Self-Storage Construction Benchmarks and Targets, From Day One to Facility Completion

By Benjamin Burkhart Comments
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Remember that the public is watching you build. Keep your site self-contained and clean. A site sign advertising your new development is a great way to begin introducing prospective tenants to your new business.

Phase II (45-60 days): Gravel and Concrete

Building the pads and driveways of your site is the part of the job that really begins to give your project form. By now, you should have ordered your steel buildings. The true shape of the project becomes more apparent as you invest in loads and loads of gravel to firm up your site and create a sound base for concrete and/or asphalt.

Digging the footings for your building pads will generate a lot of waste; your site contractor should have a plan for removing those spoils or re-balancing them into the site. Prior to pouring any concrete, your project will likely require specific inspections of the foundation. These can often be generated by local civil engineers as third-party inspectors.

One common error in this phase of construction is in the finishing of the concrete pads. Your concrete pads should have a perimeter “water-lip” feature that’s formed with 2-by-10s or 2-by-12s. When these forms are removed, the concrete contractor must hand-trowel the water-lips while the concrete is green or you’ll end up with ugly concrete that looks like the cratered surface of the moon. If you don’t specify this before concrete is poured, you’re likely to end up with a mistake. Forming, re-enforcing, pouring, cutting, sealing and backfilling the concrete pads gives birth to what soon will become your new storage buildings.

The development journey may be long and arduous, but the end result is worth the effort. Pictured: Community Self Storage in Powhatan, Va.***Phase III (60-90 days): Building Construction

Once your building pads are finished, you may elect to finish your driveways to provide good, stable working surfaces for your erection and building crews. Wet muddy driveways make erection more difficult and will increase the time it takes to finish your site. The sooner you can stabilize your site against weather risks, the better.

Your GC should specify staging areas for delivery and storage of materials as well as areas for trash and disposal. This phase of your project will generate a lot of trash from packaging materials and waste. Be sure your GC informs all contractors that a trashy site will not be tolerated. Tenants are watching!

This is a busy time. Erection crews, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, inspectors and various other subcontractors are constantly in and out of your site. A good GC will coordinate daily tasks and required inspections according to the project timeline and schedule. This is when many small but important decisions require attention—location of thermostats, lockable electrical access covers, timers, paint colors, office cabinet colors, plantings, doorknobs, wall textures, bollard placement, office and bathroom flooring, office fixtures, etc.

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