6) Sheds and beds...
Tim Ward from Chetwoods Architects started the session on the Warehouse of the Future, saying that flexibility in warehouse space is key.
Warehouse space availability is decreasing but the demand for urban space is increasing, being fuelled by the increase in eCommerce sales. There is a focus on the London area, where 16% of industrial land has been lost to residential.
The key trends will be for warehouse space to go up, with Tim giving the example of a Hong Kong facility over multiple floors, which could even accommodate HGVs on upper levels. The other trend will be to integrate warehouse space into mixed use developments. This could include warehouse space in basements, with retail and residential on subsequent floors, topped off with parks and community spaces.
Also as the war on cars in cities grows, vacant car parks are said to be prime for redevelopment, as are larger vacant retail outlets similar to those occupied by Toys'R'Us.
There is also a trend to builder higher quantities of smaller urban warehouse for last mile logistics. Aisling Sands from Kingspan said they have seen growth in 15,000 sq ft warehouse developments. Kingspan in the past have supplied eight 1m sq ft warehouses per year. In 2017 they only supplied one.
However, it was said that existing landlords are looking to bring existing space up to standard by upgrading lighting and other sustainable features, so that they can demand the high level of rents that can be achieved.
Warehouses will undoubtedly change in the future, but at present occupiers need to consider how to better use their existing space in order to remain flexible.
Image Right: Photo by UKWA on Twitter