Inside Self-Storage Magazine 07/2004: Construction Corner

July 1, 2004

2 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage Magazine 07/2004: Construction Corner

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

Q: I recently purchased an old self-storage facility that has along, single building with two stories. There is no elevator or lift of any kind,so the previous owners were restricted as to how they could market and rent thosesecond-floor spaces. I would like to take down some partition walls upstairs andstart renting those units for more money; but to do that, I will need some formof elevator. What do you recommend as an inexpensive solution?
Gary in Billings, Mont.

A: There are a couple of ways to go in this situation, though thedirection you choose may be dictated by your local building department. Atraditional elevator car can be very expensive and is probably not required forthis application. There are companies that tailor lift systems specifically forthe mini-storage industry. These systems are usually much less expensive than aregular passenger elevator. Please note, there are differences between a systemthat carries cargo only and one that also carries people. Be sure to consultyour elevator company with your specific requirements when shopping around. (Forinformation on possible vendors to assist you, visit the online buyers guideat and click on Lifts & Materials Handling.)

Q: I own what I feel is a very nicefacility; yet I have had several tenants tell me it is too cavernous, and theydont feel safe when inside. Without seeing my building, do you have anysuggestions to make it less foreboding and tenants feel at ease?
Cindy in Apple Valley, Calif.

A: Lighting is going to be near the top of your list forimprovements. Are hallways well-lit and bright, or are there dark spots withdull paint or walls? After lighting, there isnt anything like asurveillance-camera system to make tenants feel safe. You can choose to putcameras in only the common areas and on the exterior of the building(s), orstrategically place them in the hallways.

After cleaning up the lighting and adding cameras, considerinstalling a comprehensive paging/music/intercom system throughout the facility.Music makes tenants feel like they arent alone when inside your building. Thepaging system allows you or your manager to quickly call tenants when they areon site. The intercom makes tenants feel there is someone close by if necessary.All of these elements will not only increase your tenants ease while on site,but will provide a great way for you to market your facility to new customers.

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

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