07:12PM | 04/04/05
Member Since: 04/03/05
3 lifetime posts
Hi All,

1st post here. I’ve been doing a survey of my residence here in CT, in preparation for building a 6 car garage. Due to the slope of my property, I would like to have a 2 story garage (28’ x 40’ footprint) that has 3 bays on the 2nd story (facing the front of the house) and 3 bays on the 1st floor accessed from the rear. The end result appears from the street to be just a 3 car garage. I’ve never seen anything like this done. Any thoughts or advice (outside of the obvious: “go talk to contractors and architects.”) on the flooring and support of the second story appreciated.




04:16AM | 04/05/05
Member Since: 01/14/03
264 lifetime posts
Understandably, it's always our hope that we can save time and money by avoiding interface with architects and engineers on home renovation/addition projects. In some cases, the competent DIYer can, indeed, avoid it and save a lot. In your case though, it can't be avoided. Any suggestion of an answer here that doesn't include the involvement of a professional structural engineer would be misleading at best, dangerous at worst.

The 2-story garage you desire is possible, and quite frankly, while not all that common, yours won't be a first. But given the loading you're talking about (3 cars on second floor level) there will be significant structural design consideration required...if not at least for safety, then for local building inspection and code compliance. Your material selection will not be limited to concrete and steel (although those are what first comes to mind), you may be able to use timber and plank. The structural design for each would be quite different, but possible. You'll need to think in terms of clear span vs. column (post) support for the second level and how that will cut up the space below. Clear span will most likely be possible only with structural steel support framing, if at all. Footing and foundation design will vary based on material selection. Floor to floor height within the structure will likely vary based on material selection and framing design. If you're attaching this to an existing structure, that will be a consideration.

There's a lot that will go into the design of a basically residential type structure with the loading you're hoping for. You'd really be well served by getting a registered professional structural engineer involved.

You can get an architect involved if you want, but it's likely not necessary with the engineer on board. Then again, sometimes a structure designed by an engineer, without the benefit of an architect, will look very much like...a building designed by an engineer...without the benefit of an architect.

Good luck.


08:16PM | 04/05/05
Member Since: 04/03/05
3 lifetime posts
I called a local architect today. He wasn't to keen on my idea as far as cost effectiveness/sq. ft. is concerned. (He had also never done such a project.) He quoted me $5,000 for conceptual drawings plus 15% to 20% of the project cost for completed architectural drawings (this cost was not for my 2 story concept). So let's see here, on a $100,000 project, I'll have to come up with another $20,000 just for the architect!!! In my book, for a garage, that's absurd. No wonder people try to skip this phase. Looks like I'll be designing it myself. Maybe I'll just do 2 sepperate garages: Like One post-and-beam (visible from the street) with a steel garage hidden behind it.


04:19AM | 04/06/05
Member Since: 01/14/03
264 lifetime posts may not need the architect. If you're OK with designing the thing yourself and, like me, don't particularly care if it doesn't look like the worlds best architect was involved, that's fine. But what I would do, at the least, is get a structural engineer involved for the design and load calculations on paper. My experience has been that the engineer looks upon 'fee' with a different perspective than does the architect. Besides, you may find that obtaining a building permit for this structure will require the stamp of the professional. The greater percentage of building inspectors across the country will not have any experience with this kind of structure, and therefore will be looking for guarantees of a sort (like the stamped calculations and design) from a pro. If you haven't built something like this before (and I'm betting you haven't) then you might want to expect that some money will have to be spent on professional guidance.

Again, good luck.


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