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Instant warehouse option

12 May 2022

Here are 10 things you need to know when considering ‘instant warehouses’, canopies and loading bays, says Anthony Hunt.

UNSCHEDULED DELIVERIES, unknown quantities and the unsettled nature of the logistics sector has created a need for fluid storage space. What do you need to know before taking the next steps in considering an instant building?

1 Response times: If you are in a hurry to meet a specific business need, ask your proposed supplier how long it will take to be ready to use – from order to handing over the key, it should only be a few short weeks.

2 Planning: Ask about planning requirements – these are dependent on several criteria and it’s hardly ever a ‘one solution fits all’ answer. Smart-Space has its own planning department.

3 Fit for purpose: Understand all the uses for your building. Will people need to work inside for extended periods of time? Will any stored product require consistent temperatures? The different uses for a building determine the type of building you need and you should be offered the right solution for your needs, not just the one the supplier happens to stock. Also check if your building can be relocated, extended or reduced in size.

4 Off-hiring: Smart-Space requires 7-days’ notice to off-hire at any point during the contract believing that there is no point holding a customer to an agreement that no longer suits them. Make sure you are able to build some flexibility into your contract.

5 Hire or buy: If you are hiring and this becomes a longer term prospect, make sure you can switch to purchase when you need to. It is much more cost-effective to buy your instant building if you are planning on keeping it over the long term. Smart-Space will provide the cost comparisons so you are able to predict the point at which you might want to change your terms. 

6 Supply chain: Where will your instant building come from? If it’s from overseas you may have to wait for supplies to become available – and also any maintenance might not be on request. It’s one of the reasons Smart-Space supports buying British as relationships are easier to build and maintain and they can source stock and support customers on demand.

7 Site surveys: Don’t accept a project proposal unless you’ve had someone from the building company visit you to assess the site, make suggestions and check your utilities and groundworks. This is where unexpected costs can creep in and delays can also result if there are unforeseen problems. There is no substitution for a site visit and project that is well planned. 

8 Previous work: Ask to see case studies on completed projects and find out what kind of expertise your supplier has in your sector.

9 Workforce: Ask if the installation team is directly employed by your proposed supplier. This is key as all directly employed teams carry responsibility for any risk while on your premises. If they are sub-contracted, you as the customer have to shoulder complete liability.

10 Good to do business with: And finally, are your instant building suppliers good to work with? Do they answer your calls and emails promptly?

Anthony Hunt, managing director, Smart-Space

For more information, visit smart-space.co.uk