Plan & Prioritize: Don't Let Your Facility Fall to Disrepair

Plan & Prioritize: Don't Let Your Facility Fall to Disrepair

By Craig McAllester

Wear and tear on your building adds up quicker than you think. For example, one morning you may notice a musty smell that you have never noticed before. Then, before you know it, everything seems to stop working, or leaks, or needs painted, or whatever, and the whole place is in need of a total renovation. If left unchecked, things will indeed go wrong quickly.

Here are Three Different Examples:

  • Early in December, I got a telephone call from the president of a humane society in the Midwestern United States. He was telling me how his whole shelter was falling apart. The years of neglect had left them with a building that is all but falling down. Nothing works, the roof leaks, the drains will not drain, the heating system does not work and winter was just starting. I could hear nothing but total despair in his voice as he described the circumstances. What was he to do? Where should he start if nothing at all worked? It was as if there was no beginning point for him. My heart sank as he told is tale.
  • This second example is that of natural and manmade disasters. Floods, storms, high winds, an earthquake or sinkhole, or any other natural type of devastation is something that may take your property without warning. A not-so-natural event might include a kennel in Northeastern Pennsylvania that exploded while propane was being delivered. In an instant, half of their building was gone. What would you do to rebuild, if, all of a sudden everything you have is gone?
  • In late December, I got an email from a humane society in Napoli, Italy looking to expand their kennels. This tale was of a different sort. Rather than having a building that was allowed to deteriorate or having a natural disaster take the building, these folks never had a building. Actually, their agricultural zoning district does not permit them to have a permanent structure. The entire facility is now made up of old warn-out recreational vehicle trailers that are scattered about and serving as kennels. These RV’s were now rotting away and they needed direction.

They were asking me about using ocean shipping containers as a more permanent solution for animal housing. This would still be a non-permanent structure, but it would satisfy the zoning regulation for no permanent buildings. I have written a few blogs regarding the use of containers as kennels. They are plentiful, inexpensive (for the building itself, that is), strong, fast to install, and, if done right, they will make a great boarding kennel or animal shelter for many years to come.

If you need to renovate, renew, or start over completely, where do you begin? I recommend that you start with a plan. Our family has an old saying: “Make a plan, and work the plan”. I believe in this theory wholeheartedly. By developing a master plan, you can better know where to start. As money becomes available, you will know exactly where to spend it based on your plan. Otherwise, money, time, and effort seem to slip away without leaving behind any trace of their existence.

If your repair needs are few; good for you! I still recommend, however, that you make a list of all those nagging things that never seem to get done. As other things develop, add them to the list too. All too often, things get forgotten. Then reorder your list often to keep the most important repair items at the forefront of your mind.

For larger projects, new buildings, or even locating container kennels on your site, developing a complete set of drawings is the only answer for keeping the project straight. A site plan will show how the building(s) will fit on the site, and how much space remains for animal turnout yards and other areas. This allows you to see how the sum of the parts equals the whole.

Having a plan will show how all components of the facility will take place and work together. It allows you to see how any future expansion will fit in as well. Containers are a great consideration for a way to grow the size of your facility, just add more as money becomes available.

Craig L. McAllester, President of Craig L. McAllester, Inc, kennel designer, has been designing veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels, animal shelters, police, military, and U.S. Department of HomeLand Security/Boarder Patrol working dog kennels here in the United States of America, and in countries around the world, since 2003. Craig may be contacted at 877-234-2301.

Email: [email protected]

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