That is a question many of our customers ask us and themselves before they make a purchase. We will then reply with a few questions for them.
1.) Is your building space limited?
2.) For what do you plan to use the building?
3.) Do the local municipalities restrict what you can build?
4.) Will you need a permit?
Answering these four questions will usually narrow things down enough so that our customer practically answers their first question themselves.
A building has three sets of measurements; outside, inside, and roof line. The outside measurement (width x length) is the total space on the ground or pad you will need. This is almost always about one foot less than the roof line measurements (outside measurements + eve’s overhang). So, if the building is needing to be put up against an existing wall, make sure you leave room for the eve of the roof, or see if the eve can be removed. The inside measurements are the outside measurements minus the thickness of the walls. Our buildings’ walls are 2.5″ thick, you’ll lose 5′ total inches.
The lot you plan to place the building on needs to be relatively level. Before you do any leveling, and before the building is brought out, you need to call 811 (call before you dig) so all underground utility lines can be avoided. Some utility lines may limit your building space.
Next you need to check with your city ordinances and/or your Home Owners Association. These may regulate the type of building you can get, how big it can be to keep your lawn to building ratio, and how tall it can be. If you live in a ‘cookie cutter’ neighborhood, you’re probably out of luck.
Knowing what you want the building for now and what you may want if for in the future, will really help narrow things down. Some are more simple than others. For example; if you need a loafing shed for your horses, you would pretty much just purchase a loafing shed. However, if you want a carport now, but would like to turn it into a garage at a later date, then you should consider including gabled ends and an 8′ leg height now. Adding the gables ahead of time will help create a more seamless edge on the ends because of the way they are installed. The 8′ legs will come in handy when adding a garage door later. Going over your goals with your salesperson in detail will make for a smoother ordering process.
Determining the width you need is usually guided by the size and number of vehicles your going to park under it. A single vehicle usually doesn’t need more than a 12′ wide unit. Two vehicles, depending on their sizes, will use a 18′ – 24′ wide unit. For three vehicles you will need a 26′-30′ wide entrance.
Local codes are usually in place to keep consumers safe from companies that might build unstable buildings. If codes are well enforced, a building permit is usually required. This enforcement is paid for in part by permit fees. Before you apply for a permit, it is always a good idea to check building standards such as required wind and snow load requirements. If they tell you that your building needs to be certified for 100 mph winds and 40 pounds per square foot of snow, then you need to make sure to tell your sales person. Your sales person will make sure to price and have your building built to meet or exceed those codes.
Some areas’ governing bodies could care less what you do on your land, where others want to be involved in every little thing. The old phrase “It is easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is to ask for permission” is not always the best motto when dealing with some building departments. Best case scenario would be that you never needed a permit in the first place, whereas in the worst case scenario you are fined, force to tear down your new building, and then required to apply for a permit. So, we recommend finding out if you require a permit before ordering a building from anywhere.
If you do need a permit:
Once you know what regulations you need to meet, you will need to place an order for a certified building that meets those codes. In most cases your building will come with generic engineered drawings that will satisfy the building departments requirements to be granted a permit. In some cases (usually with custom size buildings) site specific drawings are required. These drawings are made specifically for your exact building and take a few weeks to be ordered from the engineer company. Site specific drawings are not free. Customers will need to visit the permit office with the completed permit application, required fees, a copy of your order from us, and your drawings. Occasionally a site map will be required, but a local contractor will need to be contacted for that requirement.