What exactly is a clear height?
The “clear ceiling height” is the maximum height at which merchandise may be kept securely on racking. It is also described as a building’s height from the ground to the bottom of the lowest-hanging component on the ceiling, for instance sprinklers or HVAC ducts.
Why is it so relevant?
The clear height of a warehouse determines its capacity. Thus, by extending the clear height from 32 feet to 36 feet, a tenant may enhance the capacity of a warehouse by 10% to 25%. Admittedly, actual warehouse capacity is the amount of merchandise that can be kept in a three-dimensional space—a volume (cubic feet) measurement instead of an area measurement (square feet).
Effect of ceiling height on building activities
A deck of products typically measures 64 inches in length, which means that a structure with 32-foot ceilings may stack four to six pallets high. A structure with 36-foot ceilings can offer approximately 10% and 25% greater capacity. However, the expense of the extra height must be weighed against the cost of a bigger structure with lower ceilings—taking into consideration that the higher ceilings are really used.
Low ceiling heights limit the amount of goods that can be housed in a facility, as well as the type of equipment as well as machinery that may be operated or moved about. Numerous manufacturers have equipment that need high ceilings, such as monorail networks that transport products for processing.
Take a look around the world to understand ceiling heights better
Warehouse space is constantly in great demand in California’s Inland Empire. As customers migrate their retail purchases to e-commerce, the requirement for space to store and transport those items increases. E-commerce merchants require three times the amount of storage space as traditional retailers to generate the same amount of money; figures like these indicate that demand in the already-congested Inland Empire will not be easing down anytime soon.
You have to look up to properly appreciate the changing dynamics of industrial demand. Literally. Whereas in the past, small and mid-sized industrial properties would have had 24- to 26-foot clear heights, 32-foot clear heights are now the current minimum, with buildings seldom being erected less than that—even ones with specifications under 100,000 square feet.Clear heights have climbed by 25% in the previous two decades.
The evident height dispute is centred on the 32- to 40-foot area. There is no exact science to determining which clear height inside that spectrum will suit specific user needs, especially for speculative products. However, increasing clear heights promotes an asset’s long-term viability since shops want more room to store merchandise.
36-foot clear heights are becoming more common for 3PLs, e-commerce sellers, and storage organisations, enabling room for a full six pallet positions of racking so that more merchandise may be stored—providing leverage above shorter buildings with the identical square area. A four-foot difference in clear heights can improve storage capacity by 10% to 25%.The difficulty is to balance the gain in space with the price discrepancy associated with higher facilities.
Amazon has established the standard, setting clear heights in its one million square foot or larger big-box industrial sites. Clear heights of 36 and 40 feet are usual in these structures. However, until lately, large merchants such as Amazon and Walmart were in a league of their own, with smaller warehouses keeping to clear heights of 30 feet or less.
Nevertheless, 36-foot clear heights are already being seen in smaller locations. Alere Property Group erected a 700,000-square-foot structure with a minimum clearance of 36 feet in 2016. The unpre-leased structure was divided into two sections: 225,000 square feet as well as 475,000 square feet.
Alere has also completed and rented two experimental ventures, one 671,000 square-foot building in Fontana and another 1.1 million square-foot structure in Moreno Valley, both with a 40-foot clear height—a first for buildings that are not previously pre-leased or planned for a build-to-suit.
The typical clear height in structures below 300,000 square feet is roughly 32 feet, however this figure is rising. In Ontario, Liberty Property Trust will construct a 94,000-square-foot structure with a clear height of 36 feet. Liberty Property Trust, like Alere, made the option to deliver a higher clear height in order to fulfil future tenant demand.
Getting around clear heights
Raising clear heights has various advantages. More mezzanine levels and taller racking systems can be accommodated with more clearance. Building up has a clear advantage in the Inland Empire, where typical rents are substantially higher than in other parts of the country.
The main dispute takes place in the 150,000 to 250,000 square-foot range, since here is where the cost difference of providing additional clearance is most noticeable. In the Inland Empire, these small to medium structures will most certainly persist to convert and expand to 36-foot clear heights.
In certain cases, developers have started a trend of planning and creating structures as tiny as 40,000 square feet with a 32-foot minimum clearance to guarantee the facilities can withstand the extremely dynamic demands renters have for logistical facilities.
While new areas with higher clearance are gradually being created, the Inland Empire is densely packed with numerous older, smaller warehouse spaces with clear heights of less than 30 feet. We estimate that these buildings will not undergo substantial renovation or demolition very soon due to the great demand for space in the neighbourhood.
Creative racking as well as stacking methods can nevertheless enable consumers to put a large quantity of merchandise in these spaces, therefore they can be more cost-effective due to the 15 to 25% difference between new and used spaces.
We anticipate that older, lower clear height industrial areas will remain to be in great demand, however that fresh spaces would not be developed lower than 30 feet, with a typical minimum clear height of 32 feet. Clients want millions of new items, and the only way to store and deliver them, specifically in an expanding constrained environment, will be with higher clearance that allows users to place a “warehouse on top of a warehouse.”