solutions in the world. It has around 45,000 employees on approximately 370 production sites located in 21 European countries and is the only large-scale pan-regional player in Latin America. Its Townsend Hook site produces close to 250,000 tonnes of quality recycled containerboard material per year.

Townsend Hook is an extremely busy manufacturing facility, so by using an off-site solution, Smurfit Kappa could radically reduce any disruption caused by the office construction. The single-storey building was manufactured and partially fitted out at the Portakabin manufacturing centre in York and craned into position in just a few days over two phases.

“Our CEO visited the Portakabin manufacturing centre in York as part of the procurement process for this project and we were impressed with the Portakabin Design and Build solutions. Off-site construction has proved to be very cost efficient and significantly reduced the lead time for occupation compared to site-based building methods.                    

“It was critical for us to have this facility up and running as fast as possible to support the new manufacturing plant and as a number of older buildings had already been demolished as part of our major site redevelopment.

“The office complex has helped us to improve efficiency by accommodating managers and engineers under one roof rather than in several locations around the site. It provides a fantastic and comfortable working environment for our team, particularly in comparison with our previous brick buildings. The scheme was designed to suit our exact business needs and you would certainly never know this building had been manufactured in a factory.

“We worked very well with the Portakabin team and would definitely recommend the approach to other manufacturers needing to expand or upgrade their site facilities.”

Malcolm Wright, UK Purchasing Manager for the Paper Division, Smurfit Kappa

The site for the building is located on a water table and close to the River Medway. Portakabin engineered the building design to elevate it above the flood line which meant installing the steel modules on to metre-high piers to mitigate the flood risk.

Building Location


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