With investment in warehouse space in the UK in the first half of 2021 double that of the same period last year, fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has seen a sharp rise in demand for its services from global brands over the past few months.
It has installed complex fire safety systems in warehouse sites and distribution centres owned by some of the biggest names in retail and logistics over the past few years – with a busy order book well into 2022.
Among the highly sophisticated projects CDS has carried out for huge worldwide players is the maintenance and service of an extensive fire safety network at one of the largest single warehouses in the whole of Europe – two million square feet of logistics space employing 1,200 staff in Yorkshire.
Property consultancy Knight Frank says £6bn was invested in UK warehouses in the first half of 2021, more than double the £2.7bn recorded in the same period last year, and 54% higher than the previous record in 2018.
Its research shows 37m sq ft of warehouse space is likely to have been built by the end of 2021, up from 23m sq ft last year and 21m in 2019.
The rise in e-commerce and an increasing number of data centres are key factors behind the expansion, with the M25 now home to the second biggest data hub in the world.
John Lewis signed the lease this month on a one million sq ft warehouse in Milton Keynes to enable it to process online purchases, which have risen from 40% in the pre-pandemic era to 60% of overall sales.
And Amazon signed 18 letting deals in the first half of 2021, according to estate agency Savills, just one fewer than it agreed in the whole of 2020, with its latest signing a 20-year, £97m, lease on a 700,000 sq ft site at Magna Park in Leicestershire.
CDS managing director Simon Abley said: “For more than 30 years we’ve been working with some of the biggest names in the worlds of warehousing, distribution and logistics.
“With the growth of online shopping and the emergence of data centres our work in this sector has expanded. As well as protecting lives, property and stock, our systems ensure the occupiers tick all the compliance boxes.
“Our sophisticated systems can be remotely monitored, enable complex services to be consolidated under one supplier, and help save money by reducing downtime. And they safely and cost effectively manage false alarms. In a fast-moving and highly profitable industry every minute wasted is very expensive indeed.”