Commercial trends change standards for minimum industrial warehouses' dimensions25/07/2023
Over time, technological advancements and the need to improve production processes to meet market demands have led to changes in the construction specifications of industrial warehouses.
The use of robots to streamline manufacturing processes and the need to optimize logistics operations are some factors that have influenced the design and construction criteria of industrial facilities for various purposes. In this article, we will focus on the latter aspect to describe some of the most significant changes that have taken place.
Technology and e-commerce as growth agents
In recent years, consumer buying trends have shifted, leading to the rise of online shopping and a reduced need for large retail spaces. However, this has generated the need for changes in facilities dedicated to logistics chains: delivering products directly to the end consumer demands greater capacity in distribution schemes and last-mile operation warehouses.
Logistics warehouses now require larger dimensions and heights, with a standard base of 32 feet (9.75 meters) to store more products. Such a specification also leads to an increase in the size of the structures, not only to provide more storage space but also to accommodate more space for forklift movement and personnel.
In areas experiencing industrial growth or initiatives to boost different industries, such as the industrial park in Guanajuato, various developers like Frontier Industrial implement these criteria to meet the critical requirements of other activities, including:
- Automotive industry
- Manufacturing industry
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Food industry
- Logistics industries
Thus, the trend in size aligns with the standards of manufacturing industries, where automation, usually in the form of robots, is used to streamline activities. But the increase in height and surface area is only one of the changes new trends demand.
Higher capacity equals greater structural demands
Tom Moorse, an architect at the American group HTG Architects, engaged in diverse projects, affirms in his article “Clear Height Considerations,” that design trends have evolved over decades towards higher clear heights in industrial warehouses to better utilize the facilities: from minimum standards of 24 feet (approximately 7.3 meters), dimensions have reached a point where, as a reference, the minimum height to consider is 30 feet (9.1 meters).
However, such modifications have simultaneously demanded compliance with new construction specifications: more stored products not only mean greater clear height to the roof; they also require more robust floors, leading to thicker and flatter material used when pouring the corresponding slab. Considering that large-scale distribution companies already opt for facilities with heights of up to 36 feet (approximately 10.97 meters) to achieve greater daily operational efficiency, these criteria may become increasingly popular.
At the same time, improved operations require wider aisles, thicker walls, better lighting, and even changes in emergency prevention systems. For example, fire fighting installations in taller buildings necessitate sprinklers with higher water flow capacity to comply with international standards.
Although standardized criteria serve as an initial guide, projects with specific company specifications are becoming increasingly common for those seeking to develop infrastructure for their activities. This is why, in areas like the industrial park in Guanajuato, at Frontier Industrial, we offer Build-to-Suit projects tailored to the requirements of our clients, always following market trends for Class A industrial facilities to meet the highest international standards in the main industrial areas of Mexico. Feel free to contact us and develop your project.