A Look Into How Warehouse Construction Has Evolved

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A Look Into How Warehouse Construction Has Evolved

Posted on 05, Dec. 2023

In recent years, how warehouses are built has changed a lot because technology and e-commerce industries have grown quickly. With the rise of online shopping and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, warehouses have become logistical hubs designed to maximize supply chain efficiency. Let's explore the key areas that have seen a dramatic evolution in warehouse construction management.

Growing Warehouse Footprints

Warehouse spaces have evolved from small facilities dedicated solely to shipping and receiving to almost fully automated, high-tech processing centers. According to Dodge Data and Analytics, total warehouse construction projects increased from 49 million square feet to 283 million square feet between 2010 and 20181. The largest contributor to this growth is global giant Amazon, which operates approximately 250 million square feet of distribution warehousing real estate.

Amazon's warehousing network includes different building configurations of varying sizes, ranging from 600,000 to over one million square feet. This emphasis on size highlights the importance of accommodating the increasing demands of the e-commerce industry.

Relocations from Rural Areas

In the past, rural areas were considered ideal for warehouses due to their simpler infrastructure and lower population density, which facilitated truck and trailer navigation. The surge in e-commerce and the desire for swift shipping, especially among millennials, has resulted in a transition towards compact warehouses situated in prominent urban centers.

These urban warehouses prioritize vertical growth rather than outward expansion. This trend aligns with the growing sector of last-minute fulfillment and the expectation of lightning-fast shipping and same-day delivery services. Many of these facilities are renovations of existing spaces rather than new builds.

Stafford Starner, President of SJF Machine Handling Inc., notes that the boom in e-commerce has driven the need for industrial facilities in urban areas, resulting in multi-story warehouse developments replacing traditional, spread-out one-level designs.

Prioritizing Amenities

As the e-commerce industry continues to boom, the competition among skilled workers also increases. To attract and retain employees, warehouses are now prioritizing modern and comfortable amenities. Fully built-out kitchens with granite countertops, lounge areas with flat-screen TVs, fresh food vending machines, and dining areas are becoming the norm.

Contrary to predictions that automation would reduce the need for warehouse workers, many companies have experienced the opposite. Retailers often package items individually and rely on hundreds of workers each day to meet packaging requirements for shipping. This increased workforce has led to a demand for more parking spaces, with some facilities accommodating up to 1,500 vehicles.

In more temperate climates, some warehouses have even created landscaped outdoor areas for employee use. Warehouses that provide well-equipped employee facilities are better positioned to attract and retain workers.

Cold Storage is Red Hot

The growing popularity of online meal kits and grocery delivery sales has led to significant demand for cold storage space within warehouses. Based on 

information, we will need around 100 million more square feet of cold storage space in the next five years. This surge in demand has positioned food as the next disruptor in the industry.

However, handling perishable goods requires specialized infrastructure and protection during transit. Building industrial facilities with the necessary temperature control can cost four to five times more than traditional warehouses. Factors such as strong roofing to support heavy-duty cooling units and floors capable of maintaining below-ground cooling systems must be considered.

Despite the added complexity and cost, the trend towards increased need for cold storage facilities presents an opportunity for warehouses to invest in the necessary warehouse infrastructure and compete in the market.


In the past few years, the warehousing industry has gone through big changes because technology and online shopping have grown quickly. Warehouse construction management has evolved to meet the demands of online shopping and the need for efficient supply chain management. From the expansion of warehouse footprints to the relocation of facilities from rural areas to urban centers, the industry has adapted to cater to the demands of modern consumers.

Moreover, the emphasis on employee amenities and the rise of last-minute fulfillment have reshaped warehouse designs and construction projects. The growing demand for cold storage facilities further highlights the need for specialized warehouse infrastructure to meet the requirements of perishable goods.

As the industry keeps getting bigger and changing, building new warehouses will be important for helping the e-commerce and technology industries grow. Adapting to these changes and investing in the necessary warehouse 

infrastructure will be crucial for businesses looking to remain competitive in the evolving landscape of warehouse construction. 

BuildMyInfra will help you fulfill all your warehouse construction requirements and will help you make your business boom in this competitive environment.