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5 Tips to consider when designing your shed


alpine buildings workshop shed

1. What is your budget?

First and foremost, never let price determine the quality of your shed. We always find it handy if you have a budget to work towards when designing your shed.

This enables us to prioritise certain features of the shed above others. For example, to save costs we can lower the roof height or use smaller doors when practical.

Another way to save costs is to install the shed yourself … thankfully Alpine kitsets are as easy as 1,2,3 to install … anyone can build one!

2. Timber or Steel rafters?

If you want a clearspan structure that is more than 6m wide, we will use steel rafters for strength to span the large area. To future-proof your shed, we recommend you use Alpine steel rafters as they give you the most usable space and are easy to add onto in the future. 

Alpine steel rafters also have all the purlin cleats already placed and welded for extra strength and install speed.

When buying your new shed, ensure the supplier uses materials that will last the distance. Alpine uses H3.2 tanalised timber framing that has been strip stacked to dry it out, meaning it is lighter and straighter. We use H5 treated poles for 50 years’ protection against fungal decay. Our standard steel rafters are hot dip galvanised for the best rust protection you can get!

Although Alpine’s TidySpan® range uses steel portals for strength, we mostly use dry timber for the roof and wall framing, helping to reduce noise to a minimum in noisy environments such as a workshop or cow shed.

READ: Timber vs. Steel


3. What size shed do you need?

To help decide what size shed you need, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where is the shed going to be placed? E.g. what is the maximum amount of space that your shed can take up?
  • What do you have to store?
  • What will my needs be in 50 years’ time? Will the shed be too small? Wrong location? Change of use? Could it end up being my retirement hobby area?

A rough guide to calculate the storage space you require is to add the area of each item to be stored, and add 40% to allow for space between each item. If your shed is for storing machinery, you will need to add at least 20% to allow for easy manoeuvring of items. To future-proof the shed, add another 30% to accommodate short-term future needs.

If you are debating whether to add an extra bay now, or if you should leave it to later; keep in mind it is far more economical to do the whole shed at once because you will save on building consent fees, delivery and install.

The range of shed sizes available at Alpine vary from 9m to 30m+ wide with custom heights, bay sizes and unlimited lengths.

4. How will you access the shed?

You should plan to build your shed in an area with plenty of space, especially at the front of the shed. This will allow for easy manoeuvring of machinery.

Building your shed away from trees will also ensure your guttering is kept free of obstruction.

If your shed is for storing machinery, you may also want to consider traffic flow patterns inside the building to determine door locations.

5. What is the shed going to be used for?

Depending on the proposed use of the shed, there are several factors you should consider before designing your shed:

  • Lighting – clearlighting, open bays, roller doors, windows.
  • Ventilation – If you are building an animal shelter, you will need to ensure livestock are kept comfortable and healthy with natural ventilation. This can be achieved with design features such as ridge openings, an overshot roof or Yorkshire board.
  • Access – personnel doors, roller doors, open front bays.
  • Roof height – depending on what you are going to store in your shed, you will need to ensure you have enough roof height to accommodate everything comfortably.

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