Where to start with shed build ?

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Apr 2021

    Default Where to start with shed build ?

    Hi guys,

    I've been scouring these forums for a few years reading up on the great advice regarding things from tiling to concrete to plastering! It's an amazing resource and I'm extremely grateful to have found this place! Finally registered as I couldn't find info on something after searching all over the internet.

    I'm planning on building a large shed/garage in the backyard approximately 14M x 13M x 3.6M. Prefer a 120mm slab as I will be installing a 4 post hoist for car storage.

    I've been doing some research online on where to start regarding this and have read that I need to contact a town planner, a draftsperson, the council, an engineer, a shed company, a surveyor, an architect etc etc etc. I've contacted the council and they were very vague with who I was meant to contact and reminded me that I need a building permit AND a planning permit. This is Knox council in Melbourne.

    I've contacted a few shed companies and they all pretty much say "it depends on X and Y". So I'm currently quite overwhelmed and don't want to unnecessarily throw money around.

    The only quote so far is from Aussie Made Garage & Barns to the tune of $52,000 which includes slab/kit and installation. Doesn't include anything else like soil removal, concrete pump etc.

    So my question is; who do I speak to first ? And what kind of things should I pay extra attention to ?

    Here is something that I did in my spare time as I'm working from home thanks to covid:


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Melbourne - Yarra Ranges


    Built a few big sheds and some things to consider. Looking at that size, guessing the shed is ~20k, construction 7k and slab ~25k...plus extras such as pump, soil etc

    1. Do a Dial Before You Dig inquiry
    -https://www.1100.com.au to check what assets are registered in the area. It may not show any.
    -Look at your title for easements - your title should show them or - https://www.land.vic.gov.au/property-and-parcel-search or https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/
    -Do you know where your storm water drainage, sewer, power, water is on your property or their connection points

    2. Council
    Have a chat with a planner from the council to gauge if there is likely to be any issues with what your proposing - size of shed, height, colors, location on the block.
    -Are there any easements on your block as there will be conditions as to what you can do or not do
    -If there are easements, are they empty easement with no assets? Is so, then you will need a permit off the easement owner
    -Ask them how long does the town planning process take....expect a minimum of 12 weeks....could be more. If you were in the Yarra Ranges, its definitely more!!
    -Find out what the minimium set back from the boundary fences are. Sometimes your can get closer then the setbacks if you have a document signed by your neighbors that they dont object.
    -See if they can provide you with a a verbal estimate on how long this process is likely to take and what sort of info they are after in the submission. You can do this yourself or go through a private building surveyor that you will use for your building permit.
    -What are the permit costs

    This will guide you in the next steps and potentially save wasting time quoting on a size that the council could knock back at town planning stage. You will need town planning permit from the council before a building permit from a private building surveyor

    3. Building Surveyor.
    -Have a chat on the fees and if part of the service is to get a town planning permit. Sometimes it can be easier through the building surveyor....depending on the council and who you get at the council.
    -Ask is there any limitation as an owner builder, what are the requirements, does $$ for the project play a part in whats possible? This may guide you into your approach of footings (and infill slab after sign off or a pre-made slab to construct on

    4. Soil survey - get one

    5. Shed Quotes
    Based on the above info to guide you into whats possible in terms of size etc, get a few quotes:
    - shed kit
    - Shed construction (through the shed company and usually they like to do it as an owner builder)
    - Shed construction through another company
    - What size footings is required
    Confirm if the shed construction is via:
    - post foundations (hole in the ground filled with concrete...and will be a specific size based on your location and soil type - ask whats the likely required size but you may need a soil test to determine what it is )
    - or can be constructed on a pre made slab

    Confirm what you want in the shed - size, height, post span (4m or 6m), pitched and what degree or flat, roof insulation - the blankets are best, roof perspex sheeting (skylights - cream is best for light and heat management),
    Delivery - is access available to the back yard or front yard and then manually cart to the back yard.

    6. Obtain Permit
    Submit required doco's to council/building surveyor for permits

    7. Footings or slab
    What size footing or slab is required?
    Do you need a machine in to dig the footings or prepare the site to construct the form work for the slab?
    - even if its a post project sign off infill slab...do the site prep before the shed construction as it will make it far easier when boxing up, crushed rock base, plastic and reo is layed.
    Will you do any of this prep work yourself or bring in a contractor/trady?
    Depending on what option you take, it can be cheaper to organise the machine to dig to foundations with the shed constructors...depends on your contacts.
    Once you've got the required permits, the foundation hole or slab prep/boxing will need inspecting by the building surveyor prior to pouring the concrete.

    8. Concrete
    Is there access for the truck, will it be barrowed in or will you need a pump....factor in the extra $ into your project
    If its for post holes, easy to work out how much concrete is required https://sunstatecement.com.au/our-pr...le-calculator/ or slab https://sunstatecement.com.au/our-pr...le-calculator/
    - concrete varies a LOT in price $180 to $280 with the cheaper end obviously provided to concretors. When working out rough cost, if you use $230 as a ball park figure (or get a quote at you local concrete supplier company, include the footings and slab volumes, if it has truck access or will be pumped as the longer they stay on site there are additional "time" charges)
    - If your doing a slab as part of the permit, will you be doing the formwork, crushed rock compacted with a wacker packer and leveled out, plastic underlay, F72 or F82 reo sheets, tie wire, 25/40mm or 50/65mm bar chairs or simply hiring your concretor to do the work? Note: to do it properly, its harder then you think if you've never do it before
    - Make sure the concretor doing the slab use bar chairs (plastic stands the reo mesh sits on). Some will say "oh, we just simply lift it up with a notch in the shovel after the concrete is poured and does the same thing". Your spending ~25k on a slab if they are too lazy to put the mesh on a $100 worth of bar chairs @ 800mm apart or dont like walking on mesh raised to the correct height prior to the pour, walk away to the next concretor. The mesh needs to sit in the middle, no closer than 40mm from the top or bottom surface to ensure your getting the max strength of the reo. Been caught out once with that BS and never again, concrete cracked and opened up due to the reo not placed where it should have been.....it was 5mm off the ground!
    - If its an infill slab after construction, an optional to consider is to paint the side walls in a bitium paint to stopp the walls rusting out over time with the reaction of the concrete against the colorbond or zinc. Paint it to approx 20mm above the finished level
    - The advantages of an infill slab is it seals it up from vermin entering in from the sides but there are other ways to do the same if constructing on a preformed slab.
    - if you know where your car hoist is going, you could put an extra sheet of reo....but not required.
    - to save on concrete, if your thinking of just thicker for the car hoist, you could simply do this area with a 1m buffer at 125mm (5") and the rest at 100mm (4"). Do the volume calcs to see what you would save in concrete. The difference between a 100mm and 125mm slab is only ~4 cubes (18m3 to 22.75m3...if the slab is prepared right + 1m3 allowance.

    9. Shed leadin's
    Do you need to put any conduit leadins for a future connection prior to a slab pour? eg: electricial conduit for power, conduit for ethernet cable (internet), water
    or will these be done after job is finished....much neater if done with the slab pour as it doesnt have to go up the outside of the shed ie: its hidden from outside view, easier if do prior to slab pour and you can put all 3 just in case.

    10. Plumbing.
    Where is your storm water from the roof going to be drained to? Is it easy to tap into this point, is it down hill, how many downpipes are required (note the shed companies typically only do 1 downpipe which is never enough. From memory the standard is 1 every 12 meters. If it were me, I'd be having 1 each end for a shed this size to cope with extreme downpours and minimise water sitting in the gutter, taking the dirt and eventually requiring the gutter to be cleaned out sooner.
    Quote for plumbing costs?
    Its likely to be a condition of your permit and final sign off to have the plumbing all connected and plumbing certificate.

    11. Post build extras
    - electrical work - likely to need a sub board for a hard wired setup of lighting, powerpoints, is it single phase or 3 phase (which will partially dictate the conduit leadin size - 65mm for 3 phase or 25mm/32mm for single phase depending on size of wire required to run. If not sure, best to use 32mm (I'm assuming the shed is close to your house given you on a town block.
    - Water tank
    - Future solar
    - Water to a sink, man cave, minibar, kitchenette
    - lining walls or partially lining walls for tool boards - 12mm/15mm ply sheets or yellow tongue flooring. Use 10mm packers when hanging so moisture over time doesnt destroy the bottoms and just screw straight to the metal wall battens
    - Work bench's

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Western Australia


    Residential design codes for your state will give you the required setbacks. Reading and understanding them will save you a lot of time and make the planning officer more likely to help you.
    For example the zoning of my block limited me to below 100m2 for a shed.

    Bart has covered it quite well.
    The process I followed was.
    Obtain block title records from WA landgate to locate services etc.
    Soil survey.
    Quotes from shed companies.
    Touched base with a council planning officer with some basic outlines of what I wanted.
    Selected one shed quote and got certified construction plan with the wind rating, required footings etc from them.
    Submit to council all of above for approval with a modified copy of the block survey showing location and setbacks for shed.
    Waited 3 months for approval.

    While it can be an undertaking I put the shed up myself and saved at least 50% of what an installed one would have cost me.

  4. #4
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Apr 2021


    Wow! Thankyou so much for the detailed response' guys! Gives me a great base to start off.

    I will update this thread with the whole process as I go so it can help anyone else that's potentially looking to do the same thing.

    Thanks again. What an amazing community!

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