Oz-Cover Sheds and Garages

7 Vital Facts You Should Know Before Buying a Garage, Shed or Other Outbuilding.

1. Planning the inside will give you a plan of the outside.

These days the more advanced manufacturers of Sheds, Garages and other outbuildings will offer you a lot of flexibility in design and size. This means you don't have to buy "the next size up" and you will save by not paying for what you don't need!

Now, the question becomes, what size building do you need?

A good place to start is to list all the items that you want to put inside your new building. Remember to get your family involved in compiling this list! You don't want to overlook something that your partner has been planning to store in your new shed.

Next step is to estimate the Floor Space required for all the items listed (individually for larger items like cars, etc.). On a piece of sketch paper arrange all your items in a way that suits your needs best. For vehicles remember to consider the approach to the building.

Once you have all items drawn on your sketchpad simply draw "walls" around them. This will begin to give you a good indication of the size you need.

If you like you can mark the building plan on the ground. All you need is a packet of flour, a tin can and a tape measure. (Remember to put a couple of pegs in to mark the outline once you are happy with the plan).

Shed Terminologies

Next check the height you need, especially in doorways but also inside if you consider to install a hoist or something like it. (Doors and Windows are measured Height X Width i.e. 2.400H X 3.000W).

Some terminologies you will find useful:

Span: the width of the building from side to side.
Length: the overall length of the building from end to end. (Bay's added up)
Height: the height of the building measured at the sidewall i.e. gutters height
Bay Size: the space between frames of a "portal frame" building (more on this later).

2. Choosing the best spot to build requires a little forethought.

Choosing the best spot to put your building will be easy for some - simply due to lack of space.

For others this exercise may become a bit of a challenge.

When looking for the ideal location there are some things to consider:

Once you've found the 'right' spot get your flour and tin can and mark the building on the spot.

Now is the time to get someone with experience to check levels and soil conditions to work out how much work needs to be done to get the site ready for a concrete slab or footings. Most sites need at least some work done.

Please note you are about to make a major long term investment, getting the site preparation right will mean you will get the best use of your building and add the most value to your property.

3. "Stud Frame Buildings" and a "Portal Frame Buildings" have their own unique advantages.

Straight Gable Dutch Gable Hip RoofA Stud Frame Building:

A Portal Frame Building:

Portal Frame Buildings come in a variety of models:

Gable Roof Skillion Roof Aussie Barn Quaker Barn

Again care should be taken with roof angles to achieve the right aesthetics.

Should you wish to apply internal lining to a portal frame building, this can be done simply by fixing battens to the existing frame at the appropriate spacings and then applying the lining. For ceilings this can be done the same way, but again do ask your supplier for an engineer's certificate to make sure the particular building is suitable.

Important Note about extending your building in the future...

Firstly a Portal Frame Building is probably easier to extend then a Stud Frame Building. Making a Portal Frame Building longer is easily done by adding "Portal Frames" or "Bays". It is rather difficult to make a building wider (better get that bit right the first time).

If you suspect that you will need to extend on your building in the future ensure you locate your building where it is possible to allow for future extension.

Also you need to know that many suppliers are not able or not willing to do extensions to buildings even though they supplied the original, so please ask about extensions upfront.

4. Not all materials used on sheds have been made to withstand Australia's Climate.

Most metal cladding materials offered are quite suitable, however there are some materials used that were not made for use on sheds in Australia's climate.

Materials used: (Metal cladding only)
0.42 BMT (means a Base Metal Thickness of 0.42mm) BMT is a valid term.
0.47 TCT (means a Total Coated Thickness of 0.47mm) TCT gives no indication of strength. 0.35 BMT

For roofing 0.42 BMT material is generally used, with the correct roof framing as support. This roof will be "Trafficable" i.e. a person can be on the roof for construction and maintenance etc.

Were a lesser material thickness used, the roof usually will be "Non Trafficable". This means that for maintenance (and original construction) the roof will have to be supported and planks used on the roof to distribute weight in order for a person to work safely on it.

For Walls 0.42BMT and 0.35BMT are the most common used on sheds and garages. Both materials are suitable, although the 0.35BMT is a bit more prone to denting.

Profiles: (the shape of the sheets)

For roofing two commonly used profiles are "Corrugated" and "Deck".

Corrugated RoofDeck Roof

Flat DeckFor walls three commonly used profiles are "Corrugated" (used Vertical or horizontal), "Deck" (used mainly vertical) and "Flat Deck" (lower ribs and wider pans then deck, used vertical).

There is also metal cladding just designed for horizontal use in a number of profiles, ask your supplier what they have available (these materials are generally more expensive).

BHP "BlueScope Steel" is a world leading Australian manufacturer of metal cladding for roofing, etc. They do a lot of research to make sure that their materials and the painting thereof is suitable for all Australian climates.

When your supplier offers "BlueScope Steel" material, you can be assured that the materials are of excellent quality and the coating used is lead free (making it suitable for collecting rainwater).

If you are ever offered imported materials make sure you ask:

If you do not get a satisfactory answer to any of these questions, check out how much (or little) you are actually saving by taking a risk with your investment.

5. Check the Standards Australia Map to ensure that your building is of adequate strength.

All steel framed buildings in Australia should be designed (and certified by a professional structural engineer) for a specific "Wind Rating". For this purpose, Standards Australia provides a map of "Regions" (see attached). For each region there is a specific wind speed that buildings should be designed to withstand. Within these regions there are "Categories" (for the level of shelter from surroundings). Contact our office on (07) 5546 8922 for more details.

Generally if your building is designed to a wind rating that fits the region it will be built in, you are ok. However, if you are going to build on a large open area or the side or top of a hill, please check with local council or a qualified engineer.

It was found in the aftermath of cyclone Larry that buildings designed to the correct wind rating stood up quite well against Larry. And that most of the sheds destroyed had been designed for a lower wind rating.

Make sure to ask your supplier to quote you based on the correct wind rating, and when purchasing make sure that the "Design Wind Rating" is noted on the contract.

6. It is wise to buy from a 'Licensed Builder'.

There are basically four types of entities from which you can purchase a building, they are:

Manufacturers: They design (with engineers) and manufacture 'Kit' Buildings.
Dealers: They offer products from a manufacturer to which they are generally closely related.
Agents: Usually a business in another field that sell sheds "on the side", often for a dealer.
Builders: Businesses that are licensed by authorities to "construct" buildings. Unless you are planning to be an "owner builder" on your project, it will be wise to purchase from a "licensed builder".

In Queensland unless a business has the correct "BSA Builders Licence" they may legally only sell you a product (kit building). They are not allowed to offer you Design, Construction, or Concreting, etc. If you make the mistake of purchasing from an unlicensed business you will have very little consumer protection.

When purchasing from a "Licensed Builder" you will enjoy very good protection, from a low deposit on purchase to insurance of the "works" during construction.

For more information please check out www.bsa.qld.gov.au

How much deposit should you pay?

The Building Service Authority Qld has regulated how much deposit a Licensed Builder may take for domestic contracts (currently 10% for contracts under $20,000.00 and 5% for contracts over $20,000.00) plus the cost of building application if done by the builder.

So if asked for a large deposit (some as high as 40%) you are most likely NOT dealing with a licensed builder.

7. You will need Building Approval in most cases.

The only exceptions are things like some small garden sheds and some farm buildings. If you are not sure please check with your local Council.

The process for building approvals:

To explain the process for building approvals in detail would rival this report with 'War and Peace' it would be so large, so I will give you a short version.

1) Council Town Planning have a "zoning" for your property showing Building Envelope, Size of building allowed, Height of building allowed, Allowed Use of property, etc.

When your application is within these guidelines the next step is Building Application. If your application is outside the guidelines Town Planning will advise you on how to proceed. Usually this means some further applications (and fees) like "relaxation" or "Neighbours Consent", etc. Council may assess your proposal as "Prohibitive Use" i.e. Fireworks Manufacturing on a city block would be very likely to be "Prohibitive Use".

2) Building Certifiers (private or employed by Council) will assess your proposal for compliance with the "Building Code of Australia". The Building Code sets out the standards that should be applied to the building work depending on what the building will be used for, eg. "Domestic Housing", "Factory", "School" and "Domestic Outbuildings", etc.

The certifier checks the proposal for completeness, i.e. Floor Plan, Elevations, Engineering Design, engineering certificate, form 15, access and egress, etc. The certifier will also inspect different aspects of the building works during construction and at completion.

After a satisfactory final inspection the certifier will forward a "Certificate of Classification". This certificate will be your evidence of having an "Approved Building".

Important! Certifiers do not check for Quality of Materials or Workmanship.

3) Plumbing and Drainage is very similar to building certification but can only be done by Council. If your works include plumbing and drainage, the certifier will need the "final plumbing approval" before issuing a "Certificate of classification".

4) In some cases your proposed building work may affect the likes of Main Roads, Railways, Airports, Environmental Protection Act, etc. If so, they are called "referral agents" and are required to check your proposal which can trigger more application forms and fees.

Do you have to organise your own building approvals?

Doing your building application yourself can be a bit daunting. It would be better to ask your supplier to do the paperwork. If you are purchasing from a Licensed Builder they might do it for free or for a small fee.

Some more useful information...

Accessories and Options that come with most sheds, garages and other outbuildings will differ from supplier to supplier, but I thought I would give you an idea of what is available. Also you need to know that some of these options can be added after completion, whereas others should be included in the design of the building.

Accessories (these can be added later without major expense, although it is more economical to include them in the original purchase):

Note: Ask your supplier if they will install accessories after completion.

Options (these items are best to be included with the original purchase, as they would be rather expensive as a refit):

If you want a quality product that will withstand our Australian Climate and still look great in years to come, then you need to speak with the staff at Oz-Cover.

Whether you want a standard Shed or Garage or a specially designed Outbuilding, whether you're looking for a DIY Kit or need someone to design and install your building, or you simply want some help to work out what suits your needs best, Oz-Cover can help you.

Oz-Cover Pty Ltd can offer you:

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For further information please visit our Sheds and Garages Enquiry Page.