Inside Self-Storage

SEP 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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rain event. These days, many communities will require you to design for a 100-year water event. Your civil engineer will calculate the size necessary for compliance. Will your project use surface drainage for all the water run-off, or will you be required to have storm drains? If the latter, all water will run underground to the pond. Having storm drains is typically best, and many cities require them, but they're more expensive than surface drainage. The city may also require that the water coming off your roof go directly into the storm sewer so it's "clean." This will also affect the pond size and shape. Choosing the Building Layout Your topography survey will give you an idea which direction your buildings should be oriented to minimize the amount of grading to be done. The rule is you try to take up the fall in grade between buildings if possible. Normally, you can take up to 18 inches of grade between two buildings (eight inches to a foot is more common). If this isn't enough to compensate for all the fall on the property, you'll need steps. You can design a step foundation up to every 20 feet. It can be done every 10 feet, but your site then turns into a ski hill. Standard step sizes are six, eight or 12 inches, allowing you to change elevation quickly if necessary. Some owners don't like steps because of the increased costs for the concrete and building, plus they're harder to snow-plow. Standard steps run across the width of the building, while longitudinal steps run the A new developer looking to get into the self-storage business is typically concentrating all his energy on finding the best location. However, once you finally find that perfect site, it may not be flat. In fact, it may have a lot of grading issues! The good news is you can usually design the project to accommodate elevate changes and still be financially feasible. Anticipating Land Cost Your true land cost is the price of the land plus grading. You could pay $300,000 for your land and then determine the grading will be another $700,000. The trouble is costs for excavation and grading are difficult to estimate. Each parcel will have its own expenses. You need a good site plan to help determine if you can build your site and still make money. So, how do you make a good plan? The key is to get a current survey that shows the site typography. People are normally surprised by the amount of fall on their site. It may look flat, but there could be a six- to eight-foot grade change. The survey will provide insight to many of the issues you'll face. Planning the Retention Pond Among the first decisions you'll need to make is where to put the retention pond and how big it should be. Typically, it's placed in the lowest area of the site. Its size will depend on several factors, including your local climate, mainly rainfall. Some jurisdictions require you to accommodate for a 10-year length of the building. Longitudinal steps add significantly to foundation costs and constrain the unit mix, so developers try to avoid them. One alternative to eliminating or at least minimizing standard steps is to build on a 1 percent slope. This means if you have a building that's 200 feet long, one end will be two feet lower than the other. This works well when using surface drainage. It creates many benefits because it minimizes your steps, which reduces costs, while creating a nice water flow so you won't have any ponding. The steel buildings used in our industry that have a flush header and jamb system work best to accommodate this approach, as the doors are installed to follow the grade. Another benefit of designing on a 1 percent slope is all your gutters will drain properly. You must ensure there's a downspout on the low end of the building. I see many developers who want to design their whole project level because they think it'll be the best for the consumer. That's true, but you don't want any water ponding, as it'll ruin your pavement over time. Having your whole site drain on a 1 percent slope is best. If your site has a grade change of more than 10 feet, consider developing a multi-story building. If you use a two-story-into-a-hill design, sometimes called over/under building, it'll allow you to build two floors without the need for an elevator. These facilities are quite desirable, and the extra square footage easily offsets the additional costs of grading and the concrete retaining wall. LEARN MORE Learn more from author Jamie Lindau in the video "Self-Storage Site Layout for Maximum ROI and Minimum Headaches," available in on-demand and DVD formats exclusively at C r u s h i n g Crushing Site Grading Issues Designing your project to fit the land By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau By Jamie Lindau Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land Designing your project to fit the land HeyRay Self Storage in Georgetown, Ontario, was a phased project. The front buildings with offices and climate-controlled storage opened while sitework continued in the rear. 40 ISS I September 2018

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