Episode 437: Warehouse construction and retrofitting with Jamie Dorland of Cadell Construction

In this episode of The New Warehouse podcast, Jamie Dorland, a seasoned construction executive at Caddell Construction, joins the show. In its 40th year, Caddell Construction is a diverse construction firm in multiple states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona. The company specializes in three primary business units: international, governmental, and commercial projects, emphasizing warehouse and data center work in the commercial sector. This episode is particularly engaging as it marks the first time the podcast has delved into the construction aspect of warehouses, an essential component of the warehousing industry. Dorland’s insights shed light on the intricate relationship between construction and warehousing, making this a must-listen episode for industry professionals.

The Evolution of Warehouse Construction

Dorland highlights the dynamic nature of warehouse construction, emphasizing the increasing trend toward automation and the shift from new builds to retrofits. Dorland, leading the automation business unit at Caddell, emphasized the growing focus on retrofitting existing structures to incorporate advanced technologies. This trend reflects the industry’s response to evolving market demands and technological advancements. For instance, Dorland noted the European influence on warehouse construction, where going vertical has become a norm to maximize space utilization. “As the market continues to evolve with technology, there’s a transitionary period where clients weigh new builds against retrofits. Our role often involves evaluating these components, understanding their pros and cons for each scenario.”

Navigating the Challenges of Retrofitting

The conversation then pivoted to the challenges and intricacies of retrofitting warehouses for automation. Dorland described how Caddell Construction collaborates closely with clients and automation vendors during pre-construction to tailor solutions to specific needs. This collaborative approach is vital in retrofitting projects, ensuring minimal disruption to existing operations while maximizing the use of current infrastructure. Dorland shared, “Our mission in retrofits is not just about construction. It’s about being a partner in the transition, ensuring the new systems integrate seamlessly with the client’s existing operations.”

Key Takeaways on Warehouse Construction

  • The Shift to Retrofitting: The warehouse construction industry increasingly focuses on retrofitting existing structures for modern automation needs, reflecting a balance between leveraging current investments and embracing new technologies.
  • Collaborative Approach: Successful warehouse construction, especially in retrofits, requires close collaboration between construction firms, clients, and automation vendors to address unique challenges and ensure seamless integration.
  • Vertical Expansion Trends: Influenced by European models, there is a growing trend towards vertical expansion in warehouse construction, aiming to maximize space efficiency in response to evolving market demands.
The New Warehouse Podcast

EP 437: Warehouse Construction and Retrofitting with Jamie Dorland of Cadell Construction

Author: Kevin Lawton

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