Off Topic Hobbies > Mechanical Engineering

Advice needed on replacing rotted out corrugated garage for use as a workshop

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Johnny B Good:
 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.

Ian.M:
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.

Johnny B Good:

--- Quote from: Ian.M on June 04, 2021, 09:01:37 pm ---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.

--- End quote ---

 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. ::)

dunkemhigh:

--- Quote ---a garage that I can use as a workshop for fabricating electronic enclosures and so on
--- End quote ---

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...


--- Quote ---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
--- End quote ---

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 :)

dunkemhigh:
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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