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brianhughes 02-16-2008 12:27 PM

Yard-barn, shed, garage planning source?
My goal is to also build a two story garage/shed on an existing garage slab in the back corner of the yard.

This idea has been inspired by the large yard-barn prefab kits that I see for sale at the local big-box home store. Unfortunately those kits are not a good match for my existing slab, which for reasons of property line and other obstructions can not be widened from its 10.5’ by 19’ dimensions.

I have also discovered that while plans abound on the internet, I am having trouble finding any which would efficiently use my slab, and/or are two stories.

Firstly, I am interested in any source where I could buy plans appropriate to my slab.

As a backup plan I could probably buy plans for a 14’ by 16’ model and modify them with a little common sense…

I would assume that in a 14’ by 16’ design with an open floor plan in the lower level that the longer, the 16 foot, wall would be the load-bearing walls using a joist to span the shorter distance…That said, if I shrank the narrow side, even more to 10.5 ft and kept the joist the same it would only be stronger, right?

By the same logic, if I increase the distance between the non-load-bearing (end) walls it shouldn’t de-rate the integrity of the structure, should it?

Regardless of what I think I could do, I will need to permit this structure, and I really would hate to spend between $40 and $140 on plans that I modify, and then have to pay an architect several hundred dollars to give an official nod to my modifications.

This seems no better than me buying a bunch of lumber, several cases of beer and inviting a half dozen of my friends over for a modern barn raising.

The orange tinted big-box home improvement store sells several software packages for designing simple structures, but the details on one of the software titles states that it can do/calculate a design for any single level garage of up to a certain dimension, and the other 2 or 3 software titles make no mention of single or multi story capability leading me to think that multi-story is unlikely…

So I am back to thinking that I need to:
A. Purchase appropriate dimensioned plans, prefab plans
B. Engage a professional to design to suite
C. Find a Software title that will accommodate my needs

Any advice along these lines would be greatly appreciated and considered.

Thanks in advance,

inspectorD 02-16-2008 07:23 PM

The first thing to do is check with the "local governing body" and see what you can get away with. I have done a sketch on a pad and gotten a permit for a small 10x 16 shed. Since a shed is not living space sometimes you can draw something up, with dimensions and talk to your local lumber yard for size on lumber, depending on your spans of the joists and such.
Also go to your local library for plenty of books on small outbuildings. This way you can sit down and collect your thoughts.
Then come back and pepper us with more questions.:)

Or go with a plan already done and modify it with a small porch on the shed. Your local Building dept will let you know the limits, they do want to help, and of course....collect their money.:D

brianhughes 02-17-2008 04:27 PM

Not a surprise...
Yes, I actually have to deal with four AHJs; the city government, the city Landmarks Commission, the C&Cs of the neighborhood association, and the neighborhood is a registered National Landmark.

This is why I want real engineering plans in hand, not a sketch on the back of a napkin.

Thanks again,


inspectorD 02-17-2008 06:19 PM

Sounds like you need to follow the expensive route.
I recently went through the same issue with my last home, which I sold last year.
I lived in the center of town on a small corner lot , in the 100year flood zone, with a small stream in the back yard.
I had no choice but to remove my old garage first, then see if I could get through all the local Gov. agencies before I could even draw a new plan. Kind of a catch 22.
I wanted it to go through to improve the property, so I spent $2500 dollars to get it all approved.
It sounds like you need to have a local company who knows the system help you draw some plans.
It sounds like you already have a pretty good handle on the issues, but I can see you wanting to save some money.
I just wish I had some better advice.:o

triple D 02-17-2008 09:04 PM

Just a thought...
You are calling this an existing slab from a former garage? Is there adaquete foundation (footing) to support your new ideas? I've seen so many walls sinking in on broken off edges of slabs with no footings. On to the other, maybe drive around your town and see if there's anything newer that fits your needs, and ask if you could have an extra set of their old plans, if they still have them. Then modify them to suit your needs and submit for permit. Just a silly idea but you might get lucky. Good luck....

brianhughes 02-23-2008 07:58 AM


Originally Posted by triple D (Post 16162)
...existing slab from a former garage? Is there adaquete foundation (footing) to support your new ideas? I've seen so many walls sinking in on broken off edges of slabs with no footings...

That is part of the reason the prefab kit from big-box is somewhat attractive, it has the preassembled preasure treated floor intended to sit just about anywhere, also these "delivered items" are considered temporary and do not require permit.

I may have forgotten to mention that I have no intention of using this building for a car, so garage may be the wrong term. I think the small lathe/mill combo I am envisioning will probably be the greatest load, with my small suzuki coming in second @ 370lb.

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