some sources for garage plans, + some build info experiances


Staff member
if your planing to build a shop/garage,
its going too be a huge advantage to your planed project,
check with building and zoning as too what size and type of structure will be allowed and what are the required steps before a proposed shop/garage can be built.
in many areas this will require a site survey by a licenced surveyor and a soil test to at least a 15 ft depth.
as stated earlier,
Keep in mind, your local building department and zoning will have specs that will vary quite a bit depending on the local area
,factors like minimum shop pad elevation, pad slope angles, drainage,
minimum distance from property lines, or other structure's,min or max square footage and height limitations
,fuse box amp rating and location, electrical feed cables, AND WIRE GAUGE USED
sight & foundation prep, sight surveys,

always get at least 4 bids and be very very specific about
materials used, due dates and completion dates, who supplies the materials and the cost and when the payments are to be made

anyone demanding 100% up front payment for work to be done, is to be avoided
deal with well known firms with several references (LOCAL REFERANCES not their brother in law and some employee)
and if you can visit locals who worked with them previously

always contact local building departments for inspections well before the works due
KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND IN WHAT ORDER, and SPECIFY REBAR, size type and placement, verify all plumbing and electrical work, GET THE CONCRETE PSI , and thicknerss and number of yards and price,USED IN WRITTING ON THE PLANS
now once you've limited or at least know your potential options you can look for plans that will be potentially approved.
you will be heavily fined or in some cases forced to remove any structure built that does not pass the building and zoning dept, inspection,
at each stage of construction, before you move to the next stage.
yes these guys are a serious P.I.T.A. at times even if you far exceed the existing recommended minimum construction materials.
you have to play the game by the local rules or they get to make your life difficult and very expensive.
if you visit the local building and zoning department before you start,and find the inspector for your area and discuss your intended shop build and ask for his advise , the last thing you need is too piss off some building inspector, so at least visiting and trying to comply with the local regulations to avoid expensive and time consuming "mistakes" helps avoid issues.
youll need a build permit and site survey
use a well respected local architect to draw up your building plans, yes thats likely to cost you $1000-$2000 but its also going to generally eliminate a bunch of potential issues with the inspectors if the shops built too known and well understood and commonly used specs, and the inspector knows the plans were professionally drawn up. (the last thing you need is some inspector with a negative attitude inspecting the shops construction process.
example on my shop I was required to use #5 rebar, I used #7 and a good deal more than the minimum specs required, I explained to the inspector that I wanted to build a significantly better shop than the minimum regs required, I also used a much thicker slab and higher strength 8" thick in most areas, 4000 psi concrete

btw when someone says #5 re-bar they are referring to 5/8" diam,
number # 7 re-bar would be 7/8" diam the number refers to the diameter in 1/8th inch steps, and every two steps up is a significant strength increase, and you can and should ask detailed questions well before you begin from both the contractor and architect, you can talk to the guys building the slab and ask how to increase the strength, the cost is minimal going into the project , during planing and next to impossible to correct mistakes later , without huge extra cost,so plan and think carefully.
upgrading the amount of re-bar or the diameter of that re-bar used, and concrete quality add significantly to shop support slab and wall support, strength.

look carefully theres lots of options

do the math, get a licenced architect to draw up and certify the design get the local building codes and do it correctly to avoid costly mistakes ... gory_id=61 ... age_1.html

TAKE THE TIME REQUIRED TOO read these links,posted below and read thru the whole thread,THEY CONTAIN A HUGE AMOUNT OF INFO ... xwoduFc4-Q ... ges/12.php ... alculators

some examples of what nearly unlimited cash can do for you ... ource=9593

READING THU THESE THREADS posted below SHOULD HELP you a good deal

read thru these threads and sub linked info
my dad always stated..

"A couple hours , well spent in doing carefully documented &,detailed research,
before.... jumping head first off the dock,
into any project,....can prevent you from wasting month's of non-productive work and a wheel barrow full of cash!!"

the FIVE complaints I hear most often stated from guys after they build a shop
(1) I should have built its foundation a bit taller and paid more attention to storm water drainage

(2) I should have put in FAR more electrical outlets and lighting, and used heavier gauge wire and had at least a 200 amp breaker box

(3) I should have built it taller and larger so I had more room for the car lift and shelving

(4) I should have included a bathroom, and more water faucets

(5) I should have included video surveillance, better security and better internal and outside lighting

(6) I knew I should have made it at least 50% larger, when I had the option.

just some basic info on the planning stages,
if you intend to install a car lift, in any shop, specify 4500 psi-5000 psi concrete and a lift, to be really safe ,
well it almost mandates 8"-9" thick floor slab,
and at least a 12 ft ceiling to floor minimum clearance, a lift requires
a 220 volt circuit and its always a very good idea to have the garage built on a pad thats at least 3-4 feet above,
the average surrounding ground level to enhance drainage

related useful links and sub links

remember that getting it right initially can save you a great deal of money and prevents a great deal of wasted time and cash you spend correcting potential mistakes
Id also point out a simple fact of geometry
the cost PER FOOT of floor space tends to go DOWN (PER SQ FOOT)

as the size of the shop goes up
lets say your comparing a 20 x 30 (600 sq ft)shop , 936 of roof area
vs a 30 x 40 shop (1200 sq ft) 1656 roof area
if the walls at 13 ft tall on both and ignoring doors windows etc
you would have 820 sq feet of wall surface on the smaller shop vs 1100 sq ft on the larger shop
so your looking at less than 50% more material for double the floor area
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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans

now Ill try to give you gentlemen some idea of the process involved in building a garage


first, Id point out that, no mater how big you build your shop you'll wish you had built it a bit larger, and it costs FAR less to build it larger the first time rather than do additions latter, your costs don,t go up in direct ratio to floor sq footage, larger up to a point is cheaper, and think thru whats required in space and structural requirements for a lift , like ceiling height and slab thickness and electrical requirements per sq foot of floor space, for example a 30 x 30 ft shop has about 900sq ft of floor space, building a 40 x 30 ft shop at 1200 sq feet is a additional 300 sq feet , but its not going to cost you quite as much per sq foot as the original 900 foot of space cost you, I paid about $50 a sq ft for a 2880 sq ft shop, 36 ft deep x 80 ft wide x 16 ft tall but that included A LOT of EXTRAS, like a lift, and extensive lighting,ceiling fans, roof exhaust fans,electrical outlets, etc.
$40-$50 a sq foot if you have some contractor build your shop is about the minimum, its the current going rate for a basic empty shell walls and roof, if your not doing much of the work on a cbs concrete shop
have you decided on a 2 or four post lift, and think a good deal about where youll place it and access to it, be aware a two post lift generally requires a slab thickness in the 6"-8" minimal thickness.
Id suggest placing it where you have access to good lighting your tools and where you can easily park a car both on the lift and under it if your forced to park several cars at the same time to maximize floor space, my shops longer but narrower ,so youll be better able to part two cars nose to tail and still get clearance around them
your 40x60 has some advantages over my 36x80 ft lay out, Ive got engines on stands a mill, compressors , pressure washers,drill press, tool boxes , welders and a bunch of shelving and i failed to really realize, the truth in the statement that what appeared to be a ton of floor space gets filled with various projects no mater how much room you have




(1) think it thru, you don,t want to build something thats going to need frequent repairs or maintenance, build something correctly and its going to add significant value to your property and that will both add to your enjoyment and property values but also increase your PROPERTY TAXES in most locals, and probably your electric bills,and its bound to cost more than you expect it will. to build, just be aware of those factors first
around here just the bare as you described 20x22 ft garage costs about $25K-$28K
site prep THATS REQUIRED BY BUILDING CODES and the PERMITS, land surveys soil tests inspections etc add at least $6k
so I don,t think the quotes youll get if you call 5-6 contractors for bids are all that far off, keep in mind theres usually a great deal of things NOT covered in quotes like site prep, permits, blueprints, inspections, electrical work, ETC.
ask LOTS of questions because you can,t pass inspections without knowing the local building rules, and yes everythings expensive and you can figure on a 50%-70% cost over run on total cost if you FAIL to ask detailed questions of fail to specify EVERY DETAIL ABOUT THE BUILD, I got quotes ranging from about $90K-$240K on my 36FT deep 80 ft long x 16 ft tall shop , the higher quotes were with everything detailed, including extra strength roof trusses, 50 year roof, 4000psi 8' slab 200 amp electrical fans, lights outlets, and everything electrical in conduit using 10 ga minimum wire etc. and a shop bath with toilet and shower and separate septic and drain field , prices skyrocket once you specify GOOD QUALITY WORK with MANDATORY use of the best materials

DON,T JUST GLANCE OVER, BUT READ THRU THE LINK AND SUB LINKED INFO, even if some info doesn,t apply to you it helps you have a better understanding of whats involved, get at least 4 references before hiring any contractor and visit previous jobs and talk to former clients
if you hire a general contractor make 100% sure you get a lien waver signed that all sub contractors have been paid before paying for the job as complete or the sub contractors the general contractor fails to pay will be back looking for you to pay them a second time for work the general contractor was paid for that he failed to pay them for.

ok step one
OK first step is youll need to get a current accurate LAND SURVEY, the local building department won,t allow you to pull a building permit with out one thats been done within the last 2 years in most areas and that will generally cost you $400-$500

check with your local building & property codes,and building code restrictions, or home owner association building restrictions look at your deed restrictions and city ordinances , and get a land survey to make sure theres room for a garage and nothing preventing you from building one, like power line access or sewer access,height or square footage restrictions etc.! many areas have SET BACK RULES preventing you from building any permanent structure, other than a fence or drive way within 15-20 feet of the property boundary line, there are also max square footage limitations,in some areas even restrictions that prevent garages that have doors that face the street , so the first step is a trip to the building department to see what the local bureaucrats, have in store for you, and ask about the tax implications.....your home may currently be taxed at a certain mill rate, adding a major structural improvement may not only change the total value your homes valued at but the mil rate, its billed at, and you can be damn sure its an increased rate, if it changes so ask BEFORE you open that can of worms

now its far from rare to find that theres a city building code that requires a 15-20 foot set back from the property back and edge and a 50 ft set back from the street so ASK QUESTIONS
Ill also point out that if you draw up your own plans you open a second can of worms,theres going to be a couple dozen required inspections and if you fail any you need to either stop and repair or tear it out and start over so youll need to get it planed and done correctly the first time, this requires plans and materials and qualified contractors or at least your understanding whats required, and a close supervision of all work being done and a constant visual inspection of materials used, and checking on the quality,and quantity of materials delivered and properly installed, that problem will be avoided if you buy a set of commercial plans or hire an architect to design your custom plans,and either hire qualified contractors, and WATCH THEM CAREFULLY AT ALL TIMES, and BTW youll need a 8" thick 3500PSI concrete floor and 12 foot clearance floor to rafters for many lifts

think thru the design, you certainly don,t want some pre-fab crap that is only rated for 120mph wind loads, or one subject to rusting out easily in coastal Florida, and you don,t want a building only rated for 10lbs per sq foot of snow loads in northern Oregon, you don,t want problems with the local building codes or inspectors, so ask questions and get the answers, and plan and built a shop that exceeds the local building codes BEFORE you purchase components or settle on a design.
around my area, prefabs are considered temp structures, they generally cost significantly less but remember the building kit costs significantly less than the total cost because the pad/foundation and erection add a great deal to the total cost a prefab might save you 30%-40% but its also got a limited life expectancy in many cases , a concrete and frame structure costs more but its much more likely to stand up to hurricanes and heavy snow loads etc.

step two
you'll need the property soil tested to verify a foundation can be built where you want to build,and in most cases that will require digging down and replacing the sub soil, or building a pad, its always a good idea to build a foundation pad at least a couple feet higher than the surrounding area
to prevent water building up in heavy storms, etc, and having that pad compacted so it MORE THAN MEETS CODE and its both larger and higher than your floor size, (the building codes will specify the minimum border area and slope grade of the foundation, but a 5:1 slope is fairly standard,) IE if the pads 5 feet high, you ll need about 5-10 feet of level ground around the wall base then a 25 foot slope to the surrounding are that will eventually require being covered in grass or pavement, and you better think about drainage, that will be a factor in the max size and location of your garage, and local codes must be matched or exceeded. failure to do so will cause delays and added expenses.

step three

higher a contractor ONLY after taking at least five bids in writing that specify all materials to be used,a set time of completion, a payment schedule,and what will happen in writing if the contractor fails to meet the dates or inspections,etc, and what the expected costs will be
start lining up sub- contractors for the work you don,t intend to do yourself, and get SEVERAL RECENT LOCAL references on recent work done, and look over their previous work, talk to previous customers, if they don,t have SEVERAL RECENT LOCAL references, your a DAMN FOOL TO DEAL WITH THEM<

remember if your going to install a two post lift a concrete floor at least 6" thick is a great idea, and 8" thick sure helps,in properly anchoring a two post lift and if you don,t specify the concrete thickness and PSI rating, you'll almost 100% guaranteed get thin CRAPPY low bid, style construction, and the least expensive concrete with the minimum re-bar that the codes will allow, you want a MINIMUM of 6" of 3500 PSI concrete, with 4000psi being not much more expensive, under a lift. and I upgraded the re-bar diam. two steps larger than required

start pulling and paying for your building permits, foundation,electrical, structurally,roofing, trusses, plumbing ETC. these take awhile in most areas so be aware,that you need to plan ahead and schedule work,inspections etc. get a list,of whats required and be sure you ask lots of questions and pass EVERY inspection IN ORDER and get it signed off by the CORRECT LOCAL BUILDING inspector at each stage before moving to the next stage,theres absolutely no logic or reason, you must comply with the county's order and inspection process, or they will force you to tear things down to the last point you passed inspections
you can start looking for garage plans of you can draw your own up, but an architect and an engineer will more than likely need to redraw them and approve them before the plans will be approved by the building department
anything you don,t specifically detail exactly in the plans , to be built a certain way or with a certain material, or installed in a specific manor will be overlooked or done the cheapest and fastest way a contractor can think to do it

(4) its mandatory that you specify every last detail in any contract, like the PSI rating on the concrete to be used, the re-bar size, the truss sizes, the floor thickness, the foundation thickness, the gauge of electrical wires, the type of breakers, the type and location and number of electrical outlets and lights,fans, the minimum life expectancy on roofing, the wind load minimum on doors and roofs etc,or contractors will provide the cheapest crap and materials they can get away with, and install stuff the fastest and cheapest way they can with un-or semi-skilled labor

(5)be sure to contact your power company , zoning, dept, environmental and health dept. and verify every step with the building department, etc, and the inspectors at every stage and get everything in writing

ask the building dept, engineer,designer, and each inspector before you start each step in the process,or produce plans or take bids, if theres a better,stronger,cheaper,or safer way to do each step BTW if you intend to have a lift installed ID strongly suggest the garage floor be a minimum of 7-8" thick in the area of the lift and at least 3500psi concrete as its much safer that way. floors can be sloped for drainage or dead flat for ease of rolling equipment, ease of equipment installation etc. your choice.

read these related threads, because setting up the foundation correctly is critical, and using a minimum of 6" of 3500 psi concrete in the floor is almost mandatory for mounting a lift



BTW heres two calculators (Id add 10% )

heres the guys I used to draw up my plans, from a sketch ID made and a list of my requirements, and have an architect approve/stamp them before submitting them to the local building dept

call jc smith
PH 561-793 -2228
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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans

heres the info I sent to several builders ALONG WITH SCALE DRAWINGS ....(which I can,t seem to post on this site)

Basic info on garage BUILDING specs
( the diagrams are APPROXIMATELY to specs/scale/design but not exact )

THE garage is to be built, of CBS block (concrete block covered with stucco), reinforced tie beam cap, rebar in some columns tied into floor rebar and poured tie beam cap anchored with straps to wood rafters. (Please design/Use stronger than minimum truss design, with a secure link from the concrete tie beam to the roof trusses) the garage is to be 80 feet long x 36 feet deep x 16 feet tall at walls /ceiling/truss height
Open truss/rafters, (no ceiling as such)
Outside wall surface to match the current house stucco, to be finish like on the existing house outside, surface, the inside block surface to be unfinished CBS block

The twin garage roll up door opening to be 8 feet tall and 16 feet wide with high lift tracks that allow the doors to store open at ceiling level

Roof over hang to be 2 feet with aluminum horizontal under panels same as my CURRENT house style.

The floor thickness in a 20 foot x 20 foot section of the floor diagonally opposite from the bathroom of the garage and 20 feet wide starting at the far wall on the end of the garage away from the bathroom to be 8” thick, high strength (3600 psi minimum)concrete to support a hydraulic lift, the rest of the floor a standard of 4"-6" minimum thickness is fine, all the floor slanted at the bare minimum angle to allow water to flow OUT the garage doors, with the concrete floor area extending 15 feet in front of the doors also, for that same 75 foot building width

Roof to be a HIP roof design similar to the current house, that has a 6”rise per foot of distance, and MATCHING shingles

Twin (two) Water Hose faucets to be located approximately centered on both outside, and inside walls between garage doors and inside garage back to back.

All electrical in conduit s to be surface run on concrete or rafters and outlets mounted at a 5 foot from the floor height
Ill need a new separate 200-amp electrical service box (breakers) to be located on wall approximately mid way between garage doors inside garage.
Ill need one 230 volt 100 amp welder outlet next to breaker box and two 230 volt 30 amp outlets, one next to lift, one next to bath room for the air compressor
PLUS four 110 volt 20 amp outlets along EACH of the FOUR major walls spaced approximately equally (16 total)

(4) foot twin florescent light fixtures mounted too the OPEN roof rafters which are an approximate MAXIMUM of every 12 feet apart, starting at 6 feet from the walls for the first fixture (thats THREE per row, in the 36 foot direction) and approximately 5 rows

Bathroom to have FIBERGLASS SHOWER, enclosure, with shower curtain on the shower stall, plus Twin 110 ac outlets
And a large STAINLESS stand-alone SINK like common to laundry rooms and standard toilet

Garage to have two hot air evacuation fans one toward each end of the roof to pull hot air from under roof area

the LOW estimate from a contractor is $75,000
the HIGHEST total of all the estimates for labor,and materials, site prep and electric, plus trusses and plumbing, Ive gotten is a total of $45,000-$48,000 and the lowest at about $30,000 now I can,t see paying someone $30,000 plus to supervise a construction of basically 4 walls with a I overlooking a great deal???

heres a reply I got from another site from someone in the contractor biz.
(the finished garage actually cost me $137 K BTW )
I won't go through everything but here are the basics.
6" slab throughout, and 8" thick over 40% of the floor where the lift would go,
50 yards concrete @ $60/yard= $3000
Approximately 3500 blocks 8x8x16 @ $.90= $3150
Hip trusses ( I would ask for attic hip trusses) $4800
Roof sheathing 1/2" 4 ply 125 sheets @ $16= $2000
Roof shingles 42 square @ $60= $2520
Misc. roofing flashing, drip edge, felt $500
Concrete for tie beams, pilasters, 10 yards $60+ $600
Rebar and hurricane truss ties $1200
Stucco, including labor $2500
Paint 30 gallons $600 you do the labor
Garage doors, installed $3500 ( EACH)
Soffit, includes labor $1050
Labor for concrete/blockwork/tie beam, = $9000
Labor to set trusses and install roof sheathing =$4500
Electrical materials and labor $2800
Windows, I have no idea. The new codes require impact proof windows, no matter what you have on your old house.
Plumbing guess, including fixtures, not knowing what the distance is to the sewer line or water line $3200
Roof shingle install labor $2000
Permits $500
Site prep, I have no idea whether you have to bring in fill, or remove soil/vegetation.

I think if you add things up, and throw in the windows, you should be somewhere in the $48-$50,000 range.
Now, all you have to figure is what your time is worth.
Do you have the contacts to hire the people and order the right materials?
Do you have the knowledge to inspect all phases of the work?
Do you have someone to prepare, and engineer, the permit/working drawings?
Do you want to assume the liability for any injuries on your property?
Personally, I think the $75,000 is a pretty good deal. Perhaps you can get him to reduce his price if you do some of the labor.
You also have to see if you can get him to work on your project, instead of doing a lot of insurance work, in the hurricane damaged areas of Florida.

If you hire a retired contractor, in your area, to manage this project, I would expect that you could find a well qualified person for $7500, which would still give you a large savings over having an active contractor do the entire project.

as many guys know Ive helped several guys plan out and think thru the steps they need to go thru when building a shop
most guys simply don,t realize that the local building departments,land use restrictions on floor height,drainage, electrical restriction, health laws, access and easement restrictions, soil compaction, limitations, building inspectors and your deed restrictions ,area zoning laws ,and the cost of material all have an effect on their choices.
in most areas you need to find out what you can build and whats allowed before spending time planing what you intend to build.
in most areas you can,t just decide to install a 3 or 4 car garage, on your property and it takes building permits, and foundation tests , minimum pad heights, soil density tests and other requirements before you even start,and get a land survey to make sure theres room for a garage and nothing preventing you from building one, like power line access or sewer access,height or square footage restrictions etc.!
think it thru, the shops construction costs most contractors quote are FAR LOWER than the true total cost, they frequently "low ball" estimates to get you started then mention the building permits site preparation,trash removal, all internal electric, paint, etc and inspections and a near endless list of other things costing money are not included in the cost
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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans

I posted some pictures here, of my shop

ID also point out that the slab needs to meet local building codes, and you need permits FIRST, and that usually requires both a minimum pad height and slope grade, (around here its 2 ft tall and a 5:1 slope) plus a footer needs to be formed and inspected and reinforcing bars placed , a footer is a thicker area around the circumference of the slab in my area it basically a trench with rebar that 2 ft deep x 2 ft wide around the edge with 3 pieces of rebar .
theres also grades of concrete, most common seems to be 2400psi rated you can pay a bit more per yard and get 4000 psi which is considerably stronger in my slab it cost an extra $12 a yard for the better concrete


each area has its own regulations on footer design so get the local building codes



















I installed 10 evenly spaced dual lamp motion sensor lights on the walls at a 10ft height with dual 150 watt bulb flood lights, thats two on each end wall and 3 on each long wall evenly spaced, this provides a good deal extra light


at least in theory these bulbs provide more light at about 18% of the electrical cost of conventional incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer

I worked and planed and saved for almost 40 years to buy and build my shop,
it feels great to eventually build the garage I've dreamed about for decades






now its far from obvious in this picture but the garage floor is 6 feet above the surrounding areas average height and 7-8 feet above the wet season water level, reached before water flows off the property into drainage ditches, this picture was taken at the height of the wet season in florida, if you notice the distance from the shop floor to the garage door lintel is about the same 8 feet that the picture shows the garage floor is above the pond surface, thats as high as it gets before flowing into local canals, its a bit easier to judge scale in the picture below

I added a bathroom simply because I NEEDED access, to a toilet and shower to clean up and go very tired of running to the house and the lost time it took, besides some times you just GOT TO GO!, thats not a cheap addition, in my case the bathroom required an additional septic tank,drain field and pump station,tile work, sink, lighting , environmental review,health dept permits, inspections, etc. easily adding $20K to the shops cost

BTW the THREE most common regrets I hear from guys who built shops is
when they failed to make the foundation pad high enough to provide good drainage year round
and guys that didn,t have
the shop floor poured at least 8" thick with 3500 psi concrete where the car lift will be mounted
and guys that didn,t have
enough electrical capacity or outlets and lighting in the shop
BTW heres two calculators (Id add 10% )


a few more pics, its still a total mess while Im in the process of BUILDING and moving in but IM getting there slowly, I could only get a few of the BBC engines in the shop, I prefer to work on, into the camera/shot

I get asked this frequently

answer, Im just an old (59) now retired HOTRODDER and mechanical engineer ,whos been building cars and engines, helping my friends on a semi constant basis for well over 40 years, raced a few corvettes,G.T.O.s ROAD RUNNERS, CAMAROS, Ive build or rebuild over a hundred engines, swapped suspensions, and learned on the way.

IVE learned that a FEW QUALITY parts will BEAT lots of junk
IVE learned careful clearancing and attention to details makes a HUGE DIFFERANCE
IVE learned researching and learning from other people mistakes is FAR cheaper and faster than making your own in a car build.
IVE learned to do extensive research BEFORE buying parts
IVE learned NEVER BUY PARTS that you get on (DEALS) if they dont match your goals
Ive learned that building engines for maximum AVERAGE TQ IN the RPM RANGE youll use the car beats building for maximun PEAK hp numbers
IVE learned asking lots of questions is far cheaper than makeing lots of mistakes
IVE learned that a cars performance depends a great deal on its POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO.
IVE learned that to have fun,your combo must be BOTH dependable and faster than MOST but not ALL the competition (most guys will never afford the expence in being the fastest car in your area)
IVE learned a CAR that breaks down is a TOTAL P.I.T.A. and RELIEABILITY is VERY IMPORTANT!

and like many of you IM broke most of the time, because of this hobby,but always glad to help out


btw durring the planning stage youll need to consider both the floor thickness and concrete strength, Id strongly suggest a MINIMUM of a 6"-8" thick slab so that if you change your mind later a two post lift can be safely installed , as a thinner slab may only allow a 4 post lift, the differance of a few yards of concrete is not going to make or break the total garage cost but it can be critical to safety, even on my 36Ft x 75Ft slab the differance is about $2000 at the very most in concrete cost to have the thicker floor, and its less than 1/2 that if you only want to add the extra thickness under about 1/3rd if you know where the lift will be placed.
next, think about water drainage, many garages have a slightly sloped floor to aid drain off to the shop doors, but that is a potential P.I.T.A. because the lift won,t be truely level, and tools tend to roll when dropped if you get much of an angle for drainage so think it thru carefully

I had/have a dream of installing a 4L80E, dana 60 and 572 BBC in my vette, and redoing the interior and paint, and doing it in my dream garage/shop,I started by building that shop,after I found out what it really cost vs the estimates , I might have been smarter to just build the car and forget the shop, but I wanted BOTH!
IVE helped several guys mod their corvettes that way , but being retired and on a pension moneys tight so I do what I can when I can, one advantage I have or mistake Ive made(depends on how you look at it)Is I built a dream shop/garage and spent more money on that than the project itself would cost(we all make choices)
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Well-Known Member
Re: some sources for garage plans

This is a great read!

But, I've seen the pics of your shop. Most of us can only dream of having a garage that huge. :) For now, at least. ;)

But I'm planning on doing a small garage behind my house.
I've checked the codes, and I can only build within certain limits as I live within city limits....but I'm sure they've changed since the last time I've checked them a few years ago. I know that last year, the city passed an ordinance that no new constructions can have a visible garage facing the street front of the property. But, my house is circa 1969, so I'll have to check on that one.
When I checked before, I didn't need a permit to build as long as it was deemed an "outside structure" (garage/workshop/enlcosed patio). But, I could only run water. If I wanted to run both, it would have been considered a "habitable structure" and be subject to permits and inspections.
But that's beside the point for now.....

I don't plan on putting any major machinery in there. As I said, I live in the city limits on my little 1/3 acre I don't have any heavy equipment. Also, I doubt I'll be putting a lift in.
I just want to put up a nice size single car workshop. I'm thinking 20x14 or 16.

BUT, based on the fact that I'll have no permanent lift and no heavy equipment, what pad thickness would be okay? 2", 3", 4"??? (barring any city requirements, of course.)
Also, what psi rating would be suitable? Of course, more is always better, but that makes a pretty significant difference in the relatively small budget of my small 1-car garage. And I don't wanna OVER do it unnecessarily.
Sure, I could go with 5,000-5,500 psi, but I think that would be major overkill for just a small 1-car personal garage.

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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans

check with the guys supplying the concrete, but in my area 3500 psi concrete is a huge improvement over the standard 2400 psi concrete and at only a few extra dollars per yard its a total no brainer
4" is fine for a floor with a 4 post lift or no lift
a 22' x 16' garage should take about 12-13 yards of concrete (remember the perimeter footers are much thicker than the floor) and don,t get cheap on the rebar, the architect, or plans should be able to give you almost exact info.
a 22 x 16 would be about the MINIMUM floor space that allows easy access to the car and remember youll need to store a few tools so a 26 x 16 would be far easier to work in.
that's bound to be a minor expense even if its $10 more per yard for the better concrete.
depending on how much work your willing to do, the price varies alot but figure 35$-$45 a sq foot is about average if YOU do some of the finish work.
and you can usually get a deal on prefab steel buildings that cost about 60% of what a concrete wall garage costs to construct.
theres several factors that you want to keep in mind and one is that most garage builds require permits and inspections,and that inspections require pre-approved plans from some build department.
making changes ,mid project are expensive, and time consuming
you must know exactly whats expected and have it exactly to code to pass inspections, you generally need to call for inspections, and in most cases pay extra for re-inspections
take the time to plan things out and leave yourself some room for expansion, in electric,plumbing, shelving etc.
I can,t even imagine not pouring the garage floor at least 4"-8" thick, as the cost of a few extra cubic yards of high strength concrete on the initial build is pocket change compared to needed to pour footers for a lift later
planning , your lighting, lift install, shelving electrical outlet placement ahead of the build and having detailed APPROVED PLANS will save you thou$and$ of dollars

there are also many pre packaged assemble by the numbers garage kits available ... &id=534071

HERES one guys shop floor plan that looks like its well designed





Well-Known Member
Re: some sources for garage plans

Thanks for the reply!

The concrete's not a problem. My neighbor is a concrete contractor and can get whatever I want for pretty cheap. Though I haven't talked to him about specifics, just asked about prices for the rough dimensions I'd like.

I am wanting to put one of the steel DIY garages up though. He does a lot of slabs for these and told me that if I don't get it this year, that I should wait for next winter as most of the companies that make those steel buildings will have big sales at the end of the year.
Mostly it's a building that someone has put a deposit on and decided to back out later.
They'll keep them through the end of the year hoping to sell them, but try to clear them out by years' end...usually at a pretty big price cut.

This is about what I'm looking to put together.
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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans

do your self a HUGE favor and have a soil test done,and check with local building inspectors for what they will look for before you build, its easier to deal with silly rules before you build than after and have the pad area compacted, so you know the foundation won,t crack later and have a raised pad of mixed rock/dirt firmly compacted firmly under the concrete pad that raises the floor of the pad a MINIMUM of 24" above the surrounding area, and at least 3-5 feet larger in the perimeter and gradually sloped as this promotes a MUCH dryier concrete floor when it snows or rains, and tends to limit some other problems as well. (rust, wood rot, flooding,drainage, etc.)
also have that pad laid after soaking the area with long term insecticide and have a couple layers of plastic sheet laid between the insecticide and the concrete so that moisture and bug poision can,t leach up thru the concrete later.


Staff member
I had problems with contractors,almost every one wanted to substitute cheaper materials or do shoddy work, until I detailed exactly what I wanted done and insisted on dates, and budget info be listed and agreed to before they got a contract, but I minimized it by only using guys with decent local references from guys I knew personally, and having detailed lists of the exact work and dates and costs listed BEFORE I signed for work,to begin, orders, only the septic tank guy proved to be a total $%^^&&*& scum sucking scam artist, and he came with three recent references, that said he did good work previously.
if you don,t take the effort to specify the specify the time frame, total cost, the work process, the exact work to be done and exact materials to be used, on every step of the project, in a contract you both sign before work begins, you can be sure the contractor will try to do things cheaper and faster and expend less time on details.

OH VERIFY the materials, deliveries, and whats being installed, contractors are not above ordering extra, materials billed to your account, that never get delivered to your site!, or having them delivered and trying to (LEAVE WITH THEM AS THEY CLEAN UP AND LEAVE, after they complete their jobs!)



theres several of this style building that have withstood several hurricanes undamaged and although you might not like the look they provide a slightly cheaper option (about 30%-40% cheaper and months faster to erect)
but GRUMPYVETTES CORRECT, get the ALL the county regulations, land surveys,county inspection info and concrete slab info, and the building erection info well before you start because changes during the construction process get really expensive


Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans, + some build info experia

many guys don,t like the look of the prefab buildings but the better quality examples Ive seen are a nice option, a neighbors got one that's 30ft wide and 60ft long and 15 feet tall, that's been on the property for years, it looks very similar to your picture.
one of my other friends has a similar 40ft x 80 ft and 20ft tall shop that looks similar with an enclosed, loft built inside as an office over his shop in the rear 1/3rd , that allows him to maintain the full floor space for cars and storage.
think every step thru before you begin, its ALWAYS going to be a fact that it costs more to be built correctly and takes longer than expected to build the shop,the way you want it built, and you'll always feel that it should have been a bit larger when you've had it a few years, but if you plan realistically and think thru your budget you should be ok.










Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans, + some build info experia

btw one thing I see guys planing garage builds over look is that if your thinking of installing a lift theres several factors you want to pre-plan,
(1) have the shop floor concrete at least 6" thick and use 4000psi concrete for a solid anchoring slab to bolt the lift too
(2) have at least a 12 ft ceiling height and 14ft-16ft is better still as a car on a lift will requite room under it at full lift and most commercial lifts require at least a 11.6" ceiling height
(3) have the garage door tracks go all the way to the ceiling for clearance, in many cases opening a garage door with a car up on a lift or lifting a car with the garage door open will be impossible if the door tracks store the door at about 8 ft which is very common unless you insist on having the upper tracks mounted to the ceiling to give max clearance
(4) have a decent electrical supply with at least 100 amp service and 220 volts because most lifts will require 220 volts and youll want outlets for plugging in tools, and lighting, fans etc.
(5) have the shop floor poured on a solid foundation pad at least 36" above the surrounding area to provide minimal drainage
(6) give some thought to security, and solid locks, sturdy doors, a water supply, and fans and lighting BEFORE you build the shop
(7) bigger is always better if you can afford it, it ALWAYS costs you far less to add a few feet to the shop before you start than after its completed
ALWAYS THINK THRU WHERE YOU PLACE LIGHTING FANS AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND ACCESS WITH THE SHOP DOORS BOTH OPEN AND CLOSED, (the open garage door covering ceiling mounted lights and fans) that many guys fail to think about until it becomes all too obvious.
another thing guys fail to think thru is that here in florida during mid day the shop temps can be rather high so having several roof hot air extraction fans, like this pictured below to suck hot air out of the rafters helps reduce shop temps.

and effective air movement fans , like these with some forcing air down to the flow and some up to the ceiling greatly aids air flow rates, and makes you feel noticeably cooler


helps a great deal, as the cost to air condition a shop on a regular, & consistent basis is prohibitive , but between the heat mid day and a billion biting bugs, during parts of the year, and if you don,t spread the correct crap around on the ground around the shop perimeter a billion red ants in the evenings you might want to think about screens on the shop doors and lots of fans and lighting
adding 8 dual light ,motion sensor lights mounted at about 2/3rds wall height around my inner shop walls in addition to the 21 quad ceiling 4ft florecent fixtures has noticeably increased the effective lighting

I installed 10 evenly spaced dual lamp motion sensor lights on the walls at a 10ft height with dual 150 watt bulb flood lights, thats two on each end wall and 3 on each long wall evenly spaced, this provides a good deal extra light


at least in theory these bulbs provide more light at about 18% of the electrical cost of conventional incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer



I got asked how you decide on where in the shop youll place the lift , to allow easy access but not tie up to much floor space, well I simply pulled a ford f350 dually into the empty shop and moved it around until I found where I could get too all sides from every angle ,yet minimize its use of floor space AFTER I placed my tool chests in the rear wall area and marked the floor using the lift manufacturers listed dimensions for the column spacing.
I then routed several 220 volt and 110 volt electrical outlets and air compressor pipe locations to match.





These pictures were taken about 10- 12 years ago while I was still transferring equipment from my old shop to the new shop, so yeah its was a mess until re-arranged, the shop floor space was set up so the lift , I placed was directly in line with the shop door,and as far back as you can, but where it would still allow access from 360 degrees with a full length dually truck up on the lift so as to minimize its use of existing floor space, while allowing max use of the floor around the lift
the shops 36ft deep x 80 wide and 16ft tall to the lower rafter to allow the lift room


heres a couple 9-10 camera night vision compatible security systems, that you can self install, that allow you to visually access your home over a cell phone or the internet , or from a computer monitor screen in your home or both,and of course set it up that way with a home view monitor.
(provided you have the security code and know how) that allows you to place cameras outside or inside your home or shop or both, and put the camera output on a video monitor or the computer screen . now obviously a multi layered approach too security where you have a standard monitored burglar alarm and decent locks on the home and shop would also be very helpful. as will numerous motion sensor light fixtures, and an audible buzzer that notifies people inside the home when outside motion lights come on
but having a video record of everything moving around your shop and home could be useful ... 13053.html

If your looking for a decent values in video surveillance system for your home and shop you may want to look these and similar systems over, the $700 price may seem a bit high and you certainly would use it, and most of us have far more than $700 invested in tools cars etc. we would like to protect from theft and a home to protect from invasion by those in society that think that they can steal, rape and pillage at will. ... +sds-p5102

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Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans, + some build info experia

"GRUMPY YOU DON,T NEED ALL THOSE PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS. JUST Build it yourself, plant some palm so you can't see it from the road, purchase large pitbulls to keep nosey neighbors from looking at your stuff."

the problem is that the county tax and building dept.permit guys use frequently updated satellite photo over lays to detect new UN-licenced construction, they use far clearer, and more detailed color contrast over lays and would notice if you moved the mail box 3 feet



Staff member
Re: some sources for garage plans, + some build info experia

Hi Grumpy,

I found a Quansit style all metal building kit purchased 3 years ago in private hands near me.
Its an American Building Quansit style kit with straight side walls & peaked roof.
It all bolts together in sections. Kit is complete. Has front & back sidewall closers. Overhead door, not sure of dimensions of it tonight. Has a service entry door in kit too.
Talked to the guy today on the telephone. I can look at the Quansit building kit this weekend. He works all weekdays like I do.
He lacks computer skills to fax the blueprint of building or email photos.
But he does have the blueprints & assembly instructions.
Also said the entire building kit fits on a dual axle car hauler trailer like I have now, sections stacked 4 feet high.
He hauled the kit home with a 7,000lb trailer.
My trailer is a Class 3 & my Suburban has a Class 3 receiver. I have to wire an electric brake trailer controller in yet.
Factory wiring intact & electric brakes on all 4 wheels of my trailer do work, tried them with a battery pack hotwiring recent.

The guy is asking $6,500. Seems like a pretty good deal. May offer $5 K & see where we can negotiate to.

He said the blueprints specify a certain base be poured concrete with footing walls.
Raised walls will increase building height & center roof peak. Optional.

Do You have any idea what sort of foundation is required? What PSI concrete needed? I want a car lift later on. 2-post.
I can't get more details till I meet him in person this weekend.
He has no other interested serious buyers with the cash $ on hand.

if properly assembled those building can be a great deal, if your thinking about a lift a 8" thick 3500 psi concrete slab is almost mandatory

Id try and contact the building manufacturer for info on slab requirements then contact the local building department about foundation and slab permit costs and requirements, in my area you need a current site survey, soil tests, a minimum 4" tall foundation with a 5:1 slope and a 5 foot pad extending level from the slab before the slope starts. he may not have built because of the slab cost or permit requirements, concrete costs about $100-$120 a cubic yard, youll need an architects drawing in many areas to pour a slab and your looking at about 45 cubic yards of concrete plus the foundation, rebar permits etc, , youll have a bit more in the slab once its done than the $6500 in the building but thats still going to be less than 40% of a traditional concrete block building

just the foundations pads likely to require 40-50 truck loads of fill in my area, at about $70 a load, so keep that in mind, a great many guys find that the building cost is less than the foundation and slab and just stop after buying the building, do your research, don,t be surprised.
have a long talk with both your local building department and a couple local contractors to get a feel for the costs, but also keep in mind you can and should in my opinion SUB contract out the slab construction and foundation work



I found The Garage Thread Grumpy.
Thinking bigger garage on my property.
There is a Prefab with an A-frame roof on display not far from me.
Walked it out 20X21 Twin roll up doors. All steel. Steel A Frame trusses. Looked it up online. Not too bad. I can afford.
Won't have the $ for a concrete slab this year.
Customize as you want.
Plans are engineered signed.
I am zoned agricultural. No.permits required .
No Hurricanes here. But high winds and tornadoes at times.


Love to do stick wood construction.
Cost prohibitive.
This building if it holds up for 2-5 years would allow enough time to save to build bigger and better.


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I'm just curious if any of the websites members are in the planing or building phases on a new garage or shop?
there seems to be a big increase in optimistic anticipation of an economic up-turn,
as with any project, do your research, look over a realistic
budget and figure out how much you can do and how much it will cost to hire someone to do what you can,t do,
generally your looking at $35-$45 dollars a square ft in my area , for the basic structure with a concrete slab and block walls and a roof alone, this does not cover site prep, electrical, plumbing permits etc, just the basic structure, and yes your area may be cheaper or more expensive , use the linked info posted all through this thread

and yes in rare cases you won,t be allowed to build your dream shop, where or to the size you might want too, and yes it might be cheaper to move and find either a property with more friendly restrictions or a home with your dream shop already on the property

at least in my area, I've had several private discussions related to this, subject.
among a good many people since the economy seems to be improving after trumps election.
I recently had several of the local guys pull permits to build a garage,
or discuss building a shop and having plans drawn up, to pass the local building inspection ordinances.
I,ve referred them to this and similar related threads and reminded them to do the required research and only deal with reputable contractors.
remember no mater how large you build your shop youll wish it was larger later and it will cost a great deal more to modify or enlarge it at a later date!
most lifts REQUIRE a 6"-8" thick concrete floor and at least an 11 ft -to-12 ft tall ceiling height!

build the dirt pad up, under the shop concrete floor up to at least 4 -5 feet above the surrounding ground level to get decent drainage ,
its going to save you a great deal of problems,
think through your electrical and phone feed and water supply sources,
and pull all the related permits and get the proper inspections done in the correct order.

use a local architect, and
get a local surveyor to do a property line,
land site and soil ,survey done before you start,check out all local building codes and land use, and property ,deed, restrictions

remember once you get the garage built your taxes will increase,
as the local government will see it as an increase in your homes value,

and a great excuse to raise assessed/ taxes.
One of the new local guys moved too this area strictly because his last home was in a gated community that forbid a garage or shop or even an extended driveway,being added or built on his old property.......he had to move out here where we have 5 acre property minimum lots, and homes must exceed 2500 sq feet
but detached shops just have too be a set distance from property lines and meet building codes but shop size is not too restrictive as I know of several larger than mine





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Considering building a shop myself if I can find a suitable build site. It will likely be a metal building at least 30' wide, 150' long with a 15' ceiling. I'm thinking one 12' insulated roll-up door on one end where I can back my truck w/enclosed trailer in to keep them out of the weather. Beyond that occupied space will be a 12,000 two-post lift in the center of the building where I can simply lower the trailer ramp door and back the race car out and into the lift area. At the rear portion of of the building will be a modest framed living space. All of this "if" I can find a reasonably priced lot.


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I,d suggest you remember to check on the,
local building code restrictions
property taxes,
and areas potential flood level, and insurance costs
before purchasing a lot
Id also strongly suggest you avoid home owner assoc.
as they have a strong tendency to have ever increasing fees assessed.
steel buildings generally cost about 1/2 what a concrete block based shop will cost and can be put up in a 1/4 the time, but require a good thick concrete slab foundation.

the ribbed Quonset hut style like above
, links has stood up to hurricanes much better than the flat wall designs like below and they can be huge!
Id also bet they handle snow loads much better.
I have one neighbor that had three large 30 ft wide x 60 ft long x 18 ft tall, buildings arranged in a (T) ,
so all the garage doors opened on a common 30 ft x 30 ft concrete entrance semi enclosed area.
and has a 8 ft tall chain link fence with a powered gate on the open side ,
this adds to the security.
in my area metal buildings are taxed at a lower rate than permanent concrete block structures,
as for taxes metal buildings are seen as temporary 35-40 year storage structures

remember the footers surrounding the concrete floor slab will be about 2 ft deep x 2 feet wide
and the slab will need to be about 8 inches thick where the lift is mounted
youll need a certain amount of rebar in the footers and slab



(BTW the number is the number of 1/8" in diameter the rebar measures)
so a number 5 rebar is 5/8 diameter
if a building code calls for lets say #5 size rebar you can and probably should tell your builder to step up the size at least one or possibly two larger steps

(thats what I did, it only added a couple hundred dollars to the cost of the shops construction but significantly increased the slab rigidity potential.
and concrete quality varys if you don't specify the strength you get the minimum, which is generally the 3000 psi version, you can upgrade to the 4500 psi version for only about $15 a cubic yard (again what I did)


verify local building codes
and remember the slab and footers will need to be elevated above the surrounding areas height,
for decent drainage (usually 3-4 ft.) minimum
and the area sloped out at a minimum 5:1 ratio,

verify local building codes
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I was recently asked about what it would cost to build a shop similar to what I built?
reading through the linked and sub linked info above,will be really helpful,
you'll need a site survey, youll need to comply with local permits and ordinances and restrictions on size height and construction,
and talking to your local building and zoning department and,
dealing with an experienced local and licencened architect certainly will help!
the cost obviously will change with the size and options and complexity but the larger you build a shop,
the cheaper it generally will be for each square foot of floor area to some slight degree, and your generally looking at about $40-$50 a square foot,
of floor space on a finished shop with lighting and a few electrical outlets.
keep in mind the building should be built on a raised pad several feet higher than the surrounding ground level for decent drainage,
and adding a bathroom is going to add expense and complications, the pad will need to meet certain distance to property line and height and grade requirements
the concrete slab thickness and footer will need to match local requirements, but if you intend to install a lift , look at the related threads.
your sure to find adds saying they can build a basic 20 ft wide x 20ft deep and 9 ft tall two car garage for something like $22K thats just a low ball estimate that does not in most cases include permits site surveys, foundation pad, site prep, site clean-up and any doors, windows electricity and its sure to be the least expensive roofing ,rafters, and without insulation, inside or outside wall finish etc. on that garage, in an industry crawling with scam artists
you need to deal with well established companies with
LOTS OF RECENT good check-able references and only deal with and pay for work as its completed and you get a signed building inspection and sub contractor and materials, payment receipt and release.
check every step, verify materials used are those you paid for and the amount you paid for and they meet building codes and the architecture plans and local building codes, always ask if theres stronger or better options and maker rational choices, a couple hundred extra dollars spent on thicker rafter,beams,
better roofing materials or significantly more re-bar,thick, and stronger concrete,in the slab, heavier gauge copper wire, is almost always a better value
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