The trick to a successful construction project of any type is having in place a good plan before you lift a single tool, except maybe a tape measure. Planning for this garage took over a year. I wanted to make sure that I spent time thinking through every detail and getting the answers I needed before I started. I also needed to purchase tools and heavy equipment, and those purchases required careful research as well as a bit of patience and luck (there's always someone out there who wants to convince you to pay far too much for something, and those people always seem to be the easiest to find). I didn't submit my permit application until I had everything I needed and every question and issue I could imagine had been resolved. 

New issues are always going to arise in mid-construction. You mitigate your risk by thinking through as much as you can beforehand. Most people will want to skip this info and get right to having a "wall raising party", but planning and foundation work are both far more important and must be completed first.

Go through this section carefully, because I raise questions that might not be obvious if you are just beginning to think about your construction project.


Garage Building

In my early online research, I began looking through the samples of garage plans that were for sale on the Internet. What I found were all kinds of pretty pictures of elaborate designs, designs that I didn't think I would be able to build myself. I was looking for a basic garage and not something with an architectural roof design or a livable attic.

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Garage Cost

I suppose there are quite a few reasons that a person could come to the decision to build their own garage, as opposed to having someone build it for them. In my own case, it was simply that I couldn't find anyone willing to build it for even close to what I thought was a reasonable cost. Not even close.

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Working With Contractors

I chuckle at people who say they built their own home, when all they really did was walk into the office of a neighborhood builder and fill out a specification form. But that is what some people consider "building themselves". After all, there wasn't a structure there until they got involved, and now there's a structure there. So okay.

If that is all you want to do when you build your garage, this site can help you throughout the planning and building process by helping you to make decisions and verify that the work is being done properly.

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Money Matters

Before the process of building my garage could begin, I needed to think about where the money was going to come from to build it. This would help me come up with a number for my actual budget. At this point I didn't really know how much it would cost, but I figured I should have about $20,000 handy just to be safe.

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Quotes and Research

We had recently purchased our home, and it was a fixer-upper. I had my hands full with renovating the house. I knew I wanted a garage that was built right the first time, with plenty of room for whatever our vehicle needs would be now and in the future, plus enough storage to keep our house from being cluttered. I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish this though. The first step once I had a general budget was to obtain some quotes. The quote process helped me to answer some questions I had about construction, and it ultimately forced me to abandon the idea of having the garage built by someone else.

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Types of Garage Construction

The next thing I needed to figure out was how the garage was going to be constructed.

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I made an initial phone call to my county's building department to learn what was required to build my own garage. I was fearing the worst, because the red tape that these departments sometimes impose can be overwhelming. They told me that if I used post and beam construction I would definitely need engineer stamped blueprints. However, they said that there was another alternative that did not even require blueprints or the services of an engineer...

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Obtaining the Permit

Once I had the stamped blueprints and site plan, it was time to call my county community development office again. I picked up a copy of the permit application. It asked very basic questions such as who I was, the property address and size, and who the general contractor would be (me). I returned the application to the community development office along with the stamped large copy of the blueprints/site plan, and one small copy.

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