Warehouses Ceiling Heights by the Numbers

Warehouse ceiling heights have continuously risen over the past few decades. Many of the buildings constructed in the 1980’s featured a clear ceiling height of +/- 20′. For clarity, clear ceiling height is generally regarded as the height below any joists, trusses or lighting. In other words, it’s the maximum functional height that a company could use for racking or manufacturing. The actual ceiling height could be a few feet higher than the clear ceiling height but few people have any interest in the actual ceiling height.

The increase in ceiling heights is largely driven by warehousing and logistics companies looking to maximize the cubic space of a warehouse. This is a relatively new concept, whereas before the size of a warehouse was simply a computation of it’s square footage (length times width), the next generation of warehousing now adds height. Indeed, if a company can add another set of racking it will find new efficiencies with the added space. Combined with land constraints in certain markets, new warehouses are approaching 40′. Vancouver, for example, has many properties featuring 36′ to 40′ clear ceiling heights.

We recently conducted an analysis of new developments in Edmonton and the results indicate an increase in ceiling heights for new developments but none yet approaching the 36′ – 40′ threshold found in other markets. Here are four major industrial developments under way with the corresponding ceiling heights:

Cornerstone Business Park – Hopewell Developments – 28′ clear
Horizon Business Park – Hopewell Developments – 28′ clear
Northport Business Park – Oxford Properties – 28′ clear
Henday Industrial Park – WAM/Walton – 28′ – 32′ clear

There are speciality industrial buildings that have significantly higher ceiling heights, such as the 47′ clear ceiling height of Block 45 in Leduc, but they are certainly exceptions to the norm. In the case of Block 45, the unusually high ceiling height was custom built for the previous occupant.

New technology allows for advanced racking and computer systems but it does come with a cost. Notwithstanding the added cost of materials to increase the height, there may need to be upgrades to both the concrete slab, lighting and the sprinkler systems. Furthermore, there are increased operating costs, such as higher utility costs to heat the extra cubic space.  In a market like Edmonton’s, where there is a tremendous amount of land to expand into, it seems like 28′ – 32′ seems to be the optimal balance of cost and benefit.

Our Team

CHAD GRIFFITHS

CHAD GRIFFITHS

Partner

Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial and has finished as a top 15 producer Canada-wide for the past three years. Chad owes his success largely to his commitment to uncompromising client representation, his active involvement in the real estate and business communities and a lifelong pursuit of continuous learning.

RYAN BROWN

RYAN BROWN

Partner

Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton. He is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI’s top advisors in Canada. Having completed his Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance, his eye for detail and great understanding of the numbers associated with any business decision makes him an asset to his clients while providing them the highest level of service.

DARCIE BOUTEILLER

DARCIE BOUTEILLER

Associate

Darcie began her career in Commercial Real Estate after completing her studies in Business Administration. Her personable nature coupled with a results-driven attitude is a perfect match for customers. Darcie understands the importance of delivering a custom, accountable solution for her clients.

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2 thoughts on “Warehouses Ceiling Heights by the Numbers

    • To our knowledge there hasn’t been a study of that magnitude (nor would there even be a repository of data that would allow it to be analyzed). We could provide our own anecdotal assessment, but it would be based solely on our knowledge of Edmonton. Alternatively, a study could be conducted looking at 30 year old buildings in the major markets and comparing it to current standards. What do you require the data for?

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