The 5 Most Important things to consider when Shopping for a Shed!
This is probably the first question you need to answer and will probably be quite easy to answer as your need for storage, workshop space or vehicle accommodation etc. is what put the thought of needing a shed into your mind in the first place. Questions to ask yourself are what height of building will I require, usually when considering this question, the answer relates to how high is my vehicle so what height roller door do I need for my car or truck to get into the shed? Do I want a mezzanine floor installed into one or two bays of the building? Do I want to walk around on the mezzanine floor or just have access for a bit of storage? Do I want to park a vehicle under my mezzanine floor or once again just have room under for some storage? All of these factors come into play when designing your dream building. A good plan of attack to sort out the answer to this is to grab a note pad and do a rough floor plan of what you want to park or store in the building, where will I put my work bench, where will my car hoist fit and what height do I need to get the old Holden (or ford) onto it and be able to extend the hoist up high enough to work underneath? Would a higher pitch on the roof help with this extra height? How many stables do I want in the barn? Can I fit a tack room at the end and will the door be high enough for the horse float to go in the center breezeway? So many questions and sometimes the answers need a bit of research so make sure you check on all of these things before settling on the desired size and height of building you need. Important considerations that we have seen customers disappointed over when finally moving everything into their new shed can be the height that their new caravan, R.V. or boat requires and the length of it. We had one poor customer build his shed before buying his long-awaited perfect boat only to find that the boat was too long for the shed he had built – we had to return to site to put an extension onto the shed when it was only a few months old. Do your due diligence before ordering your shed to avoid expensive mistakes, remember we can customize all of this to suit perfectly.
The next important question is the style of building for instance if you need open internal space to move large objects around within the building, then a wide span or clear span type structure would work best, this means a building with no internal columns that will get in your way when moving around or parking things inside. In comparison a person wanting to divide the building up into sections such as horse owners designing stable complex’s may prefer an American barn style building because it has the center section that is higher to store trucks or horse floats or maybe even have a mezzanine area set up for a hay loft and the skillions on either side are sectioned off into bays that can be custom sized to suit any stable fit out. Once again, Shedpro design staff are happy to sit down and discuss this all with you at length whilst working together to design your perfect building.
All properties have a size of shed or awning that are exempt from needing council approval providing the proposal can meet certain criteria as set down under the State Environmental planning policy. For a residential block over 400square metres the policy states that you can build a shed 20square metres and under if the building is at least 900mm off the side or rear boundary and not too tall. On a rural property the general rule is no larger than 50 square metres. Primary producers and rural business operators are permitted to build a farm shed under 200square metres without requiring council approval.
If your building doesn’t fall under the exempt development code it may fall into the complying development code which is the next category up from exempt. If you can meet the criteria of complying development pertaining to your classification once again, you do still need to seek approval from council or a private certifier but the process (in theory) should be easier, cheaper and quicker to obtain approval.
If you are building on property with restrictive zoning such as zoned heritage, foreshore land or environmentally sensitive etc. you may find that exempt and complying development doesn’t exist for your site. Alternatively, any scope of works that falls outside the complying development code for one reason or another will require the standard development application to be lodged with your certifying authority. Whether you choose council or a private certifier to act as the certifying authority – ultimately the decision is up to council. If a standard DA is required don’t be too concerned, as much as the planning authorities are actively trying to make development easier and to cut through excess red tape, a standard development application is still the most common application for building approvals. To work out where your application fits into the planning policy check over the exempt and complying development legislation at below link.
When submitting your application various things are considered by the certifying authority such as, but not limited to, how the building impacts the environment, whether trees need to be removed, will the building suit the street scape of your surrounding area for example if you wish to build a very tall building with a mezzanine area above yet there are no double story properties nearby, you may struggle to get this tall building approved as it would look odd. If your building is close to boundary and would overshadow your neighbors’ yard or block their view, this could be an issue also. If building a commercial building within 3m of a boundary you would require fire rated walls be installed in the building. Shedpro have been assisting customers in dealing with planning issues for many years, if you have concerns call for a chat, if we can’t answer your questions we should be able to refer you onto an expert that can advise or prepare the application correctly for you. If it all sounds just too much, then there are private town planners and consultants that can complete the entire council process for you.
Here at Shedpro, our projects come in all shapes, sizes and requirements. We are happy to design a building as a DIY kit including a colour coded screw kit, engineering and job specific instruction manual. We always organize the design, engineer and supply the building of course but sometimes the customer has a friend or relative that can do the concrete work or excavation so we may just supply and install on the customers supplied slab. Sometimes the customer loves the idea of getting their hands dirty and is looking forward to putting his own shed together, they may have built a shed in the past, they may even be a builder themselves, whatever reason a customer wants to complete part of the process themselves, we are more than happy to assist. We can even make a time for our concreter or one of the builders to have a chat over the phone with you if you need a bit of guidance or have a question relating to concrete or install. Many customers tell us that they get a great sense of satisfaction in doing some or all of the work themselves.
Most commonly our customers decide to go with our offer because they want a complete package. They are often busy and would rather spend their time in their own business or profession whilst leaving their building project to us. Engaging a company such as Shedpro takes the risk, drama and headache out of the project. All work is covered by structural and product warranties when completed by licensed builders. As we carry all appropriate insurances including HBCF insurance, the customer has no risk of a dodgy contractor or supplier running off or going broke in the middle of a job leaving them stuck with a half completed defective building. As we are doing the job from concept to completion our clients don’t get caught up in the dilemma of one guy doing the slab but it doesn’t match the plans supplied by another guy or the kit is sitting on site but the installer wont call you back and wants to raise his price to install etc etc. When you get Shedpro to do your job, we can’t complain about the contractor on site before us because we are the contractor on site from start to finish -designer, supplier, concreter and builder – we are responsible for the lot.
As with everything you purchase large or small, typically, as the saying goes “you get what you pay for” and creating a building is no different. You need to give some consideration to this when designing and shopping for a building also, are you looking for a small building to serve as a garden shed or storage for a short length of time, you may plan on leaving your current property soon or be renting whilst building your dream home. If this is the case cost and longevity of your building may not be your highest priority which is perfectly acceptable if this is what suits your needs and intended purpose for originally creating the building in the first place.
If the proposed building is intended as a long-term structure for your home, business or farm, then quality is likely to be more important to you than price. You don’t like the idea of paying too much or getting ripped off but are looking for a safe, secure building whilst obtaining value for money. You see this purchase as a financial investment in your home whilst it adds comfort and increases the value of your property. You want the structure to be engineered correctly to remain intact and keep your family and prized possessions safe in the event of weather events and storms. You want it to look good and add to the appearance of your home rather than looking faded and shabby in a couple of years. If the building is for a rural property or commercial site, paying a reasonable price to get the best you can afford is a smarter purchase and pays dividends in the long run. You want your staff, machinery or livestock kept comfortable, safe and secure. You don’t have time to chase dodgy suppliers or contractors when things go wrong or start falling apart. You need to know that your covered by a contract with a licensed and correctly insured builder and are covered by a genuine warranty.
You have figured out what size and style of shed you want and a fair idea of what extras you want to include in the building – even what colour scheme you want to choose for the building. You have had some shed builders supply you a quote and you have decided to get the majority of the job completed by a shed builder. You are pretty sure that what you want to build will likely be approved by the certifying authority you intend to use. You are now keen to get the project underway and need to choose which company to work with to complete the building for you. You have a few companies that have supplied quotes to you that you need to choose between. You are looking for the best value and quality that you can get for your money, but the trained sales person from each business that you spoke to, is telling you that their product is the best and that their company will offer you the best service etc etc. Without becoming a building expert with extensive town planning and engineering experience, how do you choose which company to trust your project with?
How do I know which shed builder to trust? is probably the biggest question customers ask themselves when shopping for a shed and possibly the hardest question to answer before finding out that hard way that you have made a mistake, by the time you realize that you may have chosen badly it can be too late to change your mind, as you have signed contracts and paid out initial deposits. It’s important to get it right and feel safe and secure in your decision before committing to anything. The best way to assess whether you feel that you can trust your builder is by asking them a series of questions and then considering how honestly and responsively they answered your questions. Below are the questions I would ask a shed builder if I was considering building with them and some answers to be wary of, as mentioned above you now have a short list of shed builders that have quoted you for the building your shopping for and all can supply the building you want.
Is your company licensed to build my shed and what is your license number?
Any person that buys a shed business this week can sell you a kit building next week without a license or any experience as to whether the building is designed or engineered correctly. This will start the conversation about whether they are actually a builder or whether they intend to sell you a kit and then send out contractors to do the work for you that you ultimately end up co-ordinating yourself (usually you then need an owner builder permit costing you time and money to obtain the license, this effectively absolves the shed company of any responsibility should things go wrong) any shed company that tries to step around this question isn’t going to give you a contract to complete the building – this makes life easy for the shed company but harder for you.
Are you Shedsafe Accredited?
If they are great, if not, you need to ask why? Shedsafe is an initiative set up by The Australian Steel institute to monitor and maintain Australian standards within the steel building industry – all reputable shed companies are shedsafe accredited – it means that their products, engineering and procedures have passed stringent independent testing and training and that the company complies with all of the recommended best practice when it comes to the building code and Australian standards. Any company that isn’t shedsafe accredited should be questioned as to why they didn’t qualify for the accreditation.
Will you give me a complete contract for the supply, concrete work and install within one document?
If a company says they will give you a contract from them for the supply but a separate contract for concrete and a separate contract for install etc etc. this means that they are just project managing and not actually supplying a comprehensive and safe contract for you. With all of the different contracts in place with different contractors – you are effectively becoming an owner builder and will be responsible for co-ordinating the job. A full builder will always give you a complete contract.
Is your product Bluescope supplied steel?
There are a couple of companies that claim to be Australian made because the Korean and chinese coil that they use in their buildings is roll formed in Australia (making it Australian made) problem is that it is made from untested or inferior imported product. These companies usually maintain that they are offering you a lovely big warranty on the product also, problem is – nobody but the company offering the imported steel is underwriting the warranty. Some guy in Korea will not replace your building when the red roof fades down to pink. When it comes to steel only trust Bluescope coil.
Are you approved to issue me the required HBCF insurance?
Under the home building act, all residential development with a contact value of $20,000 or above legally requires that a builder supply its customers a HBCF policy (home builders compensation fund) the old name for this insurance was Home Owners warranty insurance. For a builder to be approved to issue this policy to its customers they need to be financially assessed by Icare, the government insurance agency, and deemed to be financially viable to maintain its business operations and contracts. The company also has to maintain a perfect record with the NSW office of Dept Fair Trading and have no orders against them for faulty or sub-standard workmanship. Once again if a building company claiming to be reputable cant supply this insurance You really need to ask why! Don’t sign a contact with a company that can’t supply you this insurance or if the company is asking you to split the contract into smaller contracts to avoid issuing this insurance – be wary. This insurance is usually requested from council just prior the issue of the construction certificate – this is the time when many customers get stuck and find out that their contracted builder isn’t as trustworthy as they made out and they can’t issue the required insurance. Unfortunately for the customer they are stuck as they have already paid a sizeable deposit to the un-insured builder who doesn’t want to give the deposit back. Don’t find out after it’s too late.
If a shed company that you are considering working with can satisfy all of the above – then you are onto a good one and should feel safe. If you want clarification on any of the above please fee free to call Shedpro for a chat.