I just finished building a large shed!


This job was actually done for a neighbour of my mother’s where the lady had asked if I could build her a large shed. Upon my first visit with Dorrie to discuss her needs, she actually wanted options for a brick built shed as she was planning on using half of it as an office but was on a tight budget. The figure given to me just wouldn’t come close, so we had a look online at large wooden sheds which would better suit her budget needs.

Dorrie explained that she had an existing shed base in her garden that we could use, the problem however was that a) the large shed she wanted built was longer than the base itself and b) the existing shed base was not level with large dips. Which is strange because upon further investigation, there was proper type 1 MOT etc used.

I explained that ideally, we would remove the existing base and build a new one, but this was not doable due to the budget! I actually told her that I would prefer to come back when the budget isn’t a problem but she insisted on another way around it as she wanted it done now.

The next solution (or best of a bad situation) was to add the additional length onto the shed base, and when laying the wooden base (or floor) for the shed we would use a wet cement mix to tamper it down level on the base as to avoid dips. Dorrie understood that there make be weaknesses in the base as there were dips, but wanted to go ahead so that’s what we done!

Day 1 of the large shed build

On the first day, the plan was to build the additional shed base onto the length of the existing shed base. To do this, we dug out the area, built a border using edging boards and laid type 1 MOT before tampering it down with a wacker plate. Once complete we filled the area with concrete to finish the new base. The existing base also had randomn lumps of concrete on it, as if something brick build had previously been laid there, so we knocked these out ready for the wooden shed base (or floor). This work took us 1 day to complete.

Day 2 of the large shed build

We had allowed for 3 days to build the shed to keep it in budget for labour costs. The plan was to put the walls and roof pillars up on the second day, and to install the roof, windows and doors on the 3rd day, so arriving at 8AM on a Monday Morning we started putting everything together. Everything went very smoothly, too smoothly in fact. Everything was screwing together nicely, everything fitting etc.. By the end of the day, we were left with this…

Day 3 of the large shed build

This was where things started to go wrong very quickly! First of all, the chip board panels for the roof were just not fitting! We would line up a roof panel, screw it in, continue to have a few more in and then see that they were forcing the shed to twist or force the side panels out where the walls wouldnt be level. We re-checked the wooden shed base level since the concrete base had dips, but we knew we had fixed this issue, and using the spirit level knew that we had no problems there. We would remove and re-fit the roof pillars to make sure the walls were complete straight, but after losing half a day, we gave in and cut the roof panels where necessary. We would make sure all walls were level before screwing in the roof panels and then cutting where necessary allowing room for the next panel. The reason for this is because it’s actually the roof that holds the structure in place.

By the end of the day, we had the roof installed on our large shed build and had temporarily installed the felt just to save time for the next day. Now, we have gone over our labour budget as we were going to have to come back to finish on our 4th day, with the shed felt to nail down properly, the doors, windows and other trimmings and accessories to do. We were a far way off from the 3 days quoted. It was still profitable, but it would have been nice to finish on time.

Day 4 of our shed build

Day 4 was no better than day 3, but staying later than usual we did manage to finish everything. We first put all of the necessary nails in place for the shed roof felt and added the fittings to the front and back to hide the edges of the felt. The Batton you see on the side of the shed, hiding the edge of the felt was actually supplied and fitted by ourselves to give it a nice finish. The windows all went on fine. It was only when we got round to fitting the doors that we quickly realised that they were about 2 inches too wide!

To solve this problem, we attached both doors by the hinges, and gently closed one on top of the other. When they overlapped, we drew a line from top to bottom, removed one door and cut a straight line using a circular saw which done the job perfectly. Our next problem was the slide bolt. We fitted it with no problems, but when the doors were closed and the bolt locked, the doors would still open slightly as if the base was uneven (which it wasn’t). A quick run to wickes for some extra timber, we installed a wooden frame on the inside of the door frame to stop the doors from opening inwards, then added an overlap on one door from the outside, which meant that when one door was closed, the other couldnt open. We then installed the slide bolt to the top of the door that had the over lap (or door stop if you like) which all worked perfectly!

Finally we cleared everything up and went home!

My thoughts on this large shed build job

I won’t lie, this job went over by 1 day due to problems with the original concrete shed base, the doors not fitting and the roof panels not fitting. But although not ideal, the job was still profitable. We charged an hourly rate of £25.00 per person (this job was in North London) which equates to £50 per hour for 2 of us, or £400 per day. We capped the large shed build at 3 days, or £1200. It was myself and my business partner doing the work, so we walked away with £600 each before taxes for 4 days work, or £150 per day.

Every day that a job goes over by, is every day that your profits are reduced, which is why we stayed late on the 4th day to finish.

The thing to remember is that the larger the project, the more potential problems that you can run into. It’s always best to come prepared, in this case we had the circular saw ready incase we needed it. But the more problems you run into, the quicker you will solve them next time and the better prepared you will be! Here is a picture of the final result.

My next job which starts tomorrow is to replace a small picket fence, add gravel boards to give extra height to an existing fence which will mean filling in the gaps between the fence panels as they will raise above the fence posts and installing a small area of artificial turf for a dog run. The hole job has been quoted 2-3 days to complete so let’s see how we get on with time and if we encounter any problems. Check out our how to category to keep up to date with our latest jobs!