SAFStor Multi-Story Self Storage

In the world of climate-controlled, multi-story, self storage, SAFStor is leading the way with new developments underway across the country. With ambitious expansion goals and tight construction schedules, SAFStor selected ARCO Design/Build  to lead the development process as the design/build contractor. Based on our experience with both self storage and cold-formed steel design, Dudley Engineering was selected based on qualifications to provide the structural engineering for these developments. 

Multi-Level Self Storage

Multi-level self storage is a relatively new development in the world of self storage that is gaining steam particularly in densely populated areas. From a structural perspective, multi-level self storage facilities require a much more in-depth analysis of load paths and material behavior when compared to conventional single-story self storage facilities.

Modern single-story self storage facilities typically fall within the wheelhouse of metal building companies and are constructed out of cold-formed zee and cee members with metal panel for the walls and roof.  Our scope on these projects is typically limited to providing the foundation design and reviewing the metal building submittal to confirm whether it is in general conformance with the building code.

Conversely, multi-story self storages facilities generally necessitate full-service structural engineering firms such as Dudley Engineering to design both the foundation and superstructure.

Reasons to involve a full-service structural firm include:

  • Complicated load paths stemming from:
    • Office/Public space on the 1st Level which require transferring the load bearing walls above.
    • Unit configurations varying from level to level.
  • Multiple materials utilized in the construction that are required to behave amicably. For example, a large portion of lateral resistance of the structure is typically derived from the stair and elevator shaft walls which are usually constructed out of concrete masonry units (CMU). Conversely, the primary gravity load resisting components are cold-formed steel stud walls.
  • Integration of ancillary components such as canopies, awning and parapets that are typically outside the expertise of metal building companies.

Below is an image of the SAFStor project in South Houston along with some example of the framing used.

To learn more about this project, the design-build process or the framing system contract Bryan Tyson, PE (Project Manager and Engineer-of-Record) at or Drew Dudley, PE (Principal-in-Charge) at

SAFStor Old Spanish Trail - Multi-Story Self Storage
SAFStor Old Spanish Trail – Image from ARCO Design/Build & ADB Design Services


Typical Self-Storage Cold-Formed Steel Framing
Typical Self-Storage Cold-Formed Steel Framing
Typical Composite Steel Deck on Stud Wall Framing
Typical Composite Steel Deck on Stud Wall Framing
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