Sunday 27 July 2014

Renovating - Never a dull moment...

I'm going to interrupt Kate's blog on the bathroom renovation progress to fill you in on one of our recent renovation developments, after meeting with Matt from Shedquarters on Friday afternoon. Matt built the following ultra cool shed (* edit from Kate - it's just a shed I see no 'ultra cool' about it - just sayin') that sits behind the Grady display home at the North Shore Display Village...
And from the moment I first laid eyes on it I knew, that's the exact 6m x 4m shed that would look great in the 'dead space' behind our house as shown in the following picture (say goodbye Hills Hoist!)...
The thing is, we need a shed out the back, as our renovation master plan at present has us converting the garage into a Master Bedroom, Ensuite and Study. So out of necessity we would need to build a shed to store all the things that normally live within the garage, plus it makes much better use of a space that quite frankly, doesn't get used.
So we were quite excited when our Shedquarters guy Matt turned up on Friday evening to do an on-site quote for us. He also happened to bring along a set of council plans which shows where the 'waste water' (read sewer pipes) run, and low and behold, they just so happen to run semi-parallel across the rear of the property, which in turn affects how the slab can be laid (read potentially incorporating concrete piers x 6 into the ground to a depth of 4+ metres!) You see, its all to do with 'zones of influence', as shown in the following council diagram...
Matt actually did a full scale drawing using spray paint on the grass to explain the zones of influence to us, which besides being really helpful, was pretty artistic at the same time. But in real terms what does this all mean? It means that in order to build a 6m x 4m shed, meet the appropriate building regulations for set back distance from the house and fence, and not interfere with the zones of influence, our shed would effectively straddle the sewer line (which is 4.98 metres under the ground by the way) as shown in the following picture..
So we looked at other options, including a slightly smaller shed at 3m x 5m, but that actually impacted on the zones of influence even more. We were frankly at a bit of a loss, because piers of this depth and size sounded like something out of a Grand Designs episode, which is a little bit O.T.T. for storing tubs of xmas decorations and the lawn mower if you ask me. Matt said he would go away and look at some other building regulations and see whether the pier widths could be adjusted thus allowing more clearance between the piers and the pipes, and come back to us during the week with a possible, maybe, don't like your chances, potential solution.
While Matt was explaining all of the different building regulations, it suddenly dawns on us why the house stops where it does and the two girls bedrooms at the rear of the house are narrower than you might expect - quite possibly, the original builder 'put it in the too hard basket' didn't want to put in massive piers to extend the house one more metre further towards the back of the block...
Then this morning Kate was doing some more research, trawling through council building regulations online, when she came across a document called 'Building Over or Adjacent to Services Guidelines', which states that "garden sheds less than 12m square are exempt from site specific engineered footings when building over or adjacent to services listed in 'Allowable Development', but still requires council's approval".   Is this our only solution??  We don't know yet, but if it is then Kate is the absolute bomb!!! ( *yep that was edited by me again - K )
If that's the case, then rest assured my heart will now be set upon owning a delightful 3m x 4m garden shed so that we can carry on with planning the next stage of our renovation. It's smaller than we need but way better than nothing.  So we'll be having all fingers and toes crossed until we get confirmation on either option, because if the shed at the back is not possible, then it will be back to the drawing board...literally.  The garage will have to remain as is, then our only other 'add-on' option will be going UP... which would be at a 'not-insignificant' additional cost.
So that's a big unexpected curve ball, and our first real renovation set back for this project, but hopefully Kate's readings of the regulations are right and we can power on ahead with a smaller garden shed. Oh well, who said renovating is boring...??
Cheers, Col
PS. This is the second version, not as good as the first version, of this blog post after 'blogger' accidentally deleted it (with some assistance from me). Stoopid sewer pipes... stoopid building regs... stoopid blogger... :-(


  1. Best of luck with the shed. I'm not too familiar with the building codes for non-habitable structures over service pipes (i.e. sewer/stormwater) but surely common sense will prevail here. I understand that Council require access so that they can maintain the pipes, but it's just a garden shed. Bored piers? c-mom!

    1. Thanks Caroline - it looks like a solution may be in the wind - as a hint let's just say Kate is da-bomb! Obligatory blog post to follow in due course :-)

      Cheers, Col