Monthly Archives: July 2014

How To Choose A Steel Structure That Fits Your Needs

Many of today’s larger companies house their operations in steel structures.

Considering these types of buildings have been around for more than a century, people sometimes think they are outdated. What they don’t realize is that most retail spaces, like Walmart, use steel structures. Retailers then add their branding to change the  look and feel of the building. When you walk into a Walmart or other major retail center, the ceiling is a steel structure painted in appealing colors to create a specific mood for shoppers.

Try something similar in your warehouse or shop. Consider these factors when choosing a steel structure for your company:

Aesthetics

At The Reinhart Group, we have noticed a trend in Lloydminster toward companies looking for something outstanding. More and more, they are opting for single slope buildings. These give you a sealed seam roof which, if low-angled, can give you a roof that lasts longer and has fewer leaks. If you need something straightforward, like a farm building, you probably want to keep it simple rather than going for something sloped.

Functionality

Design should be based on building use. For example, will there be a crane? A crane will dictate column size. If your need is for a large open area, like a warehouse, you may want a clear span so nothing impedes easy movement.  If you need air nozzles, posts may be a better option.

Budget

Not many people know that steel buildings are priced per ton. Adding or subtracting a couple of beams can impact the bottom line.

Something else to consider is the size of a building as it relates to its use.  A small business or large company, new to an area (and not yet sure about expansion), for example, might opt for less square footage, perhaps a building 6,000 square feet. A size like this allows functionality with overhead doors, drive through bays, and office space. Functionality drastically decreases, however, when you go below that size.

Larger projects, can sometimes be up to 600 feet long. Sizes like this enable trucking companies to have long drive through bays allowing for equipment to pass straight through because there are doors on each side. Even though it costs more to have that extra door on the other side, people absolutely love it. It promotes safety and efficiency and has become increasingly popular.

While we recommend an experienced builder for these types of structures, however there is another option for smaller buildings such as farm shops. Kits are an affordable way to erect a steel structure at a fraction of the cost. Farmers can save money by doing much of the work themselves.

Getting the perfect fit

You, too, can create the same sleek appearance retailers have mastered when using a steel structure as the base for your shop or warehouse. It is important to determine how crucial aesthetics are versus functionality. Once that is determined, you can select an appropriate size based on your budget.

What To Consider When Leasing a Steel Building

Why do many large companies lease as opposed to buying their own building? Why do some buy their own building only to have a company like The Reinhart Group lease those same buildings back to them?

One reason is capital.

Most industrial companies are not in the business of owning buildings. They are in the trucking, pipe, oil, shipping, or manufacturing business. This means they can get an ROI ten times higher by investing available capital in trucks or other equipment rather than investing  in ownership of a building, therefore many companies opt to lease.

Another reason is maintenance.

Having an outside party handle property upkeep is easier than doing it in house. Just imagine what would happen to a facility with no heat in the dead of winter.  Serious production issues would result. With a property manager implementing a preventative maintenance plan, worry about plumbing, batteries, or a broken thermostat are eliminated. A systematic plan ensures  routine battery changes, for instance, are done at regular intervals.

Here are some things to consider when leasing a steel building:

  • Opportunity cost. It is important for a property management and development company to understand your business before designing a building. Design efficiencies ensure  more work with less people. Therefore, if a building is properly laid out and set up for a company’s specific needs, savings can be huge.
  • Generations of change. Looking back at the 50’s, there was a  “garage mentality”. Anything would work—a dirt floor, partial pavement, or whatever was available. You could simply hand draw a sign and throw it on the front of a building. People and legislators were okay with that. Today however, we are noticing even guys in the oil field are looking for an inviting front entrance at their facility. Management and labourers alike want to drive up to a building and take pride in where they work. This has resulted in  aesthetics becoming increasingly important.
  • Things that are going to be in your yard. For years, people did dirt work without engineering. Today, we know to ask specific questions when it comes to keeping the grounds in good condition on a long term basis. For Example: What will be parked in the yard? How much will the equipment weigh?

The answers to these questions are important because they dictate soil compaction. They also help in choosing the type of gravel and/or soil cement needed. When considering a lease, it is important to be aware of the big picture. Design should translate into efficiencies, aesthetics should appeal to today’s workers, and engineering should account for the impact heavy duty structures and equipment will have on the yard over the long term. Remember, a well designed space at the outset will improve your bottom line with savings of time and money in the future.

 

Recent Trends in Building Locations

Finding the right real estate for your business is a balancing act.

While there is a prevailing perception about companies wanting to be in the business hub of major cities, we have recently seen a new trend among Reinhart Group clients and other industrial companies in Canada. Many are opting for the outskirts of major metropolitan areas for more than just bigger yard space.

What is causing this trend?

  • Need for mobility: Being outside a busy city, close to ring a road, enables larger vehicles and trucks to move around more efficiently. Since many of these roads cater to oversized vehicles, with wider lanes for tanks and large equipment, it is easier and faster to get to the job site. It also minimizes congestion, eliminating time stuck in traffic.
  • More bulk fuel stations: On one of our recent projects in Lloydminster, we noted how valuable fuel partnerships can be. Companies teaming up on their use of bulk stations are taking advantage of easily accessible fuel.
  • Desire for oversized car washes: With washing facilities onsite, the need to transport large vehicles through congested areas for cleaning is eliminated.
  • Safety concerns: Safety regulations in Canada and Alberta are stringent. Many companies, therefore, want large open areas for entering and leaving their yard with larger pieces of equipment.

As prices continue to rise, close proximity to a ring road, fuel, and a wash facility help industrial companies save money. Given lower population density, and some ring roads being expanded to handle larger equipment than a city can accommodate, there is an incredible safety advantage to being on the outskirts.

Before making any decisions, there are a few things you will want to consider if you want to avoid planning a building you have outgrown by the time you take possession.  When you are choosing a location, here are some questions you want to consider:

  1. What does your business plan look like? It is expensive and time-consuming to keep moving. A builder can best meet future needs by knowing how you plan to grow the company.
  2. How will you use the space? Truck repair, chemical storage, and retail factories carry different code requirements. Corrosive materials, for instance, require a containment pond be present.
  3. Do you have recycling needs? On site chemicals and cleaning solutions, will necessitate onsite recycling facilities to prevent environmental or sewer system damage. Keep in mind fines are levied if faulty systems are in place.
  4. What yard layout will you need? Movement patterns for materials should be designed properly at the outset for maximum efficiency.
  5. Will you need rail access? A few steps can be saved in the transport process if you plan for onsite shipping by train.

Looking to the future, we believe water and storm management will play increasingly larger roles in the planning phase. As we shift from a water abundance mentality to one of conservation (thanks to water commoditization and price increases), the ability to recycle water onsite will further enhance savings. Alberta has been a dry province, but moisture levels are rising. If this continues, storm water management will be a key consideration in selecting building locations in future.