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BUILDING CONSTRUCTION/DESIGN 

Industrial buildings, given the driving force of demand for products and services, are typically purpose built. Structures are divided into three categories: general purpose, special purpose or single purpose. Single and special purpose dominant, given the need for distinct manufacturing and distribution processes. Because of heady customization, existing industrial property in the resale market can be slow-moving. Prospective buyers must evaluate costs associated with substantial modifications required to accommodate alternate uses. Given that industrial structures are process-intensive, improvements can be particularly vulnerable to obsolescence. Ceiling heights, clear spans and floor loads acceptable only decades ago can render a building obsolete by today’s standards. Industrial Building Categories As mentioned, industrial building categories represent a classification system based on purpose and are typically divided into three main categories. General Purpose: Buildings offering features and facilities for a wide range of alternate uses. General purpose building are understandable the most common type of structure as they have the widest appeal in the industrial market. Speculative construction is almost totally devoted to this category. Special Purpose: Buildings offering selected features of particular interest to specialized industrial processes; e.g., distribution centres that have extensive leading dock facilities. Often such buildings have loading docks on both sides to facilitate cross-docking. Other types of specialized warehousing or manufacturing building may require reinforced floors for storage and heavy vehicular traffic. The special purpose building is not restricted to one particular user, but is best described as one that has narrower applicability than a general purpose structure. Single Purpose: The single purpose building has little or no potential for conversion to uses other than those of the intended user, for example, an oil refinery or selected types of heavy industrial manufacturing plants. A single purpose building could be converted, but the cost of conversion would be significant and usually neither economically feasible nor practical. Single purpose buildings have traditionally proven difficult to market given unique features constructed for a specific user. As well, such facilities can be challenging from an appraisal perspective owing to the lack of comparable properties. Building Construction Industrial buildings are typically constructed of concrete block, pouted concrete, steel or some combination thereof. Block buildings, often with brick facing on the front and two sides, have traditionally been favoured, but steel buildings now generally dominate single storey small and medium- sized industrial structures. Design characteristics will vary depending on whether the intended use is light or heavy industrial. Heavy industrial requires additional structural floor, column and ceiling reinforcement, along with higher bays and clear height to address such things are stationary or moving cranes, stamping equipment, large processing equipment and raw material storage. Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings In recent years, pre-engineered steel buildings have gained widespread popularity. Pre-engineering offers various advantages, most notably lower cost than traditional construction methods, the speed at which these building can be assembled on-site and long-term durability. The manufacturer may have approved contractors to handle all related services including erection services, foundations, finishing electrical, mechanical and lighting systems. The pre-engineered building has gained popularity, given its relative simplicity from the buyer’s perspective. The industrial user need only establish the size/shape of the building and location of windows, doors and loading docks. An engineer then creates blueprints and related specifications in line with user requirements and the Ontario Building Code. The building is ordered and manufactured at a factory with all parts pre-cut to exact dimensions as set out in the blue prints. A significant time advantage can be gained, as the site work is finalized while the building components are manufactured. Once the structure is erected, the customer can add interior walls, insulation, finishes and so forth.


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