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Cost to build a warehouse

Cost to build a warehouse

Planning to build a warehouse?

You may be looking to help your business expand and reach new markets, or to streamline distribution and delivery processes. Or perhaps you’re replacing old facilities, or need extra storage space in a new location closer to other business premises or your customers.

With such a large, complex project, it’s crucial to plan a realistic budget and timescale for your warehouse build. You’ll need to think carefully about square footage and how you can maximise every last inch of space.

Location is also crucial – how easy will your warehouse be to access from local transport links? Do you need the latest technology or any special facilities? These considerations will all need to be factored into your plans.

In this guide, we’ll help you begin to plan your project with a look at the average cost to build a warehouse in the UK. Let’s get started.

How much does it cost to build a warehouse per square metre?

 Low costHigh costAverage cost
Cost to build a warehouse per square metre - basic£690£901£796
Cost to build a warehouse per square metre - large distribution centre£760£1,076£918
Warehouse mezzanine floor costs per square metre£75£120£97.50

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

The cost to build a warehouse depends on quite a few factors. These include the size and specification of the building, and how complicated the design is.

One of the biggest factors on the overall price though will be your location. This is because it can be far more expensive to build an industrial building in London, for example, compared to other parts of the UK.

Most construction costs for industrial buildings are calculated by square metres. If you want to build a basic warehouse or factory, you can expect to pay anywhere between £690 and £901 per square metre.

This is the basic cost of construction, but you’ll also need to account for other key elements such as planning the project and completing the fit-out. We’ll look at those extra cost considerations in just a moment.

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Cost to build a warehouse per square foot

If you need your calculations in square foot rather than square metres, here’s the conversion. The average cost to build a warehouse per square foot is between £64 and £84.

Cost to build a warehouse per sq m

Average warehouse construction costs for a large distribution centre

If your business needs more storage space, you’ll need to embark on a larger, more ambitious project. This is likely to mean a much higher budget for the total build.

On average, warehouse construction costs for a large distribution centre or similar come in at around £760 to £1,076 per square metre.

When planning your project, you might be able to find ways to keep the costs down by choosing a cheaper or quicker construction method.

For example, the cost to build a concrete tilt-up warehouse can be lower than other designs. This is because it reduces things like transportation costs for heavy steels, and facilitates quicker construction using lower skilled workers.

Warehouse mezzanine cost

One way to increase the amount of usable space in your new build warehouse is with a mezzanine level. This is an extra expense, but it could be good value for money in the long run. Once installed, you’ll be able to optimise your storage space and get more from your warehouse for years to come.

On average, a warehouse mezzanine costs around £75 to £120 a square metre.

When shopping for mezzanine suppliers, there are a few things to remember. You need to get a mezzanine with the right weight load for the products you plan to store. You’ll need to do calculations for how much weight your mezzanine can safely hold.

You should also think about the placement of your mezzanine and the design grid. Lastly, it’s important to make sure your new mezzanine meets all building regulations, fire safety and health and safety rules.

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Additional warehouse construction costs to consider

As well as building the shell of your new warehouse, there are a number of other costs to consider before your new facility is ready to use. These include:

  • Architectural design and engineering fees
  • Legal fees, taxes, permits, planning permission and insurance
  • Fit out costs, including electrics, lighting and shelving
  • Lifts and staircases
  • Doors, windows and loading bays
  • Moveable furniture and equipment
  • Fire and health and safety infrastructure, such as guard rails and alarm systems
  • Refrigeration or heating systems (if needed)
  • Additional costs such as technology and computer systems.

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What are the key considerations when building a warehouse?

The overall cost and value for money will always be near the top of your priority list when building a new warehouse. Just as importantly, how much storage space you’ll be able to create for your business.

However, you should also think about accessibility, flow and throughput. How will people and goods move through the space? Lastly, you’ll need to consider safety, including meeting all health and safety and fire safety regulations. Compliance can often be expensive, as there are many measures you’ll need to put in place.

What planning permission will I need for a new warehouse?

You’ll usually need planning consent for an industrial building if you construct something new or make a major change to it. Planning permission may also be needed if you change the use of a property.

Some industrial buildings under a certain size (usually around 200 square metres) may be classed as ‘permitted development’. In this case, only building regulations rather than planning permission may be required.

It’s always best to start from the assumption that you will need planning permission for your warehouse. Seek expert advice to find out more information about the permits and permissions you’ll need for your project.

Should I extend or renovate instead of building a new warehouse?

Already own a warehouse, but it’s no longer fit for purpose? It could prove more cost-effective to extend or renovate it – rather than building a whole new warehouse from scratch.

You may be able to avoid the need for planning permission and/or expensive groundworks and construction costs. However, it’s a smart idea to consult a professional for expert advice on which would be the most cost-effective option in your circumstances.

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