3D printing

This is an in-situ process of joining raw materials like resin, gypsum or metal to form three-dimensional objects of various types. The objects are created by adding layers in a computer-controlled process. The process permits the just-in-time production directly on location.

3D scanner

A three-dimensional scanner captures the outlines of an object and thus provides the data necessary to create a three-dimensional replica of the object.


Service providers in “third party logistics” (3PL) are contracted to handle the haulage and storage of their clients’ cargo. Moreover, 3PL providers may offer value-added services, such as customs clearance or installation jobs.

After-sales management

As the name suggests, this line of business covers all services available to the customer after buying a product or a service. Its main purpose is to ensure customer loyalty.

Alternative use potential

The potential suitability of a property for alternative use implies that few capital expenditures or none will be required to ensure the lettability of that property at the end of the current lease term. Definitive for this quality is the location of the property and the degree to which the building is customised.

Asset class

Several market segments targeted by an investment vehicle can be lumped together as an asset class. Each asset class is characterised by a distinct risk/reward profile.

Asset management

In the real estate industry, asset managers operate on the strategic property level and are responsible for planning, controlling, implementing and monitoring the factors influencing the value of a specific asset or portfolio.

Automated small parts warehouse

This warehouse type is intended for the efficient storage of small parts containers and for optimal access to and retrieval of these. Another prerequisite is therefore an optimised warehouse management system.


“Business to business,” as the acronym spells out, refers to the relationship between corporates. This means that goods or services are provided for another company rather than for an end-consumer.


The acronym, whether it is spelled out “business to consumer” or “business to client,” refers to the business relationship between a company and its end consumers. It is most frequently used in the e-commerce industry.

Batch size

The batch size defines the quantity of products that pass through a manufacturing process without interruption as a single lot.


This quarterly barometer compiled by bulwiengesa since 2012 represents an analytic tool that has been very well received by the German financing market. The BF.Quartalsbarometer score is highly meaningful because it captures around 90 percent of the funding volume approved in Germany. It is based on a quarterly poll that bulwiengesa conducts among a panel of around 200 senior industry experts. The barometer has been published in collaboration with the company BF.direkt, hence the name.

Box plot

A so-called box plot is a chart used to visualise how various characteristics are distributed. The box plots used in the survey represent the distribution (position and measure of dispersion) along a scale. The so-called whiskers extending from the boxes represent the minimum and maximum figures, meaning the outliers. The box itself marks the area in which half of all data are located. The shaded band inside the box represents the median that bisects the distribution. One quarter of the data is above the median (shaded in orange) and one quarter below (shaded in blue). Since these areas each represent 25% of the figures, they are referred to as quartiles. The left margin of the box marks the 25% quartile, whereas the right margin of the box marks the 75% quartile.



Branded delivery

This term refers to a nascent trend by vendors or retailers to keep the logistics process in-house, including the last-mile delivery. In Germany, the practice has been adopted by Amazon and Zalando, among others.


Short for “Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method,” the acronym refers to an independent certification model for a given building’s sustainability performance.


The term “Brexit” is a portmanteau word blending the words “British” and “exit.” It was coined in connection with the UK’s referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union, and now refers to both the process and the fact of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Brownfield developments

The term refers to building works on plots pre-used for industrial purposes over long periods of time, or to special development areas formerly zoned as railway sites, for instance. Such areas may also include former military sites or backfilled open-pit mines. Land of this type is in any case subject to extensive repurposing, and often implies elevated threats of soil contamination or unstable subsoil conditions. This increases the potential cost risk in the form of waste disposal costs or measures to stabilise the subsoil, among others. A residual risk of follow-up costs remains even beyond the completion of such works (redevelopment, decontamination, etc.). On the bright side, brownfield sites often come with superb transport links that date back to their previous use for industrial purposes or because they used to be frequented by heavy goods traffic. Development costs can thus be lower than those of greenfield development, not least because the planning permission is already in place. Whether or not the existing permit can be used for the contemplated development must be clarified on a case to case basis.

Built-to-suit (BTS)

In a “built-to-suit” arrangement, a property developer or owner custom-builds a structure according to the exact specifications and requirements of an incoming tenant.

Cashflow return

The cash flow return is calculated as ratio of generated cash flow plus the capital growth of the respective property after the first year of investment relative to the average capital employed.

Central warehouse

This is a storage facility centrally located within a given system of warehouses where suppliers deliver their goods in bulk shipments. At the central warehouse, the goods are stored, managed and order-picked for distribution to regional warehouses or directly to retailers or manufacturing sites. Operating a central warehouse is a good way to lower stock-keeping and transport costs.

Centre-to-centre grid

This term refers to the spacing between the axes that are formed by girders and roof trusses of a warehouse building.


Buildings raised in accordance with particularly sustainable criteria in regard to social, environmental and economic aspects may qualify for a “green label” certification. A variety of such labels exists that are subject to different national standards and available in several grades. In Germany, the DGNB German Sustainable Building Council issues four different certificates: “DGNB Bronze,” “DGNB Silver,” “DGNB Gold” and, since 2015, “DGNB Platinum.” The UK-based certification body BREEAM uses seven different ratings, ranging from “non-classified” to “outstanding.” Within the framework of its GreenBuilding Programme, the European Commission issues its EU Green Building Standard. The LEED certificate issued by the US Green Building Council uses a rating system of four levels, from “Certified” to “Platinum.”

Chaotic warehousing

Under this actively applied concept, stored units are kept not in pre-designated storage slots but wherever there happens to be a vacant spot. This translates into considerable space savings.

Clean room

The purpose of a clean room is to keep the number of airborne particles to a minimum, for example to create a germ-free environment.


In this context, a container denotes the unit in which goods of given type are packed to form a shipment unit. This can, for instance, take the form of a vessel or package.

Contract logistics

The term refers to a long-term partnership between a manufacturer and a logistics service provider that is based on a division of labour. The collaborative venture is governed by a service contract. Contract logistics may or may not include add-on logistics services.

Core location

This term refers to prime sites in more or less clearly delineated areas like town centres or the heart of logistics regions that are deemed particularly stable and low-risk. These areas are favoured under a long-term investment strategy.

Crane system

Crane systems in warehouses tend to be rail-based gantry structures for hoisting and moving heavy goods. Depending on the type installed, they can cover a large working area.


The acronym stands for “corporate social responsibility” and implies a concept of holistic accountability in business. A company implementing the concept will typically seek to reconcile the interests of its business stakeholders with communal, social, and environmental concerns.

Distribution logistics

The term distribution logistics signifies the totality of steps involved in the distribution of goods from their production all the way to the delivery to the end customer. Distribution in this sense may pass through several stages and include all storage, transshipment and transport processes.


“E-commerce” is short for “electronic commerce” and refers to the online retail business. The term, while theoretically covering the entire world of internet trading, is used essentially for buy-and-sell processes. On top of that, customer services and online banking are considered e-commerce, and some market players even include mail-order retailing in their definition of e-commerce.

E-fulfilment centre

This term refers to a warehouse facility combining all the logistics processes that come into play in e-commerce. The processes, which typically include stock-keeping, handling of incoming online orders from end customers, shipping out orders and accepting returns, are executed by a fully automated intralogistics system.

Energy Saving Ordinance

The German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) provides the legal basis for the energy-efficient development of new or existing buildings.

Established logistics regions

bulwiengesa has identified 28 connected areas in Germany with demonstrable real estate economic activity in the logistics sector. It is the first time that statistical-demographic and economic fundamentals were used to define such regions.

Finished goods warehouse

Storing finished goods in a separate warehouse helps to cope with fluctuations between the production capacity and unit sales.

First-in-first-out storage

The LIFO model refers to a warehouse strategy where the goods most recently received are the first to be dispatched. The idea is to ensure that the freshest stock is always shipped out first.

Floor load capacity

The metric of floor load capacity indicates the maximum load to which a floor or the subsoil may be exposed without risking noticeable shifts or ground collapses.


Short for “fast-moving consumer goods,” the acronym refers to merchandise knows for its high stock turnover. This includes non-discretionary consumer goods in constant demand.

General cargo

The term general cargo is applied to transported goods that can be hauled individually and in one piece.

Greenfield development

This term covers building works on land not previously developed or marketed. As often as not, the properties involved represent former agricultural land (hence the name “greenfield”) rezoned for development as industrial or trading estate. Obtaining a planning permission therefore often marks the first step. In deviation of the above definition, the term is also used for plots that are already zoned for development as part of trading estates, but that have not been sold yet. This goes in any case for trading estates not created through land recycling.

Gross building area (GBA)

This measurement represents the sum total of the base areas of all layout levels in a given building.


The acronym, short for “hazard analysis and critical control points,” designates a quality tool that is used to appraise the hazardousness of various factors in the food context.

Hanging goods

Items of this type may be stored or hauled in a suspended state only to prevent damage or quality impairments, apparel being a good example.

Heat map

A heat map uses the colour shading of a temperature scale to graphically represent data.

Industrial production index

The industrial production index is a statistics ratio that measures the performance of the manufacturing industry. It covers the value and quantity of industrial goods produced in businesses of 20 employees or more.

Industry 4.0

The next paradigmatic shift after Industry 3.0 (computer-controlled manufacturing processes) involves the networking of humans, machines and products into cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing, among other phenomena.


These terms refer to the combined deployment of various transport modes within a given transportation chain. The most common combination pairs the road and rail transport modes.

Just-in-time delivery

Often abbreviated as “JIT,” the term describes the pinpoint supplying of capital goods for the purpose of sustaining a constant flow of material.

Last mile

The term “last mile” covers the final step in the transportation chain, meaning the delivery to the customer’s doorstep. Last mile logistics providers tend to bundle goods shipments destined for a given delivery area for the sake of efficiency.

Last-in-first-out storage

The LIFO model refers to a warehouse strategy where the goods most recently received are the first to be dispatched. The idea is to ensure that the freshest stock is always shipped out first.


Under the lease-back model, the prior owner of a property rents that same property right after selling it, usually to generate liquidity.

Locational factors

Among the location-related factors are all of the criteria that enter into a company’s selection of a site. These characteristics that define the attractiveness of a given location can, of course, be positive or negative.

Logistics sectors

bulwiengesa applies a drilldown to the logistics real estate take-up in Germany that distinguished between these sectors:

  • Freight/transport logistics
  • CEP service providers
  • Retail logistics
  • Beverage/food logistics
  • Industrial logistics
  • Automotive logistics
  • Construction and construction suppliers
  • IT/computing/data technology
  • Chemicals/pharmaceuticals logistics
  • E‑commerce
  • Fashion/textile logistics
  • Consumer goods
  • Household goods
  • Miscellaneous

Lower edge of truss (truss height)

The lower edge of the truss is a metric indicating the useful height of a warehouse. It measures the vertical distance from the warehouse floor to the roof trusses.


The “loan-to-cost” ratio for which the acronym stands puts the amount borrowed for a given property in relation to its total investment costs.


The “loan-to-value” ratio for which the acronym stands puts the amount borrowed for a given property in relation to its fair market value.

Material flow planning

End-to-end planning of the material flow within a logistics centre from the receipt to the dispatch of goods is defined by the various steps performed in the warehouse and by the quantity structure of the client.

Mechanised delivery sites

Mechanised delivery sites, known in Germany by the acronym “MechZB,” are used predominantly in the CEP industry (Deutsche Post DHL Group). In these small-scale logistics facilities, consignments are automatically sorted and prepared for their last-mile delivery.


The term describes an intermediate level above the warehouse floor that may be flexibly developed into work areas and office accommodation.

Micro depot

Micro-depots are used to store the shipments for their final delivery by cargo bikes or pedestrian means of transportation and can take the form of small-scale buildings, shipping containers or parked goods vehicles. They serve as starting point for final-mile deliveries.

Modular design

A modular design in building construction relies on a set of prefabricated components and modules that are assembled at the construction site in the manner of a modular concept.

Monte Carlo simulation

The Monte Carlo simulation represents a stochastic model used for forward projections to obtain a forecast value. Simply put, this statistical method generates a limited number of random figures that remains within the parameters or values defined by the person conducting the test. Taking the predefined parameters into account, the simulation produces a large number of results (in this case 1,000). The modelling calculates the probability of occurrence for each result within the range of samples. The range of values itself has a probability of occurrence of 100%. The variables defined for the simulation of this survey include property prices, incidental acquisition costs, construction costs and financing charges.

Multi-tenant occupancy

The concept of having more than one tenant in a building seeks to minimise the vacancy risk.

Net initial yield (NIY)

Representing a transaction-based ratio, the net initial yield (NIY) reflects the annualised current passing rent minus non-recoverable property expenses, divided by the property valuation plus the incidental acquisition costs typical in the respective market. The NIY is one of the essential measurable variables for the investment market. It describes the typical price level of a logistics region. The lower the posted figure, the more attractive and pricey the location. The reported prime yield rates refer to properties let on long-term leases (e.g. of 10 years), sound property standards (alternative use options), and warehouse areas of more than 10,000 sqm. They represent stabilised yield figures that ignore outliers and thus fail to reflect the absolute peak figures of a given market.

New logistics facilities

The posted new logistics facilities include all new-built logistics and transshipment properties, normally for the period under examination, 2012 through 2016, and in some cases for 2017, too. Expressly not covered by the term are redeveloped. Neither are manufacturing plants or other commercial properties covered by the term.


This term was coined by the e-commerce industry, and complements terms like multi-channel and cross-channel marketing as well as no-line commerce and everywhere commerce. It signifies a business model that maximises customer experience by making a retailer’s entire assortment available via any sales channel (be they stationary or online).

Order picking

This term refers to the order preparation process that consists of collecting goods or items to fulfil existing orders from the inventory in stock. The person handling this job is called the order picker.


In-house work streams are often delegated or “outsourced” to external contractors or third-party service providers.

Overnight transportation

The logistics business has traditionally taken advantage of the favourable transport situation at night to expedite goods shipments from one day to the next.

Pharmaceutical standard specifications

The standard specifications for pharmaceutical logistics warehouses presupposes distinct zoning concepts. Their purpose is to ensure cleanliness for certain product categories and product states. Just as important are quarantine areas and separate goods receipt and goods dispatch areas.

Polycentric regional structure

This term connotes the geographic orientation toward more than one central reference point. It is particularly significant in Germany because the country’s polycentric structure encourages the distribution of functions across several cities or agglomerations.

Portfolio transaction

Synonymous with “block deal,” the term refers to the sale of a package of homogeneous or heterogeneous properties. “Portfolio” here implies merely a group of more than one property asset.

Pure player

Retailers of this type sell their goods or services exclusively via the internet.

Raw materials warehouse

This dedicated warehouse type is used in production to keep the required raw materials on hand.

Renewable Energy Sources Act

Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) defines rules and regulations that govern the conservation of fossil energy sources and the promotion of renewable energy sources for the production of electricity.

Returns management

This term refers to the system used to control and monitor goods returned by downstream recipients. A successful returns management, rather than being limited to the efficient processing of actual returns, will take preventive action to minimise the incidence rate of goods returns.

RIWIS cities logistics

The cities picked by bulwiengesa AG for its RIWIS database are grouped into four categories depending on their functional significance for the international, national, regional or local real estate market:

Class A cities:
Germany’s leading centres, having national and in some cases international significance. Large functional markets across segments. Example: a total office stock of more than 7 million sqm, a long-term average take-up of more than 150,000 sqm, and a long-term average prime rent of 16.00 euros/sqm or more.

Class B cities:
Major cities of national and regional significance.
Example: a total office stock between 2 and 5 million sqm, a take-up normally exceeding 35,000 sqm, a long-term average prime rent of 12.00 euros/sqm or more.

Class C cities:
Important cities of regional and to some extent national significance, and serving as centre for the surrounding region.

Class D cities:
Small towns of regional focus with a central role for the directly surrounding countryside; marked by lower market volume and take-up.

Same-hour delivery/same-day delivery

These express delivery models within the hour or before the end of the day are emerging in urban areas in Germany. It is one of several approaches to solve the last-mile problem in online retailing.

Social security-covered jobs

The term social security-covered employment covers all workers and employees, including those in training (apprentices, et al.) that are obliged to pay into a health insurance, pension plan, long-term care insurance and/or are obliged to pay contributions to the Federal Labour Agency (unemployment insurance pursuant to the Employment Promotion Act, AFG), or for whom the respective employer has to pay into a statutory pension plan. This principally excludes therefore self-employed persons, relatives helping in the family business, and civil servants, as well as those employees who are exempt from the insurance obligation because of marginal employment. The aggregation is based on the place-of-work principle, meaning the employees are allocated to the town where their place of employment is located.

Solid construction

A solid construction makes no distinction between the load-bearing and enclosing functions. This means that the structure is supported by load-bearing (solid) walls and ceilings.


The term “stakeholder” is applied to any person, group or institution that is directly or indirectly affected by business activities or having some other interest in such activities.

Supply chain

This term refers to a complex management process that covers the organisations, players, resources, activities and information involved in getting a product or service from its supplier to a given customer.

Survey desk

The bulwiengesa survey desk is an online tool for conducting qualitative surveys which may also be used in combination with online polls. The tool meets the latest standards for qualitative survey tools, while its freely scalable architecture can be fully adjusted to the client requirements at hand. It has a multi-lingual set-up, and thus permits a wide range of possible deployment scenarios, including tenant and satisfaction surveys, market polls for target group panels, among other options.

Temperature zones

In logistics, a temperature zone is an area with a pre-set temperature. In addition to ambient temperature warehouses, there are cold-storage warehouses and deep freeze warehouses.

Thermal air curtain

A thermal air curtain is a standard device used to insulate warehoused goods from adverse exposure to the weather and to shifts in temperature that could cause material damage to the goods.

Track record

The term refers to past achievements of a given company or natural persons, notably client references. Often accompanied by a performance ratio, the track record tends to focus on successful investments.

Usable floor area (UFA)

The actually usable floor area represent that share of the base area which serves the intrinsic purpose of the building.

Value-added services

The deliverables of this type of service exceed those provided under an assumed basic service model. In the logistics business, such extra services could, for instance, take the form of quality controls, assemblage, repairs or sales returns over and above standard services like storage, transshipment and haulage.

VdS protection classes

The protection classes defined by the German Association of German Property Insurers (VdS) govern the minimum requirements for intrusion and hold-up alarm systems. There are three VdS protection classes (A, B, C) and twelve security classes.

Water hazard classes (WHC)

This term originates in German water law and classifies harmful substances by degree of hazard or contamination.