New Workshop in a hangar.. questions, questions.

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Established Member
22 Sep 2011
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Enclave Des Papes, France
Hello Gents,

I moved to France (Drôme) earlier this year leaving behind a workshop I built inside a factory, in Brum, just as the Covid crisis became serious therefore missing out on months of unrestricted workshop time using all the materials I had amassed over the years & had earmarked for various projects... I am gutted.. but maybe, just maybe I can make something bigger & better now.

I have only now gained squatter's rights, from my father-in-law, on 1/3rd of an agricultural hangar after biding my time while biting my tongue. It has 3 breeze block walls on a shallow concrete pad (no damp course) with massive sliding doors along the front. The metal roof is supported on 7"×2 1/2" joists at 1850mm spacing on top of 250mm round purlins(?) at 2500mm spacing on concrete posts. There is no evidence of rising damp up the walls but there is none in the garage either but water does get in when it rains very heavily. It also dries very quickly.

It is smaller than what I wanted but there is land on the other side of the end wall which I have my beady eye on for a metalwork shop. It has 32A, 3ph power which feeds a well pump & diesel pump so I may have to sort out some wind &/or solar power at some point if this becomes inconvenient to share. It is what it is & I just have to "be grateful for what I have been given & get on with it".



So, first up is putting up 2 stud walls & a ceiling & need advice on sizing & spacings please. I built stud walls in Brum but just used what the landlord had left over from other similar renovation works & I copied the spacings & design of those. I now cannot remember what dimensions the timbers were. I now need much better sound insulation as I want to work whenever I want to which must add more loading. The heat in summer is much more of a concern than the cold of winter so I still need substantial insulation.

The ceiling
Timbers: I cannot squeeze in 7" joists so do I use 6 1/2" or can I use smaller timbers? I was thinking of 2 additional joists between the existing ones, making roughly 600mm centres. I want to fit fire resistant plasterboard but I have not seen any here yet. I thought to double up on the plasterboard to increase soundproofing or use Siniat solidroc, whichever is cheaper.
Insulation: There is not much space up there so I will need some sort of rigid board, maybe plasterboard on rigid insulation. I have spent sooo much time trawling through various types of insulation my head hurts & often the products are not then available here but trawling through insulation tech in French is so much more painful. Customer service here is pretty poor at the best if times & my poor French does not endear me to getting the advice I need. Any suggestions (other than come home).

The walls (2 new)
The front elevation is 3530mm H x 4730 W, I need a double door & large window in that.
The side elevation is 3530mm sloping to 2660mm H x 6830mm W

How to I work out what dimensions of timber & spacings I need?

The walls (2 existing concrete blockwork)
I will most likely have to batten these for insulation. I had seen some Siniat "plaster & foam" type products that are stuck on directly but they have so many variations all of which are not well fire rated (according to their sales team.. which seems bonkers).

The Siniat Solidrock seems pretty good for a final outer layer (for load bearing & sound proofing) but I have not priced it up.

So, damp proofing? I have seen videos from the USA about not using vapour barriers. I did not need them in Brum when the factory was bitter cold & my workshop was toasty warm.

Any help & advice would be very much appreciated as my head is full to bursting.


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