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By Fitzroy
The planning permission is through and the weather is finally on the up! Unfortunately the location of the mature trees at the end of the garden have precluded the use of a solid slab so I'm winging it with a set of "pier block" foundations. The weekend comprised about 10hrs of digging out the top 10cm of soil, sifting out the multitude of roots, bulbs and cat cr*p, bagging, levelling and tamping down. Due to the potential to damage the tree root system I am limited to excavations 10cm max depth and all activity has to be by hand, no machinery. My 41yr old desk jockey body is feeling it this morning. The neighbour's cat has also decided I have made it the world's largest litter tray, little turnip!

Next step is to get the weed control fabric and foundation blocks down and level, and the base built. 6mx3m base is made of 2"x8" timbers, with 18mm OSB surface. Idea is to build a flat and level giant assembly table, on which to build the frame work walls, time will tell if the idea will work.

Wish me luck. Fitz.

image1 sm.jpg
image2 sm.jpg


Shed Base 1.jpg
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Last edited by Fitzroy on 08 May 2017, 19:15, edited 14 times in total.
By ICharger
I just joined this forum especially for this type of shed build.
I have numerous questions on insulation, however it may be suitable it another thread.
Good luck with the build and enjoy it.

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By Woodchips2
Wish you luck Fitz and shall watch with interest (hammer)

I find a sprinkling of cayenne pepper deters the cats and dogs. Problem is you have to repeat after it rains! :lol:

Regards Keith
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By Paul200
Goody - another workshop thread! I love these. I'm looking to build a workshop this year and have started casting the block foundations with leftovers from the building of our kitchen extension. Once I've started in earnest I'll start a WIP.

My construction will be similar to yours, Fitz, so I'll be watching with interest too. I have a couple of questions already - Why did you need PP? Your floor space is within Permitted Development rules - are you in a conservation area? Just curious really.

Are you going to double up the perimeter timbers in the base or is that a Sketchup glitch? I ask this because it's what I'm considering doing after rain damaged my floor when I built our Summer House last year. My idea is to get the walls and roof up before laying the floor this time - the inside timbers would facilitate this if I used 75mm timber for the walls.

Good luck with your build (hammer) (hammer)
By Fitzroy
I live in a conservation area so permitted dev rights are suspended, grrrr. However as I had to go to planning it meant I could take the front eve to higher than 2.5m, which does give me more headroom inside, for the sake of the £200 planning fee I think it was worth it. The process was not that difficult and it gives you some more flexibility in your design.

Regarding the doubling of timbers, there were two reasons. 1. strength/stability 2. The longest length timber I can get delivered is 6m, however allowing for 8'x4' OSB floor sheeting you end up with a 6.10m width, the extra timbers on the ends adds the extra 10cm to match. However, having now staked out the corners of the building I am realising it's bloody huge! So I may end up reducing the size by 10-15% so reason 2 is moot and hence I'll may scrap the use of double timbers. Currently debating 3"x2" or 4"x2" stud work.

I have a similar concern regarding weather damage whilst building, as Rome was not build in a day! So I'm planning to build out of treated timber and OSB3, both of which are pretty weather tolerant. Build order in my mind is.
- Ground clearance (1 weekend DONE!)
- Foundations and Base (1 weekend)
- Wall stud work and roof timbers (1 weekend)
- Sheet the walls and roof in OSB3. Breather membrane the walls and temporary tarpaulin the roof (1 weekend)
- At this point the building is fundamentally water tight and I can wait for a break in the weather so I can EPDM and detail the roof, and make a temporary door (1 weekend)
- Make windows and doors. (evening work across a few weeks but will have to be inside the new building as dont have space for such large items in current shed)
- Install electrical supply cable (evening work, I will run and get cousin sparkey to install)
- Install windows and doors (1 weekend)
- Larch Clad the exterior (1 weekend)
- Install electrics and lighting (1 weekend)
- Internal fit out......... (space and design flexibility exists to insulate and dry line if I want but may to this a few years from now when funds are available)

I'm hoping my build schedule is a little 'fat' in places so that I can get two jobs done in 1 weekend. However the Aberdeen weather is not that forgiving and a full dry weekend is rare, only saving grace is that the days get very long up here so when the day is dry and the sun shining I will be making hay!

By RobinBHM
I wouldn't make it smaller -you will soon get used to the size and it could be softened with some planting, you will be surprised how quickly the space disappears in a workshop!

Dont forget to fit 50 x 25mm battens vertically over your breather membrane which forms a cavity and then nail the cladding to the battens (leave bottom open, but fit some insect mesh which can be staple on first, fit battens then bend up mesh and staple to battens). The cavity allows any rain water to escape and allows air flow around the back of the cladding which means it will dry off quickly.

For a shed / workshop of that size I would go for 100 x 50 timber
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By Paul200
Thanks for answering my PP question Fitz. Makes a lot of sense to get permission to build what you want, rather than trying to fit what you want into restrictive parameters. I agree with Robin that you shouldn't make it smaller.

I used OSB3 for my floor, the rain got to it and it swelled around the edges. I realise there are degrees of quality, as in anything, but what I used wasn't rubbish. Just the voice of experience - hopefully you won't experience the same.

I'm looking forward to the long days too - won't be as long as yours but still a great help when you're busy :-)
By Fitzroy
Morning all, update time.

Firstly I'm glad I don't do this for a living as my timings are way out. Ground clearance took 2 weekends, it's then taken all of last weekend just to get the gravel pads down! At the location of each concrete block I dug a hole about 100mm deep, lined with weedblock fabric, back filled it with MOT1 sub base material, and compacted down until refusal. Each pad took a 25kg bag of sub-base material, my car's suspension was rather low with 450kg of it in the boot! I decided to go back for the blocks at a later date.

Despite a reasonable effort to get the top of every pad level there is a variation in level between them of about 20-30mm. Next weekend's job is going to be getting the blocks down, all level and true, options and issues I can see are:

1. Mortar below each of the concrete blocks. Can I put a big dollop of mortar on top of the compacted sub base, will it remain stable over time?
2. Remove some of the compacted sub base material and re-compact. I run the risk of having only 70mm of sub base on some pads, any problems?
3. Use thinner concrete slabs or slates (I have loads lying around) to shim the gaps. Is there a risk of lack of stability with lots of layers?

At the moment I'm leaning towards option 3 firstly to avoid having to mix up the mortar and wait for it to go off, and secondly as I have a bunch of different thickness pavers, slates etc that are free! All thoughts are welcome.

I'm looking forwards to getting out of the ground and into the timber where I am way more comfortable.

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By Shultzy
I made my 16ft x 8ft workshop as a "flat-pack"on the base including all the roof joists. This makes it easier to keep dry and quicker to put up. I made the back of the pent roof longer and keep wood underneath the overhang so it can dry out (see build in my sig).
By Fitzroy
Finally got a break in the weather, or so I thought, wood delivery arrived 7:15am on Friday and it was pissing it down. Got all the timber squirreld away but not before it was soaking wet. Luckily the day was dry today and I got the boards set out to dry whilst I cracked on with the ground works. The was a break in play as I had to deal with my four year old having nits, my wife is Russian and it turns out nits is like the worst thing you can have, so it had to be sorted then and there! Anyhow all the ground works are done, weed membrane down and corner blocks square and level. I plan to use wooden shims at each block location to keep the frame level, and joists not at a block point will be hung on joist hangers. Tomorrow should see the base complete!

Piers have been down for a while. Each one has a 100mm hole below it filled with 'sub base' and compacted to refusal. The pain was I'd not got the weed membrane down and a million sycamore seeds had fallen and had to be cleaned up.

Timber was stacked outside under cover for long lengths and in the outhouse for anything under 3m. It all got dragged out and stickered for the day to dry. Quality of the boards was excellent all very straight, the 11mm Osb was a bit bent up but apparently this is common and it'll nail flat. Timber was £933 inc vat and delivery from a local saw mill, was at least 10% cheaper than I'd priced up on t'internet.



External frame edge was temporarily constructed to make sure pier blocks were in the correct position, then the weed control membrane put down. Membrane is 2x4m widths overlapped by 50cm in the middle. Pier blocks were lifted and placed on top and plastic spikes used to peg the loose edges.


Lots of pier blocks are needed as the foundations are not very deep, due to planning constraints associated with protection of the mature trees behind, which is fairy'nuff. But getting 18 blocks all level became an bit of an issue. Decided to get the corners level and will make wooden chocks to level over the other blocks.

Frame is bob on!

At the end of the day the sun shone and I got to sit with a glass of wine and chill before tidying up.
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By Fitzroy
Update on progress, slow but getting there, like British Rail.

Base frame joists installed.
010. Joists.JPG

With all the joists in place you can start to get a sense of scale. The neighbour keeps looking in and i can't tell if his expression is envy or displeasure.
011. Deck Frame.JPG

Got annoyed at the pace of progress as the summer is a wash out here in the 'deen. So took matters in to my own hand and the end of the garden now looks like a boy scouts hideout.
012. Rain Cover.JPG

With the 'tent' up i could crack on with work on the base, getting the insulation netting stapled to the joints and the noggins in.
013. Netting and Nogging.JPG

Or so I thought, the following day and the tent was looking less than happy! Luckily the tarp was undamaged, bar one small hole and a pulled-out eyelet, and after putting in some better wall anchors for the left-hand upright we were back in business. Although ironically the sun was out by this time, but it was raining again by the afternoon.
014. Tarp Collapse.JPG

I have gained more respect for the average builder as working bent over , cutting and nailing noggins, stapling netting, slabbing insulation and nailing flooring, the back aches after only a couple of hours. But slowly each bay is completed.
015. Insulation Netting.JPG
016. Insulation.JPG

Persuaded the wife to bath and bed the children last night so I had the time to complete the last few bays and the shed deck is now done.
017. Insulating and Boarding.JPG
018. Base Complete.JPG

Base is good and square, flat and true, so hopefully I've built myself a good surface to build the wall frames on. Looking forwards to the framing as I hope progress will be a little quicker than before. Need to get on and order the EPDM roof membrane and the battens and wall cladding.


PS. Schoolboy errors I think I've made.
1. OSB to the edge of the frame! But i couldn't be pineappled to cut noggins for all the board edges and cut the boards to size. With the frame at 6m x 3m and using 1.2x2.4 metric boards there were zero board length cuts.
2. Netting and glass-wool insulation, according to a FB pal I've created a mouse and rat hotel, argh! I plan to scribe the shed sheathing (OSB) to the ground line and run the cladding as low as possible, the areas around the shed will also be infilled 50mm deep 25-30mm pebbles so hopefully that will keep them out.

PPS. Interesting things I've learnt.
1. It's really easy to cut an OSB board to 'square enough for a shed' with a chalk line and japanese pull saw, and way quicker than unpacking, setting up, using and clearing away the power tools.
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By Fitzroy
Poor weather, summer holidays, and a 3 and 5yr old have slowed progress, but they are only kids once so you need to enjoy it whilst it lasts!

Since the last time:
The covered based has, as planned, been used as a gert big worktable to allow me to measure, cut and layout all of the components for the frames. I set up the mitre saw on the base attached to a long piece of 2x4, i could then position a stop block screwed to 2x4 to allow repeatable cuts so that I did not have to measure every piece. Once all the frame components were cut they were stacked on the base ready to go, waiting for a weekend where good weather was forecast.

I got bored waiting for a decent break in the weather and thinking about what was next I got a little over excited and ordered the larch cladding, i got a bonza price from a local saw mill at just 88p/meter (inc vat) for 150x20mm larch, 500 meters ordered! I've read conflicting advice on the cladding, ie. order early and stack to air dry for a few months, and buy it and get it up asap before it moves, the saw miller advised I get it up in a few weeks or so to stop any of it going black. Anyhow it was ordered, and two weeks later a van hired and I went and collected it. I'd also been thinking about the windows and had made some contact with another local chap (scottishsawmill) about some Douglas Fir, he was not too far from the larch so picked it up as well. I was luckily given a longer van than expected, with a 4.8m payload length, so it all slotted in beautifully with no cutting needed; which is great as invariably when i cut stuff to fit the transport it turns out fractionally short of optimal.

The weather has proven a real pain in the proverbial with periods of dry but lot of showers. Whilst my tarp tent can protect the base I need to take it down to do the frames, I will have to stand them temporarily after I finish each one to give space to construct the next ones. I also realised that I will need to get the walls up and roof on all in one day so that I can get the tarp over the whole lot and the structure essentially weatherproof. So I need a weekend with dry weather forecast. I wait…… there are some dry spell so I cut the birdsmouths on the roof trusses. I marked out knife lines and then cut the waste out with a Japanese pull-saw and trimmed back to the lines using an old 2” plane iron as a framing slick, it was a bit sore on the hands to get the force on the plane iron but it worked very effectively and I was happy with the results. Each birdsmouth took about 10mins to mark out and cut so it was about 4hrs to get all the joists done.

Finally some good weather was forecast for last weekend, dry all day Saturday until late, then dry all day Sunday. Saturday arrives and I’m up early to crack on, coffee on the stove and a battle plan sketched on the back of an envelope. “Darling, you do know H’s swim lessons start again today, don’t you” arrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh, well there’s the morning gone, but he did great after all our father son time in the pool over the summer! Got all the frames put together on the Saturday and was feeling very chuffed with myself until unexpectedly the heavens opened and I had to get all the frames flat, and the tarp tent back up. Got bloody soaked and had to dry the frames and deck off with some old towels as there were proper puddles all over it, I know the OSB is moisture resistant but leaving standing water on it overnight I doubt would do much good. So Sunday dawned and ‘I could see Karley now Lorrain was gone’, and it was the day to get the thing up. Needed to get the wall frames erected, squared up, attached to each other, attached to the base, roof trusses up and attached, OSB roof on, tarps in place over the top and round the sides. Everything took longer than I expected and after starting at 9am ish I was screwing down roof boards in the dark with a head-torch (stopped nailing at 8pm when my neighbour said he was about to complain tot eh council about noise) I finally had the tarps up and tools away at 11:30pm.

The interesting bit, photos (will have to have two posts as too many pics)
Cutting the frames
019. Cutting Frames.jpg

Frames marked so I know what goes where as I'll have to store them unconstructed for a while
020. Marking Frames.jpg

Cutting the birdsmouths, was fun as it felt like proper carpentry.
021. Birdsmouth 1.jpg

022. Birdsmounth 2.jpg

Larch and Dougfir Picked Up
023. Larch and Doug fir.jpg

Amazing how much cladding you need!
024. Larch Cladding.jpg

Doug fir for the windows, such a nice orange/pink colour in real life.
025. Doug Fir.jpg

Couldn't resist planing some of the larch up, shed will have vertical board and batten cladding, front elevation will be planed smooth for a crisper look. Really happy with the quality of the larch for the price I paid.
026. Cladding Test.JPG

Cut frames stacked in sets ready for nailing.
027. Frames Cut.jpg

Left frame done, with temporary cross batten to keep square, shed will be clad in OSB which will retain squareness.
029. Left Frame.jpg
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By Fitzroy
Front frame completed, frame was very rigid due to door and window frames so no cross batten at the moment. Pretty much been a one man build but needed some help to hold the frame whilst I took a photo. Also needed a little help the following day to get the frames initially tied together
031. Front Frame.jpg

All the frames up and squared up, the front and rear frames were a touch out of square but I could wedge the from the garden walls into square and then add cross battens to hold until the OSB sheathing is on. Roof joists sat great on their birdsmouths then used truss clips to attach them to the frame. You can see from teh shadows it was well past mid day by this point.
032. Frames Up.jpg

Realisation dawned that this was going to be a long one, so no photos of roof being boarded etc. By the end of the day the structure was done and weather-tight. I seem to have rebuilt the Chernobyl sarcophagus!
033. The Sarcophogus.jpg

Should be an easier build from now on as I can tackle the sheathing, etc in a more piecemeal way.


PS. Soft keyboard warrior hands now have, several large blisters and by the end of the day fatigue set in and I'd belted two fingers and the thumb on my left hand. Really, really shouldn't have tried to do so much in a day, but couldn't see any other solution.
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By Paul200
Impressive progress for 1 1/2 days work Fitz. I like the look of your vertical cladding too. We've just had vertical Larch cladding put on our new kitchen extension but all the boards are the same size - yours looks much nicer and I might nick the idea for my workshop (when I come to build it!).

Look forward to the next instalment :-)