With the prospect of a major boat
conversion project ahead--and the likelihood of more projects in the
future--Heidi and I decided that it didn't make much sense to suffer through
winters working in temporary shelters. After all, I intend to do most of
the project work during the winter months, so a decent work space seems
critical. I toyed much with the idea of leasing space somewhere locally,
but eventually we decided that it made more sense to simply build something and
put the money towards that.
The proposed building: 30'
wide by 40' long by 20' eave height; 3:12 or 4:12 roof pitch, engineered for
applicable wind and snow loads. Building construction will be wood or
steel on a concrete slab, and the building will be insulated and heated for
year-round work. Large sliding doors or overhead/rollup door in one end
wall, as wide and high as possible. To keep costs down to a minimum, I
will avoid installing windows initially, other than perhaps some panels in the
doors or some wall light-transferring panels in the steel building. Real
windows can always be added later as budget allows. One of the
manufacturers I contacted provided me with some CAD images of the proposed
building--it looked nice, though pretty industrial.
This page is
mostly for my own reference as I move forward with the planning, but you
may find it interesting. To date, my research has focused on
pre-manufactured steel buildings, but I have to compare with wooden
structures as well. The metal buildings aren't inexpensive, and
certain aspects of the construction--site work, slab, etc---will be the
same regardless of the type of structure built. Clear space and
height are critical, however--no support columns are acceptable.
This may work out in favor of the steel building, which is specifically
engineered to satisfy this need.
Increasingly worried about the
cost involved in constructing this shed, I decided to do some basic design work
so that I could better figure out some pricing for wood for the project, as an
alternative to steel. I received some email to the effect that a wooden
building incorporating a trussed roof structure might tend to be less expensive
to construct than a similar steel building. In many ways, I prefer wood if
at all possible, particularly since I could be more involved in the construction, saving even
more money. My biggest concern is that the engineered roof trusses for a
building of this width and requiring strength for a high snow load might be
costly. Still, where it ends up when compared with a similarly-engineered
steel building was anyone's guess. I had to move forward with some rough
planning drawings of a wood structure to try to get a price.
I decided it would be
informative--not to mention kind of fun--to draw out the building myself, and to
create some 2-dimensional scale models of the boats that will be inside (at
least for the foreseeable future). Using a downloaded JPEG image of the
Triton hull profile and deck plan, I made some modifications in
Photoshop--erasing the deck details from the overhead plan and the cutaway
interior plan from the profile. This left me with basic line drawings, which I
then cropped and resized to two different actual scales: 1/4" = 1'
(large enough to be easy to work with, but small enough so that I could make
some rough sketches of my building on regular 8-1/2" x 11" paper) and
a larger, 3/8" = 1' scale, the largest size that would fit printed on a
regular page. I printed out several copies of each size for later use.
with the 1/4" scale, I cut out two deck plans and one hull profile for
immediate use. On a regular piece of paper, I drew an overhead view of the
30' x 40' shed, including the profile for 6" thick wall studs, and laid the
paper cutouts of the two boats inside. I was thrilled with how much room
there was for both boats. Three Tritons could actually fit inside, side by
side, with room to spare. With two boats inside, there's tons of room for
work, as well as extra space for the proper juxtaposition of tools and
benches. I could begin to imagine the space in my head. The large
door opening shown is 22' in width; the smaller tick marks closer in towards
center represent the 16' width of the door as spec'd in the steel building
Next, I played around with the
side profile of the boat inside the side shed view. One thing I was very
interested in was building height. When spec'ing the building, I chose 20'
as an arbitrary, conservative measurement. With the paper cutout of the
boat inside, I could see that there was an opportunity to reduce the building
height, especially accounting for a 3:12 or greater roof pitch, which would
increase the center height beyond that of the walls (at least in a steel
building...but a trussed roof would end up flat inside the building, with the
ceiling parallel to the floor).
the cutout allowed me to visualize, and double check with a scale rule, was that
20' clear inside space was overabundant, and if reduction of height decreased
the building cost (which of course it does), it would be OK to lower the
sidewall height to 15', without compromising current--or future--uses.
Even allowing 2' of blocking space beneath the keel (1' is more appropriate),
there was room, in a 15' tall building, for a 6' person to stand upright on the
highest point of the foredeck, sidedecks, or after deck. There was even 5'
of headroom above the top of the cabin trunk; lowering the blocking to a more
appropriate 1' in height, the headroom increases correspondingly. In the
photo of the side view, the 15' height is represented by the dotted line, while
the solid line higher up is the original 20' height. You can see that I
got a bit carried away and colored the profile to match Glissando.
Well, sort of. Silly me.
(15K including door and insulation, delivered but not including building
erection. With the modified 15' height and eliminating all frills and
options, including the overhead door in favor of some simple site-built swing
outs, I got the quote down to about 9-10K, delivered but including insulation.)
(Dahlgren Construction--Yarmouth 846-3505)
(Hebert Construction Corp--Lewiston 878-2488; 783-2091; 1-866-783-2091)
(Auburn, ME 1-800-447-7436; 782-8864)
(Quonset Style, Looks inexpensive and easy to build)
(Straight Side Traditional Metal, high quality and heavy-duty. 14K
delivered without door or insulation or building erection. Ryan O'Donnell,
a US Buildings estimator, proved to be extremely helpful and willing to answer
all my dumb questions. The buildings they supply are heavier duty than
most, and are priced accordingly. If I go with steel, I hope I'm able to
use these guys, since their help has been invaluable to me. Looks like the
price barrier is probably going to be impenetrable, but...)
(Submitted quote req.)
(Local: Brown Construction www.brownconstructioninc.com)
(Similar to US-Buildings)
I think the reduced height might
be good. The building will look less ungainly, and will cost less.
It's unlikely that I will ever have a boat inside that would run into practical
clearance problems with this roof. Boats of deep enough draft to cause a
problem here would be too big for me, and of no interest anyway. I
feel so luck to even be considering putting up a building that I don't mind some
compromises that, for all practical purposes, won't end up being compromises
Another option, one that would
allow the sidewalls to be even further reduced with little reduction in overall
clear space inside, is a gambrel structure with a steel or wooden roof truss
system to eliminate the need for columns of collar ties. This bears
During the first week of
February, I visited a friend's boat barn that he had built several years
earlier. I wanted to see one person's execution of this admitted
indulgence, and get some ideas for construction and design. His barn was
very attractive and extremely functional, and I felt very envious while inside.
See some photos of this attractive
boat barn here.
Work on the
barn concept continued through February and into March. A fellow Triton
owner and web follower--and professional architect, Mike Haas, volunteered to
help draw up a basic barn design for me. This was after I posted some
information on this site to the effect that I was going to seek out an architect
to help me draft a basic barn plan so I could quote out the cost for materials
in wood, rather than steel. More and more, wood had become the material of
choice for me. The steel building research began with my impression that
steel would be quicker, cheaper, and more efficient. However, the more
research I did, including watching a few videotapes provided by building
manufacturers, the more it appeared that it would be likely that a wooden barn,
most of which I could build myself, would end up being easier to construct, and
less expensive--not to mention more tailored to my location and aesthetic
desires. After all, the basic construction of a prefabricated metal
building is hardly simple:
You have to
erect the frame, obviously (a big job, given its weight)
You have to
install the wall girts and roof purlins (not an insignificant job,
especially given the height involved)
You have to
drill all the metal panels for the fastening screws (yikes)
You have to
install the insulation
You have to
install the wall panels
You have to
install the roof panels
You have to
install the trim
All in all, it's
hardly a basic process Watching the tapes really turned me off and helped
me realize that erection of one of these things was going to be costly, and time
consuming. I had originally thought I'd just hire an erection crew, but it
was pretty apparent that that would have ended up being a significant cost as
well. Although the upfront costs for the initial purchase of some steel
buildings seems low when originally quoted, there are many factors not taken
into account that would raise the cost significantly by time of completion.
Again, the main
advantage of steel is that they are designed for clear interior spans.
Well, the larger the building, the more important this basic strength of steel
is. However, for a relatively small building like mine, a 30' clear span
can be achieved with roof trusses, or with some engineered lumber products--or
even some steel reinforcing beams. Since I don't care about a big loft under the
roof, engineered trusses are probably the best route to gain the clear span I
want. I have roof trusses in my current garage for a 24' clear span.
Besides, a wooden
building offers more interesting design possibilities, which, all things
considered, I would prefer anyway. With my own labor, most interesting
design elements don't end up costing more, beyond whatever minor materials cost
there is. I'm pretty resourceful at working alone, and I'm sure I could
scrape together some helpers now and then if I needed some help muscling around
large wall sections or something.
I found some
interesting gambrel barn plans online at www.barnplans.com.
I liked them. However, the high trussed gambrel really offers more room up
high than I have any need for, and these particular designs required a loft over
at least half the length of the building in order to properly support the walls
and resist the natural tendency of the trusses to spread the walls. The
loft is all well and good, and would be nice to have, in a way. However,
in order to get the clear space I need beneath the loft, the whole barn would
start getting really tall, and just too big. I discarded this thought,
especially after Mike Hass's kind offer.
ideas and needs, and his design expertise, we worked via email and fax for a few
weeks to come up with an attractive barn plan that would work for me.
Designed much more in keeping with a scenic Downeast Maine location, the barn incorporates
all the features I desired, and more. At this time, I have only some rough
conceptual sketches (see below), but will post some more information once the design is
finalized. Then, all that will remain is quoting out the materials to
build the thing, and hoping for the best. If all goes according to plan,
construction will occur over the summer.
Click here to
see the 2nd generation concept sketches.
some weeks of hemming and hawing and pro-and-conning and thinking and
worrying and generally tearing myself apart over whether or not to
actually commit to building the barn, I made some real progress. I
received a quote from a builder who has done much work for other members
of my family over the years, and the quote, while (of course) higher
than I had hoped for, was within the realm of possibility.
couple weeks later, after worrying more about the quote and, more
importantly, about the proposed location for the barn, I made an
appointment with a local excavator to come out and look things over, and
give me a quote for the site work needed (slab site preparation and a
new roadbed). There were some access issues with the original site
where I had hoped to locate the building, so I chose a new location on
the opposite side of the yard, where road access would be a straight
shot and the barn would still be well out of the way and as unobtrusive
as possible. Not that it will be unattractive--far from it, I
hope--but it still needed to be something that didn't dominate the back
received my site quote. I guess we're going forward with
construction. It's all going to cost more than I really want, but what are
you going to do.
the construction progress here.>