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Pre-Fabricated Structures

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 23 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Gardening Gardening Tips Design

Have you considered a pre-fabricated structure for your next garden building? There is growing interest in pre-fabricated structures in the UK.

Although this construction method can be used for practically any type of building, it is seeing greatest use in smaller structures like garden buildings.

Large portions of a building (or even the entire building) are created in a controlled manufacturing environment, which allows for excellent quality control.

Even more important in the UK, work can continue regardless of weather conditions. When completed, the pre-fabricated structure is delivered either in one piece or in a few large sections for quick assembly and installation.

Pre-fabricated structures offer many benefits to the gardener. First off, if you are able to find a suitable model of garden building that fits your needs and the proposed location, then you completely eliminate the need for any design work.

Whether you are in the market for a summerhouse, a garden shed, a log cabin or a garage workshop, you should be able to find a suitable pre-fabricated model.

The Benefits of Pre-Fab

You can expect to save a great deal of time with pre-fabricated garden buildings, leaving much more time for your gardening, garden design or other hobbies! Since they are delivered to your site complete (or nearly so), you don't have to wait days or weeks for construction to be completed.

And time is not all you'll save. Pre-fabricated structures have significant cost advantages over buildings constructed using traditional methods. These types of buildings usually eliminate any surprises along the way. Pre-fabricated buildings are priced by the unit, so there are no costly glitches that crop up during construction.

With the wide range of designs available, you can rest assured the pre-fabricated structures will blend well with your garden design. You should be able to discover the perfect building design simply by browsing through manufacturer's catalogues.

You might be surprised to learn that pre-fabricated construction methods have environmental advantages as well. The assembly line production method tends to produce less waste than site-built construction.

The economies of scale allow manufacturers cheaper access to eco-friendly building materials. And with the quick set-up time, there's almost no impact on your garden or surrounding area. Designers are constantly adding features that help the environment, like engineering support of a living roof or building in rainwater harvesting systems.

Pre Fabricated Structure Construction

Even pre-fabricated structures require a foundation of sorts. Preparing a dry and level foundation is absolutely essential. If the base is not sound, your building will not sit squarely.

If there are doors and windows, they may stick or become inoperable. If your pre-fabricated building is assembled on-site, an uneven foundation will turn an easy job into a challenge--corners won't meet properly, fastening points won't line up.

A larger garden building or workshop needs a full concrete foundation. For smaller buildings, you could also consider using paving slabs. The foundation should be slightly larger than the building itself by at least two inches on every side. Adding four inches to the length and width of the building is an easy way to ensure this.

You can avoid lots of drainage headaches later on if you can arrange for your landscape to slope away from your garden building on all sides. By siting the foundation just a little higher than the surrounding garden, you will accomplish the major part of keeping the floor of your garden building dry.

Depending on the size and location of your pre-fabricated structure, you may not need planning permission. However, it is always prudent to contact your planning authority to confirm that everything is in order.

The general consensus is that planing permission isn't required if the building is under 4 metres tall with a pitched roof, and is more than 5 metres away from your house. But even though pre-fabricated garden buildings are a snap to put up, you still wouldn't want to be forced to remove it for non-compliance with planning rules, so it's always best to double check.

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