Quality shed designs are more than just ideas
Before building a new shed, it pays to be armed with some knowledge – a bit of research and planning can save you a great deal of time and money later on. For us to build you the best shed possible, you must first consider carefully what features are important to you.
We suggest you consider the following points when planning your new shed.
If you require further information about how to ensure your shed designs are up to the job, please call us on 0800 555 147.
Style of shed?
What style do you like or want?
This comes down purely to you choosing what design you like the look of, and what is going to be most practical for the purpose you will be using the shed for as well as the location of the shed and surroundings.
- Does it need to fit with the style of your house?
- Do you have existing buildings that you would like it to match?
- Do you plan any renovations for your current buildings in the future and if so, do you have a style in mind?
- What colours do you like?
Site – Where is the shed going to be built?
If a site is categorised a high (or very high) wind zone by the Council, great shed design becomes crucial. Fortunately we know exactly what components need to be upgraded – right down to the roofing screws. By using overlapping purlins and girts (described elsewhere) our sheds have the strength & rigidity to withstand extreme conditions.
In some coastal locations, cladding needs to be upgraded to Coloursteel Maxx to cope with sea spray, and to get building consent. We will check with Council to see if this is the case.
Bear in mind the orientation of the building on site. Will prevailing winds make it unpleasant to work inside if roller doors are open?
It is very important that site excavation is done correctly as the foundation of your building rests in the excavation and sand pad. As site preparation costs vary from job to job, and sometimes you do not know what you are dealing with until you get beneath the surface, we treat this part of the job as separate from the building quote.
What type of soil will the shed be built on? Soil classified as a minimum of 100 kPa provides an ideal base to build on. Peat provides its own unique challenges although we have found that a “floating slab” system works well, or piling if the peat is not too deep.
A contractor with a laser level is recommended to ensure the excavation and sand pad is level to +/- 10mm. We are happy to recommend an experienced and competitively priced contractor.
Kitset or full build?
We are happy to supply your new shed in kitset form, or fully built to lockable stage. If you are a competent builder you will have no problems building from kitset. Frame components are precut and prepunched for accuracy. If you would prefer us to build it, our building team are experienced tradesmen at the top of their trade.
Do you want a full concrete slab, individual concrete pads or a combination of both? A 100mm slab is suitable up to light commercial use. Our engineer will provide specifications for the slab and footings required based on the building size, if it contains a mezzanine floor, and other factors.
Zincalume and Coloursteel are popular choices due to their durability, good looks and ease of fitting.
Coloursteel is essentially Zincalume with a primer and a top coat of paint applied. It will exceed the service life of most traditional painted systems.
As a building gets closer to the coast (generally within 1km) the salt air will have an effect on the cladding. We advise using the recommended Coloursteel product for the location for maximum durability.
There is a range of cladding and roof profiles, with the most popular being T-Rib due to its strength and good looks.
As our buildings use clear span portal frames, roller and sliding doors will give you more useable space inside.
Sectional or tilt-a-doors can be fitted, however due to the internal supports needed for these doors you do loose the advantage of the clear span design.
In larger widths sectional doors usually have the advantage of lower cost, and their lighter weight requires less powerful (and therefore cheaper) door opener motors.
Think about how large you need the door, and to some degree that will determine the size of the shed. The gable end of the shed allows more room to fit a roller door. If you require door placement on the side of the shed a slightly higher stud needs to be used to accommodate the door. Generally, the stud height needs to be 400-500mm more than the door.
When we quote our doors we refer to the “daylight opening size” – the actual size of the opening.
The use of translucent sheeting (clearlights) is an excellent, low cost way to provide natural lighting into your shed. Artificial lighting can be a real burden on the wallet and now, more than ever, it is important to find the best natural lighting solution for your particular situation.
The advantage of clearlight panels is that they allow plenty of natural light into the shed without the potential security risk of windows.
The disadvantage is you may find them uncomfortable to work under when there is too much sunlight coming in.
We always supply wire safety mesh beneath our clearlights – just in case someone working on the roof steps through them.
Clearlights can also be incorporated into wall cladding. On American Barns we can replace some of the parapet sheets with clearlights, to add light while still providing some shading from direct sunlight.
We don’t recommend using inferior quality joinery, and as such we only use residential grade aluminium joinery for all our windows and PA (personal access) doors.
Not only does this give you a strength & quality of finish that tin doors & light weight aluminium windows can’t, but you have a full range of sizes and styles to choose from. French doors, Ranchsliders and Bi-folds are all available.
Double glazing is an option for all doors and windows.
Consider size as well as quantity and location to provide ventilation and plenty of natural lighting.
A large range of colours is available to compliment your choice of cladding.
Extra doors and windows can be easily added at a later stage if your needs change.
The importance of Roof Pitch with wide span sheds
Examples of the various roof pitches available.
The roof pitch can have a dramatic effect on how your new shed looks. Standard roof pitches are 5, 11, 15, 22, 30 & 45 degrees, however we can customise the roof pitch. Matching the roof pitch to existing buildings will help blend your new shed into its surroundings.
The roof pitch may make a significant overall height difference on a shed and should be taken into account.
The classic look of the American Barn (sometimes called a Heritage Barn) is achieved with a 22° roof for the centre module and 11° lean-to’s. The lean-to’s start lower than the eave height of the centre module.
For all enclosed sheds we recommend lining the roof with a moisture barrier and netting to catch any condensation that may form. Options include black building paper, double sided silver foil or white diffusion paper. Foil and white paper have the advantage of reflecting light and making the shed brighter.
Whichever roof pitch you choose, it is important the purlins are spaced to provide structural strength and to make the roof fully trafficable (can be walked on). Overlapped purlins are stronger than purlins bracketed into the sides of the frame. When brackets are used there is a possibility the building will flex, loosening the bracket fixings, leading to further flexing.
Vermin & bird proofing?
If you are concerned about mice getting into the building, we can install a steel flashing around the concrete perimeter to stop this. Bird brushes can be used above roller doors to fill the gap between the roll and the shed wall.
A mezzanine floor using steel joists & bearers can be integrated into your new shed.
These are very strong, can support heavy loads and are a great way of utilising a high stud area.
The concrete under the columns supporting the mezzanine will need extra thickening and steel, so it is advisable to plan ahead if you think you may add a mezzanine in the future.
Depending on the span, intermediate support columns may be required under the bearers.
Dividing walls constructed using our steel girts can be included to divide off bays.
Dividing walls can be clad to match your external wall cladding or with plywood or other materials.
If you are looking to line your shed walls or want additional partitioning within the shed, steel stud and nog framing can be used in exactly the same way as traditional timber framing.
Steel stud & nog framing system
Steel stud framing and building paper in an external wall prior to windows being installed.
This is ideal if you are converting the shed into a habitable building, or perhaps an office space.
If you are intending to live in your shed or require partition walls lined with Gib board, we suggest replacing our top hat wall girts with stud & nog framing. Either steel or timber framing can be used and pricing is comparable between the two.
The picture to the left shows steel stud framing and building paper in an external wall prior to windows being installed.
In this situation our wall girts are replaced by the studs and nogs.
And because it’s steel your wall will be straight, true and square. Pricing is comparable with timer framing, making it an easy decision.
What is variable bay spacing?
Variable bay spacing allows you to vary the bay widths of your shed so you can make maximum use of the available space. Consider the 3 examples below of a 16m long shed. A typical way of configuring the shed would be to have 4 equal bays 4m wide as shown in the 1st design. In many situations this will be satisfactory.
The 2nd design provides garaging for 4 cars plus a workshop while still maintaining even bay spacing.
However if the shed was to be used to store 2 cars and a wider vehicle (like a truck or boat) and you needed a large workshop, we could vary the bay spacing to achieve this.
You can see with the 3rd design that space between the cars that would not be fully utilised in the 1st design has been moved to the 3rd and 4th bays where extra width is needed.
However what it does mean is that the entire shed has to be built using wall girts & purlins based on what is required for the widest bay. We cannot “mix & match” small and large girts as the walls would not be true and straight.
This may make very little difference to the price in the case of design 1 and 2, but could be more significant in the 3rd example due to the 6m bay width.
By discussing with us how you want to use your shed, we can customise the design to provide you with more usable space than you can get from a shed built from standard designs or set size modules.
What is involved in getting a building consent?
A building consent is Council’s written authority to carry out building work that it considers will comply with the Building Code, provided it is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted with the building consent application. It cannot be issued retrospectively for work already completed. When and how to apply for a building consent: You must obtain a building consent before carrying out building work. Your application:
- must be on the prescribed application form and be completed in full.
- must be accompanied by the prescribed application fee.
- must be accompanied by plans, specifications and other information required by Council.
Each Council has check sheets and guidance documents available to help you make your application and to put together the necessary information.
Waikato Shed Company is happy to handle the building consent process for you. We do not include Council fees in our quotes as the cost varies considerably from job to job, and between Council’s.
Timeline for building a shed
The basic timeline for building a shed is as follows:
- Decide on the building design.
- Order plans and obtain engineering PS1. Allow up to 15 working days (longer for industrial buildings).
- Apply for building permit. Allow for up to 20 working days (longer for industrial buildings). If there are any issues to resolve with council this will take even longer.
- Once the building permit is approved we order the building kit. Allow 4-6 weeks for the kit to be ready. (Industrial buildings may take longer)
- Construction time – we can give you an estimated construction time, however factors such as bad weather may cause delays.
If you require further information about how to ensure your shed designs are up to the job, please contact us.