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Foundations ..... 

 (The following are only general recommendations. They should not be treated as infallible instructions)

We can not be held responsible for someone else's workmanship in foundation preparation. 

 
 

Introduction


Assembling a shed / workshop / summerhouse may seem like an overwhelming task to a DIY novice.  However if a level, sound and sturdy base is provided the rest should be simple. Making the base for a garden building is an easy task for a single person to complete. However we recommend two or more people are available if you are assembling the garden building.

Planning permission is normally not required for a prefabricated garden building.  However, if you live in a conservation area, you may wish to check with your local council prior to construction.


Planning where the building should go.

Consider the optimum site for your garden building in terms of:
• Access to where the building is going to be assembled for the delivery & erection team.
• Access to all sides of the building once erected for applying wood treatments, maintenance etc....
Remember that the roofs of all buildings do have over hangs at the sides  .... Hence the physical space required to position a building is greater than that of the building....If in any doubt ..... Please ask.
• Surrounding area conditions (Foliage, young trees that may grow in future, areas open to extreme elements etc.)
• Natural light (a light area is best if the building is to be used as a workshop for example)
• View from the assembled building (for summerhouses etc.)
• Is an electrical supply going to be installed to the building and does it give any implications?

Types of Suitable Base

It is essential to provide a solid and level base for "ANY BUILDING".  

Attempting to assemble a garden building on an unleveled or soft surface will incur difficulties in squaring the building up when putting on the roof and doors will often not close properly.  We recommend the following 4 types of base:

• A Paving Slab Base - We can supply drawings for slab positions free of charge if you require them.
• A Concrete Base
• Tantalized Bearers
• A pre-formed base –  A relatively new concept in shed bases, a pre-manufactured tanalised timber frame base, all you have to do is level it for the building to sit on. These are available for different sizes of sheds. Ask for a quotation if you feel that this would be the easiest method for you....Available for all sheds and buildings up to 6 ft x 10 ft apart from dog sheds with runs....... Dog sheds and animal housing must be on either a slab base or a concreted area for hygiene purposes.


Whichever method is more suitable, we strongly recommend that your base be made to the same measurements as the floor of the garden building you are contemplating purchasing.  

This allows the majority of rain to run off the walls and roof and soak-away instead of pooling on the base under the building and effectively creating dampness and potential rot problems.  

Tools Required:
• Pegs and string
• Sand and aggregate mix
• Hardcore
• Standard cement
• Timber for shuttering formwork
• Tape measure
• Spade
• Sweeping brush
• Cement mixer
• Wheel barrow
• Tamp board
• Spirit level.
Step 1:
Decide where to position the shed in an optimal space, allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string to mark out the base the same area as the building’s floor. Finally, measure diagonals to ensure the area is square.
Step 2:
A concrete base requires 3 inch (7.5 cm) of compacted hardcore underneath the 3 inch (7.5 cm) concrete layer. The base can be level with the ground or raised above it. If it is to be level excavate the top earth to 6 inch (15 cm) to allow for the hardcore layer and 3 inch (7.5 cm) thickness of concrete. Level the area with a rake and spade and remove the pegs.
Step 3:
Set up leveled formwork. This involves measuring, cutting and fitting timber, to the shape of the base in order to contain the concrete (as shown in the diagram). Check diagonals to ensure the formwork is square. And also ensure the formwork is level, as this will determine whether your base is 100% level. Next, spread a layer of well compacted hardcore and cover with a liberal amount of sand.
Step 4:
Next, mix concrete using one part cement to five parts aggregate or use bags of dry-mixed concrete to which you just add water. Small amounts of water should be added at a time and mixed into the concrete mix to ensure excessive amounts are not added making the cement sloppy, as the concrete should be kept on the dry side.

Spread the concrete evenly and slightly proud of the formwork. This can be then leveled off with a long straight edge of timber resting on the formwork using a sawing motion slowly over the entire surface of the freshly laid concrete.

If wet weather is forecast, cover the concrete with polythene for 24-hours. In warm weather cover the base with damp sacks and sprinkle them with water over the 24-hour period, this will ensure the drying concrete will not shrink and crack.

The result is a smooth, sound, level base. The perfect foundation for the construction of a garden building.  Allow at least 4 - 5 days for the concrete to set prior to assembling your building.

Please note however....Large concreted areas to be used as garage or workshop floors, should be left at least 14 days before the building is erected on it to ensure a secure fixing for the building.


Tools Required:
• Pegs and string
• Flat Face Paving Slabs
• Sharp sand
• Standard cement, rake
• Tape measure
• Spade
• Rubber mallet
• Sweeping brush
• Spirit level
Step 1:
As mentioned above, decide where to position the shed in an optimal space.  Allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string to mark out the base the same area as the building’s floor. Finally, measure the diagonals to ensure the area is square.
Step 2:
Strip the topsoil and dig out to a depth of approx. 2.5 inch (7 cm) to accommodate the base. Level the area and remove the pegs.

Step 3:
Mix together one part cement to eight parts building sand for a dry sand and cement mix. Spread this evenly ensuring that the mix sits approx. 4 cm in depth. Now, rake this to a level.
Step 4:
Starting from one corner and working outward, lay the slabs by tapping down on the centre of each slab with a rubber mallet. Using a spirit level, ensure all the slabs are square, level and firmly butted together for a solid base.
Step 5:

The completed base should now be level and square. Do one final check with a long straight edge to check if the base is level from each corner, and also measure the diagonals to finally check the base is square. Brush off any excess dry sand/cement mix, which could hinder the leveling of the shed. The result is a smooth, sound, level base. The perfect foundation for the construction of a garden building.
 
Tools Required:

• Pegs and string
• Tape measure
• Spade
• Rubber mallet
• Spirit level
• Hardcore
• 75mm x 75mm Tanalised Bearers
Step 1:
As mentioned above, decide where to position the shed in an optimal space.  Allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string to mark out the base the same area as the building’s floor. Finally, measure the diagonals to ensure the area is square.
 
Step 2:
Strip the topsoil and dig out to a depth of approx. 3 inch (7.5 cm) to accommodate the base. Level the area and remove the pegs.
Step 3:
Fill the trench with hardcore and compact down as level as possible.
Step 4:
Lay the bearers on the hardcore, 16 inches (40cm) apart. The bearers should be laid at 90 degrees to the building’s floor joists, i.e. if the floor joists run from side to side of the building then the bearers will need to run the length of the building. Check the orientation of the floor joists on your building as they do vary from building to building.  Using the spirit level and rubber hammer, tap the bearers into the hardcore until they are perfectly level.

 

If you are in any doubt about preparing your foundations ... PLEASE ASK TO SAVE YOUR SELF TIME AND MONEY

If  you would like to have someone to prepare the foundations for you, we will be happy to supply you with contact numbers of experienced companies we highly recommend

For Metric sizes CLICK HERE

Unit 2, Harlaw Business Centre, Harlaw Road, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Uk, AB51 4FR

Tel....01467 625643 during office hours .... or (mobile 24hrs) 07895 482137 

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