Getting going on shed #2

Since my last writing I’ve decided most of the details about the new shed, and have gotten through the necessary steps to make it legal to build it. Great!

I decided to stick with a bow shed, but to make it a lot more durable than the last one, in the following ways. It will still be a bow shed, with bows built the same was as the last shed except that they’ll be glued as well as screwed and bolted. It’ll still sit on knee walls to increase the width at deck level – but the knee walls will be shorter (3’, as intimated in the last entry) and they will be built around a foundation of 12 7’ sonotubes per side – i.e. there will be 12 concrete & rebar posts going 4’ into the ground on each side to give the structure stability. And instead of shrink-wrap for the covering I will use steel roofing.

The sonotube/concrete posts will serve 4 purposes: 1) they will ensure that everything that is in contact with the damp ground will be rot-resistant (proof? is anything rot-proof?); 2) they will hold up the roof; 3) they will be a lot more stable than the old knee walls, since they will be deeply buried in the earth; and 4) they will act as the shed’s anchor, so that I won’t need to use the weight of the boat to keep it securely fastened to the earth during wind storms.

In order to build this non-conventional (where conventional essentially means stick-built, i.e. 2×4 or 2×6 construction with trusses for the roof) structure and have it pass the local building code, I had to have it designed and engineer-approved. This sounds like an expensive process, but, while it wasn’t free, it did turn out to be cheaper than the difference in price between a bow shed and stick-built – and I happen to prefer the look of the gothic arch of the bow-shed, so it was an easy decision.

The designer recommended to me by a friend is Lisa Tondino, of houdini designs – she did a great job of getting my ideas down into a drawing while making sure that it could be approved by the engineers. I’ll share her drawings once the shed’s built.

The structural engineering firm I used is The ABLE Group – they were very quick with turnaround, and very professional.

So. I have the plans, I have engineering approval, I have planning approval (the Municipality of Chester needs to agree that the structure is in keeping with the planned use of the land), and I have a building permit (the last link in the chain). Now I just need to build it, and build it in agreement with the plans so our inspector can approve it.

So far not a lot has happened toward that end – but I did only get the building permit two days ago. What I’ve done is to decide where it’s going to go, and to partially clear the area (it was an old roadbed, so it didn’t need that much clearing, but there were quite a few very small trees, and a few larger ones), and built a perimeter out of 2×4 screwed together in the size and shape of the shed-to-be in order to see what I’m dealing with. The perimeter ring sounds like a waste – but it, in conjunction with the laminated sills that will go on top of the concrete pillars and beneath the bows, will serve to firmly locate the sonotubes prior to filling them with concrete. Once the concrete has cured the same ring will be part of the structure of the knee walls as well – so nothing is being wasted – and I get to see the footprint of the shed in a more concrete way than just stringing rope around (which is where I started yesterday, as it happens).

Here’s the photographic evidence, for what it is:

This is the shed’s home, viewed more or less East to West. The area is an old roadbed, so it’s covered in gravel, and I didn’t have to kill as many trees as I would have if that weren’t the case.

Another view, same direction.

Looking in the opposite direction – West to East – toward our neighbour’s property. This looks across our driveway, past a small metal shed of theirs, and into their driveway. They will notice this shed, but I don’t believe it will be a prominent feature from their perspective, which I’m glad about.

This one is looking up our driveway and into the shed space – probably looking close to North, or a little West of North.

Looking down the driveway and into the shed space – roughly SW, I expect.

Next step – get the rest of the clearing done and get the sonotubes in place.

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