Peanut Butter Plumbing

The Following article and photography has been taken from NZ Plumber. Central Heating New Zealand is proud to be associated with Tim Miller Plumbing which is responsible for the heating and cooling installation.

Peanut Butter Plumbing

Likened to the magical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the newly launched Pic’s Peanut Butter World combines factory and public viewing experience in one. Matthew Lowe from NZ Plumber talked to the plumbers involved.

What do peanut butter and fish have in common? According to plumber Blair Ferguson, the factories where they are prepared share plenty of similarities—and he should know.

The team at Blair Ferguson Plumbing in Nelson worked on the new Pic’s Peanut Butter World, which opened its doors to the public in February.

“With its big volume pipes and washdown areas, the Pic’s factory is similar to fish processing factories we have worked on,” he says. “Quick recovery of hot water and drains that will cope with all the washdown are important elements for these kind of facilities where food is being produced.”



Rapid business growth

Pic’s employs 42 people at the 3,500sq m purpose-built site in the Nelson suburb of Stoke, and the general public can watch products being made from viewing platforms overlooking the working factory.

“This is place where our consumers and producers come together,” explains company founder Pic Picot, who started making peanut butter to sell at local markets in 2007.

The business has grown rapidly since its first year of operation, when Pic roasted peanuts in a concrete mixer heated by a Bunsen burner and sold 400 jars. It is now one of the premier peanut butter brands in New Zealand and sold worldwide.

Blair Ferguson Plumbing started talking with Pic’s almost two years ago about the factory and Blair was involved in all the design of the domestic and factory plumbing, and their requirements for water flows.

“I did their last factory as well and, while they do not need a huge amount of plumbing, the big requirements at both sites have been for high-flow hot and cold water, and high-flow drainage for washdown areas. “The first factory was retrofitted as the company grew—and the growth of Pic’s has been massive, which is why I am excited to have been part of the new premises and able to facilitate what the company needs moving forward.”

Besides plumbing work to help with peanut butter production, he and his team of four plumbers were also responsible for installing a commercial kitchen for the on-site café, staff showers and what a Pic’s spokeswoman calls its “funky customer bathrooms”.

“The design they wanted lined up with the compliance, so it was a pretty seamless process once we were on site,” says Blair. “It’s important to get those designs right because the last thing you want to be doing on site is having to finalise fresh decisions—so we made sure we got a lot of things ironed out early on.”

Efficient heating and cooling

Another Nelson company, Tim Miller Plumbing, was involved with installing the heating and cooling systems at the factory.

Director Tim Miller praises the efficiency of the new building, which has an insulated slab that he says is not commonly found on such industrial premises. “We were running pipes for the heat exchange and put in about four kilometres of pipework under the floor, and it is an insulated slab so it’s a pretty high-tech building,” Tim says.

“We were working across the whole build because we had to put in the underfloor heating before the slab went down and then we were back connecting it all up near the end of the build. “It’s a pretty cool building and it’s been a pleasure to work on it.”

Celebrating whimsy

Pic’s Peanut Butter World was designed by Simon Hall of JTB Architects, with the building project led by Coman Construction. “[It] is designed to capture the imagination and celebrate all things whimsical,” says Simon. “It can be likened to the factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but with peanut butter.

“Pic has an infectious enthusiasm for architecture and all things different and playful. Working with Pic to create his dream factory has been a fantastic process and it’s an exciting building for Nelson Tasman.” This year Pic’s expects to “squish” about 1,500 tonnes of nuts, sourced from growers in Queensland, Australia, and to produce about 3.5 million jars of peanut butter.