How to build a garage?
Usually, this decision is based on budget and existing land conditions (slope, drainage, etc.). If your property has poor slope or requires substantial drainage work before anything else can be done we recommend working with a professional engineer/contractor who can advise you properly on these matters.
In addition, some homeowners may choose to adapt their new garage into the landscape and thus require a completely custom design. Assuming you already have land that is conducive to building, we’ll go over the basic things someone should consider when it comes time to build their new garage.
Size of garage
Most garages are built between 8′ and 14′ tall. The grade of your land will directly affect how tall your walls need to be, generally speaking taller means roomier. Most garages are built with double-stud 2×4 framing on 24″ centers for the walls and ceiling joists with either 2×6 or 2×8 decking depending on span limitations governed by local codes & ordinances.
This will provide you approximately an R20 rating in most climates once sheet rocked, insulated, etc. If you plan on living in the house while the garage is being built you’ll want to make sure all exhaust fans (furnace, range hood) are properly vented and that temporary heat (propane or electric) is available during cold months.
This is where a good engineer can save you money and trouble if your property has unfavorable conditions.
Rules of your area
Understand your local rules and make a plan. You may need to talk with someone in the planning office for ideas on land requirements, setbacks from the property line, etc. Also check with your utility companies about where their easements are located. If you are digging up an existing drive or driveway it is possible that the city will require you to restore it after construction is completed. Your permit needs to be clearly marked showing these locations so they can be restored if required.
Get the permission
Get the appropriate permits. There are several types of building permits depending upon where you live but all of them require some sort of fee paid at permit issuance with various refund rules depending upon the jurisdiction issuing the permit. These fees vary widely with some being very expensive and some practically free.
Generally speaking, the more expensive permits are required for projects in more developed areas with greater restrictions upon what can be done on your property. The cheapest permit is generally required for projects where you will do nothing to the existing land without adding fill or removing earth outside your building footprint.
Sign the contract
Get quotes and contracts from any subcontractors you plan to hire. Unless you are experienced at sub-contracting it would best if you could find someone who has previously worked with these people so they know who to call when something goes wrong (or right). You should negotiate a price quote up front before hiring anyone since there is always room for haggling over money paid after the job is. Most subcontracting companies will require some kind of money up front before they will start work on your project.
Order the material
Be sure to order plenty of beer for yourself as well as your friends and family who have been helping you or want to learn about what you are doing. Also be sure that the company from whom you ordered the materials knows who is going to pay for them when they arrive at your place (you, a check, a credit card number, etc.).
The standard form used by all subs is the ‘preliminary substitution’ which describes their intention to begin work on a particular date upon receipt of payment in full. This has many advantages; cash flow is improved, you can easily pay them in full if there are no unforeseen delays beyond your control (bad weather, etc.), and it holds off any possible upsets until the job is done. Most subs will be very careful about working for people that owe them money so do not let yourself get into a situation where they stop work because you have not paid them yet.
Start the construction
Begin construction. Again this varies widely depending upon what you are building but most important thing at this stage is to get periodic inspections by the proper authorities as required to ensure compliance with all local ordinances and codes. You should also check with your city or county clerk’s office to see what kind of tax exemptions may apply for new buildings.
Get more material
Get more materials. You will find that not everything you need will arrive at the same time so order a little extra just to be safe and have a place to store it. Also you may have some small items left over from other projects that can be use on this one if you just keep your eyes open for anything usable as long as it is free of rust or other defects.
This step should go something like the previous one depending upon what kind of project you are doing but do plan ahead so you can stay organized and efficient.
Repeat the above process
This should go without saying but always bring your beer along with you to the construction site even if it means taking a mini fridge so everyone can have something cold to drink when they need it most.
If all things go well you should be able to complete this project in (insert number) weeks/months/years depending upon how big and complicated the job is. As long as everything was done properly then there should be no problems getting the final inspection that allows you to finally turn over the keys and actually let people enjoy their new space.