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Beyond Square Footage: Navigating the Complexities of Industrial Spaces

When navigating the maze of build out options for industrial space, several key factors must be addressed to ensure the facility aligns with operational needs and supports efficient workflow. The process of relocating is not only disruptive but also costly, which underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of how the chosen space can meet immediate needs and adapt to future growth. Below, we delve into several critical considerations for selecting a suitable location because it’s more than just finding a new home, it’s about creating an environment that supports current operations and nurtures future growth.

Floor Load Capacity:

  • Review the floors capacity to bear the weight of machinery, inventory, and operations. Fully understanding the floor load per SF for heavy machinery or storing large quantities of products.

    • Floor loads in an industrial building can vary depending on the intended use and when the building was constructed.

      • Industrial building floor loads vary based on intended use and construction date. For instance, distribution centers may require a floor load capacity ranging from 250-500 pounds per square foot (PSF), whereas newer centers with high-density storage systems might need up to 800 PSF.

Ceiling Height:

  • Adequate ceiling height is important for storage, manufacturing processes, and operation of machinery, like forklifts. Higher ceilings allow for more efficient racking systems and increased storage capacity.

    • Low Bay spaces typically range in height from 12’-20’, while high bay spaces typically fall within 32’-40’.

Power Supply:

  • Assess the available power to ensure the building has sufficient power for machinery and equipment. Take into consideration any future expansion or additional machinery needs, due to the high cost to bring in additional dedicated power. Some considerations of note include required amps and volts, necessity for 3 phase power, and current power usage at an existing facility.

Lighting:

  • Adequate lighting is essential for safety and productivity. Energy-efficient LED lighting is a must have. Natural lighting is also beneficial for employee well-being. Below are some examples of other lighting details to consider.  

    • Lighting Features to Consider:

      • Occupancy Sensors

      • Dimmable Lights

      • Average footcandles for adequate illumination.

        • 1 footcandle is equal to one lumen per SF

      • Color Rendering Index (CRI) for accurate color representation.

Dock Doors/Drive-Ins:

  • Evaluate the number, size, and type of loading docks and drive-in doors to best suit all shipping and receiving needs. Ensure the loading area supports your operation's scale, logistics, and security concerns.

  • Shipping & Receiving:

    • Adequate space for handling larger products and pallet disassembly.

    • If the loading area is shared, ensure there is a clear and accessible path from this area to the desired location within the tenant’s space.

Climate & Ventilation:

  • Climate control, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) can play an essential role in employee comfort, material preservation, and manufacturing processes. Considering important factors such as the need for dedicated zones, daily BTU output, ventilation rates, and air quality management. Energy-efficient HVAC systems are crucial for managing utility costs, especially in areas with specialized operational needs or large high bay spaces where heating and cooling expenses can rapidly increase.

Plumbing and Restrooms:

  • Adequate planning for restroom facilities and specialized plumbing for areas such as kitchenette/break areas, eye wash stations, and mop sinks.

Safety and Security:

  • Implement fire suppression systems, emergency exits, security cameras, and access controls tailored to each company’s specific risks and location.

Office Space:

  • If office space is required within the space, consider factors like size, layout, and integration with other operations within the facility.  

Parking and External Areas:

  • Sufficient parking for employees, truck access to loading, and any external storage needs.

Environmental Considerations:

  • Compliance with environmental regulations and the integration of sustainable practices can impact the build-out. Including, but not limited to waste management systems, energy efficiency measures, and materials selection.

Scalability and Flexibility:

  • Design the space with future growth in mind. Flexible spaces that can be adapted as the business evolves or as new processes are introduced can provide long-term value over the lease term.

Flooring:

  • There are several different types of flooring to consider based on budget, esthetic, types of machinery being used, level of traffic, etc.

Column Spacing:

  • Column spacing can be overlooked at times, but to make sure your business has adequate room between columns to ensure uninterrupted daily operations and optimal use of the facility’s floor area.

Machinery

  • Details on the type of machinery to be used, including weight, size dimensions, specialized power needs, and ensure there is suitable space within the facility to accommodate such machinery.

 

When planning the build-out of an industrial space, it's important to work closely with architects, engineers, and contractors who have experience in industrial projects. They can provide valuable insights into best practices, innovative solutions, and regulatory compliance. Moreover, a knowledgeable tenant representative can help tailor lease agreements to your build-out and operational needs, setting the foundation for your business’s success in its new industrial home. Picking the right industrial space is more than just a business move; it’s a strategic decision that impacts daily operations and long-term growth.

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