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It’s not uncommon for delegates at our workshops and seminars to ask us if Mal Walker can share his ‘rules of thumb’ on warehouse design. Therefore, we thought we’d put them here in an article, so anyone can refer to them when necessary. We’ve also added a checklist of things to consider during the early stages of warehouse design.


Warehouse Design Rules of Thumb

  • Ideal Land to Building ratio in lineal metres, 1.7:1–2:1
  • Building aspect ratio, 1.7:1 – 2:1
  • Ideal Warehouse Height at Springing Line 9.5-10.5 metres
  • Pallet per Sq metre ratio 1 – 1.2 (with conventional storage racking)
  • Truck turning space 30-40 metres
  • Approx 20 to 25% of warehouse floor should be left for non storage operations e.g. receiving, dispatching staging


Important Planning Points

  • Always plan for driver-side reversing
  • Do not compromise aisle space for the sake of a few extra storage bays
  • Avoid funnels and bottlenecks


Checklist of Warehouse Design Considerations

  • Requirements and specifications for loading docks
  • MHE battery charging/changing stations (location and provision for ventilation)
  • Building support columns should be spaced/located in a way that allows for optimal layout of storage media and aisles
  • Number of warehouse doors/loading and unloading bays
  • Location of offices and other non-storage space (canteen, restrooms, other)
  • Ensure lighting will be adequate and ideally, environmentally friendly (LED, induction?), and low maintenance
  • Minimisation of obstacles or areas creating bottlenecks in warehouse flow
  • Minimisation of travel-distances within the warehouse
  • Fire prevention and firefighting equipment
  • Adequate drainage should be designed into the warehouse site
  • Low-maintenance warehouse roof design
  • Heating, climate control, and insulation
  • Radio frequency, LAN/WAN, or other communication/data-transfer infrastructure
  • Storage areas for empty pallets
  • Waste disposal solutions
  • Security concerns, such as car-parking, checkpoints, location of cameras
  • Future plans for automation, expansion and/or a change in storage requirements


Need More Help with Warehouse Design and Planning?

I hope this information will help you in your warehouse planning. I’m sure if you have any other questions, Mal would be glad to help you. Please feel free to send us a message on our contact page and mention that you’d like to discuss warehouse design with Mal.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014. It has now been revamped and updated with more comprehensive information.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307
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