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Building Your Boat/RV-Storage Center: Design Considerations for New Builds and Expansions


By Todd Trepke

With boat and RV ownership on the rise in the United States, many storage-facility operators are eager to capitalize on consumers’ need for quality, safe vehicle storage. In the past, boat/RV storage may have been relegated to open dirt or gravel areas. Now, vehicle owners are demanding more secure and sheltered environments for their toys and are willing to pay a premium for storage space.

There are different types of storage that can be built at varying costs and financial returns. If you’re building a new facility or expanding an existing one, here are some design considerations to help you best serve the expanding boat/RV-storage market.

Building Types

When building boat and RV storage, there are a few things you need to consider at the outset. The first is your building type. There are three basic kinds of storage for vehicles: open canopies, rigid-frame buildings and fully enclosed suites. Each has its own advantages and construction costs but can be designed based on the criteria your target demographic might demand.

An example of open-canopy storage at All About Storage in Villa Rica, Ga.Open-canopy storage is the least expensive type of construction and can offer a great deal of flexibility. It’s very similar to the old pole-barn type of construction. Supporting walls are comprised of columns with cross members, and purlins/rafters run longitudinally to support the roof.

Typically, these structures feature individual bays separated by the bearing walls. In many cases, there are no bay dividers, and the end walls are left open so you can “double stack” the bay if you have access from both sides of the building. The bay depth can be infinite, and widths of up to 20 feet are achievable.

Rigid-frame buildings offer the storage developer an abundance of options. These structures allow for wide openings, can be easily racked, and can be built to huge dimensions without obstructive center columns. Further, with these buildings, parking configuration can be easily changed.

Rigid-frame storage, like this building at Freedom Self Storage in St. Mary’s, Ga., allows the parking configuration to be easily changed.

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