Warehouses are evolving to include new design requirements to support the rapid adoption rate of shopping online. When you’re looking for your next industrial space, whether it’s a lease or build-to-suit, it’s important to consider the implications of how a physical space can help your business run efficiently – especially if e-commerce is part of your platform. We’ve aggregated four key trends we’re seeing in warehouse design.
Trend 1: Taller Warehouses
If e-commerce makes up a portion of your business, you may want to consider a building with more clear height to increase your efficiency and volume. The supply of taller warehouses is on the rise. JLL recently reported an average clear height of 36’-40’, which has increased from a 1990 average of 24’-26’. This ranges significantly across markets, with more dense markets oftentimes supplying more tall warehouses. Middle Tennessee may not be considered a dense market just yet, but over the past three years we’ve seen a steady increase in buildings at 36’ and with the recent influx of e-commerce users, we anticipate more investment in warehouses at 40’, especially as land becomes more expensive and scarce.
Trend 2: Wider Bay Spacing
Bay spacing has also been increasing in recent years. “Wider is better” is generally accepted in both single load and cross docked facilities. Column spacing has increased from the prior standard of 50’ to more recent specifications ranging from 52’, 54’ and 56’ wide. Typically, wider bay spacing can be accommodated in larger, taller buildings. Although spacing in the depth direction is less critical for your efficiency, deeper loading bay (speed bay) depths are becoming more frequent. While 60’ speed bays used to be the norm, it’s not uncommon to find 70’ bays in buildings approaching 1,000,000 SF and greater.
Trend 3: Increased Power Capacity
A building’s electrical infrastructure supports a variety of requirements in the modern warehouse. Automation brings about more material handling equipment that needs to be powered and with the rapid pace of technological advances, it also means providing the flexibility for quick and easy expansion. If employee comfort is on your list of requirements, conditioning the warehouse space is a must. While conditioning seems simple, there are many factors to consider. Conditioning can often increase the electrical load by 50% or more, so it’s critical to understand the building’s electrical infrastructure ahead of time.
Trend 4: Increased Parking
Despite the hype around driverless cars and trucks, parking ratios remain high and are continuing to increase with the rise in Last Mile distribution. While ratios at 1/2,000 SF used to be common, they are now being driven to 1/1,000 SF or higher. Speculative developers are also increasing delivery van parking and greater trailer storage, often at the expense of building coverage. As a result, you may want to pay close attention to your traffic circulation requirements.
As the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains and alter consumer spending patterns, the short- and long-term impacts on distribution channels are still evolving. A trusted partner can help bring your vision to life, ensuring that you have total cost and schedule visibility for a smooth transition into your new space.
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