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Building Self-Storage: Creating a Harmonious Design Team

Donna May Comments
Continued from page 2

Landscaping.  A landscaping design may also be required by the city or county, specifying ground coverage and plant materials. Tree ordinances often dictate location and types that may be included. Environmentally sensitive locations may have many plant and animal-life preservation restrictions. Requirements vary greatly from location to location.

Shop Drawings. In addition to these drawings, which must be submitted to authorities for approval, individual contractors (such as the metal-building contractor, electrician, plumber, etc.) have their own in-house shop or construction drawings for personnel use during actual construction. These go into great detail as to how the individual contractor fulfills requirements set forth in the master plans.

Finding Harmony

Once the music has been written, the general contractor is responsible for making sure that everyone is playing the same tune—building the project in accordance with the design. General contractors may provide labor and materials themselves, use subcontractors and vendors, or a combination of the above. Subcontractors provide their own shop drawings and may be in charge of trade-specific permits and inspections. General contractors have three specific important functions:

  • Quality control through inspection
  • Cost control through the bid process and elimination of mistakes
  • Time control through scheduling, and coordination of every aspect of construction

It is the general contractor that weaves everyone’s efforts into the completed product. Construction of a typical self-storage project would include the following trade and services components. Some of the more critical elements of work performed by these trades are considered below.

Utilities. Utilities, excavation and grading may be the most costly components of a project. Utility providers must work closely with officials and service providers to hook up or extend existing water, sewer and power lines. Often the progression of work at a jobsite is dependant on actions taken by those outside parties. Grading is extremely important in the control of water. Retention and detention pond size is based on the local water cubic-footage requirements. They can be costly and reduce the amount of land available for buildings.

Concrete. Just as grading is critical to the flow of water, the concrete slab is critical to the flow of the building. Slabs that are not properly framed, poured or cured, must be corrected by the concrete contractor, or other trades that follow. For instance, if a slab curves or is too narrow or wide at an end, or if it undulates, the metal framing that rests on the slab has to be adjusted to mitigate the defect so that the roof ends up flat and the sides of the building are straight. Block or brick columns must be nearly exact as well. Only relatively small adjustments can be made by the metal-building subcontractor.

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