How big is big enough?
One of the most important decisions in purchasing a building is deciding on the size. There are many things to consider, and so we will discuss a few of the most important ones.
1. How much space do you need?
Many people look inside a building and say, we could the mower here, the snow blower over there, your workbench on that side, etc. without really measuring it out. Most larger items take up more space than you think unless you actually put a tape measure to it. Another aspect is everything has to come in through the door(s), which means you need room to maneuver around things. A common statement is we have a 2 car garage and can’t get any of our vehicles inside. After looking at buildings, a common conclusion is an 8×10 or 10×10 would be sufficient. Sorry, folks, that ain’t gonna happen. You can’t unload a 2 car garage full of “stuff” into a 10x 10 shed.
Here are a few tips on how to determine how much space you need. Gather all your things together in the garage and arrange them like you would in a shed. If you measure the area in one corner of the garage you can use the walls to gauge the space you need for hanging items, workbenches, shelves, etc. Again, it has to go through the door, you can’t just plop it in from anywhere.
Another way of doing it is to draw it out on graph paper. You can make each block on the paper equal a foot. Lay out the building to scale including the door. Measure the items then cut out pieces to represent each one and try to arrange them inside the building. You can even try to slide them through door to see if they fit. This gives you a concept of how much room you need without using the actual items. Two items we find people often underestimate the size of are mowers and trailers.
In my 30+ years of doing this, I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say I wish we would have gotten a smaller shed, but I have heard the opposite quite frequently. The most common complaint we hear from our customers is I wish we would have gotten a bigger one.
2. The size of your yard
Many people are concerned about how their structure will look in the yard, and rightly so. Something we hear repeatedly is, we have this small yard and a big building would just be overpowering. That may be true, but I’ve never heard anybody say, we have a huge yard and can’t get a small building because it would get lost in the landscape. The right style building with appropriate landscape design can make a larger building become part of a small yard and vice versa.
3. Building and Zoning permit restrictions
Last, but not least are the code restrictions that apply to your area. State code allows for up to a 200 sq ft. building without a building permit (10×20 or 12×16). However, many areas are more restrictive with their regulations. A building permit deals with the how the structure is built, while a zoning permit deals with where it is placed on the property. Typically, if you are outside city limits, the county issues building permits, and the township handles zoning issues. However, if you have a homeowner’s association, it overrides everything else. Within city limits, check with the city building and zoning office.
These are just a few ideas. If you call or stop by we would be glad to discuss your specific situation in depth.