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Agile storage solutions

08 May 2018

Stephanie Coyle, sales executive & warehouse specialist at Rubb Buildings discusses a challenging industrial property market with HSS editor Simon Duddy.

HSS: What developments are you seeing in warehouse property and how is that impacting demand for temporary buildings?

Stephanie Coyle: Flexibility is the key for warehouses of the future. At the recent UKWA conference various important trends were highlighted. There continues to be a very high demand for warehousing, alongside falling development and availability. With a fall in warehouse vacancy rates we are finding our clients are looking to utilise the available land they have by creating custom designed fabric warehouse solutions to expand and enhance their temporary and permanent storage space options. Rubb structures can be quickly installed on site, but also can be modified, extended or even moved to suit changing operational needs. This allows ends users flexibility in how they operate and use their warehouse space.

HSS: Why is good quality warehousing in short supply?

SC: There is very high demand for warehousing but lack of availability. At the UKWA conference Kevin Mofid, Director of Research at Savills, highlighted just 6.5% vacancy rates in 2017-2018 with just 3% in London compared with was 25-30% in 2007. Meanwhile there has been a falling demand for pre-let, expensive properties. A greater shift towards online business means a greater demand and increased competition for cost effective, quality 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) storage space.

HSS: What trends are driving greater demand for warehousing? 

SC: According to a recent UKWA/CBRE survey 20% of businesses are looking to expand at their current locations. Kevin also commented: “2018 Q1 has been the best quarter of all time for take up in the ‘build to suit’ sector. This is good news for the health of the sector and economy.” People are looking for facilities with agility, shorter leases and flexible space. Big warehouses are big news and Rubb can help design flexible ‘build to suit’ storage solutions which means the warehouse occupier can be more efficient with the space they have.

HSS: How important is the drive to online retail in creating demand for warehouse space?

SC: Very important. According to John Munnelly, Head of Operations at John Lewis, “logistics is becoming the new retail”. 65% of activity in logistics is retail driven. A greater shift towards online business means a greater demand and competition for cost effective 3PL storage space so companies can adapt to eCommerce demands and the demands of their customers. Amazon took a quarter of available UK logistics space in 2016 and the key takeaway from this is that businesses are going to need a lot more warehouse space for storing more product in the UK. They are also looking for the ability to be able to make structural alterations to accommodate future demands.

HSS: How much of an impact is Portside development having on the demand for warehouse space?

SC: We have seen increased expansion and developments at a high number of ports from the Ports of Tyne and Blyth in the North East to the Port of Tilbury in the South. Alongside this is a growth in the renewable energy market sector and environmental drives towards oil and gas remediation and decontamination work. The Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy has produced new energy in the marine sector as well. This, together with a general trend that more than 95% of imports and exports by volume, and 75% by value still pass through the country’s ports, means that there is an increased demand for flexible storage warehouse solutions.

HSS: What benefits can users expect from Rubb buildings?

SC: Flexibility, agility, capability and dependability. With Rubb, businesses can consider how to best use their existing space in order to remain agile in an ever-changing world. Flexible warehouse space provides businesses with many unique advantages. The benefits of Rubb buildings include fast design, manufacture and construction, with the flexibility to be adapted, modified, extended or relocated if needed. This allows clients to adapt quickly to change.

Our warehouse solutions are custom designed specifically for the geographic location in which they will be first situated. We design our structures to all relevant standards and codes to deliver the highest quality UK manufactured facilities. We source many of our materials from local companies and we even galvanise our structural steelwork at a plant only five miles from our factory. Our ‘alternative building solutions’ are energy efficient and sustainable (reusable and recyclable).

HSS: Are Rubb buildings necessarily ‘temporary’?

SC: No not necessarily. Rubb warehouses are as temporary as our clients need them to be. While often seen as a temporary solution to a storage space challenge, which we are happy to provide, our buildings are built to last, and can be a good investment for people with changing logistical and operational requirements. Our galvanised steel framework has a guarantee of 25 years and our PVC a guarantee of 10 years, with this in mind however we have structures still in use which were installed 40 years ago. Rubb warehouse structures are built to last and feature all the engineered quality and ‘built to code’ advantages of a traditional warehouse.

Stephanie Coyle

Sales Executive – Warehouse Specialist