Light Industrial  

by WBDG Staff



Light Industrial space types are used for the assembly, disassembly, fabricating, finishing, manufacturing, packaging, and repairing or processing of materials. Light Industrial space types can include but are not limited to spaces for printing, commercial laundry, photographic film processing, vehicle repair garages, building maintenance shops, metal work, millwork, and cabinetry work.

See also Warehouse building type and Warehouse space type.

Space Attributes

Light Industrial space types must be designed to accommodate a structured working environment with a heavy reliance on machinery and technology. Well laid out circulation spaces are crucial to the safety and well being of building occupants, and will also increase productivity. Typical features of Light Industrial space types include the list of applicable design objectives elements as outlined below. For a complete list and definitions of the design objectives within the context of whole building design, click on the titles below.

Functional / Operational

  • Account for Functional Needs: Light Industrial space types are often designed with higher bays to take advantage of vertical storage. Utilization of space is maximized while providing adequate circulation paths for personnel and machinery.
  • Design for Live Loads: Designs should anticipate the loads of stored materials and associated handling equipment, typically 250 LB/SF. Snow, wind, and seismic loads shall be considered where they are applicable. Racking in seismic areas must be built stronger and be better braced.
  • Power and Utility Requirements: While general assumptions about power and utility needs can be made, specific machinery and industrial practices will mandate certain essential steps. Typical electrical requirements for the Light Industrial space types include high voltage service to every shop area and a dedicated circuit for every machine station at 250 SF per machine station. Light Industrial space types typically include one floor drain for every two building bays, as well as sand and oil traps on waste lines.
  • Loading Dock: Light Industrial space types are typically designed with one electro-hydraulic dock leveler per every five truck bays.
  • Occupancy: Occupancy Group Classification is Factory Industrial Group F-1, Moderate Hazard with sprinklered construction. See also WBDG Secure/Safe—Fire Protection


  • Special HVAC: Provide proper ventilation under all circumstances. Plan for 100% exhaust from storage areas with paint, petroleum, aerosol, or other minor amounts posing moderate hazard storage conditions. Provide carbon monoxide detectors in areas where combustion engines may be present, and combustible gas detection in areas where fuels and combustible gases may be present. Both of these detection systems should be connected to the alarm and exhaust ventilation system. For more information, see WBDG Sustainable—Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality.

Secure / Safe

  • Hazardous Material Handling: As the storage and handling of hazardous materials may be a common daily activity in the Light Industrial space type, designs can include areas within the space that can accommodate such materials safely.

Example Program

The following building program is representative of Light Industrial space types.


Tenant Assignable Spaces
Qty. SF Each Space Req'd. Sum Actual SF Tenant Usable Factor Tenant USF
Office Spaces            
  Front Office       350    
    Clerk 1 80 80      
    General Manager 1 150 150      
    Engineering Offices 1 120 120      
  Office Support Spaces       80    
    Support/File Room 1 80 80      
    Tenant Suite (subtotal)       430 1.34 575
Receiving And Shipping       4,100 1.09 4,481
    Docks 4 400 1,600      
    Staging 1 2,500 2,500      
Production       33,700 1.12 37,587
    Unprocessed Inventory 1 1,000 1,000      
    Processed Lines 5 3,000 15,000      
    Machinest Stations 40 300 12,000      
    Work in Process Inventory 1 1,000 1,000      
    Finished Testing 4 500 2,000      
    Finished Inventory 1 1,500 1,500      
    Maintenance Engineering Shop 1 800 800      
    Tool Crib 1 400 400      
    Tenant Suite       38,230 1.12 42,643
Tenant Usable Areas           42,643

Example Plans

The following diagrams are representative of typical tenant plans.

Utility shell with light industrial space type and warehouse space type

Example Construction Criteria

For GSA, the unit costs for Light Industrial space types are based on the construction quality and design features in the following table . This information is based on GSA's benchmark interpretation and could be different for other owners.

Relevant Codes and Standards

The following agencies and organizations have developed codes and standards affecting the design of Light Industrial space types. Note that the codes and standards are minimum requirements. Architects, engineers, and consultants should consider exceeding the applicable requirements whenever possible.

Additional Resources


Building Types


Design Objectives

Accessible—Beyond Accessibility to Universal Design, Functional / Operational—Account for Functional Needs, Seure / Safe—Fire Protection, Sustainable—Optimize Energy Use