Type Of Facilities

The U.S.self-storage industry, although dating back to the 1920s, really began in earnest in the 1960s, by early pioneers such as Bob Munn and Russ Williams inOdessa,Texas. It then matured through the 1970s, when both Public Storage and Extra Space Storage began (both of which are now public companies). As the industry evolved, so did the product itself, and the self-storage facilities of the different eras in design are what is often used to describe the basic facility types. There are five different types, or “generations” of design.

Generation One: Outdoor Bays

The first self-storage projects were all outdoor bays, and were used for a wide variety of storage uses, from boats and cars to business items. They offer no security other than the roll-up door to each unit, and are always one story in height.

Generation Two: Security


In the second generation of self-storage, there was greater thought and effort put into securing the facility from outsiders. There was the new inclusion of perimeter fencing and security gates so that access was restricted to only those individuals who are tenants. These projects are traditionally one story in height, although they often contain a two-story section that is used for the Manager’s residence and office.

Generation Three: Air Conditioning

The third generation of self-storage has a greater focus on air-conditioning. While air-conditioning was sometimes added as an after-thought on generation two facilities, by generation three facilities, it was a part of the initial project design. These types of projects normally have a mixture of both outside, non-climate controlled storage, and inside climate-controlled storage. By generation three, the facilities are sometimes multi-story. The manager continues to live on-site.

Generation Four: Everything Inside


By the fourth generation, the outdoor bays have been removed, and all units are climate controlled. They are virtually all multi-story in construction. These types of facilities are managed by professionals, and they do not have an on-site manager residence. They have limited access and higher security than generation three, so the on-site manager is not required.

Generation Five: Superior Construction, Conservation and Showmanship

Generation five facilities are similar to generation four in many ways. The most apparent difference, from the outside, is the far more advanced eye appeal of the retail areas. These facilities are designed to maximize every square inch through larger display areas, and a greater focus on complete customer needs. In addition, they are extremely energy efficient to reduce utility costs. Another difference is their superior construction standards – many are built to withstand more than the requirements as far as storm engineering.