Build A Shed Series Part 1 | Planning The Build

By Jeff Williams on Design & Planning, Home Improvement, Shed

Build A Shed Series Part 1 | Planning The Build

In this part of the country spring is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start thinking about and planning this years outdoor projects. If one of the items on your list is to build a shed than you’re in the right place. This article is the first in a series that walks you through the major steps of how to build a shed.Build A Shed -4

First things firstBuild A Shed -1

Before starting the build of any outdoor project be sure to check with your city or local building department. Many have thresholds on sheds, anything above a certain square footage requires a building permit, anything under is just a zoning permit. My town is 120 square feet and under only requires a zoning permit. Many other communities have similar rules.

Additionally, many local building departments have handy guides either online or in the office directed towards homeowners to help them plan their project so that it fits within the building code and any city zoning codes. The image at the right is the one from my town. It lists everything that is needed in order to get a permit. With the list in hand it was easy to get all of my ducks in a row to get a permit.

Find a good plan

Going into this build I had been wanting to build a shed for going on 5 years. I saw plenty of ugly, over-priced sheds for sale around town but knew I could build a better one for cheaper if I did it myself. Being a married guy I also had to have a good and cheap enough building to get it passed by the “internal building department” you might say.

Enter The Family Handyman (TFH) magazine. TFH is a publication I had been getting for years. It was one of Build A Shed -5those that my wife bought as a birthday gift years ago and I just have Amazon renew it for $12 every year. It has content mostly geared towards the DIY market but every once in a while there are some gems perfect for the pros too. Every summer they have an issue with a new shed design. The article includes tips and tricks on building it but the real gem is that they post the plans and full materials list online… for free.

Knowing the limitations of my site I couldn’t build a shed like their big 16×12 shed/porch buildings but the July/August 2013 issue had a 120 sqft plan with a ton of character. The secret of this shed looking so good is the almost 400 lineal feet of trim. The trim gives it curb appeal that isn’t typically found in shed kits or prebuilt models. Additionally, the shed uses all 2×4 studs on 16″ centers, not the 2x3s on 24″ centers of many prebuilt sheds. The final nudge that set the wheels in motion on deciding to build a shed was that the magazine claimed it could be built for around $3000. Sold.

About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."

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