You’ve decided to move your records and store them off-site. Now what? How do you decide which records center to choose? While many factors come into play, the building that will house your documents may provide the strongest case in your decision making process. Here are five factors to consider when making your decision.
Age of the building.
How old is the building that will be storing your records? As technology advances and laws change to better protect buildings, newer buildings are more likely to have the latest technology and be up to current building codes. Many older facilities don’t adhere to the latest building codes or safety standards.
The type of racking used varies greatly from records center to records center and may provide insight into the prospective facility. Ask the facility if they are using the proper industrial racking and if it can sustain damage from a small accident. Uprights and beams are rated for a certain weight; make sure the racking capacity won’t exceed or even come close to the rated amounts because the true weight of the cartons is an unknown. Your container could consist of a few files or be completely full, with the weight ranging from 25-45 pounds. A potential racking failure is a huge risk to the facility employees and your files. Ask about the decking as well. There is specialized decking for each racking configuration. An example is 50% decking, which has large openings throughout each piece. In the event of a fire, these openings allow the water to penetrate through the decking, reach the fire, and put it out.
Fire Suppression System.
Is your facility prepared in the event of a fire? Many records center facilities use a zone sprinkler system. In this system, when there is a fire, a concentrated, enormous amount of water will be dispersed in the affected area. The goal is twofold, put out the fire and stop its spread.
Maintenance and upkeep.
Ask for a tour of your prospective records center. You will be able to quickly evaluate whether maintenance issues are being addressed in a timely manner. Ask if the facility has a preventative maintenance program in place. Who are the suppliers responsible for pest control, security systems, HVAC systems, and sprinkler systems? How often are these items tested or checked?
How clean is the facility? Bits of wood in the aisles, pallets lying around, and lights out – these factors can cause accidents and show the level of care that the center will take with your records.
These factors will help when deciding which records center facility to choose.