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

By Benjamin Burkhart Comments
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On single-level construction, erection crews are usually pretty efficient. “On a typical project, our crews can normally install 4,000 to 5,000 square feet per week, barring bad weather,” says Terry Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing for steel-building manufacturer and erector BETCO Inc. As your buildings take shape, you’ll begin developing your own punch-list of items that will be required during the final push to opening your new store.

Phase IV (45-60 days): Finish

The last 10 percent takes forever. The buildings are up, the lights are on, the toilets flush. But it will seem like a million things remain: touchups, dents and dings, trash, dust, striping, signage, mulch, grass, light bulbs, replacements, computers, printers, phones, staplers, caulk, thresholds, window stickers, battery back-ups, move-in trucks, flags, file cabinets, chairs, open signs, business cards, nametags, pens, mirrors, toilet paper holders, towel dispensers, mops, decorations, DVRs, inventory, cameras, locks, fire extinguishers, a golf cart, and on and on. Oh, yeah, and now you have to clean everything so it looks nice and new!

The operation of your new business will overlap with this final phase of construction. Your managers should be training. Marketing materials and uniforms should be printing or in place. You’ll be taking reservations if you’re doing things right. Transitioning from building project to operation can be challenging, with pressure from all sides. The GC wants to get paid, the managers are on a learning curve and need workspace, vendors need orders, file systems must start, and tenants want to rent. If you’re like most, the interest charges keep ticking. And ticking.

But this is not the time for anxiety! Now’s when your team-building skills should shine. You’ve expected this and looked forward to it because you read this article. You’ll be organized, efficient and effective as CEO of a new company on the verge of leading your market.

As you check off your final punch-list item—that last little spec of dirt on the front door—you’ll be rewarded by a ringing phone, followed by the excited voice of your manager, “Terrific! I’ll be glad to show you our beautiful new site when you get here!”

Benjamin Burkhart is owner of and BKB Properties, serving self-storage owners and developers at all stages of the ownership life cycle with site-selection services, feasibility studies, acquisition due-diligence analysis and management training. To reach him, call 804.598.8742; e-mail ; visit .

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