By Steve Hajewski
If you’re building a new self-storage facility, you can bet there will be interruptions along the way. While some will be out of your control (hello, terrible weather!), planning for potential delays can help keep your project on track.
In my line of work, I speak to a lot of first-time self-storage developers. They have their eye on some land, they want to learn about the business, and they’d like to build a facility in about two months.
If you’re familiar with commercial development, you’re probably already giggling. The process is usually measured in years, not months. Delays in self-storage building are common, and many factors are out of your control. If you’re working on a project, let’s look at the kinds of interruptions to expect and what you might do to prevent or combat them…
Weather and Materials
The past year has been particularly wet for much of the country, and that can be a major problem for self-storage developers. When weather delays site work, it compresses the construction season and puts grading, concrete, and paving contractors under pressure.
You can’t change the weather, but you should understand how it’s going to impact your build. Wind, rain, or snow might delay your own site work or that of the project your contractors are working on right before yours. Either way, it means your development will be behind.
That said, if the site is properly prepared, the weather will be less of an issue. Before your materials arrive, topsoil should be stripped, and driveways should be graveled or paved. If the erectors arrive and the site is a mud pit, they’ll be unable to work.
When scheduling the ship date for building materials, allow extra time for weather delays. You want to avoid items arriving at a site that isn’t ready to build. Nothing good happens to unsecured materials sitting on pallets in the mud on a job site. If you see your site work isn’t progressing as expected, talk to your building supplier about rescheduling sooner rather than later. The closer you get to your ship date, the less likely the factory will have the ability to move you out.
Also, order your access-control equipment, lighting, and signage well in advance. Be aware that many of these items will arrive on a flatbed truck. If your gate motor arrives after your erectors have left and returned the rental forklift, you’ll need to rent a forklift again. Plan materials to arrive when resources are available.
Steve Hajewski is the marketing manager at Trachte Building Systems, which designs, manufactures, and erects a full line of pre-engineered and customized steel self-storage systems, including single- and multi-story, portable storage, interior partition, and corridor, and canopy boat/RV. He also owns a self-storage facility in Wisconsin and is a frequent contributor on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community. For more information, call 800.356.5824; visit www.trachte.com.
(Source: Hajewski, Steve. “Predicting and Preventing Self-Storage Development Delays.” Inside Self-Storage, Informa, 2 June 2020, www.insideselfstorage.com/development/predicting-and-preventing-self-storage-development-delays.)
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