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Need some workshop space, a fortress of solitude, or a place to house your beer fridge? A new spacious garage is the answer, and this is the Instructable to make it possible. As a new homeowner and avid DIY type guy, I was up against a big challenge when tackling a brand new construction of this magnitude. Let my mistakes and sage advice steer you clear of pitfalls and heartbreak. Read on for a step by step guide to building a new garage.

The general process can be summarized as consisting of the following steps.

1. Understand your local rules and make a plan
2. Get the appropriate permits
3. Get quotes and contracts from any subcontractors
4. Order materials (don't forget beer)
5. Begin construction. Getting periodic inspections as required.
6. Get more materials
7. Continue construction
8. Curse your incompetence
9. Get more materials
10. Repeat steps 7-9 ad nauseam

DISCLAIMER: While this Instructable details my experiences building a garage, your mileage may vary. Use your brain, at your own risk.

Step 1: I love it when a plan comes together!

The key component of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith's favorite saying, "I love it when a plan comes together!" is the plan. Take that to heart and you will spare yourself a lot of trouble when building a garage. You will need to plan the layout of the new garage within your lot, plan the size, shape, and look of your garage, plan the materials needed, plan the subcontractors, plan the permits and inspections, plan the zero-cost (beer compensated) workers, plan the timetables, plan the weather... well you get the picture. If planning is not your cup of tea, then maybe you should just write a check for ~$25k to get it done by a crew of folks who will do a fine job without you learning a damn thing.

So step 1 is simply this: do the legwork and get a plan together. Easier said than done.

Key areas to consider:
1. How big do you want the garage to be?
2. How big can the garage be (city ordinances!?!)?
3. Where and how many doors and windows?
4. What type of roof?
5. What parts are you going to subcontract?

The plan will depend on the rules in your local municipality. Since I undertook this project under the rules of a major metropolis, my example will be on the more restrictive end of the spectrum. If you live in the sticks, then you can probably build as big and awesome a garage as you like. Not me. :( So from this point forward I will be presenting the garage-building process from the point of view of a homeowner in the city of Minneapolis, which should transfer in large part to any city in the US of A.

The first thing to do is visit your city's website to learn about the permit and building plan process as well as any special restrictions in your area. Click here to go to the Minneapolis permit page.

Take the time to talk with your neighbors as well to give them a heads up on your plans for dominating the landscape with your new garage. If they don't like it then at least they can get used to the idea while you get underway. If you live in a neighborhood controlled by a homeowners association, you may need to talk to them as well. They really know how to put the ass in association. In general, as long as you do not require a "variance" or exception from city rules on such things as garage height, placement, and so forth you can build regardless of objections from neighbors.

In Minneapolis, we have alleys behind the houses in a lot of neighborhoods and very deep narrow building lots. As a result I didn't have room to expand the existing attached one-car garage. So I decided on building a detached two-car off of the alley in the backyard. The key municipal codes of interest were the required distances that must be maintained between the new structure and the property lines, adjacent structures, the alley right of way, and other urban features. Click here to read the relavant document (PDF).

You will want to draw up a sketch of your lot and your neighbors' lots so that you can get an idea of how things will fit in your yard in relation to the lot lines and other buildings. Get out a tape measure and a friend and take a walk around the yard to get accurate dimensions for the sketch. You also need to locate the metal stakes that mark the corners of your lot. These are often buried a few inches underground and are set 1 foot in from the actual lines. If you can't find the markers on your lot corners, walk around and find your neighbor's. It is permissible to use theirs as a reference point if you know your lot dimensions. I located my neighbor's corner marker two doors down which was very lucky. If you can't find these markers, you will have to commission an official survey ($$$) to locate them in order to draw up the site plan sketch. This sketch is required by the city in securing a permit, you will need to show this sketch and get the plan approved before a building permit will be issued. See my sketches below. The city of Minneapolis requires a top view building site plan with relevant dimensions as well as a series of detail and elevation drawings of the building itself. As you can tell the level of artistry involved does not need to be high.

When making the drawings, be sure to use the wonderous series of tubes we call the Internets to check the city webpage for property line and lot size information as well as using your favorite satellite imagery site to get info on the placement of buildings in your immediate vicinity . While a 3D model is not required by the city, I found Google's SketchUp to be a useful tool for visualizing how the garage was going to look in relation to the rest of the house, trees, neighbors, etc. Download it here. A sample shot of my model is below.

Once you have a set of drawings to your liking you can take some time and head down to the Minnesota Development Review offices at 250 S. 4th St., Room 300, Minneapolis MN. As a first-timer this can be intimidating, but even though this bureaucratic organ qualifies as part of "The Machine" the people there are there to help you out. If you read and understand the rules, bring in a good site plan and drawings, they will happily inform you of any problems, give you time to correct them, and then take your money with a smile. For reference, our 440 square foot detached garage cost $300 for a building permit. I also had to lop off 2 feet of the width since the city of Minneapolis allows a maximum of 676 square feet of accessory building. My existing 1-car attached counted towards that total, a fact I had overlooked. On your way out of the review office, be sure to get a parking token. With the new permit in hand, I was ready to begin purchasing materials, locating subcontractors, and other details.

In summary:

1. Communication with the building permit office and your neighbors is helpful and important.

2. Take the time to know the city rules.

3. Take measurements of your lot and draw up your site plan on your computer. Experiments here are easier than moving foundations later.

4. Get your plan approved by the city and get your permit.
<p>This is awesome, such a thorough guide!</p><p>Also, great advice there in Step 11, I guess you learn something new every day.</p>
<p>Do you know how long a project like this usually takes? My sister and her husband have been wanting to build a garage outside their home for the past few weeks but they are traveling for the summer. They are trying to decide when would be the best time and how long it would take. I will have to pass these tips on to them though, thank you . </p><p>&lt;a href='http://www.toplinegarages.com.au/' &gt;&lt;/a&gt;</p>
The concrete takes a few days to do and then you need to let it cure a bit. Talk to the contractor on that, my guess is a week. <br><br>For us in MN, the best time to build is in September since it is still warm, one of the driest months, and less bugs. <br><br>If you have a slab with block and bolts for your sill plates, all the materials on-hand, a good set of plans, and a capable crew of 4-5 you could get the walls up, sheathed, windows in and the roof trussed and shingled in a weekend. After that, a day for electrical, a day for doors, and a day or two for siding. You could have a basic garage like mine done in a week. You only really need a crew for the walls and roof, I did the rest on my own on weekends and it took like 4 weekends or about 8-10 days of hard work.
<p>Would it be easier to do in the summer? I'm not sure if they have enough time with their jobs and kids to work on it themselves so it might be beneficial to hire someone for help. Although, doing it on the weekends seems like a great option. That way, friends and family can come and help if needed. </p>
<p>Please stop spamming Instructables.</p>
I want to build a 24x24 garage but do it in two steps. Is it safe to use a 12 foot 2x4 wall with the ridge pole on top of that and install the rafters to just one half. I plan to build a second 12x24 section next summer. My concern is whether the roof will be strong enough with just one half built. I was planning on a 6-12 pitch. My roof framework is 2x6 roof joists on 24&quot; centers and the walls are 2x4 on 12&quot; centers.
That was very informative and I liked your humor throughout. I have framed a couple small additions to my cabin in the past, using a framing book for guidance. I feel very comfortable building a garage myself now. My only change to your instructions, will be to use PBR, rather then Miller lite. Thanks for your great instructions.
Just wondering if you had checked into metal roofing (like I've seen installed on primitive cabins). It seems like it would go on a lot faster, but perhaps I'm wrong.
Does rebar just lie there on the gravel or is it elevated to be surrounded by concrete? If lifted, what with? Does rebar have to be tied?
Hi <br>The rebar must be elevated enough so the gravel that is contained in the wet concrete will fit under it. The minimum is 1&quot; and the maximum, for a 4&quot; thick concrete, should be 1-1/2&quot;. If you've got old concrete blocks, you can break them and use the pieces as supports, but make sure you tie the rebar to these or they'll fall off while pouring concrete! Other items would be used bricks, pieces of concrete. NO organic materials that will decompose should be used! If you want to spend some $ and do it nicely, go to a contractors supply house and ask for 'rebar chairs'. These come individually and in 5' strips, which can be cut to short pieces. <br> <br>Yes, the rebar needs to be tied together. This helps to keep it in place while you're pouring the wet concrete, and it does give strength. <br>The rebar must also overlap where it is tied/spliced together. The rule for how much overlap is: 18 x Diameter (in inches). So if you're using 1/2&quot; diameter rebar, 18 x 1/2&quot; = 9 inch overlap. If using #6 bar (rebar is named in 1/8&quot;, so #6 = 6/8&quot; or 3/4&quot; diameter) the required minimum overlap is 18 x .75, or 12&quot; overlap.
Building your own garage is tough. As soon as we got do the garage doors part of it I just let the pros come install it. <a href="http://www.thedoorworks.ca" rel="nofollow">garage doors</a>

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