How to Choose a Self-Storage Building Manufacturer

Published August 9, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

steel self-storage building manufacturer

Building your self-storage facility with steel ensures your buildings will last for decades with little maintenance. Metal self-storage facilities are durable yet aesthetically pleasing because you can select the color, roof type, and nearly any other option for appearance, so your facility blends in with the surrounding environment or sports colors in any hue. These are not your grandfather's corrugated tin-roof buildings.

Choosing a reputable, high-quality steel self-storage manufacturer takes some homework but here are some steps you can take to ensure the manufacturer you choose will provide you with everything you need.

What will the storage building manufacturer provide?

The manufacturer, sometimes referred to as a supplier, creates your custom self-storage buildings from the information you provide. A good manufacturer offers engineering and design consultation; you don't have to be an architect yourself to get a quality building that looks and performs the way you want.

Your engineering design and consultation will take you through everything required:

  • Size
  • Colors
  • Insulation
  • Types of framed openings and doors
  • Roof type

The manufacturer will also make sure your building meets local building codes and design loads. The manufacturer then creates preliminary drawings. Once the preliminary drawings are approved the manufacturer prepares fabrication drawings which are used for the manufacture of all the building components from the framing and panels to the fasteners.

Everything required to put the buildings together is included in the building package which the manufacturer will deliver directly to your building site. Whirlwind Steel provides each of these services and can refer you to a contractor through our Preferred Contractor Network to prep the site, design and install the proper foundation, and erect the building.

Finding and electing a steel self-storage supplier

A search for metal self-storage manufacturers will turn up a long list of suppliers, manufacturers, and dealers, even if you narrow your search to your local area. You may also have suggestions or referrals from friends, family, or others in the business. You can also consult the Self-Storage Association website.

Pay particular attention to the following points:

  • AC472 accreditation: AC472 is a compliance program that assures the steel manufacturer aligns with Chapter 17 of the International Building Code. Accreditation requires a third party inspection, and the company must undergo testing to prove knowledge, organization, procedures, and other elements of a quality, compliant metal building manufacturer.
  • Location: How far from the site is the manufacturer’s facility? If you can find a reputable manufacturer close to your site you can save on shipping costs and you will receive your building quicker. Also, in the event you need to change anything, the change will be more efficiently performed.
  • Manufacturer’s credentials: Besides the name and location of the manufacturer determine the professional memberships, how long in business, and the level of experience of its employees.
  • Warranties: A reputable manufacturer provides a warranty that will last for the lifetime of the building, which can be forty years or more. Be sure you understand the length of the warranty and exactly what it covers.
  • Long-term services: The manufacturer should provide services both during and after construction.

You want a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials in fabricating your steel self-storage buildings. Lower quality steel or other metal is less durable, resulting in premature repair and replacement. Also, you could run into safety concerns.

A little about steel buildings

High-quality steel is:

  • Cost-effective
  • Energy efficient
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Low maintenance

Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any building material. This means that a building made of steel members weighs less than other building materials but offers more strength.

Steel building products are eminently suitable for areas where high winds, hail, seismic activity, heavy snow, and heat are common. Due to the structural shape of the frame and panels, you can easily install abundant insulation to keep the costs of climate-controlled units down.

Your self-storage facility will likely have an office and, possibly, an apartment for live-in management. Additional insulation can make these areas more cost efficient as well. You can customize the interiors of the office and apartment with an array of accessories and interior design materials; it doesn’t have to look like the inside of a warehouse.

Contracts - get it in writing

The only enforceable contract is a written one; never accept a verbal contract from any manufacturer. Your contract contains all the details of the product you are purchasing. The list is itemized with a price for each part and all agreements about materials and services are present.

Post-erection service

Select a steel self-storage manufacturer that offers service after the sale.

  • Unlimited customer service to answer questions you may have about maintenance or building performance.
  • Replacement part availability for those occasions when a part becomes damaged.

The manufacturer should provide technical support throughout the building process and remain available for questions and advice once your buildings are complete.

steel: the right choice for your self-storage units

A steel self-storage facility is an investment, not just in a building but in a business. You require a metal self-storage manufacturer that understands your need for a durable, high-quality steel building that is energy efficient, quickly and easily erected, and requires little maintenance.

Because metal storage buildings can be placed anywhere from a warehouse district to commercial and retail, a knowledgeable manufacturer will provide a broad selection of colors and coatings to allow your facility to match surrounding buildings or to appear more residential. Depending on your local building codes and the requirements of the surrounding retail or commercial environment, your self-storage can be made to blend in with the surrounding buildings or to stand out in the crowd.

If you want to be eco-friendly, a steel mini warehouse is the best you can buy. Steel is 100% recyclable and is, itself partially made of recycled materials. Steel buildings can be insulated and come in colors to reflect the summer sun to reduce heating inside the building. Conversely, in cold climates, a steel building can retain heat as well, reducing the costs of natural gas, electricity, and other utilities. 

A steel roof is a perfect place for solar panels; you can generate your own electricity from the expansive roof of your facility and potentially sell the excess back to the local electrical grid for an extra revenue stream.


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