The Construction Crew

September 1, 2004

3 Min Read
The Construction Crew

The Construction Crew

A critical team down the stretch

By Rob Wright


hen self-storage owners move intothe final stages of building a new facility, the construction crew becomescritical. Why? The erection of the buildings is the final piece of the puzzle.Everything accomplished up to that pointfinding the right site, lining up thefinancing, completing the building-code and permitting processes, preparingthe land, choosing the building manufacturer and management teamis all forthe end goal of getting the facility up and running. In the end, it comes downto the construction crew.

Its up to the crew to get the buildings up and operationalon schedule. Delays can mean lost revenue for the owner. The sooner unitscan be leased, the better. For this reason, the choice of construction companyis critical. Those who have been in the business a few years probably haveestablished relationships with companies on which they rely. But what aboutthose new to the industry or who have had a bad experience in the past and wanta new option? Realistically, an owner doesnt have a lot of choices; but thedecision he makes can have a significant impact on how soon his property isprofitable.

Independent Crews vs. Pools

An independent construction crew (a dedicated crew for asingle company) can provide complete professionalism and dependability on aproject; but there are challenges to consider. First, an independent crew maynot be available when an owner needs it. It can run into weather delays or otherunforeseen events that keep it on a job site past the anticipated completiondate. On the other hand, it may finish a job early and attempt to move on to anowners project before he is prepared. Second, not all self-storage buildingsare alike, so theres the possibility the available crew will not be familiarwith the owners particular building design. In that case, crew members mayhave to undergo on-the-job familiarization training, which can result in delaysas well as frayed nerves.

Someone once said there is strength in numbers, and that adageapplies appropriately to construction crews. Having a pool of 10 to 20 crewsavailable rather than relying on a single team goes a long way toward gettingbuildings up on schedule and keeping a nervous owner happy. Sometimes,extenuating circumstances prevent an owner from knowing exactly when he willneed a crew; but when the time does come, he needs to move quickly. One of theadvantages of having several crews available is schedules can be shifted andteams moved around to accommodate individual project needs.

Manufacturer Crews

There are also advantages when crews are tied to themanufacturer providing the buildings. To begin, manufacturers can ensure theircrews are properly trained, certified and experienced at erecting theirparticular products. Familiarity breeds successthere is no time or effortlost on learning how to erect an unfamiliar building. Should new constructiontechniques arise or equipment or tools be upgraded, crews can be made aware ofthem in a timely manner. Finally, if engineered drawings are changed, the crewis the first to know about it.

A manufacturers crew is a part of a team of professionalsdedicated to making sure things run smoothly on site. The team generallyincludes an inside sales rep, a project manager who coordinates things from themanufacturers plant, and an on-site field superintendent to supervise theconstruction process through completion. There is no need for the owner ormanager to ride herd on the crew. When the construction phase is completed, thesuperintendent conducts a walk-through with the owner to ensure everything iscompleted to his satisfaction.

Any reputable manufacturer will have warranties on itsproducts as well as the work of its crews. This means the company is accountableand stands behind its work. If construction or maintenance issues arise, theywill be addressed appropriately.

In construction, the more options an owner has available, thesmoother his self-storage project will be. Pools of construction crews andmanufacturer-trained teams are just two of the possible advantages he should seek.

Rob Wright is director of construction management and customersupport for BETCO Inc., a single-source manufacturer of self-storage buildingssince 1984. The company offers engineering design, manufacturing of allmetal-building components, shipping and construction. For more information, call800.654.7813; visit

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