chaz.jpgThere are signs that the recession favours suppliers of temporary buildings and it is easy to see why. Normally, such structures are the answers to short-term problems, like a disaster recovery situation, seasonal issues or the need to accommodate a large new contract that could not be handled by existing facilities. Such buildings’ remarkable longevity is also increasingly appreciated for coping with long-term business expansion. Sadly, the recession generates another reason to favour temporary buildings – the business of managing shrinkage. Cover, for example, may be needed for surplus pallets caused by lower demand or to protect equipment and parts following the closure of a manufacturing site. But just what are the specific virtues which help buyers or hirers to weather recessionary forces?

Given the current business climate, if, in the unlikely event business is expanding, then more storage/production space will be needed. One solution could be to rent offsite storage/production but that diminishes full control over core business activities. It can also be expensive once the extra costs of transport and handling are factored in. Another solution might be to make better use of wasted storage space where the racking aisles are at least 3.5mt wide. This can be achieved by reducing aisles widths to 1.6 mt and replacing conventional counterbalance forklifts with articulated forklifts or dedicated VNA trucks. A third choice is to build a permanent extension, room permitting, onto an existing site but that, too, is a high cost route to take. As Warwick-based Useful Structures pointed out: “Why pay more and have an inflexible solution?”

A great advantage with any temporary structure is its portability and saleability. In the event of a move it can be quickly taken down and re-erected at a new site or it could simply be sold on. Another key advantage is that they can be rented, although generally it would be uneconomic for less than two years as far as air domes are concerned.

The description “temporary” can almost be a misnomer. Steel framed storage buildings, for example, can last 60 years, points out building supplier, DeBoer. Even polyester clad steel-framed buildings will last 25 years and air domes, with care, 20 years. Some care, however, is needed over the final choice of temporary structure, of which there are three basic types.

Air domes, which seem to be losing favour, are the quickest and cheapest to erect, requiring no foundations and only a fan to maintain slight air pressure. Security, condensation and heating issues, however, pose extra costs compared with alternative structures and after time they suffer creep, for which there is no cure. Adequate space around any racking must also be allowed for wind deflection.

Costing more but lasting longer are the steel frame-supported polyester structures, offering a range of composite materials. They are free of the curvature problems found with air domes and make better use of vertical space. The longest lasting temporary structures are the pre-fabricated, modular, steel buildings which are not seriously more costly than polyester-roofed buildings. Depending on design specifications, however, they can take up to eight weeks to make and one week to install.

As with any capital project, it is important to ensure that the quality of the products meets building regulations if needed for more than 28 days. Such regulations are site related so separate calculations are required to allow for local variables, like height above sea level and other geographical needs.

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