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Building a Man Cave

Building a Man Cave Published: 27th Apr 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Building a Man Cave
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Rob Hawkins had done his time fixing cars in a cold, damp and cluttered garage, so he explains how he replaced it with his dream workshop – and not before time

Over the last 20 years, I’ve tried to make the most of a cold and draughty prefabricated single garage with just enough space to squeeze a small sports car into. At first, I had to remove bicycles and junk to work on a car, but eventually I became sufficiently disciplined to keep the garage clear, much to the amusement of my wife and children who pointed out that our house was full of rubbish and the garage was empty.

You can never have enough space, and whatever you have, always gets used up… A bigger garage – for me – was not the answer, but one that is better designed to use the space more effectively way. The existing garage could probably outlive me, providing the dodgy asbestos roof didn’t get the better of me and woodworm didn’t settle into the framework of the apex roof. But surely I deserved better than this?

So in 2017, I started looking into whether I could replace my old garage. My list of requirements started off quite simple. I definitely wanted the garage to be tall enough to store my VW Bay Window camper, which is only the length of a Beetle and not quite six feet high. Also, I needed some clear roof panels to improve the natural lighting inside for my photography. An inspection pit would be nice, but not essential and length was more important than width. I didn’t want to occupy all of the back garden, so the existing ten-feet-wide garage was adequate enough, although a little more length would help.

At first, it looked like the chances of finding a suitable garage were impossible. I spoke to several garage suppliers, who could not accommodate clear roof panels or a seven-feet-tall main door. And even if I compromised, the price was quite high at between £4500 and £7000 for something that was up to 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. And that was excluding the cost of a new concrete base!

It looked like the only answer was to do it myself; build a wooden frame and clad it. The idea sounded tempting, but I realised that such a job would take me months to complete on my own and could be painfully expensive if I used joiners and builders.

Eventually, I stumbled across a local garage manufacturer in Batley, West Yorkshire. There was no problem with my demands. Their prefabricated concrete panel garages sounded perfect and a 27-feet-long garage was priced up at £3490. The width would be a little less by four inches, but I was confident this wouldn’t be a major problem. The company could remove my old garage and asbestos roof safely for £700. I would need a new concrete base, which it could supply, but not with an inspection pit.

I found the answer for an inspection pit from a local builder who was once involved in rallying. He knew exactly what I needed and quoted me roughly £1800 for a base with a pit. I’d been quoted around £1300 for a standard concrete base, so the extra £500 was a bargain.

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