Panel Power: What Makes MBCI Products Key to Self-Storage Project Savings

The community of Sterling Heights, Michigan – a popular suburb of Detroit — has a climate that varies between extreme hot and extreme cold. To combat these shifting temperatures, Beyond Self Storage aimed to deliver a climate-controlled setting to help residents protect their possessions.

Storage Structures Inc., a national metal building subcontractor, worked with Mohagen Hansen Architecture | Interiors, featuring products from MBCI, to complete the project. The three-story, climate-controlled, self-storage location features more than 10 storage unit size options, and also includes both and office and retail space.

The Challenge

For this particular endeavor, Beyond Self Storage — and its parent company, the Missouri-based firm NorthPoint Development — chose the pros at Storage Structures Inc., to break ground on the new Sterling Heights location. The architects at Mohagen Hansen, which has partnered with NorthPoint development to build about a dozen Beyond Self Storage locations in multiple states — were called in to help make the project happen.

“We wanted an economical exterior enclosure that will perform for a water, vapor and air barrier, with good thermal resistance and aesthetic appeal,” said Ron Powell, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, registered architect at Mohagen Hansen and project manager for this Beyond Self Storage location.

Powell and his team started working on this 114,238-square-foot facility in 2017, starting with requisite permits in the spring and beginning construction in the fall — the latter of which took about 10 months. One issue they faced was the combination of season, geography and climate.

“Part of this was getting built in the winter, in Michigan, so we were dealing with colder conditions and potential snowfall,” Powell explained. “This can disrupt the process, particularly with pouring concrete. As weather came along, there could be some delays or starting and stopping because of climate.”

Another potential problem associated with a project like this is the ultimate cost of materials, which is affected by the distance between the manufacturing plant and the job site.

“A large part of the cost is associated with transportation,” Powell said. “So depending on the location, materials could get quite expensive.”

The Solution

Enter MBCI and their Santa Fe® insulated metal panels — specifically, the 42-inch-wide, 2.5-inch-thick variety in Slate Gray, Regal Gray and Charcoal Gray. These wall panels utilize concealed clips and eliminate thermal short circuits. Installation is quick and easy, drastically reducing labor time and cost.

“A lot of wall systems have anywhere from eight to 12 components,” Powell said. “These insulated metal panels have just two pieces, making it simple and efficient.”

This simplified process allowed the team to stay on their timeline, even when contending with inclement weather, and meet their financial pro forma goals. MBCI’s position in the market, as well as its manufacturing locations all over the United States, also made them an appealing choice for Mohagen Hansen.

“MBCI is one of only a few major players on the insulated metal panel market,” Powell explained. “Its geography of manufacturing plants enables them to cover the U.S. market for competitive pricing.”

The Result

This project’s use of the MBCI Santa Fe® panels results in a final product that is both functional and visually appealing.

“MBCI provides multiple gray color options for attractive, neutral-colored self-storage buildings,” Powell said. “This helps to achieve city zoning standards, which require multiple colors during architectural design review, and assists owners in constructing a building in a neutral palette that can be sold to another self-storage company with differing branding colors.”

The embossed Santa Fe panels have a unique finish that mimics the appearance of stucco. This is not only pleasing to the eye but also serves another purpose, Powell explained: “The texture hides any surface irregularities that could be due to transportation or construction damage.”

In addition to the Santa Fe® insulated metal panels, Powell said that MBCI considered complementary aspects as well. “MBCI works through the details to provide custom corners and trim to meet the architect’s design specifications and transitions to other building material veneers,” he said.

Physical products aside, Powell said the process went smoothly and stayed on track with their established deadlines. “The shop drawing process was completed in the typical one round of review,” he said. “No further review was required.”

The ease of specification, installation and construction are reasons Powell plans to recommend MBCI products to his colleagues. According to Powell, “[MBCI offers] quality product at a competitive price,” which was a key component to the completion of this project.

Project Specs

MBCI Products: Santa Fe®

Colors: Slate Gray, Regal Gray, Charcoal Gray

Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan

Architect: Mohagen Hansen Architecture

Contractor: Storage Structures, Inc.

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