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The unique physical characteristics of industrial buildings distinguish these facilities from those of other real estate asset classes.  The typical physical features of industrial real estate include multiple loading docks, deep truck courts, high ceilings and the presence of cranes.

Warehouse, manufacturing, and flex space does not adequately encompass the diverse world of industrial real estate.  Truck terminals for example, historically were classified with warehouse buildings, although terminals generally do not warehouse goods.  Truck terminals ceilings are low and they  rarely have racking.  Another example is multiple tenant buildings do not fit within the historical three classifications, but have been historically included in both manufacturing and warehouse buildings.  Recently, there has been a surge in the creation of data switch centers from the redevelopment of older buildings and new construction.  Data and switch centers are clearly a new industrial real estate category.

The range of physical difference for buildings within each primary category  justifies the creation of secondary categories for each.  The physical characteristics of warehouse distribution facilities, for example, vary significantly from building to building:  ceiling heights can range from 16 to 80 feet, loading docks vary from 3,000 to 15,000 square feet per dock, office build outs range from below five percent to over twenty five percent.

Classification of industrial real estate by physical characteristics utilizes the examination of interior and exterior features.  Some building types can be classified by examining their exterior or interior features only.  It is important to recognize that all secondary categories of industrial real estate have specific exterior and interior attributes.

Primary building exterior features include:  Building Size, Site Coverage, Loading Capability, Car and Truck Parking

Main building interior features include:  Ceiling Heights, Space Build-Out, Power Requirements, Floor Load and Levelness