The unprecedented growth of the industrial & logistics sector

Our Head of Commercial Architecture in Birmingham, Stuart Adlam, attended the BEN Shed and Logistics Development Conference last week. Here are his takeaways from the event and how Woods Hardwick is supporting this rapidly accelerating sector! 

It was good to hear from a range of speakers including logistics operators, consultants and developers outlining their experience of the recent, rapidly accelerating growth of the sector.

While the office, high street retail and hospitality sectors are unfortunately struggling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, online retail and logistics sectors are reporting unprecedented growth. After initial contraction at the start of the pandemic, subsequent consumer shift to online retail has seen what some are describing as a decades worth of accelerated expansion to the sector since March, with demand for warehouse and logistics space at an all-time high as companies shift emphasis to meet the change in consumer behaviour and online demand.

With Covid restrictions leading to an increased pace of technologising of the home, the sector suggests it is expecting the online shift and high growth levels to continue. However, there is a shortage of land and appropriately specified new building stock designed to accommodate the modern, technology-based requirements as many retailers shift their traditional operations to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

With it being reported in a recent study by Knight Frank that 92 million sq ft of additional space will be required by 2024 to meet new development requirements, we will certainly see challenges ahead. Pressure on land will have to be considered alongside environmental, transport, landscape and ecological impact, with the development of operational and delivery decarbonisation strategies and alternative technologies. Critically, as architects, planners, and engineers, we will need to work within restrictive and often lengthy planning and construction timescales to meet demand and enable the logistics sector to adapt quickly to opportunities of the rapidly changing market place.

Woods Hardwick has particular experience in the shed and logistics sector, having successfully delivered a number of warehouse and logistics projects across the UK. With the recent opening of our Birmingham Commercial Architecture division, we are excited to enhance our integrated practice strategy bringing our experience to the Midlands, working alongside our planning and civil engineering teams already established in the region.

If you have a prospective or ongoing project or perhaps a landowner with a potential site with access to transport infrastructure, we would be glad to assist at any stage of the development process, from feasibility through planning process to onsite delivery.

Contact Stuart Adlam to discuss your project or potential logistics site.