To Build or Not to Build to 36- or 40-Foot Clear?

Fall 2013

This year’s I.con included much discussion — but no definitive answers — on the topic of building new warehouse/distribution facilities to 36- or even 40-foot clear heights.

The following were among the issues discussed:

  • E-commerce users seem to be talking about 40-foot clear heights, but building developers/owners need to be cautious about understanding what customers really want, and not get ahead of them.
  • The primary advantage of a 40-foot clear height appears to be that it offers the option of three mezzanine levels.
  • Only a few users (as little as 6 percent) are asking for 36-foot clear heights today.
  • Some owners have discussed raising the roofs on existing product, but acknowledge that doing so would cost about $15 per square foot.
  • One challenge of going to 40-foot clear heights is that it requires rethinking both lighting and sprinkler systems.