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Potential workshop or not worth it?

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Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby FatboyUK » 12 May 2018, 17:36

I've just been offered this, or at least 2/3rds of it as a potential workshop, the other third will be used by the owner to store a couple of classic cars. Its an original Nissen Hut, in stable if not good condition, dry and cheap! :D There are a few little holes around the bases that need filling and what looks like a condor's nest in part of the roof but nothing that can't be sorted out in an afternoon.

It will need to be made a little more secure but its remote location helps, plus there are a couple of guys who live on site nearby

The downside is that its not insulated, just the inner and outer skins of wriggly tin and no one knows whether the slab has any membrane under it although I'm told it is always dry. There is power to it but not sockets, lights etc as yet.Its 12.8m x 4.8m but its going to be very expensive to try to keep that heated during the winter months and I'll only use it at weekends until I retire in 5-7 years time.

So I thought I might be able to build a workshop inside, say 3.5m x 4m x 2.4m, that would be insulated and heated (as if is was outside) to keep tools from rusting and to give me somewhere warm to work in. The extra storage is what appeals to me. I'd install windows to steal some light from the rear windows of the hut and back it up with LEDS.

The question is do I need to raise any wooden structure off the floor or would it be safe to lay it straight onto the floor with a membrane between concrete and floor. I was thinking a 50x50 framing floor with 50mm polystyrene insulation inbetween and 18mm flooring. Then build a 75x50 frame with 12mm ply internal walls, 75mm insluation and just a membrane on the outside to hold it in and keep the bugs out. 175 x 50 roof joists, 100mm insulation and 12mm ply ceiling, again with just membrane on top. Would I need to clad the outside? seems overkill as its not going to see any weather but would the lack of cladding reduce the effect of the insulation to any significant degree?

I'd have a saw bench outside the shed and no heavy duty machinery

Am I missing any obvious problems doing it like this? Is there a better solution?

It does mean I can reduce the size of the shed I'm putting in the back garden at home, that can be just a normal garden shed size now

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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby Mike G » 12 May 2018, 17:47

They make a great workshop. Build a 4x2 structure inside (bigger joists if you want to use the "loft" for storage), and insulate between the Nissen hut and the timber structure. I sorted one of these out for a friend last year, and he's now got a great workshop. Test the floor first by leaving a piece of plastic down, weighted, and come back after 2 or 3 days. If there is any darkness when you remove the plastic, then raise your walls on a 1 brick plinth. If you are going to do a floor, then just put a membrane down anyway, and I'd suggest a floating floor (no frame.......just insulation with some T&G ply or chipboard over, and trapped down around the edges with a skirting).

Build your workshop hard up to one end or the other to take advantage of the light, but put internal shutters over the windows so no-one can see in, and if they want to break in they'll have to work a lot harder.

The only thing I would say is that being remote is a disadvantage rather than an advantage, security-wise. If there are people around to keep an eye on it, then fine, but I would go way over the top with security measures if I were you. That will be your biggest headache.
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby FatboyUK » 12 May 2018, 18:04

Thanks Mike.

I was being cheap going with 3x2 :oops:

would 200mm joists @400 be strong enough on a 3.5mm span? I wouldn't use it for a lot of storage

I was thinking to leave a 500mm air gap along the wall by time I've taken into account the curvature of the nissen hut, do you mean insulate that as well? what would you suggest?

There is a big sheet of lino laying on the floor from the last time it was used, I pulled that up today and it was dry but I'll try it with a bot of plastic sheet.

If I use a floating floor would I just run the membrane under the walls too?

This is proper remote; about 3 miles off the local road and there is an electric gate about 1/2 mile away across the access road that would need to be defeated to get a van in, otherwise anyone snooping around would have to carry their ill gotten gains back 1/2 mile but good advice, I have got some heavy duty anti intruder bars in mind for the front door and windows; the back door is already secure
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby Malc2098 » 12 May 2018, 18:34

Not to be one who would say we woz 'ard in the old days, but my mum, dad and two older sisters lived in a Nissen hut for several years after the war until I came along when they were allocated a brand new council house.
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby Mike G » 12 May 2018, 19:21

FatboyUK wrote:.......would 200mm joists @400 be strong enough on a 3.5mm span? I wouldn't use it for a lot of storage


Yes, they're fine

I was thinking to leave a 500mm air gap along the wall by time I've taken into account the curvature of the nissen hut, do you mean insulate that as well? what would you suggest?


Ah, that's too big to insulate. We built much closer to the shell than that, and ended up with a max gap of maybe 150mm.

If I use a floating floor would I just run the membrane under the walls too?


I wouldn't, personally, if you're building on a plinth. A course of bricks sitting on plastic would be very vulnerable to knocks. If the floor is dry enough that you're building your timber frame directly to it, then you don't need to sit the timber on plastic anyway.

This is proper remote; about 3 miles off the local road and there is an electric gate about 1/2 mile away across the access road that would need to be defeated to get a van in, otherwise anyone snooping around would have to carry their ill gotten gains back 1/2 mile but good advice, I have got some heavy duty anti intruder bars in mind for the front door and windows; the back door is already secure


I'm a big advocate of not letting the buggers see inside. The first thing they'll want to do is look in the windows and see if there is anything worth pinching. If they can't do this, they're gambling, and they may well decide it isn't worth the risk if they don't know what they would stand to gain.
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby Malc2098 » 12 May 2018, 22:08

As a former officer of the lair with a part rural beat, I can support Mike G's recommendations as to not taking it for granted that isolation is part of the security arrangements.

Don't let the buggers see in: don't make the heavy security too visibly obvious so as to let them think there's something valuable in there but make sure it's well secure; they won't necessarily be opportunists just passing by if it's isolated.

Trying to investigate something like a burglary at such a a location would be difficult with the absence of witnesses and your infrequent visits, if they indeed would investigate a non-dwelling burglary.

I just let my insurance company know that I have a new outbuilding and...guess what! They asked that question...."Do your locks conform to BS No.............?"!!!!!!
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby FatboyUK » 13 May 2018, 10:19

All good advice thanks, I'll make up some shutter out of some the old junk lying around over there, give it a nice aged patina :D
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby FatboyUK » Today, 17:42

The timber fairy finally arrived on Friday afternoon!
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Re: Potential workshop or not worth it?

Postby FatboyUK » Today, 18:09

Day1 - a good start even though I was on my own. The floor looks wet in places but its oil, a damp check just revealed dust!

The basic frame is up and square, a bit to finish the frame and some levelling tomorrow - there is a slight dip in the floor level to the right hand front corner of between 5-8mm - then the floor and wall panels.

As this is not going to have to endure wind and rain I can take a few liberties with the roof, it will be just 175x50 joist with some insulation in between for some very light storage space


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