Skip to comments.Home workshop planning and estimating
Posted on 03/19/2011 7:59:23 PM PDT by Bean Counter
My wife has convinced me that I should really start making plans to finally tear down my old shop and build a proper one in its place.
I have in mind a 20 x 16 footprint building with a second story for storage with a barn shaped roof. I've sketched things out on paper but I need to have a proper print for the permit and for the contractors who are going to build it for me, not to mention coming up with a cost and a budget for the construction.
I don't want to reinvent the wheel trying to find something suitable online if some here might already know of a website or freeware to help me design the building and work up a good bill of materials that I can estimate from.
Anyone have a suggestion for something they have used to design a garage sized outbuilding?? I really don't want to spend several hundred dollars on an architect, and I really don't want to break out the drawing board and do it myself on paper...
Just kidding! Good luck finding what you need!
Get a pole barn and pick the design you want. Budget enough to insulate it yourself and put in a wood stove if you are in a cold climate and prosper.
I highly recommend a concrete slab floor but gravel works just fine.
Seems to me I often see knocked down Steel Buildings of various sizes, thus prices in the local Recycler, and Green Sheet, and all on sale during this period of economic distress. Good time to buy.
These organizations usually are able to supply all you need to get your permits with the purchase of their products so I have been led to believe.
I did a search “prefab steel buildings”, and came up immediately with a number of references. Perhaps you could find something in your area. Worth a look.
You want a wood building or steel? (the outside doesn’t have to be steel, even if the frame is)
Looks simple enough and has features to create elevations which most other cheap and free packages don’t.
If she suggests you put a bedroom on the second floor, that could be bad news. It’s either for you or her mother.
Get a used Mark V ( or now they have a Mark 7 version)
You might look around to see if you can find a kit of some kind. When I built my woodshed I found it was just as cheap to buy a kit from Vermont Shed as it was to get the lumber and design my own.
Of course it depends where you live. You don’t want to truck it across the country. But you might look around the internet for ideas.
Here’s Vermont shed. Their largest size seems to be 12 x 16, but I’m sure there are larger ones around. Worth a look, anyway.
You’re moniker tells me you already have the answer, but I thought I’d ask anyway:
What’s the new out-building going to do to your tax bill?
Mainly just curious, because I had the same plan and filed with the township but had to abandon it due to sudden financial exigencies.
I think now, that if a big wad of money fell into my lap, that I’d seriously consider remodeling my current space, especially with respect to storage, to make it more functional.
Increasing the footprint should be the last option.
Again, just a thought.
By the way, I think Google has a drawing program.
Good luck! I’m jealous.
P.S. My woodshed is built on skids, two large beams of hemlock running down the length of it underneath, which are set on a bed of crushed stone. It has been through several winters in fine shape. It has the advantage that you can easily pick it up and move it. Or if you don’t want to build it yourself, you can have it delivered by truck and slid right off where you want it.
A thought - many local collages have AutoCad classes. See if there is a starving student that you could have work on a set of plans.
Define your requirements carefully first. Take extra time to be sure you don’t end up with a bit “aw crap” afterward. Consider storage, lighting, ventilation, electrical, and access. It’s awfully nice to be able to open a roll-up door to get large machinery or stock in/out. Everyone says “build twice as big as you think you’ll need”. My shop is 24 by 32 feet and all I can say is “everyone was right”. Consider your budget carefully, I think it’s much smarter to stick-build using standard building materials on a good (frost-free, if you’re in the north) foundation than to mess around with pole barns and metal buildings. The best cost leverage comes from using materials that are sold in highest quantity. And don’t leave yourself open for a nasty surprise form the building inspector. Good luck, you won’t regret doing it right.
Thinking about what you said...I would go prefab. There would be little or no cost overrun, the contracter is connected with the factory so he is familiar with the model, and they already have what you need for permits before you sign.
Just my thought on how to get the most for the least.
LOL. He wants to build a shed. Not do a floral arrangement...
I just finished a 16 by 24 barn shed for my neighbor. With storage on the second floor.
I am a builder. Do you have any experience in what you are trying to do?
I don’t have any ideas for your building but I’ll say that you seem to have been blessed in your choice for wife.
build the roof and door high enough that you can install a good vehicle lift.
From experience, what ever you build for a workshop will be too small in 5 years, 10 years tops.
Check with Lowes, you can get a kit with everything needed.
Costs @ 30-35/square foot
You have mail - twice
Buy a 2 or 3 car garage kit with a second story. Pre-fabbed in the factory, then delivered and assembled on site on your poured slab. It is done in ONE day and everything is very tight. Even the interior walls and trim are are painted. My BIL had one put up and it turned out beautiful. Looks like and old gable-roof barn on the outside, but is a professional woodshop on the inside. Also came with a full length covered porch for just sitting around and chewing the fat with customers.
Google Sketchup, is google’s free program.
Check out http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/.
There’s a forum on Garages/Workshops which might be helpful.
Thanks for all the suggestions, and I appreciate the help. I do have experience building things like this, I’m just looking for the best computer program to help me plan it. We don’t intend to even start demolition until 2012 so I have lots of time. Planning is half the fun.
And for the record, I already asked my wife what she gets out of this, and she mentioned the new futon she would buy for the new shop...
What kind of work do you do in your shop? I do woodwork, and my shop is a 12’x 24’ portable building that I bought used and rewired. If you are doing machining or auto work, for instance, you will obviously have differing requirements.
The only real advice I can give you here is this- figure out the maximum possible number of electric circuits and plugs that you would ever need- then double it! In my little shop, I have six separate circuits, and lots of plugs- and it’s still not enough.
My shop is about twice as big as my old one, and seemed huge when I got it- but it’s shrinking rapidly as I aquire more and more tools and materials (not to mention that I’m doing big production runs, and no good place to stack pieces in between operations!). If you can, you should expand while you are at it.
Expanding the electrical system is a major goal. My current “shop” is less than half of what I have now and is largely storage. To do anything means I have to move tools to my garage, or even on the patio. I want a place to work on anything, whether it is wooden toys for the grandkids or overhauling my lawnmower...
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