So you have been dreaming about a steel building, a storage building, an RV garage, a hobby shop or maybe just a steel garage to keep your belongings out of the weather and give you room to enjoy your hobbies.
Come back down to earth and I’ll try to help you turn your dreams into reality.
First let’s take a look at your needs. What are you going to store in the steel structure?
Do you plan to store a Recreational Vehicle?
If you plan to store an RV, you will need to know the clearance height of your RV. My experience shows that you will need at least 13’-6” of clearance for a Class A motor coach.
Many of you may not own a Class A motor coach and the RV that you currently own is only 12’ tall. Look a few years down the road, you never know you may trade up to a Class A coach one day. This is something to consider and another reason to research steel building plans.
That being said lets get back to planning your RV Garage:
We will use the following as an example and say that you have decided that you want a 36’ long Class A coach to fit in your new RV storage building. To facilitate your RV you will need a building that is at least 40’ long. The width of the building is easy to figure out, the side wall or eave height is a little more difficult. The best way to decide on the side wall height is to start with the garage door or overhead door. The minimum size garage door requirement for a Class A – RV is 10’ wide x 14’ tall. The 12’ wide door would actually be a better size so lets plan on using a garage door that is 12’ wide x 14’ high. Now we need to calculate the eave height that your new structure will require. Most garage doors require at least 18” and up to 24”of headroom or space above the garage door. I know I have been rambling here but we have finally decided on the minimum size steel structure that is required to house a 36’ long Class A Motor Coach. Your new RV garage needs to be at least 14’ wide x 40’ long with a 15.5’ eave height or side wall height. Let’s take note – that is the minimum size storage structure. You can always build a larger building; say for instance you may want to have enough room to open your slide-outs or storage compartments while your RV is under roof. This is something that you will definitely need to take into consideration while you are planning.
The same methods used to plan an RV garage can be used to decide the size requirements you may have for a steel building, steel storage building, a steel hobby shop or steel garage that has other uses.
How many vehicles do you plan to store? Park them all in an area and take some measurements and that will help you decide on a building size.
Another method is to go to your local shopping center and take a look; most parking lots have 9’ wide parking spaces that are about 18’ deep. As those of you that drive larger vehicles know this size space can get a little tight when you are trying to park and open up your doors. Take this into consideration when you are planning your building.
Maybe you want to combine your steel garage and hobby shop into one larger steel building. An interior divider wall can always be constructed to separate the different work or storage areas. You may also want to plan additional room to store motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats or ATV’s. Most reputable steel building companies will have sales associates that can help you plan your next building but remember in the end the final decision is yours and it must be an educated decision.
Okay, it has taken us this long to decide on a building size now we need to decide if you have enough land for your dream.
Those of you that have recently purchased property in the country or those of who own acreages that have been in the family for years may think this part of the planning may not involve you but there are still a few things for you to consider along with the urban and suburban dwellers:
Is the proposed building location in a low lying area that may be susceptible to flooding?
Are there any easements on the property in the area where you plan to build?
Do you know where all of the utilities are on the property? The electricity, the phone service, the cable service and the big one is the underground gas lines? Do you know where all of the sewer lines, septic tanks, drain fields and water lines are located? How about that 60’ deep hand dug well that your great-great grandfather may have dug?
Locate all utilities, if you can’t find them call a call a company like Blue Stake. They will locate all of the utilities for you. Many states have a “Call before you dig law” that will be enforced if you hit a public utility when you are digging.
Next you will need to know in this decision making process is your property “setback” requirements or the distance from the property lines that your governing entities will allow you to build an accessory structure. You will also need to know the distance between structures that your local building codes allow. You may be able to find most of this information on the internet if your city or county has a website like this one http://www.lacity.org/lacity/SubMenu/PermitsLicenses/index.htm If you can’t find it there, the best way to get this information is to go to your local Building Department or Planning and Zoning Department. Tell them you plan to build an accessory structure and want to know what the setback requirements and maybe the height requirements are for your area. They should give you some sort of pre-building permit package that will have the information that you need.
You now know the size of the steel building that you require and have found that you have available, uninhibited space available to build the structure. Now it is time to decide on a garage style and colors that blend with the other buildings in the vicinity.
There are many styles of steel buildings available and many unlike the old stereotype steel buildings fit well in a residential setting. You can find steel building companies that have 26 gauge steel wall steel wall panels available that have a strong resemblance to wood ship-lap siding. There is a steel building systems available that boast a steel stand alone frame system that will allow you to use most any conventional building material, such as, wood, brick, stucco, stone, vinyl siding and the list goes on. You will be able to match the exterior of your home. This is especially important in areas that have CC&R’s or other city regulations that require like materials on the accessory structures.
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Written by: Robert Armstrong