Designing Space for Records Storage
By Cary F. McGovern (aka "FileMan), Commercial Records Management Specialist, www.fileman.com, and Lori L. Palmer, Executive Vice President, REB Storage Systems International, www.rebsteel.com
Records storage is different from traditional self-storage in several key areas. Think of it as activity vs. passivity. You become the custodian of the units (file boxes), something not every self-storage operator feels comfortable doing. That said, it’s by far the greatest generator of revenue that can be achieved in self-storage space. Simply put, records storage charges for the air above the square foot.
What do you need to consider from a design perspective? The answer is space and racking. Although it’s always advisable to use the space with the highest ceiling height, racking is purchased one unit at a time and is a depreciable asset.
New and even used shelving is easily obtainable. When storing 8 or 9 feet high, you can use solid decking instead of 50 percent open decking. Unit sizes ideal for racking include 8 by 8, 10 by 10, 10 by 15, 15 by 15 and 20 by 20. Using the bigger units is often more cost-effective for the customer.
There are two primary types of racking. Rivet-style racking normally stores five boxes wide by two boxes deep by two boxes high per shelf, or 20 boxes per shelf. Sometimes these racks can store three high depending on the shelf supports for increased capacity. The other type is pallet racking with nine or 10 boxes wide by three boxes deep by three boxes high. However, this shelving is harder to find used and is usually more expensive new.