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5 common mistakes to avoid when building a shed

Common building mistakesOften as we go through life there are things we wish we had foreseen or moments when we've thought "If only I had known about that before I started this project".

These thoughts and regrets are common in the construction industry. Being a large capital investment, it’s all too easy to get laser-focused on the cost savings of a project at the expense of getting what you need.

No one wants to make mistakes and we all want to be certain of the outcome from the beginning. That's why we've put together the 5 most common mistakes or regrets we’ve picked up from past clients and others in the industry.

1. Not building the shed with enough height

Even though it sounds basic, many people have not allowed for enough height, perhaps thinking that it would save them money, or perhaps because they do not know the actual heights required.

For example, roller door clearances are often a catch, the curtain hangs down 75mm from the lintel so if it’s a tight fit you are likely to run into issues. It pays to allow at least a good 200mm extra clearance to make sure you will comfortably fit your equipment. Getting that little bit of extra height can make all the difference in functionality and it is not a significant extra cost in the big picture.

In most cases, it is just a matter of longer poles, more cladding, and perhaps an extra run of framing — and it very rarely has an impact on the design of the structure.

2. Not allowing enough depth and size to the shed

This is one that can easily be deceiving as the measurement you step out or measure up to perfectly fit your equipment often gets interpreted by the shed company as the depth or span.

For the shed company, the depth is taken to the outside of the shed so the actual clearance is less because of the internal framing. By the time you have your equipment squeezed in there and the doors closed, you might be kicking yourself you didn’t make it another meter or two bigger.

3. Not allowing enough time for unexpected delays

As with many projects, there can be unforeseen delays, and some things can take longer than anticipated. Whether it be some unexpected RFIs (request for information) from the council regarding your shed and intended use, or you need resource consent for various reasons, it all contributes to prolonging the consent process beyond what was initially planned for.

Other common delays include:

  • A request for a ground report should the council require it. This can easily take another 2-3 weeks for them to compile the documentation and provide the report.
  • Site works getting postponed due to wet ground conditions.
  • Builders getting busy and taking time to get the installation pricing back to you which makes it hard to finalise the numbers.
  • Financing delays. Banks are not so liberal these days and there is often a lot more to work through in view of getting finance approved.

By now you might be thinking it's near impossible for my shed project to be pulled off! Well, rest assured it’s not. In this case, time really fixes everything so there is no need to put your project in the too-hard basket yet! All you need to do is plan your project earlier, discuss your project and site requirements with your shed provider, and it is just a matter of stepping it through.

Not every shed project has the above complications, however if you plan for them then it’s never a problem. At Alpine Buildings, we are no strangers to dealing with many different sites and councils across New Zealand. We have a whole team dedicated to keeping your project tracking through the consent process and are in contact with councils on a daily basis. If you have any concerns just contact our team.

4. Not having sufficient vermin proofing/bird proofing

Everyone wants to keep vermin out and prevent the birds from occupying their shed. However, it can quite easily be overlooked when working through the other key aspects of the project.

Even with a fully enclosed shed, if these creatures can find a place to perch inside the shed when you’ve got your doors up, they are sure to return. Whereas if there is nowhere for them to perch in the first place they will typically keep away.

You might even go so far as to ensure the purlins are fully enclosed, the rafters are boxed in, and the purlins are hard against the roof and sitting between the beams. Even then, what can often be overlooked in some designs is the need for knee braces and apex braces on lighter-weight structures — these make the perfect bird perches and potential nesting spots.

Chances are the saving you might gain from having designs with these braces will not be worth it when having to deal with these unwelcome guests. The Alpine design is well known for vermin and bird proofing and by all accounts well worth investing in for this reason alone.

5. Not going with a clearspan shed design

Clearspan sheds are a lot more common these days than they used to be. However, they come at a cost as they need a rafter system strong enough to eliminate the need for a centre support.

When crunching the numbers it can be tempting to consider a cheaper shed with centre poles throughout as it looks more attractive from a cost point of view. No doubt they come well within the budget, but many people have wished they spent the extra money and upgraded to a good solid clearspan shed in hindsight!

Centre poles can be a real hindrance as you have no option but to work around them. They waste a lot of space and limit your shed for future uses. This being said, some people with a tight budget have opted for a combination of clearspan where they need it most and have centre poles where they feel it doesn’t matter so much.

There you have it, some of the most common regrets we hear out there in the marketplace. Hopefully this article has provided you with some insight that will help you avoid any such mistakes or regrets on your next shed project.

If you have concerns about your project or any site-specific questions, feel free to contact us as we might be able to advise ways to make sure your shed project is a success both now and into the future.

Not ready to talk with our team just yet? That's ok! Why not download one of our brochures to find out more about our clearspan, bird-proof, kitset sheds.

Download our kitset shed brochure

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