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Moving up in the world

Owner of Phuket’s modular office, storage-unit business reveals company scope, growth and future.


By Steven Layne

Tuesday 27 January 2015, 09:00AM


Phuket’s longest-running storage and modular building contractor and rental company, Safeway, has established a new home, in Bang Roang, on the northeast of the island.

Speaking to The Phuket News, owner Gordon Adamson explained the reasons for the move.

“The lease renewal for our stockyard in Thalang was coming up and we were starting to run out of space. Every time we move, it costs us a lot of money, so this time we decided to buy land for a more permanent location.”

He noted that he still has storage units available at the Thalang location on Thepkrasattri Rd – just north of Tesco Lotus – as well as his original site on Chao Fa West Rd in Chalong.

The new Safeway headquarters, just opposite of Pak Khlok School, sits on a plot just over 2-rai, which provides sufficient stockyard space for the rental units.

Gordon explained that the business is the same as before but they are now supplying rental units as far afield as Pang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani. Though the business isn’t limited to the local region.

“We have exported 35 units to Australia with still a huge potential for further export business to Australia and New Zealand.

“With our increase in space available we are now offering storage for trailer boats and cars as well. We’ve probably got about 100 units now,” he said. “The core of our business is rentals, mostly offices and containers, but we also carry portable loos.”

Safeways’s client base includes Laguna, Marriott, Tesco and the new HomePro developments as well as schools and construction developers such as Phuket International Academy.

The portable toilets – singles and doubles – rent for around B3,000 and B4,000, while basic 20 foot storage containers can be rented for B3,500 a month, and mobile offices start at B6,000/month.

On toilets, Gordon explained that clients tend to make their own septic systems on site, using moulded plastic tanks or concrete rings buried into the ground for longer term rentals.

“We do have some units with built-in septic tanks which are popular for shorter term rentals.”

Modern is modular

All modular offices are fully insulated, with air-conditioning units and standard electrical breakers, conduits and outlets for AC230V – ready to plug into the grid.

Some of the offices have been modified, from shipping containers; others built from scratch; all are steel-framed and crane-friendly, for convenient relocation to anywhere in Phuket – or other southern provinces.

Central Phuket

“We can have them moved to most sites, as long as there’s enough clearance on the access road, including height and width for the truck to access the site. Things you have to look out for are power, and especially phone lines, which sometimes hang only a few meters above a road.”

Gordon explained you’d generally need clearance of up to 4 meters overhead, and three meters width, and an additional 2-3 meters of clearance at the final unloading spot.

With a background in construction engineering, Gordon also designs and directs custom builds, whether for a unique modular office unit, accommodation or coffee shops etc..

Gordon can make designs from scratch, or apply his engineering and construction expertise to turn your own design into a reality.

“The advantage of working with container designs, is you can modify, and make extensions at a later stage pretty easily,” he said.

Though classified as temporary buildings, Safeway’s modular building units are more durable and sturdier than most “permanent” buildings, and will last for decades with little maintenance required.

And even for long-term projects that would be more ideal for purchase, they’re cost effective too, starting between B10,000 to 20,000 per square meter.

So how much does it cost to transport one of these multiple-tonne units in Phuket?

“To move [one of the units] anywhere around the general area of Phuket would cost about B5,000... If you wanted to ship to Bangkok, for example, it might cost around B30,000, depending on the weight, size and distance.”

Safeway has its own forklifts for general manoeuvring, and for relocations, the company works with many crane-ready shipping companies servicing Phuket, and the rest of the country.

Asked about his future plans, Gordon says that he may concentrate on part time consultancy work including for “Safeway” if required.

“I started this company 13 years ago, and the business continues to grow. More development is coming to Phuket which is good for the business.”

Though turning over decent profit, which grows every year, Gordon who is pushing 70, is ready to slow down.

“The business is for sale. I’d consider selling the land and all the assets with the business, or if a buyer wants to move the business somewhere else, I’m open to negotiate,” he said.

For more on Safeway, its products and services, contact Gordon on 081-892-4804 or email gordon_asia@hotmail.com. Visit www.safewayasia.com

 

 

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