December 1, 2004

2 Min Read
Construction Corner

Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to [email protected].

Q: I am building my third self-storage site. The first two were built with a bare minimum of security. My new one is in a more competitive market and I want to do it right. What do you recommend to provide tenants with a highly-secure site and have a more marketable facility?

Bill in Newburg, Ore.

A: Security systems are more than just a way of securing a site. As you implied, they also provide an awesome marketing edge and an advantage over the competition. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Individual Door AlarmsThese bring in higher rents and give tenants a stronger sense of security. They also let you keep track of tenant activity on site.

  • Access ControlWhether you are just installing a basic keypad at the gate or securing all doors and elevators, access control is essential to any site. For more bells and whistles, consider adding pay-at-the-gate functionality, intercoms, welcome displays, card readers and cameras to your keypads.

  • Digital Video SurveillanceThe days of videotapes are over! Look for a system that offers digital recording, DVD archiving and remote capability.

  • Music and PagingEven the best designed facilities can be creepy and cavernous. Adding a music system to your facility adds a level of comfort for tenants. Paging capabilities allow you to easily stay in touch with customers throughout your site.

It is usually best to find a company that provides all of these solutions than to buy them from different sources. Do your research, and you will have a very marketable and secure site.

Q: Do you recommend using conduit for low voltage wiring or just free-wire? My contractor is pushing me toward conduit, but it adds quite a bit to the cost. What are the benefits?

Sherman in Conyers, Ga.

A: I recommend putting all wiring in conduit. The main reason is protection. Wire that is freely run throughout the facility has the potential to sag, or be pulled down or cut. There has actually been an instance in which wire was run inside a unit and the tenant used it to hang his clothes! Needless to say, things like that can cause problems with your security system.

Another consideration is local building codes. Some counties require everything to be in conduit, regardless of the voltage. Though I agree with your contractor, talk with your city planner and review your budget to see if conduit is necessary and cost-effective.

Tony Gardner is a licensed contractor and installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit

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