UK’s first flat pack self-storage system launched as industry tops £1.08 billion

Penn Elcom, the British steel manufacturer with offices in Tyne and Wear, today announced the launch of the country’s first DIY self-storage system to allow smaller businesses and individuals to gain access to the booming sector.
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Called the 3S range, the new ground-breaking system has been developed to allow the user complete flexibility to create any-size unit, in locations that have no pre-existing self-storage capabilities. The self-assembly system, the first of its kind in the UK, is more than 30% cheaper than pre-made/established units and allows the installer to quickly erect units with minimal tools.

Penn Elcom’s 3S range will allow businesses or individuals to rapidly transform spaces into self-storage units at speed and scale, with significant financial returns.

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Penn Elcom’s announcement comes at a time when the UK self-storage continues to rocket as demand increases year-on-year. Turnover for the industry reached £1.08 billion for 2023, according to figures obtained by Penn Elcom from the Self-Storage Association (SSA). This is a 23% increase over the past three years from £890 million in 2021. Meanwhile self-storage stores witnessed a 35% increase in the UK from 1,997 stores in 2021 to 2,706 stores last year. The SSA, which is due to publish the figures in their annual industry report in April, surveyed more than 60 companies with over 600 stores.

Roger Willems, Penn Elcom ChairmanRoger Willems, Penn Elcom Chairman
Roger Willems, Penn Elcom Chairman

Penn Elcom’s chairman, Roger Willems, said: “Self-storage continues to demonstrate its operational resilience and attractiveness as a growth sector. This looks set to continue in 2024, underpinned by robust trading performance and heightened investor appetite.”

“We designed the 3S Self-Storage System specifically to provide an economic and quick assembly solution for the UK’s growing self-storage industry. We are redefining the self-storage experience by allowing smaller businesses and individuals access to the market,” added Willems.

The UK self-storage sector is expected to remain one of the most sought-after asset classes, underpinned by a defensive income stream, efficient cost base, and a widening customer appeal from consumers, businesses, and students.

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Britons have packed away enough possessions to fill a building the size of Kensington Palace more than 70 times over as the housing crisis, enduring consumerism and a sentimental reluctance to let go of inanimate objects means self-storage has now become a £1bn-a-year business.

Self-storage units are proving cheaper than renting or buying a bigger home and are springing up alongside new housing developments across the UK, with at least 280 more stores planned between now and 2026, a more than 10% increase.

Offerfair, a self-storage company based in Hastings, was one of the first small businesses to use Penn Elcom’s flat pack self-storage system. The company operates seven sites providing storage for homes and businesses.

The company ordered 220 3S self-storage units at its 22,000 sq. ft facility for approximately £77,000, which took two people to assemble in just over four weeks.

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Offerfair, which installed the 3S flat pack systems in 2023, is currently turning over £20,530 per month from the 220 rented out storage units. The company is expected to generate revenue of £246,360 within just 12 months.

An Offerfair spokesperson said: “The units come ready to install, allowing us to construct the units quickly and at a reduced cost. The fact it came as a flat pack, meant we didn’t need a team to construct the facility, which would have come at a significant cost. We only used two labourers to install all the units, which were easy and quick to assemble.”

Roger Willems added: “The beauty of the product is that due to the 3S being flat pack, companies and individuals can build as slowly or as quickly as they like. For example, you could start with 22 units and build from there, once you witness a return on investment.”