Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

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Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169068Post Sally Jane
Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:04 pm

We need to build a medium-sized shed-cum-workshop for our garden. It needs to be inexpensive and robust enough to withstand howling gales off the Irish Sea, so I would guess that some kind of breezeblock would be best.
Does anyone have guidance and advice to offer?
Firstly, there seem to be many different kinds of block, so what type should I be looking for, and how do you get a decent layer of mortar without it falling into the hollows? (Yes I am a complete novice!)
Also, do I need to build footings/foundations, or can it be laid on a concrete 'raft'? It won't be much more than 6' at the level where the roof joins the walls.
And what is the best way to roof it, bearing in mind the high winds up here - I'm guessing an overhang isn't a good idea!
I would really appreciate any advice, and dos and don'ts on this subject - please keep it simple as I have the technical know-how of a gnat!
Thanks! :cheers:
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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169071Post Green Aura
Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:09 pm

I know nothing about building sheds but I'm guessing that if you want to build it out of blocks and mortar it will need foundations and be liable for planning permission.

Could you not look at building a heavy duty, but not "permanent" wooden shed - maybe plant a windbreak hedge or something to protect it.
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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169072Post contadino
Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:24 pm

Sally Jane wrote:Firstly, there seem to be many different kinds of block, so what type should I be looking for, and how do you get a decent layer of mortar without it falling into the hollows? (Yes I am a complete novice!)
Most blocks have holes that don't go all the way through. You lay them with the flat side upwards. The blocks that do have holes all the way through, you just mortar up the edges. I don't use them because they're much harder to work with.

I'd suggest a flat roof, made of concrete, cast in place. You'll need to be careful to make sure the walls are strong enough to support the roof, but it'll last a lifetime. If you do opt for a flat roof, make sure it has a couple of degrees of slope for runoff - you don't want water sitting up there.

I'm going to be building a fairly big (7m x 4 or 5m) workshop/shed/milking parlour next year, which I intent to build half below ground level and half above, using rammed earth tyres. It's very labour intensive, but cheap and green, and will withstand whatever the elements can throw at it. If wind is a big issue, maybe you'd want to consider earth-sheltering it a bit...?

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169074Post Sally Jane
Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:40 pm

Green Aura: It seems we don't need planning permission to build a shed of the size we need ( I know I said medium-sized, but as it's to go in the garden of an ex-council 2-bed semi, I guess most Ish-ers would regard it as small!), nor incidentally if we planned to build a nuclear fall-out shelter...Sellafield is just up the road!
Wooden sheds just don't last long enough here - it's wet as well as windy, and I hope to build solidly now, rather than have to replace it a few years down the line when I'm likely to be even poorer than I am now, though hopefully more self-sufficient!

Contadino: I do like the idea of using tyres, but I don't think we have the space as we'd need to have clearance at each side, thus cutting down the internal dimensions. The angled flat roof appeals since I'd attach a gutter to feed a water butt or two!
I'll have to do some research into the different types of block - there seem to be quite a few types out there. However, I'm hoping to acquire used/surplus ones from Freecycle etc., so it may be a case of 'beggars can't be choosers'!

Thanks for your input folks, it's greatly appreciated. :salute:
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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169081Post MKG
Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:57 pm

As I'm in the final design stages (i.e. we've decided it's a good idea) of a rather big shed, I immediately empathised with this one. The first thing to do is have a look at this ...

http://www.ecobase.biz/

... which was a complete eye opener for me. This isn't the only thing on the market - there are quite a few similar systems.

Second thing ... planning permission (at least in the UK) doesn't depend upon the building material, but more on overall size, height certainly, distance from boundaries and the building line, and whether you had corned beef for tea last night. Most garden sheds/workshops don't need it (mine will have a maximum height of 2.5 meters as it will stand almost directly upon the boundary - but that seems plenty to me).

Breeze blocks - there are a million versions with/without holes, cement/cinder construction, etc. But, to be quite frank, there's no reason why a well-constructed timber frame with good, solid panels shouldn't withstand even an Irish full frontal wind assault. A wooden shed is HEAVY without the aid of modern construction materials. And, let's face it, you're going to be hard put to find a 16th-century survival of the breeze-block technique. I'm going to be using WBP ply on a tannalised frame (translation: - exterior-use plywood panels fastened to a 4x2 mesh of treated timber) - which is about as structurally rigid as you can get.

Roofing - ah, there lies the rub! If you face a single-slope lean-to type of roof into a gale (higher end forwards), you have a pretty efficient lift-off machine. You could, of course, turn the whole thing round to deflect the wind rather than oppose it. Or go for a straightforward gable design (as on your house). The second is more technically difficult to a) build and b) maintain, but it looks prettier. Up to you. In either case, that overhang isn't mere decoration - the larger the overhang, the better the weatherproofing. Again, it's a balancing act.

The single most expensive-cum-important part of your shed-building is the base. If it ain't level, you'll have problems - so that's down purely to time and patience and a spade. Once you have the level surface, the Ecobase kind of thing is far and away the most cost-effective way of proceeding - loads cheaper than a concrete raft and certainly a bank-loan cheaper than foundations.

The most constructive comment I've seen on the net was a good reality check for me. There was someone getting really worried about the shed and regulations and stability and who asked for plans. Some guy came on and pointed out that plans weren't really necessary because it was, after all, just a shed. Having almost got to the same point as the original poster, I managed to rein in my panic after that point. It is, he was right, just a shed, and if it has enough nails and screws and stands on level ground, it would still be standing if it was built next to the Antarctic penguins.

Hope that helps?

Mike
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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169085Post grahamhobbs
Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:17 pm

Blocks come, as you say in various types, but basically there are the hollow ones, usually for filling with reinforcement bars and concrete for retaining walls and the like, heavy concrete blocks which are cheap but don't give any insulation and are heavy to lay, and the most common lightweight blocks which provide a degree of insulation and are light to lay.
You next have to consider that driving rain. What is going in the shed is it important that it keeps dry? The best solution is do build a cavity wall, outside layer 100mm thick blocks, air gap(cavity) 50mm and inside layer again 100mm blocks, the two layers tied to gether with metal cavity wall ties. If this is taking up too much room, then at least 150mm but preferably 200mm thick blocks, rendered outside.
The decision on whether to have foundations depends on how thick the topsoil is - are you over an Irish bog or is it rocky? If there is firm subsoil not far down then dig down to this level (if it is clay then you need to go deeper) and cast foundations, otherwise you can build off a raft - but this will need to be thicker with reinforcement, a couple of layers of A343 mesh or similar.
I would suggest a tiimber roof with a shallow pitch covered in ply and then roofing felt - this being the cheapest option and should withstand the high winds.
None of this is very ecological but it is a cheap solution to your problem.
Don't hesitate if you would like any further help.

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169091Post Sally Jane
Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:41 pm

Wow! I'm so glad I posted this question! The feedback is proving to be really useful.

MKG: Eco Base looks interesting and versatile. Thanks for passing on the link. I'm definitely going to look further into this, and similar systems. Your other suggestions have got me thinking, too. Thanks.

Graham: Many thanks for your suggestions. The subsoil seems pretty firm, no clay hereabouts. Might find a seam of coal if we dig down a bit though!
I appreciate your point about cavity walls, probably a good guard against the damp - the traditiional local housing seems to have cavity walls, as it happens. I'm also inclined to go with your timber and felt roof for cheapness and ease, though it will need to be well fixed down! Thanks again.
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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169206Post mysticveg
Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Hi Sally. My wife and I had plans to build a BBQ out of some spare bricks we have so we bought the 'Bricky' tool after seeing it on TV.
We haven't used it yet but a friend of ours, who is a builder says that it's a good help for anyone who has never laid bricks and mortar.

http://www.brickytool.com/offer.htm

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169216Post KathyLauren
Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:34 pm

Foundation:
You probably don't need much of a foundation for a wood structure. If you are going to build out of concrete blocks, you need a frost-proof foundation that goes below the frost line. Your climate is similar to ours: here foundations need to be 12-18 inches deep.

Concrete blocks:
I have built with the kind that have two square-ish holes right through them. You just put the mortar on the solid parts between the holes. Offset each course by half a block for strength - the holes still line up. For extra strength, you can fill the holes with rebar and concrete once the wall is up.

You will need some kind of waterproof coating on the exterior of the blocks. Concrete is like a sponge.

Roof:
First decide what material you are going to use for the outer layer: asphalt shingles, wood shakes, metal, rubber membrane, etc. Each type of material has a minimum slope that it can be used on. That determines the pitch of the roof. It also determines what kind of substrate the coating is attached to - plywood, strapping, etc. Then, knowing the pitch and the span of the roof, look up span tables for your area to find out what size rafters to use.

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169226Post Sally Jane
Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:31 pm

mysticveg wrote:Hi Sally. My wife and I had plans to build a BBQ out of some spare bricks we have so we bought the 'Bricky' tool after seeing it on TV.
We haven't used it yet but a friend of ours, who is a builder says that it's a good help for anyone who has never laid bricks and mortar.

http://www.brickytool.com/offer.htm
Thanks for the link, mysticveg. I had a look at the Bricky website and was surprised at what a good product this young man has come up with! I have built the odd low wall in the past, but this would really speed up the process. I showed it to my husband, expecting him to be sceptical (and tight!) about it, but he was very enthusiastic about it, so I have a feeling we may go for it. Considering what you get for the money while this promotion is on, it seems like a pretty good investment.
I hadn't heard of it before, so I really appreciate you bringing to my attention.
Hope your BBQ turns out realy well!
We all have two gifts we should try to use as much as possible - imagination and humour.
Imagination compensates us for what we are not.
A sense of humour consoles us for what we are.
And wisdom tells us not to worry about it!

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 169227Post Sally Jane
Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:38 pm

Thanks for the guidance Keith, all very useful. I hadn't really considered how vulnerable concrete would be to absorbing the damp, so I will probably finish it with some sort of render. It does make sense up here, as I do want it to last as long as possible.
I'm really grateful for all the advice and feedback - there are more aspects to consider than I had thought at first, and it's good to be presented with alternatives and options. Many thanks, Ishers :cheers:
We all have two gifts we should try to use as much as possible - imagination and humour.
Imagination compensates us for what we are not.
A sense of humour consoles us for what we are.
And wisdom tells us not to worry about it!

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 170854Post paul123456
Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:48 pm

Hello there ,

using breeze blocks will mean you are building a heavy weight building , so some kind of foundation will be needed.

Have you considered using 4 inch beams , firstly to create a frame of the building then fill it in ,
planks on the outside , foil , insulation , foil ,plasterboard inside .

Or even ................ strawbale structure , I have never done it myself.I did buy plans and books on the subject , even
bought a plot in Ireland .
Many people think that strawbales dont work but even in Alaska there are strawbale structures , with two storeys
and have been there for over 100 years .

Shame the distance is to far , these projects are my thing .

reagrds ,

Paul

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 170886Post Carltonian Man
Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:35 pm

Just as a point to ponder. Whatever material you use to build your shed, consider making any solid base/foundations dead size to the intended outside measurement of the walls. That way water run-off will go into the surrounding ground instead of soaking onto the base.

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 170968Post homegrown
Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:49 am

There are other options besides brick, I live in a high wind area and built my green house out of heavy grade freight pallets (Popped a disc lifting the :lol: things), Check out this website for some ideas http://summerville-novascotia.com/PalletWoodShed/

Also you could use unwanted tires ramed with earth and then covered in adobe render, some guy in brittany built a whole house a couple of years back (see Grand designs UK channel 4)

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Re: Plan/build a sturdy shed/workshop for windy location?

Post: # 171024Post boboff
Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:13 pm

contadino wrote:
Sally Jane wrote:
I'm going to be building a fairly big (7m x 4 or 5m) workshop/shed/milking parlour next year, which I intent to build half below ground level and half above, using rammed earth tyres. It's very labour intensive, but cheap and green, and will withstand whatever the elements can throw at it. If wind is a big issue, maybe you'd want to consider earth-sheltering it a bit...?
What is this then? Sounds interesting?

Thanks

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