Benefits of a Single-Source Supplier for Self-Storage Projects

Traditionally, when we talk about metal products for self-storage facilities, we think about the metal building panels used for exterior wall and roof systems. But, when considered holistically along with interior components such as roll-up doors and hallway systems, the wisdom for contractors and erectors of turning to a single-source supplier comes sharply into focus.

There is, perhaps, some “old habits die hard” thinking behind customers traditionally sourcing interior and exterior components from different suppliers. This has meant that self-storage unit doors and hallway systems or the non-load bearing components inside of a building have generally been sourced from someone other than the company that manufactures the exterior building materials. But, just because this is how it’s been done in the past doesn’t mean it’s the best way moving forward. In fact, utilizing a single manufacturer able to offer a comprehensive, full-scale system—that is providing both exterior building solutions and interior self-storage solutions—can bring untold benefits to a project.

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Advantages of Single-Source Provider for Self-Storage Facility Contractors and Erectors

One way to think about the benefits of using a single-source building material supplier for self-storage facility development is with a simple analogy to a consumer buying a car. When you set out to purchase a car, what if you had to buy the body of a vehicle from one dealer, but then you buy the engine, tires, seats, steering wheel, brakes and headlights from all different shops? That would be a rather cumbersome process. In reality, when we buy a new car, we can select the model we want and specify the options we want included—knowing that all the parts and accessories needed to provide the end-result are included when the car is delivered. So, you ultimately deal with one source, one contract and one purchase order to get the complete package.

Similarly, a reputable single-source supplier can help simplify the process needed to develop self-storage facilities. Contractors and erectors can get the materials and resources they need by working with a single point of contact at the single company, thereby streamlining the material ordering and delivery process in alignment with their construction needs and schedules.

With complex projects in mind, an experienced single-source vendor strategy drives successful outcomes and mitigates risk, but no one entity can do everything on its own. Therefore, an ideal vendor needs to have additional, seamless partnerships requiring specific expertise and certifications.

Lead-time and Optimal Delivery

The timing of material delivery can make or break construction schedules and budgets. In this industry, the quicker a building owner can get a facility open and start collecting rent/fees from customers, the greater the financial benefits will be.

When a manufacturer supplies all building materials for a project, they are able to build a relationship with the contractor or builder and optimize the support they provide on projects. This in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the project allows for a single-source manufacturer to ensure materials don’t show up too early, which can cause storage issues on the job site, and also keep them from arriving too late, preventing costly labor issues.

To guarantee reliable delivery, a single-source supplier can address industry concerns related to capacity by optimizing production methods and resources to handle spikes or drastic upticks in workload. Ideally, this would result in leveling off to a two- to three-week lead time rather than the typical eight-week lead time for delivering material you’d see on a given self-storage project.

Buying Power

Working with a single-source manufacturer leverages bulk buying power to ensure materials are sourced at the best rates possible. This cuts down on the time spent negotiating material costs with other manufacturers and suppliers. In addition, using a single-source supplier means spending less time finding and managing vendors and more time servicing your customers.

Material Compatibility

Another key benefit to using a single source for self-storage facility development projects is the inevitability of fewer potential product compatibility issues than might be experienced when sourcing different materials from several different manufacturers. By turning to a manufacturer that is essentially providing an envelope solution for self-storage facilities—not just a single part that must coexist with another manufacturer’s part—that expertise will help ensure all materials work together seamlessly and not jeopardize the build.

To learn more how MBCI can be a single-source for your self-storage facility project, contact your local MBCI representative.

Roof Penetrations Made by Non-roofing Contractors

In our last two posts, we have looked at the proper ways for roofing contractors to address different types of penetrations in metal roofing in order to assure that a watertight seal is achieved from the outset, as well as over the life of the roof. But what happens when another contractor, such as a plumber, electrician, or other trade needs to penetrate the roof? How is the watertightness of the roof assured then?

Warranty Control for a Metal Roof

Most metal roofing warranties are very specific about what is included or not included should a roof leak occur. Therefore, the manufacturer’s warranty should be the first thing that is checked for a particular project to determine whether a seemingly innocent bit of work on the roof has the potential for a loss of warranty coverage. Commonly, qualified roofing contractors need to do the work and it needs to be inspected, but in some cases, supervised work may be acceptable too. Either way, any penetration installed by a trade contractor other than a roofing contractor should be fully coordinated with the architect or owner’s representative, the roofing manufacturer’s representative, the general contractor, and the roofing contractor. Once reviewed, there may be several options on how to proceed.

Guided Installation

For a single or simple penetration, say for a single small mechanical or electrical line, it may be possible to simply work with the trade contractor on the location of the penetration, review in advance that the proper materials are being used, and check the quality of the work for watertightness when complete. (Note: following the guidelines in our prior post on Pipe and Flute Penetrations will provide a good checklist of things to cover.) If everything is appropriately done, then it may be possible to have the roofing manufacturer add the new penetration to the list of items covered under the warranty.

Lightning Rod
Lightning Rod Application for Metal Panels

Coordinated Installation

In some cases, numerous penetrations may be required, such as the installation of multiple lightning rods across a roof. In this case, it might be more prudent to consider a coordinated, cooperative effort to allow each trade to do what it does best and keep the warranty in effect. Instead of an electrician being responsible for the roof penetrations and for lightning rods, let him focus on the lightning protection and wiring aspects of the work. But first, bring in a roofing contractor to advise on the proper locations of the lightning rods and to be the one responsible for the watertight seal. Location advice would include things like avoiding valleys, standing seams, or other areas that are difficult to seal or flash around. The electrician could then make the needed lightning rod penetrations in the agreed-upon locations and complete his work. Following right behind, the roofing contractor could install retrofit rubber roof jacks around the lightning rods and assure that they are sealed properly. Alternatively, the roofing contractor could make the penetration and allow the electrician to install the lightning rod, while the roofing contractor installs an appropriate rubber roof jack over or around it. Either way, the two trades need to  review the process ahead of time and be sure that everyone is on board to produce the best results for everyone involved.

Bottom Line: Think Through Penetrations

roof penetrations
Standing Seam Roof Penetration

Standing seam metal roofs have become more complex in recent years, with more and varied types of roof penetrations. This simply magnifies the need for better communication between the design professional, roof manufacturer, general contractor, roofing contractor, and any of the various trades that might be working on the roof.

When everyone takes the time to plan up front and think through their own needs and the options to get there, everyone wins. The architect/owner representative can ensure that his or her clients get a roof that will perform long-term. The roof manufacturer is able to provide expertise that has been gained over a long period of time through working with similar details on roofs all over the country. The roofing contractor can leave the project knowing that the details are long-term and will mean little chance for leak callbacks. Plus, the general contractor and the building owner can quickly resolve any arguments over which trade is responsible for repairing a roof leak.

Proper Care and Usage of Roof Seamers

As more standing seam metal roofs are being installed than ever before, it is imperative for roofing contractors to have the proper tools when quoting jobs. Remember, a properly formed seam is important for aesthetics, weathertightness and wind uplift. With the right tools in hand for these complex installations, you can get the job done faster, better and with greater cost efficiency than your competitors.

Know Your Type

Seamer use depends on the type of metal standing seam panels on the project: double lock seam, symmetrical seam, one-piece snap-lock interlock and two-piece snap-lock interlock. You will need to identify the type of panel in order to choose the right seamer and confirm that you are using the right seamer for the job. The double lock seam, also known as a Pittsburgh seam, is double-folded, meaning the finishing seam is 180 or 360 degrees. This applies to MBCI’s Double-Lok® and SuperLok® panels. A single-lock seam is 45 or 90 degrees, such as MBCI’s BattenLok® HS and Curved BattenLok®.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions Explicitly

Adherence to the field manual instructions is critical to ensure proper installation that will not result in damage to the seamer and/or panels. It is critical to carefully read the manufacturer’s manual thoroughly before beginning the seaming operation, whether renting or buying the equipment. Not only will this give you the best possible result, but it can also save you the headache of incurring costs of replacing or repairing the seamer due to misuse.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pre-Seaming

  1. Locate field manual in the seamer box and review operational procedures.
  2. Locate power source and check against power requirements in field manual.
  3. Check seams for proper engagement.
  4. Clean dirt, debris and excess sealant from seams and panel surfaces to avoid interfering with the seaming operation.
  5. Panels should be seamed with an electric seaming tool as panels are being installed.

Seamer Equipment Checklist

Keys to Seaming Success

  1. The seamer should be supplied or recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t assume another manufacturer’s seamer will work on the panels you are installing. For example, other manufacturers may have a panel similar to MBCI’s BattenLok® HS but that doesn’t mean that an MBCI seamer would work on any of those panels. It is important to use the seamer recommended for the specific product. It must be the proper seam for the engineering. That is if you don’t seam it properly, the manufacturer won’t know if its load charts and tables are accurate.As previously stated, carefully read and follow seamer instructions for proper results. You will need a properly formed seam to ensure you achieve the desired aesthetics and weathertightness as well as mitigating risk from wind uplift. The seamers are miniature roll formers and need to be installed in a very specific way.
  2. Take care of the seamer—don’t leave it out in the rain or in other weather conditions where it could suffer damage.
  3. If not forming seams properly, stop immediately and call the manufacturer or company providing the seamer
  4. If renting, when returning the seamer make sure all equipment is returned, i.e. hand crimpers or hand seamers.

For more information on MBCI seamers, please review the manuals for specific panel types.

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