Writing the book on smarter warehouse design and construction

Going as far back as the first time someone stockpiled grain, warehouses and distribution centers have remained essential to societies and economies.

They haven’t always been in the forefront, but they’re on everyone’s mind today: The recent pandemic proved that logistics networks could be better, a fact that the industry has met with an unprecedented push to increase efficiency and speed while expanding product lines and capacity.

Innovation in the ways these critical spaces are designed and built has been just as explosive as demand for new capacity of the structures themselves.

The successful builders? They’re the ones who know how to stay a step ahead.

Warehouse distribution center from above

“Speed to market is critical”

So said Todd Imming, our Chief Marketing Officer, in comments published by the Engineering News-Record.

“Construction schedules have always been tight, and that trend will continue. However, advances in Design-Build delivery and Tilt-Up concrete construction certainly have helped companies like ours remain on schedule and budget,” he said.

This is true no matter the project type. While lots of brand new distribution centers are rising from freshly prepared sites, just as many projects involve extensive interior renovations and facility expansions.

And competition is fierce. With demand as strong as it is, it’s a sure bet that if you don’t get new spaces stood up fast enough to meet market demand, someone else will beat you to it.

The market doesn’t bet on losers.

That’s why Design-Build is the best option for warehouse and distribution center construction projects. It keeps all stakeholders on the same page eliminates conflicts and delays.

The result? Speed to market secured.

“The value of these facilities cannot be overstated,” Todd said. “They protect inventory and, when designed and constructed correctly, improve on the efficiency with which inventory is received, sorted, retrieved and shipped.”

The proof is in the projects

We consider ourselves fortunate to have learned and worked with the best as we’ve come into our own as a major distribution center construction company.

In that time, we’ve formed a handful of strong long-term construction partnerships:

The Hershey Company

Our first Hershey project was construction of a massive, 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois.

The facility relied on 18 rooftop HVAC units to maintain an inside temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% relative humidity at all times. Those precise conditions were necessary to preserve the quality of the $1 billion or so of inventory inside the facility.

Exterior of building

A few years later, we returned to build another 292,000 square feet onto the existing facility.

Next, we completed a 45,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of office space in Bentonville, Arkansas.

And finally, just a couple years ago, we wrapped up construction of a brand new fulfillment center in Annville, Pennsylvania. Just up the road from the town that took the company’s name, the facility totals 819,200 square feet.

Amazon

The world’s largest e-retailer is a frequent repeat customer, too.

We’ve delivered a wide range of projects for Amazon across the country, including traditional warehouses and new grocery distribution hubs among them.

The most noteworthy of our two-dozen or so Amazon projects was the recently completed Global Specialty Fulfillment facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. The 1.2 million square-foot facility includes climate controlled sections ranging from 55 degrees to -10 degrees Fahrenheit and features a state-of-the-art carbon dioxide refrigeration system — a green alternative to legacy hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigeration.

Interior of building

U.S. Postal Service

This is our longest-running active construction partnership with around 50 projects large and small completed across the country over the last 30 years.

Construction of a new mail plant in Portland, Oregon was noteworthy for the horrendous winter weather that threatened a very tight construction timeline. Even so, we completed the 800,000-square-foot facility months ahead of schedule.

And just this summer, we finished a major renovation plus 390,000-square-foot expansion of a Processing & Distribution Center in Los Angeles. The project was carefully choreographed, sometimes requiring work around the clock at different locations on the property so that mail processing and construction each could carry on uninterrupted.

exterior of building

Want smarter design and construction?

Then the smart move is getting in touch with someone who’s been there and done that. And one thing’s for sure: we’ve got a little gray hair.

And that’s a good thing.

Reach out here.

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