The Warehouse space type is designed to store goods and materials, as well as to allow for the regular circulation of occupants, vehicles, and machinery that are typically associated with the handling of these goods and materials. Essential to this space type is the capacity to accommodate vertical storage, space for vehicle material movement, and anticipated high floor loads.
See also WBDG Warehouse Building Type.
A wide range of storage alternatives, picking alternatives, material handling equipment and software exist to meet the physical and operational requirements of a warehouse space type, and proper integration of these features is essential. Warehouse spaces must also be flexible enough to adapt to future operations and storage needs. Typical features of Warehouse 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.
- Sense of Place: Create a 'sense of place' so the warehouse has a unique character that engenders a sense of pride, purpose, and dedication for individual workers and the workplace community.
- Access to Goods and Materials: Design the warehouse space with appropriate storage systems that allow ease of access by workers and equipment to goods and materials. Plan for appropriate systems to reach items at low and high levels within the space and goods and materials with different shelf lives.
When warehouse productivity and efficiency are increased, operational costs decrease. Incorporate these strategies to make the warehouse space more cost-effective.
- Technologies: Incorporate warehouse management systems (WMS) to improve inventory management and visibility. Benchmarking can also be incorporated in order identify the key processes and ways to improve or refine them.
- Occupancy: Occupancy Group Classification is Storage Group S in Group S-1 or S-2 classifications with sprinklered construction. See also WBDG Secure/Safe—Fire Protection
- Optimize the Warehouse Processes: Utilize planning and technology to optimize the warehouse processes of receiving, putaway, storage, picking, packing, and shipping. Optimizing these six processes will streamline the warehouse operations, reduce costs and errors, and achieve a higher level of efficiency.
- Security Systems: Include appropriate security systems in the overall warehouse design including physical access controls, cameras and sensors, cybersecurity measures, and also provide security training.
The following building program is representative of Warehouse space types.
Tenant Assignable Spaces
|Qty.||SF Each||Space Req'd.||Sum Actual SF||Tenant Usable Factor||Tenant USF|
|Office Support Spaces||80|
|Receiving And Shipping||4,100||1.09||4,481|
|Tenant Usable Areas||42,592|
The following diagram is representative of typical tenant plans.
Example Construction Criteria
Relevant Codes and Standards
Warehouses must be designed to meet all local building, fire, and life-safety codes. When in doubt, consult with the local building official. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also provides guidance for warehouse safety.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.)
- 29 C.F.R. Part 1903.1 et seq.—Inspections, Citations, and Proposed Penalties of Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
The following agencies and organizations have developed codes and standards affecting the design of Warehouse space types. Note that the codes and standards are minimum requirements. Architects, engineers, and consultants should consider exceeding the applicable requirements whenever possible.
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- National Fire Protection Association
- U.S. Access Board
- U.S. General Services Administration
- Veterans Administration
- American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
- Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE)
- International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW)
- International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- The International Society of Logistics (SOLE)
- Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC)
- Architectural Graphic Standards, 12th Edition by The American Institute of Architects, Dennis J. Hall. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016.
- "Guide to Sizing Warehouse Aisles for Various Types of Lift Trucks" by Edward Brown. WarehouseIQ.com, October 8, 2011.
- Rules of Thumb: Warehousing and Distribution Guidelines, 11th edition by TranSystems, 2010.
- The Time, Space & Cost Guide to Better Warehouse Design, Second Edition by Maida Napolitano and Gross & Associates. August 24, 2017.
- Warehouse Safety: A Practical Guide to Preventing Warehouse Incidents and Injuries by George Swartz. 1999. ISBN: 0865876479
- Warehousing Profitably, Third Edition by Kenneth Ackerman. The Distribution Group, 2011.
- Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK)—an interactive portal offering online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of building, from predesign, design, and construction through occupancy and reuse.