Warehouses once were dank, dark facilities, often located in industrial areas where few people would want to spend much time. But warehouses, particularly in Florida, are embracing new building and design specifications that are changing the long-established perception that these structures simply exist as a place where cargo stays put.
Companies can no longer afford to simply house goods and materials long-term. If cargo sits too long in one place, the logistics provider loses money.
To that end, warehouses are experiencing a dramatic redesign that maximizes storage space, improves efficiencies and incentivizes owners to create the most energy-and-environmentally-friendly facilities for workers, so they are comfortable spending time there and can perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
The three most significant changes I have observed in warehouse redesign all play a huge role in helping companies make the most of their available space, while also providing employees the room they need to be efficient. They are as follows:
- Reaching higher: As recently as eight years ago, the average ceiling height for a Class A building was 24 feet. The standard today is 32-to-36 feet. There’s a good reason for the added height. Higher ceilings can achieve much more volume in cubic feet, meaning you can store more pallets in less square footage. Higher ceilings are also more cost-effective where incremental construction costs of a higher ceiling are offset by larger storage volumes.
- Column spacing: A similar increase can be seen in column spacing, which traditionally averaged 30 feet. Today, the norm is 54-foot column spacing, which allows for more narrow aisles and denser racking, hence more storage potential.
- More access: The increase in column spacing also allows for a third critical redesign element – additional loading doors. Adding more ways to enter and exit the space allows companies to run at an optimum level and provides for a more effective and efficient flow of goods.
An added benefit of the recent redesign push with warehouses is that the higher-quality construction means developers and builders may not have to pay more in costs or labor to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
LEED certification is essential in today’s commercial culture as it allows for the design, operation and construction of high-performance green buildings.
Energy efficient, environmentally-friendly construction standards help save money, conserve energy output and promote sustainable growth.
It’s also better for warehouse workers who benefit from such features as glass windows on top of loading docks allowing for natural light, a marked improvement from the traditional design. More and more warehouse redesign projects are opting for natural, LED lighting or compact fluorescent lamps.
Warehouses today represent a key resource in supply-chain logistics. They must function as more than just storage. Companies now look at warehouses as a critical component in the efficient flow and movement of their goods.
About the Author
Brian Smith concentrates on both the sales and leasing of industrial property and commercial land transactions. Mr. Smith’s diverse background includes tenant and landlord representation assignments, buyer and seller representation, land sales, assembly of critical mass projects for large institutions as well as business park leasing. Representing a wide range of companies, Mr. Smith’s clientele list includes medium to large owner/users, developers, private trusts, and publicly traded institutional ownership. Brian currently oversees the leasing of just over 6 million square feet of institutional grade industrial space located in various submarkets throughout Miami Dade County.