Author Topic: Advice needed on replacing rotted out corrugated garage for use as a workshop  (Read 897 times)

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Offline Johnny B Good

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 Apologies if this is considered too off-topic but since workshop related topics do appear this mechanical engineering forum from time to time, I thought I'd try my luck here in the hope of availing myself of others' experience in the matter of setting up a garage based workshop in the UK.

 I'd like to rebuild in concrete or brick, a garage that I can use as a workshop for fabricating electronic enclosures and so on. The existing corrugated iron garage, which had looked like it may have been erected some 20 to 30 years before we moved into the property almost 40 years ago, was never really fit for such use.

 The main reason being the lack of a properly laid concrete base, so it had landed up as a repository for two motorbikes and junk (some of it electronic surplus but mostly motor bike and car parts). The only use it ever saw, beyond storing gardening tools and patio furniture during the winter months, was as a "car repair workshop" by my two stepsons who have now long since left home.

 As you might imagine, it became a rather disorganised storage space over the past four decades. I have only recently managed to clear it all out in readiness for an identically sized (22 by 10 foot) new garage to be erected in its place. It's taken this long to get around to doing this since I simply couldn't afford to replace it when we first moved in. There were other more mundane projects associated with moving house that took priority which meant sorting out the garage was left on the 'back burner' for all of this time until I could, at long last, finally afford to shell out the money.

 We (the missus and I) had started looking to downsize in our old age a couple of years ago but couldn't really find anything that 'ticked all the boxes' (such as inclusion of suitable garage/workshop/outbuildings in good state of repair), so we finally decided to stay put and make the best of it (better the devil you know) and avoid feeding the sharks (estate agents and solicitors). I had rather hoped to leave the garage issue for someone else to deal with but since that ploy has failed, that particular ball is now back in my court.

 I'm seeking advice from UK based members on how best to make good the badly laid concrete base and recommendations on suppliers of garages along with choice of construction. I'm currently favouring concrete sectional over the more expensive brick built construction. Both types are strong and durable but the concrete sectional option is both cheaper and more convenient since the the supplier I'm looking at, Nucrete (https://nucrete.co.uk) includes free delivery and erection the same day onto a suitably prepared concrete base in their VAT inclusive pricing. It looks like I'll be spending some 3 to 4k, depending on which options I go for (sloping or apex roof, personnel door, window and facia etc), plus, of course, whatever it costs to bring the concrete base up to standard (somewhere in the region of another £1000 or so).

 My first question is: has anyone dealt with Nucrete or know of a better supplier they could recommend who can deliver to the Merseyside area, preferably one  that includes delivery and same day erection at a similar price point?

 The second question is in regard of preparing the concrete base which looks ok in the back half but consists of a thin skim of cement laid directly onto soil in the front half that abuts the top end of the drive (photos attached). My thinking on this is simply to pour another 7 inches of concrete on top to both save the cost of digging out the bad parts and also raise the floor level to that of the garden to minimise the risk of water ingress during heavy downpours. This option does mean I'll have to ramp the top 6 or 7 feet of the drive up to meet the raised edge of the slab.

 Other issues of interest are in regard of planning permission but since this is essentially a like for like replacement of an outbuilding that already falls within the scope of  permitted development rights, I'm not anticipating any problems (we're not in a 'protected' area). However, I did notice that the garage is only 22 inches away from our neighbour's fence at the front which widens out to a 27 inch clearance at the back end which I believe may be in contravention of the specified three foot minimum separation rule.

 However, since the garage needs to align with the drive, it's possible the original builder may have obtained planning consent to build a foot closer than the rules of permitted development rights normally allow. In this case, it's probably best to let this sleeping dog to lay where it is and just get on with my new for old refurbishment project.

 If anything is ever questioned afterwards, I've got plenty of photographic evidence (even movie footage!) of daughter and SiL holding a tape measure against the old garage as well as the more recent photos of the decluttered interior, some of which I've attached to this post.

 The pictures show the state of the concrete base, a side view, the space to the rear (just over 8 feet), front view from drive (showing the 22 inch gap to fence) and a side view between a manhole cover and the garage entrance with just over 11 feet in which to add a ramp.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 07:49:15 pm by Johnny B Good »
John
 

Online Ian.M

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I'd relocate it slightly to leave 4' clearance to the fence line, pour slab all the way to the fence line  then you can reasonably use the formerly dead space for storage.  You may be able to get away with a corrugated clear plastic roof, with the neighbour's side edge just below the fence top from the new garage to posts just your side of the fence line, with a gutter on your side just below fence top height, to make covered storage, or if the neighbour or local planning department are difficult, use free-standing garden storage boxes on the new slab extension.  The extra cost of a larger slab + the small realignment of the driveway for the last few feet should be fairly minimal.
 

Offline Johnny B Good

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I'd relocate it slightly to leave 4' clearance to the fence line, pour slab all the way to the fence line  then you can reasonably use the formerly dead space for storage.  You may be able to get away with a corrugated clear plastic roof, with the neighbour's side edge just below the fence top from the new garage to posts just your side of the fence line, with a gutter on your side just below fence top height, to make covered storage, or if the neighbour or local planning department are difficult, use free-standing garden storage boxes on the new slab extension.  The extra cost of a larger slab + the small realignment of the driveway for the last few feet should be fairly minimal.

 Thanks very much for your kind response,

 I posted pretty much the same request for advice into the usenet uk.d-i-y newsgroup a few days ago and got just two responses almost immediately. Although both had implied that my post had been hard to follow due to the sheer volume of detail, they were at least prepared to help if I could condense my plea for help and advice down to the bare essentials, one of whom had also suggested that I post a few photos to help clarify the situation.

 In view of my tendency to post long winded missives which sometimes attracts criticism even here in the T&M topics I normally post to, I believe they may have a valid point.  :-[

 Since the issue of posting some photos had been raised and I am no longer prepared to use free photo hosting web sites, it occurred to me to try my luck in the EEVBlog fora to where I can at least publish pictures to go with my plea for help in this matter and, more likely, receive a favourable response with less risk of complaint over the length and detail of my post. I've replied to those usenet postings, providing a link to my topic starter here so they can see the image files I've attached.

 Regarding your suggestion over shifting the new garage another 26 inches away from the boundary fence, the problem with that is that it'll make car access to the garage virtually impossible. Even the 14 inches required to meet the 3 foot minimum would be problematical, quite apart from the impact this would have on the garden space. I would prefer to avoid such negative impacts, hence my preference to "Let sleeping dogs lie." in this case.

 However, your suggestion of extending the base out to the fence makes a lot of sense, especially as it will mitigate the reduced access for maintenance or repair work on the fence by providing a nice firm mud free footing (I believe the 3 foot clearance requirement is to allow access for boundary wall/fence maintenance).

 Right now, we (my youngest lad and I) are about halfway through dismantling the old garage and hope to have the site cleared in the next few days. I'll review my options to shift the new garage a little bit further away from the fence once we have sight of the exact extent of the existing concrete base. I'm thinking of doing trial runs testing how difficult or easy it will be to park the wife's car onto the concrete base via an 8 foot wide aperture (U&O garage door width) so as to avoid contact against the anticipated location of the garage walls.

 So far, I've not seen any replies offering any opinion on Nucrete's reputation as a supplier of concrete sectional garages and sheds or suggestions regarding alternative suppliers. I think I'll have to post an enquiry specifically for such opinions and recommendations to uk.d-i-y, avoiding any distracting details.

 I suspect I'm more likely to get useful responses if I keep it nice and simple and to the point which, in hindsight, is what I should have done in the first place. I can now understand why people would have been put off responding to my first attempt to elicit opinions on my initial choice of supplier since I've reacted similarly to long and complex postings in times past simply because replying looked like too much hard work. ::)
John
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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a garage that I can use as a workshop for fabricating electronic enclosures and so on

In what way do you need a garage for that? Specifically, why can you not use your existing hobby room, or wherever you do your electronics/programming stuff? I ask, because...

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shifting the new garage another 26 inches away from the boundary fence, the problem with that is that it'll make car access to the garage virtually impossible

IME, if you use the garage for non-car stuff that you need a garage for, you can eventually forget ever putting a car in it again. Might as well start from that position of knowledge and not compromise on the basis of assumptions you later realise were false :)
 
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Offline dunkemhigh

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More on the car: does it need to go in the garage? Could you not put a roof over that passage and have, effectively a car port? Or even bridge the gap between house and garage (bonus: you don't get wet on a rainy night when wanting to Do Stuff out there).
 
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Online Ian.M

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 Yep, my garage has been car-free for over 40 years . . .  |O
 

Offline Johnny B Good

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More on the car: does it need to go in the garage? Could you not put a roof over that passage and have, effectively a car port? Or even bridge the gap between house and garage (bonus: you don't get wet on a rainy night when wanting to Do Stuff out there).

 Apologies for the delayed response but I've been dithering between having a local firm bring the concrete base up to scratch and build a garage/workshop in brick or go with my original plan to have a concrete sectional garage delivered and erected by Nucrete.

 The old garage has been dismantled and carted away almost a fortnight ago now. I had fun with a borrowed electric chain saw to cut the wood down to size for burning in our little used incinerator bin and my son carted the corrugated sheets off to a local scrap merchant, some of the better pieces of which he delivered to a workmate.

 So far, we've avoided the expense of hiring a skip and all that remains is the concrete base with a 3 course high single leaf brick wall that had been laid up around the outside of the corrugated iron.

 The building firm in question had been recommended by my eldest stepdaughter who'd had them replace a conservatory with a brick built extension. I had a brief telephone conversation with the boss last week who promised to ring back in an hour or so but never did. It was a day or two later before we spoke to him again when he promised to take a look at the job over the weekend which he never did and we've still not heard from him since, hence my reconsidering the concrete sectional garage option.

 As to the question of whether I need a garage, the answer is no, not really but the wife insists on it having a garage door largely on account that this feature would be visible from the road and would look more in keeping with the neighbourhood as well is increase its appeal to any potential buyers in the future should we finally decide to downsize to a smaller bungalow.

 That being the case, I'll be insisting on a well insulated and weather sealed garage door option. On balance, it seems the sensible option. I'd prefer to avoid burning my bridges in this case, besides which it could prove rather handy if I start buying more heavy duty kit such as lathes and full size pillar drills.

 As for the car port idea, I'm not that bothered about getting a little wet if we have to fetch shopping in during inclement weather. In any case, the driveway being aligned with the "Pest from the West" tends to act as a wind tunnel for a lot of the time, putting such a relatively flimsy structure as a car port under considerable stress during stormy weather conditions is not my idea of 'fun'. For the sake of a few hours per year's worth of rain shelter, I'd prefer to do without the worry about its potential to suffer (and in turn inflict) storm damage for several months of the year at a time.

 Like Ian.M, i've never parked any of my cars in a garage over the past 40 years and I've no intention of starting now.


John
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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IME, personal recommendations when it comes to builders and the like are usually good leads - find a good workman and hang onto him until he retires. But missed calls and visits are a bad sign - I'd strike him off the list pronto.

One thing to consider between concrete and brick is shelf hanging. Which is going to be better to a) drill holes and then b) hold up overloaded shelves? Not necessarily a big factor - you might prefer to attach panels that you then screw things onto, for instance. But might tip the  balance.

Brick might be simpler to 'adjust' later.

 

Offline Johnny B Good

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 The business of hanging shelving off the walls is a consideration that came to mind when thinking about how I'd need to deal with this in a concrete section garage. Brick walls can readily be drilled and plugged just about anywhere you need shelving, especially true when dealing with naked brickwork where you're not having to 'work blind'  as is typically the case with most home DIY improvement jobs.

 The appeal of the use of a local contractor to build the garage from the ground up being that I can lump all the messy details of concrete base with underground services via a couple of ducts (mains power feeds in one with communications and, optionally, water supply in the other) along with any other ancillary works that may be needed or just deemed desirable.

 The 'Firm' in this case being essentially a gang of brickies who generate a BoM list from the customer's specifications, putting the responsibility of ordering the actual materials onto the customer from a list of low priced suppliers before starting the actual build itself.

 My stepdaughter and her other half who is in the building trade himself were impressed with how quickly they started the job but I only have one picture showing the blockwork construction ready to accept window and door frames and the roof and a final rendering. I'll feel a lot happier if she remains suitably impressed once that job is completed.

 I've just found out from the wife that her other half will be completing the job himself (he's a chippy by trade) so I'm going to have to chase the 'builder' down and see whether he's prepared to do a full build at a reasonable price or whether I'd be left to call in other tradesmen to fit door and window frames and top it off with a roof. The concrete section garage option is now starting to look more attractive in spite of the 12 week lead time.
John
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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My father built a garage from concrete panels about 50 years ago. AFAIR, it was reasonably simple but, of course, I wasn't putting it up. A few spots turned to powder over its life, but it survived my mother's Viva incinerating itself inside.

Even though brick is usually easy and simple to drill, I'd still be inclined to face it with something - a panel, perhaps, or some 2x4 - and hang whatever it is off that. The same principle would work with the concrete job perhaps. Depends how thick it is, I suppose, though if really necessary a bolt all the way through will be pretty strong!
 

Offline Johnny B Good

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 For any heavy stuff, I'm thinking using something like free standing dexion shelving units. For lighter weight items like electronic components, I'd be inclined to glue MDF panels to the walls with "No More Nails" and screw inter-lockable plastic storage boxes onto the panels. Ditto for any tool racks and such.

 I'd prefer not to drill into any of the concrete panels at all and I'd rather use existing bolts in the support posts than drill into them to attach any hangings such as MDF panels. Drilling into the panels or posts risks exposing the reinforcing mesh/rods to the air which is best avoided to save any future problems with rust.

 It might also be possible to hook support hangers over the tops of the concrete wall panels, avoiding any need to drill into them. In this case gluing the lower parts of any MDF panels hung off those hangers will help fix them in position.

 There are many ways to skin this particular cat whichever way I go and I'll worry about the shelving issue once the garage/workshop has been built (or erected).

 Whatever way I go, I still need a good strong concrete base to build on, along with a couple of 80mm ducts back to the house for electrical and comms service cabling. This should give me plenty of room in the comms cable duct to run an MDPE line for mains water supply if the need ever arises.

 Unfortunately, the ducts have got to get past a water drain pipe or two so moling them in is maybe not a good idea meaning the route will probably have to be trenched... very carefully. However, I'll leave that decision to the experts - moling might be a viable option after all despite my own misgivings.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 12:08:56 am by Johnny B Good »
John
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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[attach=2]My office is wooden so nothing is supported by the walls - all my shelves and desks are freestanding, but most are attached to the walls for stability. It works well, but the downside is that you can't have overhanging things because of the support legs. Actually, that's not quite correct - I use a panel to support an overhead monitor, which is fixed to adjacent studs.
[attach=1]

I would be unhappy to use No More Nails for something like this (even ignoring that this isn't concrete but has a peelable surface). Just prefer an actual physical restraint to magic :). Hangers might work, though. I would be inclined to use those as backstop for the glue rather than standalone, but I ain't a builder.

Quote
I still need a good strong concrete base to build on

When we had ours laid it was, of course, for a car garage, so it was laid rough. I've always regretted not thinking more about it and insisting it was smooth. OTOH, we did specify an inspection pit and although we get a car in there now, it's come in dead useful as cold long-term storage...
« Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 09:26:44 am by dunkemhigh »
 

Offline gtm

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other issues of interest are in regard of planning permission

If it was me I would look into the technicalities of that.
I lived in London for 20 years, and I knew a guy who was forced to to tear down is shed because he didn't have planning permission.
It wasn't a normal shed though, in terms of height it was normal,but it was made of thick wood planks, with a nice roof, plasterboard inside, toilet, electricity... It was basically a spare room.
He had it for 10-15 years, until the Council noticed and then there were several court cases over a few years , in the end the Council won.
This was Lambeth Council in South London.
Iirc, if if it can be considered "permanent" construction,  then you need planning permission. Or something like that.

Of course you could always save your rotted out corrugated sheets, and use them as camouflage for your new workshop
« Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 10:24:14 am by gtm »
 

Offline Johnny B Good

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other issues of interest are in regard of planning permission

If it was me I would look into the technicalities of that.
I lived in London for 20 years, and I knew a guy who was forced to to tear down is shed because he didn't have planning permission.
It wasn't a normal shed though, in terms of height it was normal,but it was made of thick wood planks, with a nice roof, plasterboard inside, toilet, electricity... It was basically a spare room.
He had it for 10-15 years, until the Council noticed and then there were several court cases over a few years , in the end the Council won.
This was Lambeth Council in South London.
Iirc, if if it can be considered "permanent" construction,  then you need planning permission. Or something like that.

Of course you could always save your rotted out corrugated sheets, and use them as camouflage for your new workshop

 I put up a free standing 27 foot lattice tower in our back garden some 35 years ago without any planning permission. I think it rather helped it to escape notice from any would be objectors by virtue of it being painted a dark drab green with a thirty foot conifer in the garden backing onto ours being less than ten feet away :)

 The seven year limitation on submission of objections has long since expired so there's no danger of being forced to dismantle it and, even though I no longer use for any radioham activities, it's staying put just in case we attract interest from a buyer (if and when we come to sell up) with an interest in radio (ham or SWL). It won't be too difficult to remove the top two nine foot sections to downgrade it to a very sturdy washing line support post should a potential buyer not fancy having such a feature in their back garden.

 This new garage/workshop is a virtually identically sized replacement for the eyesore of a wreck that had existed for quite some time even before we moved into the property. In any case, both the old and the new garage/workshops didn't/don't require explicit planning permission by virtue of conforming to the limits defined by "Permitted development rights".

 As for your suggestion to use the old corrugated iron sheets to disguise the upgrade, those have long since been consigned to the scrapyard where they rightfully belong  :)

 Radiohams use the "temporary erection" work around to neighbourly objections to such antenna towers by using a trailer mounted tower that can be erected to heights of thirty feet or more in a matter of minutes, relocating them to another part of their garden every other week or so to suppress accusations of it effectively being a permanent construction. Garages and outhouses are permanent constructions allowed by Permitted development rights so the issue of permanent versus temporary construction in these cases simply doesn't exist.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 11:24:19 pm by Johnny B Good »
John
 


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