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Thread: I need some construction advice please

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default I need some construction advice please

    Ok, I need some advice and this seemed to be the best forum to ask in. I live in Anchorage and want to build a detached 12’ x 16’ “Man Room” kind of thing in the back yard. I know it isn’t exactly a “cabin” but I figure the construction aspects are pretty much going to be the same. It will not have any plumbing, but will have electric and gas tapped off from the house.

    My biggest problem is that I don’t know any of the calculations for determining anything… in fact, I don’t know jack about building construction. Normally this lack of knowledge would cause me a great amount of anxiety, however my bro-in-law recently built a very nice detached shed/garage that looks like a crew of professionals did all of the construction… the only reason I mention this, is because my bro-in-law is a first order idiot. Make that a drunken idiot… anyway, I figure if he can build something, then it aint exactly rocket science. Besides, I am actually quite experienced at wood working albeit on furniture, cabinets, interior stuff etc. so I have all the tooling and enough skill not to loose any appendages or fire a brad into my brain in the process.

    First off is the foundation. The ground in my yard is awful, and its pretty much topsoil over clay, but is at least fairly level. This “Man Room” is going to sit right on top of the 20” sewer easement and although I seriously doubt it will be an issue, I still want to have some sort of back up plan for dragging the whole thing out of the way if need be, so obviously sonotubes or posts are out of the question. I was thinking about two rows of three pressure treated pads (made from pressure treated 2” x 6” cribbed up about three layers) and then place two 16’ x 6” x 12” beams across them and then 2” x 12” joists on 16” centers. I figure if worst came to worst, I could always jack the building, pull the pads out, set it on the ground and drag it out of the way? Of course to complicate matters, the way I want it to sit in my yard would require me to drag it sideways… so I plan on bracing the two 16’ x 6” x 12” beams together with two more perpendicular beams between them and secured with some really heavy duty welded angles that I have laying around.

    I am thinking 2” x 4” walls 16” on center with 2” interior furring strips over the visqueen, and plan on only 2 windows and a single 36” door. Tyvec the exterior and cover with siding to match the house.

    I don’t have a clue about the roof and rafters and am hoping you guys can offer some suggestions as to what pitch, material and spacing. I do want to shingle it to match the house.

    I have a lot more questions, but don’t want to post a giant list and annoy everyone with my ignorance.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice you would care to offer!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Your 1st step is you need to review your zoning to see what is allowed. Good luck with that headache. Next will be your permit. Your biggest obstacle, I see, even if it's moveable is the rightaway.

    My suggestion if you do get it approved is to build it on a set of skids made to move to start with, this way it will you can incorporate the skids with the structure. You then can lay beams down for the skids to sit up off the ground to preserve them.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    good to go regarding zoning as it will be a "non-permanent structure" i.e. a "shed" and since it is under 200 sq ft no permit is required. now the rightaway is a different matter, but I am not going to worry too much about it as the set-back and easments are routinely ignored in virtually every neighborhood thruout the city (each of my 4 bordering neighbors have sheds well inside the set-back) and only come into play when property changes ownership, or in the unlikely event that the utility company actually has to come in and dig (God forbid) and then since you are not in compliance, you would be required to remidy the situation post haste...

    an incorporated skid is what i was going for with the 16" beams and plan to tie each of the floor joists to the beams with metal hangars. Didnt occur to me to lay beams down for the skids to sit on... That would be much simpler that building 6 individual pads.

    thanks for the tips!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Right of Way isn't a worry as long as it's just a sewer easement. If it's actually a "utility" easement then you need to speak with Right of Way. You would need a letter of non objection from AWWU if it's just a sewer easement. Basically says you can have it there but if they need to dig you gotta move it or if they move it you gotta pay for it. Under 200sq ft doesn't need a permit as you stated but tying into your electrical and gas does. You can do what you want regarding setbacks but don't use the excuse that everyone else is doing it. When your nice nosey neighbor turns you in and zoning shows up they're gonna make you and everyone else fix the problems. Trust me, I speak from experience. When in doubt go down to the Public Works office and ask questions before turning something relatively simple into an expensive fiasco.

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    Alangaq,


    I built an 11x17 shop in Anchorage. The odd dimensions were to mimic a cottage I found in a book. I had an acre, so I didn’t have the siting puzzle you have. It had a 17/12 pitch roof, with two dormers on each side. Looking down toward it from the main house, it looked like a doll house. Inside, I had a ships ladder leading to the loft that would pull up flush with the ceiling when the ladder was not in use. The dormers were a lot of work, but I never regretted the result when they were finished. One end of the structure had a man door, and the other end had carriage house doors that opened to allow large projects in or out.


    Since you need it to be movable, what about building it on a trailer like a mobile home. Put it up on blocks while it sits there. You could take it with you if you sell and move. Don't make it too tall, though, if you really want to be able to move it across or out of town. Approximately 15 feet tall is probably near the limit.


    I asked a friend about 20 years older than I am about lighting a shop. He said, “When you think you have enough light, double it, because when you get older, you don’t see so well anymore!” He was right. When I would turn on the lights, I could see very well, and from the house, it looked like a nuclear glow coming from the bottom of the property.


    I also recommend a woodstove as a worthy addition to a shop/man-cave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
    It had a 17/12 pitch roof
    17/12 pitch is a bear to work on; you can't stand on it. Do that if you want to make some usable room upstairs, otherwise go with a more reasonable pitch like 8/12, 12/12 or so. Steep enough to shed the load.

    Buy trusses, unless you want to use the upstairs for storage, in which case you'll need to stick-build it yourself (which does require expertise; hire a framer for a day for that part). Shingle it before the snow flies or you'll break the shingles as you hammer or staple them in, and they won't seal to each other for months (enough time to blow off first). Or if you go steel roof it'll last forever, but dump deadly amounts of snow at the most inopportune moments unless you do what the western Europeans do, and that's put a snow block (horizontal log) upon the steel to stop snow dumps onto passageways, like your front sidewalk.

    what you say about lighting; same about outlets; put in twice as many as you think you'll need.

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    A 5 on 12 pitch with a metal roof will shed snow easily 17 on 12 is like a 60*angle too steep lots of wasted space. And pitch it so the low side is the back I am far from a carpenter and the first shed I built I put the door on the low side,,,, wrong move with the ice and snow buildup on the ground at the enterance
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    I built a 14'x26' shed in my Anchorage back yard and a 12x16 cabin up near Petersville. In Anchorage, I'd go with 6/12 or 8/12 and shingles. You can match your house to make it look better and the shingles don't dump snow all over your (or your neighbors) back yard. A single story structure with 2x4 studs 16" OC will hold an Anchorage snow load. Use 2x6s for more insulation and it is even stronger.

    I built my own trusses for both buildings. At 12' wide they can be pretty simple trusses and aren't too hard to build. With trusses the roof loads are spread evenly along the outside walls which is structurally better, especially if you ever move the thing.

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    The MOA requires a building permit for sheds over 120SF.

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    Ak_sierra, yup getting a letter of non-objection from AWWU and I should have been more clear regarding the set-back, as it is actually a 10’ utility easement for Chugach, and I likely wont need to encroach over it. And as you stated will also need a “Retro Permit” for the electric.

    Rifleman, good point about lights and you can bet there will be lots of them! Going to pass on the trailer frame type build, but it might work well for someone else.

    FamilyMan, I will probably just have SBS build the trusses, but they will be pretty simple affair as I wont be using the attic space for storage. 6 on 12 sounds like it might match my house pretty well, but I have to get up there and measure to see what it really is… not quite savvy enough to eyeball it.

    NRick, glad to hear that 2x4’s will suffice structurally.

    Vlinker, the MOA hasn’t up-dated their web site and still show the old requirement of over 120SF, however if you call them (I spoke with Rich Fern in Zoning) they will confirm that is has changed to > 200SF (2010 I think)

    Thanks for the help guys, but do you think I am on the right track with floor structure (two 16’ x 6” x 12” beams across them and then 2” x 12” joists on 16” centers) and roof truss spacing at 16” on center?
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    2” x 12” joists on 16” centers)
    I'd save a few sheckels and go 2x10 unless you're going to park a car in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vlinker View Post
    The MOA requires a building permit for sheds over 120SF.
    Recently changed to 200.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I'd save a few sheckels and go 2x10 unless you're going to park a car in there.
    Ha, Ha!...no cars in the man room... but I have this 4'x4' cube of depleted uranium that I was going to use as a table.....

    Ok, so 2x12 is a bit overkill, and that is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks FamilyMan!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Ha, Ha!...no cars in the man room... but I have this 4'x4' cube of depleted uranium that I was going to use as a table.....

    Ok, so 2x12 is a bit overkill, and that is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks FamilyMan!
    Ah, no problem, glad to help. I actually built a shed (not intended to move) many years ago with 2x6's as a floor that I did park a car in... well, not really so much as a car... just a little 2 seater convertible that was lighter than most cars by half. I did use 3/4 inch plywood though so as not to sag the decking any.

    If you weren't planning on moving it someday I'd recommend 2x6 or 2x8, but for moving purposes might be best to build it strong likea heck to begin with.

    Also consider after your floor joists are in place putting some braces 14 1/2" long each between them (along the middle of the span maybe), and/or screw some steel strapping tape on both diagonals underneath the joists. One of both of those options will help keep the joists from jostling about during any move.

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    I built a shed, 10X14 a couple of years ago without a floor. I used 2x6 by 24" spacing for the walls. I went to move it this winter and put 2-4x6 treated beams under it to move it to another site. Skids, if you will. Last week I put in 2x6 joists for the floor and attached them to the wall 2x6. I then framed some blocking between those 2x6 joists where there was not a 4x6 beam.Those beams BTW were spaced 2 feet in from the ends of the 10 foot span. Which left a 6 foot area not framed in. That is what I framed in with blocking. I then used some angle hardware(simpson) with tico nails to attach those beams to the 2x6 joists. Lay down with 3/4 inch plywood or even 5/8 and you should be good to go. Use a 16 gauge staple gun to secure the flooring to the floor joists. It will never fail. I went cheap on the flooring at 7/16 cause I had some in the wood pile. Yesterday I just drove a honda foreman into it to see if the floor would show signs of buckling. Just to see if I needed to by 3/4 but... it Didn't even squeek. So if you use 3/4, you are in like flynn. If you need to borrow a 16 gauge stapler, You can borrow mine with compressor. Those kind of set-ups usually runs close to over 4 bills to buy new.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Thanks for the help guys, but do you think I am on the right track with floor structure (two 16’ x 6” x 12” beams across them and then 2” x 12” joists on 16” centers) and roof truss spacing at 16” on center?
    You could get away with 2x10 joist for what you are doing. 24" oc for the roof trusses is pretty standard and will save you a couple of trusses.

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    Thanks for the update. The muni should update their website.

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    Being in the building trade for 35 years as a carpenter, and a general contractor in Alaska, I am willing to offer you some assistance in material selection, design and suggestions if you wish. Like to see buildings put together the first time correctly.
    Contact me or give me your contact information in a pm.
    Paul

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Thanks Otternorth, PM Sent
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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