Whether you are constructing a new self-storage building or renovating an existing facility, one of the most important aspects of the project is properly handling and preserving the building materials. By taking a few essential steps during the planning process, you can protect your investment and ensure that your self-storage project is completed on time and within budget. Following are best practices for shipping, receiving, storing and handling your self-storage building materials.
Conduct Pre-installation Meetings
Conducting pre-installation meetings before the material is shipped ensures each person involved with the project is aligned with the construction schedule, material sequencing and delivery. The general contractor is usually responsible for working with the manufacturer to coordinate the delivery and installation of self-storage materials. However, if your manufacturer offers project services, you can expect more involvement, such as placing orders, meeting project timelines and ensuring quality.
Ensure Proper Packaging
For materials such as roll-up doors, effective packaging solutions are essential to prevent issues like damaged paint and broken drum components resulting from sheets rubbing together, dropped packages and other damage-inducing activities. Packaging solutions should consider the door size, packaging configuration and typical packing, transit and storage conditions. In addition, proper packaging ensures that products remain operational, aesthetically pleasing and ready for install upon delivery, minimizing the potential for schedule delays and additional costs.
Schedule Material Delivery Around Construction Sequencing
When scheduling material delivery for your self-storage project, consider the order in which materials will be installed. To enable job site efficiency, make sure you communicate the construction sequencing with your manufacturer so they can ensure the right material arrives on the job site at the right time. Early deliveries could lead to damaged materials, while late deliveries could lead to costly slowdowns.
When determining construction sequencing, ensure that all other electrical, plumbing and mechanical trades are at least 90% completed before the materials are delivered and installed. For smaller projects, all materials can be delivered at the same time because the installation process is quicker. For larger projects, material delivery should be staggered. For example, hallway systems should be completed, and the headers and frames should be installed before the roll-up doors are delivered to the site. For multi-story projects, the delivery should be broken up into phases for each floor.
Designate Staging Area to Receive Materials
Ensure the person responsible for receiving materials at the job site has experience with proper material management for self-storage facilities. Before the material arrives, designate an offload staging area with the proper equipment to unload the product safely and damage-free. Confirm that the job site conditions are favorable for delivery and the laydown areas are free of standing water and protected from weather conditions that can deteriorate the material. Once the material arrives, ensure the packing slip matches the materials that have been delivered.
Inspecting Materials for Discrepancies
Upon delivery, inspect all materials to confirm they are free of acceptable damage such as dents, discoloration, or breakage. If materials are damaged or missing, or quantities are incorrect, take photos of the incorrect materials and note them on the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is a legally binding document of the acceptance of complete and total responsibility for the material. Do not sign the Bill of Lading if the material is incorrect and communicate any discrepancies immediately. Most manufacturers require that discrepancies be reported within 48 hours.
Retain Material Packaging Until Installation
When your materials are delivered, leave the products in the packaging and on the skid until you’re ready to begin the installation process. Also, make sure all roll-up door accessories are packaged and stored with the door to avoid losing any important components.
Store Materials Indoors, Away from Machinery
If conditions do not allow for immediate installation, extra care should be taken to preserve the material from damage. Most self-storage building component manufacturers recommend that you avoid storing materials for extended periods of time before installation. Ensure that materials are stored indoors with dry air circulation to prevent damage from moisture and other particles. In addition, materials should be kept away from the build to prevent damage by other trades, heavy machinery and debris. To avoid unwanted chemical reactions and corrosion, do not store materials such as steel roll-up doors near dissimilar metals or strong acids. Photo documentation of storage procedures can provide support in case of loss or damage.
Clean Storage Area
Once you’ve chosen a safe location to store your product, remove all items from the area. Completely clean the floor, clearing fasteners, gravel or any other debris that can scratch, dent or otherwise damage the materials. Keep aisles clear and remove any obstructions to provide for safe movement of material and equipment.
Handle Materials with Caution
Follow the manufacturer’s handling instructions and never drag or push the material around the job site. Keep aisles clear to provide for safe movement of material and use at least two employees to move the product. If you need to move materials to another location, an air-ride truck will provide a smoother ride, limiting the possibility of damage during transit. For ease of transport of materials such as roll-up doors, do not remove the door from the skid. When lifting the skid and/or roll-up doors, add padding under the straps to avoid scratches or dents. Also, be sure to use caution when operating forklift boons or any other transit vehicles to transport the skids.
Whether occurring during transit, delivery, or storage, damaged building materials can result in significant delays and additional costs. These delays can ultimately result in additional out-of-pocket expenses and lost revenue from the delayed opening or operation of your self-storage building. Using these best practices when receiving and storing material for your self-storage project can help preserve the material, retain warranties and ensure the job is completed on time and within budget.
For more information on preserving self-storage building materials and protecting your investment, contact one of DBCI’s experienced sales representatives.