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Hello all,

I am plamimg on building a small shop as the wife does not want to hear me pounding in the garage at 3 am. So I have decided it will be either 16 x 20 or a 20 x 20. I went to the city and I do need a permit which is no big deal. However they did tell me that I will have to secure the building to a foundation. I had planned on setting the floor on block and simply filling the floor with gravel. This wont work because it is not secure. Any ideas on how to do this? Of course I am doing this on the cheap but I want it done right because I will be spending a ton of time in there. And as I am the only "blacksmith" in a 50 mile area I dont wish to appear as some yokel who is going to burn the town down. I will build the shop myself and have fair construction skills but Im stumped on how to handle the floor. I suppose I can always pour cement but I would rather not as here in South Dakota the bucklining of the ground is not good on shed floors.

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Ask some of the local builders what they would suggest, being they do that for a living. As far as not wanting to appear as "some Yokel" spend a little extra and "do it right" - if your going to spend that much time in this shop - you will not regret it.

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Since you do need a permit to build, ask if an Alaskan pour would work? developed to build on perma frost? so it floats when you get frost heaves. Would not attach shop to any other building as you shop will move and the other won't causing damage, just a thought.
Adirondacker

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I suspect that you will just need to dig a trench the size you want the building to be and pour concrete for the foundation. You will need to be deep enough to avoid the freeze heave. The concrete people can probably answer how deep that is quickly or search for that on-line. You then can put a row of block on top of the footer. This anchors the building to the earth and keeps it from sinking into to ground during the wet seasons or blowing away in a storm. Some towns require a slab to keep the property values up. I suspect you don't need a slab but I would double check. Then you use gravel for the floor or crush rock powder fill for the floor.

Brian Pierson

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Will they allow a pole barn or pier posts? Might be a nice way to save a little money over digging a full trench and building it up with concrete. Easier to dig post holes to depth below the frost line. Then you can pour a floating slab if you ever decide you want concrete, though I am also not big on a concrete slab for a smithy.

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You can run a perimeter beam (like a curb) to tie the walls down and still fill the floor with gravel. Makes for a very sturdy foundation for barn type structures and it's easy to form - just dig a trench and lay the steel in it.

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I was surprised that a pole barn wasn't allowed. That's the way I went. The local electrical CoOp gives away old poles to members. I got 2 40' ones that had only been in the ground 10 years; chopped them to 20' to haul them home.

4 poles, a couple of used steel trusses and a bunch of 30' purlons (I fastened to the end of the "old" shop to have 2 15' long x 20' wide bays.) The sides and roof were free and the result of a terrible hail storm out here. The sides were a friend's roof nicely dimpled and the roof was overruns from replacing the steel roofs of the local school.

My floor is sand and fine gravel I got out of the local arroyo

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Seems to me that there is a misunderstanding here. You should be able to do basically what you want to do. Go back to the building department and ask if you can build your foundation in the following way: Dig a trench down to a depth that is below the frost line in your jurisdiction. The trench can probably be 20" wide for a one story shed type building. Into this trench place a reinforced concrete footer 1 foot deep the width of the trench. Place 1/2" round steel reinforcing dowels into the footing top at 24" on centers extending up to the to height that you want your finish floor. Lay up 8" concrete block to a level above the existing ground level to the level of you floor to form your foundation wall. The dowels that you placed into the top of the footing should be inside the open cells of the concrete block. Grout the concrete block cells solid with portland cement grout. While the grout is still wet place standard concrete anchor bolts into the top of the newly created foundation wall, extending up enough to bolt a treated wood plate down to the wall top. You will likely need to parge (plaster the concrete block face) and water proof it with a coat of bituminous waterproofing to protect the new foundation wall from freeze thaw damage. You may even be required to insulate it with foam. The building official should be able to fill you in on all of the detailed requirements including depth, width, required steel reinforcement, concrete strength requirements, & etc.

So far as the floor finish is concerned I doubt that they care. I would urge you to set the floor level high enough to keep the water from building up outside and flowing into the building. Say a foot minimum above surrounding grade . Get it high enough so that the ground, flower beds etc will never build up high enough to touch the building siding. You should be able to have a crushed stone or brick floor as you choose. After building up the interior level of your floor to a level that will accommodate the thickness of your floor finish, place a polyethylene vapor barrier. This will keep the floor dry and avoid excessive rusting of stock and tools.

Good Lock With Your Project.

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Well might not be a misunderstanding...the local building inspector here has been know to categorically state that he will not ok somethings specifically mentioned as allowed in the state code...

When we had the first part of my shop built we used a contractor that used to be the building inspector---easiest inspections I have ever heard of!

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as a contractor let me point out, it does not mater what we think the codes mean, its the interpratation of the enforcing body that matters. ask them and follow their lead.

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Or move to Alaska. Outside city limits here there are no building codes. Build it strong enough to withstand the weather and your golden.


Technicall;y this is not true there are national building codes, but local areas may not enforce them

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Or move to Alaska. Outside city limits here there are no building codes. Build it strong enough to withstand the weather and your golden.

....and bears..... :D

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Thanks for the imput guys. I will be doing more checking into this in the next week. There was only one person in the building and I'm not sure she really understood my questions. Some things I know for sure. I must build at least 7 feet back from the property lines. My exterior of the workshop must match the main house. I need clarification on that because I don't know if they are simply talking about color choice or in the leterial sense. This evening my wife and I had came up with a plan B of walling off the two farthest stalls in the garage and using that as my shop. The dividing wall will keep the noise down and I would have no hassel of trying to build a seperate shop. I would still wind up with an area 18 x 24 ish.

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...... .My exterior of the workshop must match the main house. .....


The good news is that folks here have given a lot of good advise. The bad news is the requirement of the exterior of the building sounds like you are in a location that may have more than plan old code requirements but also have additional *covenanted* restrictions.

When I built my shop the code enforcement officer was very unsure about a number of code issues. The end result was that I overbuilt going beyond National Code. I even tore down a 16 foot section of a garage door opening and rebuilt it because the enforcement officer could not tell me if that section would pass final framing inspection. I framed the building with treated lumber (termites, carpenter ants and powder beetles ate the previous shop building), so when the building was done the code enforcement officer told me that it was a good thing that I used galvanized coated screw-shank nails and that I did not listen to an engineer that recommended using regular nails, because if I had listened to the engineer the enforcement officer would not have passed the building. I also used hurricane ties, and had to explain to the enforcement officer what they were. ;-)

You might wish to find out if your housing area has *covenants* before you do anything.

Best wishes, Dave

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A friend of mine placed two steel shipping containers parallel about 10 ft apart and used one for storage and the other for a shop. He put a tin roof over the opening and called it a carport.

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Can you get away with just pouring cement footings, I think that should sufice for a foundation.  Where in SD are you, I am in Rapid City.

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I keep thinkin a 6 or 8 sided Navajo hogan .lay it out an dig an pour a footing.then build from there

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