Partnering with Techspan to self-manage your commercial steel shed project, will make your job relatively simple; however, there are some steps you will need to consider throughout the shed construction process.
Below, we walk you through everything you need to know when building your steel shed.
Our step-by-step guide outlines what you can expect at each stage and tips to make the process as smooth as possible.
Some clients will choose to do everything themselves, some will prefer to contact their local building company to help, or engage various subcontractors along the way.
Either way, if you are looking to build a steel shed, 12 metres wide or larger, then this guide is for you.
How To Save Thousands Managing Your Own Shed Construction
Looking to save money on your next project? Whether you are a property developer, business owner, or farm manager you can save thousands of dollars by managing the construction of your steel building yourself. You just need to put aside a little bit of time.
Many people opt to pay a commercial builder to do it. This is a good option if you are time poor and have some extra money to spend, however, most of the work is done by contractors and other tradespeople. Why not organise that yourself?
Below we outline the steps to arranging your steel shed construction. It’s a simple and easy way to save money.
1. Seek Consultation
More than likely you have a particular shed design in mind or at least a problem that a shed can solve. An expert in shed design can point you in the right direction.
We will listen to your requirements, make suggestions and get you thinking about specific designs. This part of the process is about helping you gain an informed and clear picture of what you want.
During the consultation stage, we will endeavour to gain a deep understanding of what you want and let you know what is available out there.
When in the initial concept stage, some things you will need to consider include:
- What will you use it for?
- The dimensions of any machinery or amount of produce you wish to store in your shed.
- What size shed do you need?
- Do you have a specific cladding type in mind?
- What doors or openings do you need to access the building?
- Will you want any insulation and other options in your shed? Check out our range of custom extras here.
- Are there any existing buildings that you like the look of? You can view our gallery of past projects for inspiration.
We can step you through all considerations in person or over the phone. By the end of it you will have a clear idea of what you want.
If you have any questions or need help understanding terminology, we will happily provide answers and recommendations based on your requirements.
Request A Free Design Consultation
Contact us today to recieve an initial quote, a free concept design of your shed, and possible inclusions and exclusion based on your needs.
2. Concept Designing and Planning
This is an exciting stage where everything we explored in our consultation session will be taken into consideration as our design engineers develop the initial concept design of your shed.
Once design concepts have been developed, we will present the drawings along with an initial budget estimate that details the shed fabrication, inclusions or exclusions highlighted by you during the consultation stage and delivery to your site.
3. Site Survey and Geotech
This is an important stage that will determine the condition of your building site and identify any final design and construction details of the building.
During this stage you will need to consider:
- The slope of the site
- The type of soil. Is it rocky? Sandy? Black dirt or red dirt?
- Will the building fit on the block?
- Are there any local building restrictions?
- What is the boundary easement on the property?
- What is the council zoning? Can you actually build what you want on the block?
Not only will you need to arrange a site survey but you will also need to complete a Geotech report.
This investigation will include a site analysis of the soil, rocks, bedrock properties and fault distribution to determine the engineering properties of how the elements and constitutes will interact with your proposed construction.
While a formal test is not necessary for an engineers certificate, it is a recommended step at this point in your project so we can factor any outcomes into our detailed design and planning stage, such as; how deep the foundations should be and if long piers are needed.
To arrange this, you can contact your local geo-technician. If need be, we have a list of trusted professionals that can help you with this.
Like to get an idea of what your shed might look like?
Click the button adjacent to try our 3D shed design tool.
4. Detailed Design & Planning
Do you like your concept design? Are you happy with the budget estimate? Have you completed your research and determined you can build on your block? Perfect, it’s time to get some elevations and planning and nail down your final quotation.
In this stage, we go through the full design of the building with a fine-toothed comb and work out the exact requirements, measurements, and specifications needed. Everything from height and colour to the amount of bays and door locations will be covered.
This is an excellent opportunity to look at options such as insulation, ventilation, internal fit outs and mezzanine floors and how they can fit into your design.
We will go through the design with you and make sure everything is how you want it. You can choose to do it over the phone, in person, or via email. We can walk you through the whole process.
By the end of this stage, we will have nailed down the exact design of your shed. We will include the final quotation and what it covers.
5. Council Development Approval (D.A) and Building Permits
Every council has its regulations and restrictions regarding building design and development.
The council approval step will go through various stages include design approvals and checking whether your finished development complies with the regulations. This can be completed by the council planning staff or alternatively you can engage a private town planner and building certifier.
Be prepared: This stage can often involve a lot of back and forth. You can expect the occasional headache when dealing with a council.
We have relationships with a range of helpful consultants that can help you with the preparation of council documentation. Alternatively, you may choose to take care of your application to council yourself, however, we are always ready to help out with any advice. If council needs extra details and documentation, we will be more than happy to help you out.
Quick disclaimer: Some buildings are exempt. Make sure you check with your local council.
6. Engineering Certification
If you are happy with your budget estimate and design, your shed design will then be sent to our independent third party engineer for certification. This is done once you have paid the deposit.
The engineer will evaluate your design and the future site of the shed. They will take into consideration:
- Wind Ratings
- Terrain Categories
- Snow Loadings
- Any Soil Tests
- Importance Ratings (what the building will be used for). For example, if it is a commercial workshop or shopping centre, it will have different requirements than a farm shed on a remote rural property.
During this stage, the engineer will give further feedback and recommendations. We will make the appropriate changes in our drawings before sending back for further evaluation.
Once the engineer is happy with the design, they will issue a Design Certificate or Form 15.
These plans and certificate can then be submitted as part of the Building application
7. Construction Certificate and Building Approval
Whilst the requirements and process can vary between states and territories, there are typically two stages of approval required in order to commence your shed project.
The first stage is your development approval (D.A) which we cover off in point 5. Once you have your council development approval, you will need to apply for a construction certificate in order to commence construction of your shed.
A D.A is a formal application made to Local Council, to seek the granting of consent for the development. The approval and prescribed conditions set out by Council are based on the scale of the project, and each D.A consent is based on its own merit and will have its own unique set of requirements.
During assessment, Council will determine if the proposal meets the relevant zoning and planning controls for the local area; as well as its potential impacts to the surrounding environment and the amenity of neighbouring properties.
Following endorsement from Council, approval documentation including a ‘Notice of Determination’ (N.O.D) and set of stamped ‘approved’ plans will be issued. The N.O.D will outline conditions specific to the development site (e.g. the requirement for a Geotechnical Report due to poor foundation conditions), along with standard conditions relevant to all sites (e.g. compliance to the Building Code of Australia requirements).
While receiving the development consent is worth celebrating, it does not mean that building work can actually start immediately; before construction:
- A Principal Certifying Authority (P.C.A) is to be appointed to monitor construction, and
- A Construction Certificate (C.C) needs to be issued by the accredited certifier.
The C.C includes the detailed building plans and engineering details and specifications. The plans will need to contain a lot more information than the approved D.A plans, to allow the builder to work directly from them; therefore the construction drawings will need to be updated to detailed construction plans (see following point 8), and the building must be consistent with them and the development consent.
To save some time in the process, you may consider looking at doing the D.A and C.C process at the same time, commonly called a joint D.A or C.D.C.
7. Procurement and Working Drawings
Once you have received council approval we start the process of converting your drawings into a shed kit. This stage involves pre-fabrication administration such as ordering materials and parts needed for the construction of your shed kit.
This is an internal job we do and usually takes 2-3 weeks before we can start manufacturing your building.
8. Fabrication Of Your Shed
Once the required materials for your shed have arrived, we start manufacturing and arranging the parts that make up your custom shed kit.
These parts will include:
- Structural Members
- and much more.
Your shed will be painted and put together, ready to go with the shed drawings, after everything is manufactured.
This process does take time and can vary depending on the size and design of your shed. Don’t worry, we will give you a lead time based on the work needed.
9. Site Establishment and Preparation
At this stage, you will need to arrange to establish your construction site area and prepare the site prior to commencing any site works or construction.
Some of these requirements may include;
- Temporary safety fencing
- Silt fencing/protection
- Site toilets
- Site office
- WHS signage
- Site induction process
Once your site is established and prepared, meeting all D.A and/or regulatory requirements, you can commence with the next stage.
11. Earthworks, Drainage and Services
It is always easier to build a shed on a solid flat block. The area you want the shed will need to be level. Trees and plants will need to be removed, and excess dirt will need to be bulldozed out or piled up to make the site level.
The ground will then need to be adequately compacted. If the site is not compacted correctly, it can later erode, or the footings will need to be considerably deeper.
However, there are some circumstances where this stage will not be necessary. For example, if you are building a cattle yard cover and you already have an existing cattle yard on a slightly sloping block, we can take this into consideration when designing the shed. In this case, we can make some columns longer than the others to ensure that the roof remains flat even though the ground is sloping.
The preparing of the slope should be done to design. If the design requires the ground to be flat, then you will need to level the site. If you don’t require a flat site, then this is already taken care of in the earlier design stages.
If you need to level and compact the site you will need to arrange an earthmoving company. Alternatively, you can do it yourself if you have the equipment and experience.
If you choose to do it yourself:
- Make sure you have five metres of flat ground around the shed site clear of debris or trees. This allows easy access for installers when erecting the shed.
- Consider how you will approach and access the shed. The ground leading up to the shed will need to allow easy access to the site.
- Make sure soil compaction is up to specifications (we will provide details for you).
- Ensure the site is correctly retained if it is on a sloping block (we will provide details for you).
During this stage you will also need to ensure that all drainage works are completed to spec and that any required services are ran to site and/or connected such as plumbing, electrical, phoneline, etc.
You will need to consult with your local authorities and/or utility suppliers to ensure this process is done correctly and to plan. Getting this right at this stage is critical or it could cost you significant time delays and costs to rectify any issues in later construction stages.
12. Footings, Slab and External Pavements/Aprons
Foundations are essential for a strong and long-lasting shed.
The foundation designs will be included in the final drawings based on the site conditions. If you have had a soil test done, the engineer will give a recommended footing pier size based on its findings. If you have not had a soil test done, the engineer will provide footing details based on the average subsoil conditions of your local area.
This can often be a pier (often a round, deep pier) or a pad foot (a square flatter footing).
You will need to arrange the digging of these foundations.
It normally works out more economical if you arrange and pay the earthmoving contractor, or alternatively, use your own machine and auger to drill the pier holes in the ground.
In your kit, we will include the hold-down bolts that will be cast into the foundations. With large sheds, there could be additional reinforcement required depending on the soil conditions and engineers recommendations. If any additional reinforcing is required, we will give you a price. It will be considered a variation to the original quote.
The laying of the slab can often be done in conjunction with the pouring of the piers and the foundation stage. Alternatively, the concrete slab can be done after the shed is installed. Ultimately, it is up to you and your concreter to decide what will work best for your project.
You will also need to consider any external pavements (often referred to as aprons) you will need to allow access to and from your shed, as well as how these will meet site requirements such as drainage, pits, services, etc.
When designing the slab or external pavements, you will need to consider what will be on top of it and what will it be used for. The higher the load, the thicker the slab will need to be.
We can take this into consideration, design the slab, layout the plan and specify the slabs engineering in the earlier design stages. However, we don’t get involved in the pouring of the foundations, slab or aprons. You will need to arrange this with your local concreter and/or pavement supplier.
13. Shed Kit Delivery
Once the shed kit has been manufactured, it is ready for delivery.
The delivery of your shed is included in our quote, however, it doesn’t include unloading. We can arrange a crane for unloading, however, many people have their own equipment to unload, which is why it is separated.
If you are happy for us to organise delivery, we can tee up a delivery time. You will need to make sure you are there to meet the truck and have a machine to unload the trailer.
To make delivery as smooth as possible, you will need to:
- Make sure there is side access for a machine to access the truck.
- Ensure the ground is not soft or washed out due to heavy rain.
- Have someone there to unload your shed when the truck arrives.
- Have adequate lay-down area to store the shed materials.
- Be available to answer your phone on the day just in case the delivery driver needs directions to your site.
- Check your machine can lift the load off the truck. If you plan to use your own machinery to unload, check that it can lift at least 1 tonne. Notify us of your machines lift capacity and we will let you know if it is capable of unloading the truck.
14. Shed Installation
This process is usually conducted by a third party installation company. We use a network of subcontractors who erect sheds fulltime, all over Australia. These teams are all accredited and highly experienced professionals.
The installer can work directly with you. Alternatively, if you prefer, we can work directly with the installer to organise the erection of your shed or if you have the time, tools and know how; you can install the shed kit yourself.
Shed installation will include the following:
- Mark out the site.
- Cast the hold down bolts into the piers – commonly included during concreting stage.
- Stand the structure.
- Clad the shed.
- Install other components included in your kit such as; mezzanine floors, roller/tilt doors, crane rails, insulation, windows, etc.
- Any internal fit-out you wish to include in your project will need to be provided and installed by you or your nominated subcontractor/s.
15. Internal Fitout
The internal fit-out of your new shed includes services such as plumbing and electrical. Offices, toilets, washing blocks, change rooms, lunchrooms will all include a lot of extras that will need to be done by you or your local builder/subcontractor/s. In the initial planning stage, we can work with you or your subcontractor to determine what will be involved in the internal fit-out.
We can draw the internal fit-out and design in the initial stages; however, it won’t be a detailed design; only a floor layout. You or your subcontractor can organise those final details.
Once your shed has been erected, you or your subcontractor will then arrange the local plumber, tiler, electrician and other trades to come in and fit it out. You can manage this yourself, however, this particular stage requires a lot of work.
Once your internal fit-out is complete, congratulations, your new building is ready to go.