Sponsored By

Creating and Managing a Self-Storage Construction Timeline

Proper creation and management of the construction timeline is critical to the successful completion of a self-storage project. Follow these guidelines to map the sequence of events and milestones to help guide the development team.

October 6, 2016

4 Min Read
Creating and Managing a Self-Storage Construction Timeline

By Ryan Rogers

Proper creation and management of the construction timeline is critical to the fruitful completion of a self-storage project. Mapping out the timeframe early in the development process will allow you to determine essential project milestones for all team members and plan your facility startup. Using your team’s unique experience and expertise to guide the sequence of events will help you position the project for success.

While the construction timeline will help keep the project on track, it’s important to recognize that it’s fluid guideline, not a rigid measuring stick. Getting team buy-in on the project’s goals from beginning to end is what will ultimately ensure a timely completion.

Start Date

At the onset of a new development, it’s important to have a concept of the overall project duration. This will allow you to set dates for critical milestones such as building-permit issuance and project completion. These signposts have implications beyond that of the construction timeframe—they provide a guide for loan closings, staff hiring, operational procedures and more. Each project will have unique conditions, such as building aesthetic, size, etc., that add complexity to the schedule.

The construction process is multifaceted and requires a diverse team of subject-matter experts. Gathering the team early and facilitating open dialogue will establish a precedent for communication, collaboration and problem-solving. Integrating your architect’s design schedule with your contractor’s construction timetable will allow you to determine a projected start date via the building-permit issuance. This will in turn allow you to build your master schedule and determine the project completion date.

Sequence of Work and Critical Path

With a project start date determined, your general contractor will be able to provide expert input on construction activity and sequence of work to best accomplish your goals. While he’s developing the project schedule, the contractor will identify the “critical path”—the necessary sequence from start to finish—that determines the time needed for completion and measures the most time-consuming tasks.

Along this path, milestones will be identified. Common ones include the mobilization date for construction, the completion of foundation and steel erection, installation for underground utilities, and building dry-in, including installation of the roof, exterior skin and weather barrier. Each milestone is a choke point for the next sequence of activities. For example, interior mechanical and electrical installation can’t begin until the building is dried. This work must be completed before the start of interior finishes.

As the schedule is designed, it’s prudent that the general contractor obtain input from the major subcontractors, such as earth workers and steel erectors, to help determine realistic timeframes. Engaging subcontractors and capitalizing on their expertise facilitates greater team buy-in and further develops a well-formed agenda. This input can also help identity long lead times for materials so they can be addressed early in the process for purchasing and reviewed for the projected construction cash flow.

Getting From Points A to B

Once construction has begun, it’s typically the responsibility of the onsite superintendent to manage and update the schedule. Regular updating will accomplish several things:

  • It will help team members manage their progress and inform them of upcoming activities, such as the installation of underground irrigation sleeves prior to curb and gutter installation.

  • It will keep you informed of your construction completion date, which allows you to prepare for facility lease-up, staffing, the delivery of office furniture, etc.

  • It allows the superintendent to re-sequence work, adjusting the time when certain construction activities occur.

Again, the schedule is fluid, not rigid. Building construction is inherently vulnerable to unforeseeable outdoor conditions such as rain and snow. At the end of the day, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to get from point A, the construction start date, to point B, the completion date. For example, in the event of a rainstorm, he should note the rain will impede a milestone on the critical path. To maintain the project completion date, he’ll elect to reallocate manpower from a noncritical path item to a critical path item, thereby delaying a noncritical activity to maintain a critical one.

Setting a timeline and gathering your team early in the development process will allow you to determine critical milestones and what’s needed to achieve them. This holds team members accountable for their respective responsibilities and deadlines and creates acknowledgment of what’s required to complete the project in a timely manner. The construction schedule is an evolving tool that’s constrained at its start and end points. To manage it and keep the project on track for the success and benefit of all requires innovative problem-solving.

Ryan Rogers is the director of preconstruction at DCB Construction Co. Inc., where he oversees each project from initial client contact through building permits and is responsible for their overall success, including schedule and budget. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design in architecture and a master’s degree in architecture, and has accreditation in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and green building. Founded in 1960 and based in Denver, DCB is a design-build general contractor that specializes in the design and construction of commercial, industrial and multi-story self-storage buildings. For more information, call 303.287.5525; visit www.dcb1.com.

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

You May Also Like