Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I’m having problems with tenants using the dumpster in the back of my facility to unload large items. I don’t mind them throwing away small items or boxes, but the larger ones are getting expensive to remove. What can you recommend as a video-surveillance solution so I can at least find out which tenants to charge?
—Linda in Oakland, Calif.
A: A lot depends on the configuration of your site, the ability to run conduit for camera wiring, and how much you want to spend. Your first option would be to mount a conventional camera near the dumpster. The new, smaller models would help catch people in the act without them knowing they are being monitored; but you need to run conduit and wiring back to the office, which may not be possible, depending on your facility. If the dumpster is close to the office (50 to 100 feet), you can go with a wireless solution. The last option I would recommend is a camera that easily and quickly mounts to a light fixture and transmits the video signal back to the office via AC power lines. This solution isn’t very costly and can be a great way to monitor a location like the one you describe.
Q: My general contractor and I have a difference in opinion when it comes to landscaping and security. He feels the grounds should be more open, and I think it would be better to put up tall walls and trees. What do you think?
—George in Bothell, Wash.
A: I’m going to have to side with your contractor on this one. An open site leaves fewer hiding places for criminals and makes the work of sneaking around much more difficult. Trees and other tall shrubbery also make it harder for your manager to keep an eye on what is happening around your facility. Consider using tall wrought-iron fencing instead of a solid perimeter wall. In addition, other security equipment, such as video surveillance and unit alarms, acts as a visual deterrent for thieves and is great way to market site security to prospective tenants.
Rod Davis is the installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit www.quikstor.com.