Storage Condo Construction
... the plain and simple truth
The beauty of this development is that the buildings and site improvements are very simple. I have summarized what I learned below.
Educate the subcontractors
Because of my background in construction, I was quite aware of how the different trades charged for their services. This was very helpful as I talked through the building process with each trade letting them know why they should take a closer look at what it would take to provide their services. I also picked the subcontractor carefully based on the kind of projects they have done in the past. I spent much time designing the building - knowing the things that would help reduce cost.
There are framers, builders, remodelers and the guys working out of the back of a pick-up truck. Actually, all of them could do the work. Builders won’t do it unless they get the general contracting part. Remodelers won’t do it unless they are slow. That leaves the guy in the truck and the framing crews. The framing crews are the best choice. They get in and get it done.
I educated the framers by explaining 4 basic things:
- Its a big 4 wall box – how hard is that? There are no jogs, field framing on the roof, its walkable, plenty of room to maneuver, you don’t have to cut each 14ft stud, all the windows and door headers are the same, and I buy the materials. You can’t possible want to charge the square foot price as you do on a house, they are not the same.
- The buildings are identical – once your guys build one they get very efficient.
- There is more work coming.
- Give me your best price and if you don’t think you made any money after the first 2 buildings, I will pay you more.
I estimated the number guys, how many days, etc and came up with a price. Except for a small yearly increase they have never asked for more money. I still use that same framing crew today. In fact, they are so pleased, they wanted the siding and the roofing – I gave it to them. The main guy doesn’t even have to show up anymore and, needless to say neither do I.
What does that mean to you?
I was working with a developer who didn’t have much experience in construction. They were working on a project about an hour away. I gave them the price for the framing labor and instructed them to explain to the framers bidding the job that “this is what you are willing to pay.” This is the price that other framers are getting it done for and are happy with. It worked.
It streamlined the process of educating the subcontractors
(all part of the consulting services provided by StorageShopUSA)
. The principles above worked the same way with all the trades. I constantly stress efficiency, duplication, simplicity and that this should not be bid the same way you bid a house.
Don’t change the construction plans.
Duplication leads to efficiency. Change is not efficient and it adds cost. In order to achieve the best pricing, I promoted duplication – don’t change the plans! Look, every building is the same!
It may seem insignificant, but in order to remain at the pricing level you have to stay steadfast to that rule. This is so important to maintain. Actually there is very little reason to change anything - that’s the beauty of this design!
The shell unit is a “white box” with the plumbing up through the floor. I offer a standard office/bath build-out package that was part of the negotiated pricing with each sub. The build-out offers enough so that they really don’t ask for any changes. The result is no price changes and everything remains as planned - simple, duplicatable, and efficient.
When someone wants a specific build-out, I bid it out just as any other contractor does. I have the upper hand since I am there and know what need to be done.
This is so powerful.
The same building over and over again may get boring - but it works!
My job as a superintendent was cut way back once I trained the subs on what to do. I hardly had to show up anymore. This is a huge plus for some of you that may be leery about taking on a construction/development project.
The nice thing about simplicity, duplication, and the established pattern is somebody who has very little knowledge about being a construction superintendent, can learn as they develop a project. The pattern and additional consulting is available as you suspect – it is well worth it! There is money in the project budget for this and is a good way to pay yourself as you go through the development.
The building and site improvements costs are very important to the economics of storage condominium developments. More information regarding the
is available however, it should be interpreted very carefully. .
for clarification and discussion regarding the development costs.
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