designing and building *PIC*

John K Jordan
>>>7. How many pounds and thickness for the mix? (Five inches, more? 3500? 4000? Crack prevention fiberglass? Rebar? Smooth or brushed finish?

That, and some other of your construction design questions might be best answered by hiring out the design, assuming you don't have that experience. Some architects will do small designs like this. Some contractors may have ideas about specs but who will you trust? You can hire an engineer for spot calculations, for example for beams and trusses to support the load you expect from the hoist. If the building will need permits and inspection the building and electrical inspectors will have some minimum guidelines.

I am a believer in using rebar in concrete. The thickness and design depend on what kind of load you expect (and the ground prep, etc.) For my general shop floor I used 4" thick concrete with a 2' rebar grid. I wanted the bay area floor stout enough to support my tractor and bobcat so I made it 6" thick with a 1' rebar grid, more on the edges and ramp as I deemed needed. Smooth finish everywhere except on the outside welding area, porch, and ramp.

I recommend designing a sound-insulated closet for the air compressor and the dust collector if this will be a wood shop at some point. I built a 4'x8' closet with staggered stud walls and baffled air return for the 5hp compressor and 5hp cyclone. Without this the sound can range from annoying to deafening.

Shop air is more useful when you don't have to stretch an air line across the building. I plumbed air lines through the ceiling and walls with multiple outlets inside and out, one at the lathe, one in the welding room for air tools and plasma cutter, etc.

I like to run wiring underground. My shop is 250' through the woods from the meter so this took a bit of effort with the backhoe on my tractor.

Do you plan on building this yourself? It's a LOT cheaper but a lot of work.

My shop is 24x62; I did almost everything from preparing the dirt to wiring the heat pump. I tell people I built the shop with my bare hands but I lie, I used tools! It was a full-time job for a long time (several years) and this was after months of designing and dozens of pages of drawings and revisions. It's a LOT easier to hire everything out but I'm too poor, er, cheap for that. I do have builder and architect friends and family and have done this before so critical design questions were not hard to answer.


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