SS/20 Building Systems Creates a Better Way to Build Multi-Story Self-Storage

SS/20 Building Systems has constructed millions of square feet of self-storage, including difficult multi-story projects. The company's philosophy is simple: Take care of customers at all cost, and form partnerships with them so everyone can be successful.

July 22, 2009

3 Min Read
SS/20 Building Systems Creates a Better Way to Build Multi-Story Self-Storage

Looking to create a faster, more economical way to build multi-story self-storage facilities, Chris Woodward started SS/20 Building Systems in 1995. Based in Bradenton Fla., the company has constructed millions of square feet of self-storage. Woodward’s philosophy is simple: Take care of customers at all cost, and form partnerships with them so everyone can be successful.  

A New Design

SS/20 designed a new concept for multi-story storage facilities using structural tube steel on a 10-foot-by-10-foot grid. This revolutionary system consists of steel tube columns running vertically from floor to floor, with each column stacking into the column below it. The company was awarded a patent on this stack-frame system.

Because the system was designed to be free-standing, building erection is fast and efficient, with no bolts protruding through the upper-level slabs. This unique framing offers many advantages:  

  • Flexibility of floor plan: Interior partitions are not required for support, enabling them to be removed at any time to reconfigure the unit mix. 

  • No need of full-height interior partitions: No need for in-unit lighting, sprinkler heads and HVAC outlets. No interior partitions for trades to work around.

  • Hallways and partitions installed last: This avoids damage from other trades.

  • Faster system erection: Because no drilling is required, there is no waiting for elevated slabs to cure. Erectors get back on the job the day after floor is poured.

  • No need for heavy equipment: The majority of jobs require only a lull.

  • Larger pool of steel suppliers: SS/20 is not tied into any one supplier and has fabricators located nationally.

  • Compatibility with all types of roof systems: The system works with built-up, standing seam, etc. 

“After 15 years, there is a sensible, quick and easy system for ‘high-rise’ self-storage buildings,” says Tim Burnam of Storage Mart. “SS/20 has a great versatile system that gets us out of the weather and closer to renting units sooner than any other system we have used. It’s so simple, bringing to high-rise structures what pre-engineered steel buildings brought to the self-storage industry 20 years ago.”

SS/20’s structural engineer is registered in 42 states and can furnish a complete set of drawings including foundation and masonry-wall design. The framing system is compatible with all building types from two stories to eight stories. The system furnishes floor heights up to 20 feet tall to handle mezzanines, and drive-through and retail/office space on the ground level. Many types of siding are used on the buildings from tilt-up, masonry, block and insulated composite wall panels with an insulation factor up to R-33.  

Meeting Challenges

Storage Post recently hired SS/20 to build a 95,000-square-foot, six-story facility in Brooklyn, N.Y. The site had two basement levels. Originally given 70 working days to complete the job, SS/20’s schedule was reduced to an aggressive 43 days so the owner could meet an opening deadline.

Even with the unique challenges of building in a New York borough, SS/20 completed the building in a record 35 days. “Given the aggressive schedule, we were cautiously optimistic going into this,” says Marc Slayton, president of Storage Post. “SS/20 Building Systems met or exceeded every deadline that was set. We look forward to working with them on our future projects.”

For more information, call 941.746.8170; visit

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