Types of Industrial Buildings: A Comprehensive Guide

Industrial Real Estate-The Backbone of Production
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Types of Industrial Buildings: A Comprehensive Guide

Industrial buildings play a crucial role in the manufacturing, storage, and distribution of products.

They serve as the backbone of various industries, providing the necessary space and infrastructure for businesses to carry out their operations efficiently.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of industrial buildings and their specific purposes.

From manufacturing buildings to storage and distribution facilities, as well as versatile flex spaces, we will delve into each category, highlighting their unique characteristics and functions.

Types of Industrial Buildings

Types of Industrial Buildings
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Manufacturing Buildings

Manufacturing buildings are dedicated spaces where products are manufactured and assembled.

These structures are designed to accommodate heavy machinery and specialized equipment.

Within the realm of manufacturing buildings, there are two primary sub-categories: heavy manufacturing buildings and light assembly buildings.

Heavy Manufacturing Buildings

Heavy manufacturing buildings are expansive facilities where large-scale production takes place.

These buildings are specifically tailored to accommodate the manufacturing of heavy products such as prefabs and trucks.

They often feature automated production systems that operate around the clock.

Due to the scale of production, heavy manufacturing buildings require a significant amount of space for both manufacturing and storage purposes.

Key Features of Heavy Manufacturing Buildings:

  • Vast area spanning hundreds of square meters
  • Equipped with three-phase power and a sizable docking area
  • Built to accommodate mass production and storage needs
  • Subject to complete renovation if production potential or structure changes

Light Assembly Buildings

Light assembly buildings, on the other hand, are suitable for manufacturing products that do not require heavy machinery.

These buildings are characterized by smaller or lighter manufacturing systems.

They do not have permanently installed assemblies or large supply units, making them more adaptable to changes in ownership or product lines.

Light assembly buildings may also include a smaller storage area for products awaiting shipment.

Key Features of Light Assembly Buildings:

  • Smaller and lighter manufacturing systems
  • Easy refurbishment and adaptation to changing ownership or products
  • Potential for a limited storage area within the building

Storage and Distribution Buildings

Storage and distribution buildings play a vital role in the logistics and supply chain management of businesses.

These buildings are specifically designed to store and distribute products efficiently.

Within this category, we have three primary types: general warehouses, distribution warehouses, and truck terminals.

General Warehouse Buildings

General warehouses serve as storage facilities for products that have been manufactured and assembled in manufacturing buildings.

These warehouses can be customized to meet specific storage requirements, such as refrigerated warehouses for perishable goods.

Unlike other types of industrial buildings, the location of general warehouses is less critical, as the focus is on long-term storage rather than frequent movement of goods.

Key Features of General Warehouse Buildings:

  • Customizable space to accommodate various types of products
  • Specialized configurations for product quality maintenance
  • Consideration of specific features like refrigeration or insulation

Distribution Warehouse Buildings

Distribution warehouses are strategically located near transportation routes, train stations, and airports.

Their primary purpose is to efficiently ship and distribute goods to end-users.

Proximity to the demand area enables quick order processing and timely delivery, regardless of the customer’s location.

Key Features of Distribution Warehouse Buildings:

  • Location in close proximity to transportation hubs
  • Strategic positioning to serve the demand area effectively
  • Efficient order processing and timely delivery

Truck Terminals

Truck terminals act as intermediate stations for transferring goods from one truck to another.

These facilities require the least amount of space among all types of industrial buildings.

Their main function is to expedite the transfer process, ensuring smooth and efficient logistics operations.

Flex Space Buildings

Flex space buildings offer versatility and adaptability, making them suitable for various purposes.

These buildings can be customized to meet specific business needs, including production units with storage facilities.

Flex spaces often combine office areas, showrooms, warehouses, and other business requirements.

Within the realm of flex space buildings, we have three main types: research and development (R&D) buildings, datacenter buildings, and showrooms.

Research and Development (R&D) Buildings

R&D buildings are essential for companies engaged in product testing, development, and improvement.

These buildings provide specialized spaces for build and test purposes, accommodating lightweight manufacturing facilities and open areas for testing.

R&D buildings often form part of a business campus, featuring a cohesive architectural design, ample parking, and aesthetically pleasing open spaces.

Key Features of R&D Buildings:

  • Specialized spaces for product testing and development
  • Lightweight manufacturing facilities and open testing areas
  • Integration within a business campus with cohesive architecture

Datacenter Buildings

Datacenter buildings are specifically designed to house network equipment and store data related to business operations and customers.

These buildings require substantial floor space, often exceeding one lakh square feet.

To ensure the smooth operation of network equipment, datacenters are equipped with specialized cooling systems and emergency generators.

Security systems are also essential to protect expensive equipment, and reinforced floors are designed to withstand heavy equipment loads.

Key Features of Datacenter Buildings:

  • Large floor space to house network equipment and store data
  • Specialized cooling systems and emergency generators
  • Robust security measures and reinforced floors

Showroom Buildings

Showroom buildings exemplify the flexible nature of flex space buildings. They combine office space, storage facilities, and dedicated areas for showcasing products.

Showroom buildings are commonly used by car dealerships, furniture companies, and electronics stores.

A significant portion of the building area is dedicated to displaying and selling products.

Key Features of Showroom Buildings:

  • Integration of office space, storage facilities, and showroom areas
  • Ideal for businesses focused on product showcasing and sales


Industrial buildings encompass a wide range of structures that serve specific purposes within the manufacturing, storage, and distribution sectors.

Understanding the different types of industrial buildings is essential for businesses in various industries.

Whether it’s heavy manufacturing buildings, light assembly buildings, storage and distribution facilities, or versatile flex spaces, each category offers unique features and functions to support businesses’ operational needs.

By considering the distinct characteristics of these industrial buildings, businesses can make informed decisions about the most suitable spaces for their operations, ensuring efficiency and success in their respective industries.

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