Industrial tenants gain from greater building efficiencies and better products.
The days when construction materials were limited to bricks, steel and concrete – or, in the case of many industrial estates, corrugated iron – are long gone.
Construction companies now have a much wider choice of materials and methods. As well as the advantages this evolution offers the builder, the new materials also benefit the end user. Namely, the tenant.
Industrial facilities typically start with a prefabricated steel portal frame structure, which can be built offsite then transported for erection when needed.
Illustrating that there are no set and forget methods in today’s dynamic construction industry, some companies have started to examine the potential of timber portal frames. Timber frames are yet to take off as an industrial building base in Australia, but they offer a key benefit over steel frames when it comes to fire resistance. It may seem counter intuitive, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that while steel can suddenly melt in a fire, the char on the outside of a thick timber post tends to protect the wood inside from decomposition.
As well as the frame, the walls can also be prefabricated. Precast concrete wall panels can be manufactured offsite, then delivered and bolted together shortly after the portal frame is erected – a process which can save many hours of building time and offer greater speed to market.
But perhaps the ultimate in prefabrication is a new construction trend you may have noticed popping up on industrial estates around the country: the use of old shipping containers. Built to withstand heavy loads and stacking, the sturdy units can form the basis of industrial office spaces, café facilities, or practically anything else you can think of. They boast plenty of inbuilt advantages, not least of which is cost and time savings.
There’s no stopping technological innovation when it comes to other parts of the building, either.