Collins Construction Group

November 7, 2006

5 Min Read
Collins Construction Group

With Extra Space Self Storage and Storage USA among its stable of clients, Collins Construction Group is earning a solid reputation in the self-storage industry. The diverse project portfolio of the Alpharetta, Ga.-based contractor runs the gamut from retail centers to industrial complexesa solid foundation for guiding storage owners through the building process.

During the past six years, Collins constructed 12 storage facilities throughout the Southeast, and two more are in the planning and permitting process.

We are deeply committed to meeting the demands of a changing construction industry while continuing to respond to customer needs with qualified and capable field service, says owner and President William M. Collins. Our experienced and talented staff strives to give customers the most efficient, economical and value-engineered service possible.

Collins offers a range of services including scheduling and planning, design/build, exterior and interior renovations, and excavation. Full-time, on-site supervision on each project ensures performance quality and minimizes changes and delays, Collins says. The company can self-perform layout, carpentry, acoustical work, concrete formwork and placing, drywall framing and hanging, fixture installation and scheduling.

Building Storage

Collins was approached six years ago by a client aiming to expand from retail into self-storage. Today, the majority of its storage business comes from repeat clients, referrals or through the bid process. Most facilities built are single stories, but the company has several two-story storage projects to its creditand one with three levels. Land availability in the Southeast means its easier for owners to develop single-story sites. They can also build in phases more easily, says Vice President Aaron Haldiman.

Collins built several storage projects for Storage Management, owners of 16 self-storage facilities in Florida and Georgia. We have a very small staff, and we often ask our contractors to go the extra support mile to help us complete a project, says Stan Bullington, managing partner for Storage Management. Collins understands the storage business and knows how the construction side works, he adds.

When an owner hires Collins to build a facility, the company begins with a site visit. Initially, our site engineer will assess the best use of the land, Haldiman says. The firm works with civil engineers and management teams to determine unit mix and ancillary services that meet the areas demands. During design, the company performs value engineering that can help the owner save money or catch problems before construction begins. Several suppliers are contacted to establish best pricing.

Once final design is determined, Collins assists with permit processing. The company then establishes project costs and begins mobilization and construction. We can also develop early budget figures as part of due diligence for prospective owners, Haldiman says.

Regional regulations limiting certain types of development have increased; more jurisdictions require engineering specifications, which means contractors and developers must provide increasingly detailed drawings and calculations. It takes more leg work and understanding of each municipalitys requirements to get a project approved, Haldiman says. Sometimes it takes longer to get the permits and go through the design process than it does to erect the building.

When Collins constructs a turnkey project, it handles the entire processfrom site assessment to security-system installation. The firm will install the system, or work with the owners choice of security contractor. We make sure we get the security people in contact with the owners and that the clients requirements are met, including training, Haldiman says.

GE Storage, Sugar Hill, Ga.

Concept to Reality

Although Collins has built numerous storage facilities, Leisure City (Fla.) Self Storage has been the most challenging. Collins took over the project two years after the site was partially constructed. The owners had begun changing the original two-story building into three stories. In addition to incomplete work, the site had suffered storm and other damage. We had to adapt and use what was in place, says Haldiman, who acted as project manager.

Changes included placing additional footings, installing new elevators and exterior emergency stairs, and renovating interior walls and corridors. The modification entailed supplementary steel supports and structural elements such as post-tensioned steel and roof decking. A comprehensive security system was also installed.

Miami-Dade County is a conservative municipality and obtaining self-storage permits can be difficult. However, the company was diligent in providing all the necessary documents, and is in the process of working with the correct agencies to permit a second storage facility.

Zoning challenges were not the only obstacles facing the completion of the project. The contractor also had to contend with the areas high-rise condo boom, which resulted in extreme shortages of labor and services. For example, elevator companies were telling Collins they had a backlog up to one year for appointments. Collins was able to work with suppliers to minimize delays, Haldiman says. The company hired local subcontractors and, when necessary, others were brought in from as far away as Atlanta to offset the shortage.

Mother Nature also had her say in the projects completion. Storm damage threatened the project with delays. Following the hurricanes, Collins imported materials.

The Leisure City project was not the first example of Collin Construction Groups ability to successfully bring a storage facility online, but to date, its the most challenging, Haldiman says. Thanks to the companys versatility, it adapted to local conditions and created relationships with subcontractors and suppliers. We are equipped to do several storage facilities a year and are always prepared to move into new areas of the country when a client needs it, says Haldiman. 

For more information, call 770.475.1028l; visit

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like