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Everything You Need to Know about Sheds Built on Site

Onur Aydin - October 15, 2020

You might be asking the question, “Should I get a prefab shed? Or a shed built on site?

First of all, what is a prefab shed?

A prefab (or prefabricated) shed is an outbuilding that’s delivered to your home fully assembled and ready to go. These buildings are delivered on a special trailer, dropped at your preferred location, and leveled to ensure optimal performance. Buying a prefab shed is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to add an outbuilding to your property.

Although a prefab shed is the best outbuilding choice in many cases, there are times when purchasing this type of shed is not an option. If a prefab shed is not an option you can opt to have your shed built on site.

When is it best to have a shed built on site?

Sheds built on site are best suited for situations when the shed site is hard to access. This includes but is not limited to:
Fenced in backyards. Your backyard might have a fence with a narrow gate that does not allow the passage of a completely assembled shed. In this case, it may be more cost effective to have the shed assembled on site rather than hiring someone to remove and reinstall a section of the fence.
Urban settings. If you live in a setting where the neighbors front door is only a few feet away, you probably won’t be able to install a pre-built shed of any significant size in your backyard. In this case, a shed built on site is probably your only and best option.
Steep mountain driveways. Your property might only be accessible by a steep road or driveway that won’t allow the passage of large tall barn shed moving equipment. A good option in this case would be to hire someone with a smaller pickup truck to haul in the raw materials or pre-assembled parts and assemble your shed or cabin on site.

Another good reason to have your shed built on site is when you’re looking for a building that’s too large to haul on the back of a truck or trailer. Most states and municipalities set the limit for buildings that are transported on public roads to 16’ wide and 13’ 6” high (the building height must be less than that to allow for the height of the trailer). Many shed builders offer “built-on-site” services for their customers who are looking for larger buildings such as cabins or portable garages. A final reason for building your shed on site is when you need to construct your shed on a concrete foundation with a short concrete sub wall. For foundations of this nature, it is preferable to set the shed up on site since it would be very difficult to install it on top of the sub-wall count after it’s already assembled.

onsite built or 1

A Note about Shed Builders vs. Framing Contractors

Outbuilding construction contractors use different methods for building sheds on site.

Many shed builders will preassemble walls and rafters before arriving at the job site. This saves time and allows the builder to complete the job on site in a fraction of the time that would otherwise be required. In addition, because shed builders specialize in outbuilding construction, they are able to source materials at a much lower cost than the average contractor who buys materials from the local lumber yard.

Most framing contractors will build the entire building from scratch without any preassembly. For this reason, framing contractors often end up spending more time on the project which results in higher costs to the customer. If a framing contractor gives you a lower price for a shed built on site, you should pay close attention to the quality of materials used and construction specs. The contractor may be cutting corners in order to cut costs.

Even if you purchase your shed through a shed builder, your shed builder may hire a subcontractor to complete the onsite construction. For your own protection, be sure to choose a shed builder who hires subcontractors who are licensed, insured, and bonded.
Single or multiple car garages are frequently built on site for at least two reasons. First, some homeowners prefer to have their garage built on a concrete foundation. In this case “built on site” is often the preferred method used by many shed builders. Second, garages that can hold more than one car are often too large to be delivered in one piece, making building it on site the only option.

Large backyard storage sheds and other outbuildings are a third type of building that are frequently built on site. This includes sheds with a second story and tall barn sheds with attic trusses. It also includes sheds that are wider than 14’ or 16’. Large backyard outbuildings can be used for a wide range of activities; anything from a woodworking shop sheds to an art studio.

sheds onsite construction

Sheds Built on Site: What is the Process?

If you decide that building your shed, garage, or cabin on site is the way to go, what can you expect? What is the process for setting up your building on site?

  1. Apply for permits (if applicable). In most cases, you’ll need to apply for a permit from your township or homeowners association (HOA). You’ll probably be required to submit a set of drawings for approval. Check with your local shed builder if you need help with creating drawings and applying for permits.
  2. Place your order. After you’ve scouted out your options and selected a local builder, it’s time to place your order. It’s important to wait for this step until you’ve received all necessary permissions from your township or HOA. Otherwise, you might be forced to cancel or make last-minute revisions to the size or specs of your structure.
  3. Prepare the site. Site preparation requirements will vary from one project to the next. At a minimum, you’ll want to make sure the site is free from debris and obstructions that might hinder the construction process. If the site is on a steep grade you’ll want to have it leveled. If your shed has a wood floor, installing a 5-6” layer of gravel is recommended to allow for optimal water drainage. If you’re installing the outbuilding or cabin on a concrete foundation, you’ll need to schedule a foundation contractor so that the site is ready to go when your onsite setup crew arrives.
  4. Sit back and be amazed. If you’ve hired a local shed builder to set up your structure on site you’ll have the privilege of sitting back and watching the construction process. Many shed builders have reduced their craft to a science and are extremely efficient at the building process. Walls and rafters may come preassembled which will allow many shed builders to complete the project in a matter of hours or a few days (depending on project size). Keep your video camera handy to capture the process and impress your friends.

Your Local On-Site Shed Builder Advantage

If your project is located in northeast Oregon or Southeast Washington State you have access to a shed builder that understands the local building codes and climates. Countryside Sheds has been constructing well-built sheds, cabins, and garages in this region since 1995.

When compared with national brands that are trying to be one-size-fits-all companies, Countryside Sheds is better able to understand their local customers. They specialize in helping their customers find custom buildings or living solution that is an exact fit for their needs.

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