Choosing the right storage solution

At Metalico we believe that our service only works if it meets everyone’s need. We understand you are probably not an expert in space planning or purchasing plan chests every week, so we are here to help.

You can call us during the week or use the “live chat” to ask a question.

Don’t be afraid to ask, as although something may seem simple to us it may be bewildering to you as this is our industry and probably not yours. So contact us if you want to ask about a solution or to get a quote.

Although you know what you want to store, you may not know how to achieve your goal. We offer a free and friendly advice service; call us Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:30 (excludes holidays) or email at any time

How to choose the storage option that’s right for you.

You’ve probably found your way here because you want to store something large, or heavy.  Well you’ve come to the right place.  Metalico has been making precision engineered storage cabinets since the 1980s. 

All of our products are made in the West Midlands, UK using locally sourced components, and British Steel.

Over the years we’ve helped store just about everything, from Queen Victoria’s wedding dress to curare tipped spears and of course, plans!

Our drawer units are usually called plan chests as this was their original purpose. However, our customers never cease to find new and exciting items to store, with a Guiness World Record Holder utilising his cabinets to store over 6000 Christmas themed brooches being a good example.

We make our plan chests and cabinets using powder coated British Steel.  That’s because metal is strong, precision engineered and can reliably protect most things against dust and daylight over time without warping or seizing. Conservation time is measured in centuries and while we can’t guarantee that our products will still be working in the year 2525, we don’t expect you to have to replace them any time soon.

And yes, engineered design can also be beautiful as well as functional.  We offer a variety of styles and design cues.  There are five standard colours available, which keeps costs down, but while some people buy our products in one of these, we can produce them for you in just about any colour for which that powder coating is available. If you have a RAL number, we can usually match it (although it may cost a little extra).

When deciding what to buy, the main information you will need is how big, how heavy and how much.

Most people start from the outside – “what space do I have?” and there’s nothing wrong with that – we provide the external dimensions (height, width, front-back depth) for all our cabinets.  But a better question is, how big is the item I need to store.  We usually work in paper sizes, so our A1 and A0 plan chests will hold items of at least that size.  For reference, metric paper sizes, and a few others we love are set out in the table below:

A2420 x 59416.54 x 23.29
A1594 x 84123.39 x 33.1
A0841 x 118933.11 x 46.81
2A01189 x 168246.81 x 66.2
4A01682 x 237866.2 x 96.1
ARCH D (US) 610 x 91424 x 36
ARCH E (US) 914 x 121936 x 48
ANTIQUARIAN (IMP)787 x 134651 x 55
DOUBLE ELEPHANT (IMP)686 x 101627 x 40

You then need to decide what kind of storage unit to choose.  For plans and engineering drawings we produce a range of hanging vertical storage units, beloved of contractors everywhere, which are effective in terms of cost and space saving, but it’s fair to say that they are less popular now as a storage medium than plan chests.

If you decide to choose a plan chest, you will next need to decide how deep the drawers should be.  Our drawers are sized to the actual usable depth, not the drawer front, so when we say it’s a 50mm drawer, you will be able to store items up to that depth.  Some of our items incorporate a “rear curl” so you don’t lose papers down the back.  Most of our plan chests incorporate anti tilt features (i.e. you can only open one drawer at a time) and central locking as well.

Second, you need to check how heavy the drawer contents will be.  Our weight ratings are calculated on “uniformly distributed weight” so if your weight is not going to be distributed uniformly you may want to check with us if that will be a problem.  If you do, it is unlikely to be a problem, but we may suggest that you choose a heavier duty product from our range.  Don’t forget that as well as drawer units we also produce a range of storage cupboards too.

When you have worked out how many cabinets you need, you can decide where to put them, which is where external dimensions become important.  Don’t forget that drawers need space in front of them to open.  It sounds obvious, but when you have decided on a location, you also need to ask “How am I going to get them into the room?”.  Our plan chests usually arrive fully assembled, so measuring the clearance through doors and along access routes before you buy makes sense.  Beware dog legs and spiral staircases!  Don’t worry if your route includes standard door widths.  We can supply cabinets that fit through and stack on top of each other, but we don’t want you to take delivery of a cabinet and then discover it doesn’t fit. 

We can supply some cabinets in “knock-down” form, but you will then need to arrange professional installation and fitting.

Our team members not only deliver and install, but are involved in the manufacture of your units. This means that each person on the team has a perfect grasp of the product and its make up. Once on site your unit can be expertly installed by the team and all packaging and the travel pallets will be removed if you use this extra, chargeable, service.