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Author Topic: What should minimum size of bus garage be?  (Read 2547 times)
belfert
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« on: November 17, 2006, 03:32:52 PM »

What should the absolute minimum size of a bus garage be for a 45 foot bus?

I live in an inner ring suburb that just passed new rules that an accessory structure can only be 750 sq ft maximum.  Also, in order to build any accessory structure, I have to convert my attached garage to "living space".  I'm not sure what the definition of living space is.  I want to convert the garage to a woodshop.

The old rules allowed for a 900 sq ft accessory building and I could keep the attached garage.  I was planning to do a 12x50 bus garage with a 300 sq ft woodshop attached.

My thoughts now would be to build a 70 foot long garage, but that would mean it could be only maybe 9 1/2 feet wide inside.  The 70 feet is to have room to park a vehicle in addition to the bus since my attached garage would be gone.  I suppose my other option would be to do something more reasonable like 51x14.5 and leave the car outside.  If/when I sell the house, a new owner could park a car in the garage.

I'm questioning a little bit how much money I should invest in this property.  I know my best option might be to move, but I really like the location (reasonable commute) and the house was custom built for me five years and I really like it.  I talked to the builder of the house today and his suggestion was to move.  He thinks I will kill the value of the house if the attached garage is converted.

Brian Elfert
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2006, 04:00:07 PM »

Brian,

Bare minimum would be enough room to open all doors, engine cover and still walk around.

On the garage, I think your builder is probably correct...Up in cold country I am sure the attached garage is an item most would want.

My experience has shown that you don't want to overbuild for the neighborhood, you end up limiting your pool of future buyers and don't get the same return on your investment.

Now if there are several others in your area who have the same general type of structures you may be fine.

That said, sometimes you just have to do it anyway, even if it doesn't totally make sense.....Probably why we are converting Buses Grin


Cliff
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2006, 04:47:18 PM »

My house is already the newest one in the neighborhood.  Most houses are 30 years old or more.  I tore down a dilapidated 90 year old house to build this one.  Two blocks away are lots of new lake houses worth much more than mine that were also tear downs.  The house next door is 50 or more years old, tiny, and not in the best shape.

I have to decide if I'm building for me or the next owner.  I might live here for the next 30 years.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2006, 05:08:14 PM »

20 x 50 x 16 high and a pit would be min you can have a bench all down one side and have the door slightly off center that would be my minimum.
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2006, 05:12:22 PM »

Next year after selling the house here in San Diego,I'm leaving,can't aford to buy another one here.My ideal house/garage set-up would be a 100x100 square foot metal building with a measadeen (upstairs livng quarters)with a big stainless steel pole that came up into the living quarters to where I could slide down into my building/shop or what have you....*smiling*.....I'd have doors on both ends of this building to where I could just drive in one end and out the other.I'd definately have some acreage so I would not have to deal with any neighbors(40 acres sound about right),anybody out there on the same wave length as me........Frank
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2006, 05:55:09 PM »

Yeah Frank, I'm with you except I think you left a zero off the acreage.  Grin

If you really like the location, & plan on living there a long time, Build what YOU want, to hell with what some possible future buyer may want.

My experience is your shop is NEVER EVER big enough! All shops come in 2 sizes, too small & WAY TOO DAMN SMALL!  Grin  Grin  Grin  BTDT

If I was staying put, 13.5' x 55.5' is what I'd build. that way you have as much room as allowed all around your coach.

As far as your existing garage, add it to the air ducts so it is air conditioned/ heated space as the rest of the house & cover the exposed wood (if your garage is unfinished) with the appropriate surface. That should satisfy the code. (You can always disconnect the duct work later to keep wood dust out of the house . . .  Roll Eyes )

If your bus garage adds to the neighborhood on a cosmetically, they way grant you an exception or code variance. It will cost more up front, but will be nicer to look at & cause fewer problems in the long run. Consult with a architect to find out what is possible. interview several to get the best ideas.

Good Luck!
kyle4501
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2006, 05:42:37 AM »

Next year after selling the house here in San Diego,I'm leaving,can't aford to buy another one here.My ideal house/garage set-up would be a 100x100 square foot metal building with a measadeen (upstairs livng quarters)with a big stainless steel pole that came up into the living quarters to where I could slide down into my building/shop or what have you....*smiling*.....I'd have doors on both ends of this building to where I could just drive in one end and out the other.I'd definately have some acreage so I would not have to deal with any neighbors(40 acres sound about right),anybody out there on the same wave length as me........Frank
    We thought about this too. A 60' x 100' building with 16' walls. 100' across the front would include 50' of living area, 2  12' wide garage doors for our car & truck and a 14' wide door for the bus. "House" would be in one corner of the building and wouls be 30 x 50. This would give me an area approx. 30 x 74 for my shop. Tractor could be parked behind the bus. Our biggest concern was resale. Not sure how many people other than Busnuts would be interested in something like this.  Jack
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2006, 05:52:40 AM »

OKay, So I have been looking at property out in Ok & Tx (w/in 75 mile commute of Dallas)  and the big steel building issue is one that i have been also contemplating.   I have been looking at the 40x60 with thought of living qtrs above, and the 60x100 building sizes.  One question I have is   a pit.  If you had the ability to build a shop from scratch, what would you do for the pit (Heat lighting depth, length etc.)   

Jim
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2006, 06:59:19 AM »

OKay, So I have been looking at property out in Ok & Tx (w/in 75 mile commute of Dallas)  and the big steel building issue is one that i have been also contemplating.   I have been looking at the 40x60 with thought of living qtrs above, and the 60x100 building sizes.  One question I have is   a pit.  If you had the ability to build a shop from scratch, what would you do for the pit (Heat lighting depth, length etc.)   

Jim

Jim, before I made that decision I think I would make a list of exactly what I would use a pit for. What really will you be doing on a regular basis that you need a pit? Oil change was the only thing that I could come up with and for the little added cost, a truck stop is much better.
Richard
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2006, 07:13:51 AM »

RE, the pit.  There is a certain amount of independance when you can do it all yourself.  Adjusting the brakes comes to mind or anything else that you need to check out or repair. 

Having said that, I have some ramps I made for access and I have my oil changed at the dealer.  One minor point, when the dealer changes the oil, I also have them do a chassis lube. The critical issue about the cahssis lube is that the weight must be off the front wheels for the grease to get into the kingpns like it needs to.  So you have to have a pit, and jack it up anyway.

I guess  a pit is safer, ala Buffalospaceship's experience / close call last week.
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2006, 07:21:39 AM »

I have a 40' x 60' shop with 14' clearance.  My pit is 4' wide, 5' deep and 24' long.  The cost of the pit was only about $2000 additional and worth every cent.  Since it is only 24' long, I can only work on one end of the bus at a time.

When I was building it, I put in a compressed air line, electric lights and outlets and a sump in one corner with a slight slope in the floor.

The pit is great for adjusting brakes, oil changes, lube, and just the chance to get a good look under the bus without having to block it up and crawl under it. I'm getting too old and too heavy to do much crawling these days.

Len
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2006, 07:55:49 AM »

As far as your existing garage, add it to the air ducts so it is air conditioned/ heated space as the rest of the house & cover the exposed wood (if your garage is unfinished) with the appropriate surface. That should satisfy the code. (You can always disconnect the duct work later to keep wood dust out of the house . . .  Roll Eyes )

If your bus garage adds to the neighborhood on a cosmetically, they way grant you an exception or code variance. It will cost more up front, but will be nicer to look at & cause fewer problems in the long run. Consult with a architect to find out what is possible. interview several to get the best ideas.

If I convert the garage, it will have its own heating/cooling system.  I would be converting the garage to a shop to actually use, not just to meet city requirements to build my accessory structure.  I will keep the header for the garage door so it could be converted back to a garage.

Yes, I can always apply for a variance, but I have this feeling it wouldn't pass.  Current city standards call for a 80 foot wide lot and mine is only 55 feet wide but 280 feet deep.  I had to get a variance to build a new house since the lot is substandard.  The variance for the house sailed through, but that is because I was improving the neighborhood.  (City was going to take action against owner of previous house due to neglect, but stopped when he put it up for sale.)  The planning commission might not look so kindly on approviong a accessory structure as big as some of the neighboring houses.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2006, 11:34:17 AM »

Brian - that's exactly what variances are for - unique and singular hardships of the land - before you decide, review the statutory "criteria" the board or hearing master can consider in the granting of a variance and see if you can find something that fits your situation - HTH
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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2006, 11:46:40 AM »

20 x 50 x 16 high and a pit would be min you can have a bench all down one side and have the door slightly off center that would be my minimum.

Well, if the minimum is 20 feet wide, I can't do it then as I only have 750 square feet to work with.

I thought about this quite a bit last night.  My builder suggested moving to a larger lot in a less restrictive area.  That is starting to sound like it might be the best option.

I can buy a lot that is 2 to 9 acres for $80,000 if I want to be on the far fringes of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.  My commute to downtown Minneapolis would go from 20 to 30 minutes to 60 minutes each way.  If I want to spend more like $150,000, I can be closer in, but still a pretty fair drive.  My idea would be to build a large structure to house the bus, a workshop, and some storage.  I would live in the bus for a while and then build a house.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2006, 12:06:43 PM »

Brian, I commuted a lot over the years.  I went from 30 miles of hell which took an hour to 55 miles of good road which took 50 minutes.  In my estimation the quality of the drive is much more important than the distance.

Good luck,

Len
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belfert
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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2006, 01:19:51 PM »

Brian, I commuted a lot over the years.  I went from 30 miles of hell which took an hour to 55 miles of good road which took 50 minutes.  In my estimation the quality of the drive is much more important than the distance.

There are plenty of cities I simply won't consider because the roads into the metro area are so congested.  The area I am considering really isn't too bad right now for traffic, but not sure what will happen over the next 10 to 20 years.  Congestion keeps worse getting because road funding is 1/3 what it needs to be to keep up with growth.  The city of Minneapolis won't allow the interstates within city boundaries to be be expanded, yet the city wants to keep businesses downtown and have them expand.

My plan before buying any lot is to drive up there early in the morning on a work day and then drive from there to work to see how the commute is.  Also do it on the way home.  I would probably do this multiple times before buying anything.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2006, 02:41:37 PM »


Hello-

Since this topic has split in to two different topics relating to the same thing, I can add a bit to this:

First off, we’d planned ahead. We bought a lot out in the far reaches of the state to provide land and room for expansion. On this, we had our home built.

Now here is where it gets dicey:

We didn’t plan for the excessive mileage and wear/tear on the vehicles.
We didn’t plan on the risk being involved with traffic for such a long daily commute.
We didn’t plan on the measure of time we wouldn’t be home because of the commute.
We didn’t plan on how little we could accomplish after such a tiring drive.
We didn’t expect the fuel prices to go through the roof.

I was commuting about 75 miles a day (each way), and stopped when our first child was born.

My wife still commutes (and has been applying for a transfer for years), to the tune of 97 miles. This is also one-way.

I still would not give up (nor will she) the privacy or comfort of this living style as opposed to the convenience and variety the city (or now suburbs) has to offer. We’ve alleviated the major vehicle issues and only make combined trips to the shops.

On the shop/garage:

I had a concrete pad poured for a 26x47 shop/garage, and cleared a lot approx. 100 yards from the house for a parking/storage area- across from a pond I’d dug, to help out the nature I might have uprooted from the clearing.

My original plan was to put up a metal building with four bays and room for cabinets and shelves, with one bay reserved for a lift.
 After purchasing one new that was heavily discounted, I found that putting up shelves, or running wire and plumbing would require some sort of framing inside- so as not to let the anchors protrude through the outside skin, and I would still have to frame it to insulate it.

I then realized I would be building two structures to make one.

With this “revelation” I promptly sold the metal building (luckily at cost) and started rethinking my plans.
Then, some more construction equipment and bus(es) came into my life-

So, the plans for the shop remain- except it will be build out of wood and be a two-story, instead.
But, in addition I will be adding another (pole) building with metal siding to house the buses, the backhoe, and our old dump truck.

Since we’ve lived here for about 15 years, we decided to refinance to lower our monthly payments and have the cash outlay for said projects

We are waiting for the check now, and will start on the buildings this spring.

Although we still suffer the long drive for simple sundries, and Susan has a statistically higher risk at having an accident for the miles she travels, we both are very satisfied with our original plan.

And it was a strategic plan after-all. Our property has appreciated over 300%.
Plus, we still have the neighbors’ 40 acre lot on one side with no house or improvements.

I can put anything I want on our property, as it’s zoned farm/rural, and nobody can see anything, because I had my drive (1510ft) designed with curves, so you can’t see straight up it.
Our lot is fully wooded (as is the adjacent 40 acres) with just the drive and house area cleared.

In closing, the distance to travel and the type of structure to be built should be closely examined and all points considered.


This was a long read, but our story has been told…

Cheers,
Barry&Susan
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belfert
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2006, 04:19:19 PM »


Hello-

Since this topic has split in to two different topics relating to the same thing, I can add a bit to this:

First off, we’d planned ahead. We bought a lot out in the far reaches of the state to provide land and room for expansion. On this, we had our home built.

Now here is where it gets dicey:

We didn’t plan for the excessive mileage and wear/tear on the vehicles.
We didn’t plan on the risk being involved with traffic for such a long daily commute.
We didn’t plan on the measure of time we wouldn’t be home because of the commute.
We didn’t plan on how little we could accomplish after such a tiring drive.
We didn’t expect the fuel prices to go through the roof.

I've already thought about the fuel costs and the wear and tear on my vehicle.  I'm looking at 100 miles a day round trip.  I do 25 miles a day round trip right now.

My job is flexible in that I can get in before rush hour gets heavy and leave before rush hour gets heavy.  I may also be able to do four 10 hour days.

Commuting is the single biggest issue with my plan and a big part of why land further out is cheap.  I plan to study the commuting issue very closely before doing anything.  A guy at work lives out that way and I will talk to him about the commute.

Brian Elfert
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