As we purchase cars, boats, caravans etc, we need more storage. More and more people are looking at buying a shed. Like homes, shed vary in price and quality.
Many companies refer to "livable sheds", which generally is a misconception as sheds fall into a different class than homes. Sheds don't require the energy ratings that homes must meet, and they use a very basic slab design. Most councils will not allow occupants to live in a shed, or they may be able to live in a shed for up to 1 year, if the occupant has an application in progress to build a home.
There are rules in regard to how big your shed can be, depending on the size of your block and the zoning. Most councils will allow a relaxation on setback distances and sizing, for a fee. There may be rules also eg. you can have bathroom connections, but no storage or you may be able to line it, but a second inspection/fee may be required.
A shed can be converted into a home. However, from experience, converting a shed to a home does not save any money over building a conventional stud-frame home.
Things to look at when building a shed:
* portal size - sheds use a portal frame system. The size and thickness of the portals (columns and rafters), and the spacings between them, add to the overall structural integrity of the shed.
* girts and purlins - often made of tophats or z-purlins, the thickness and spacing of girts and purlins adds to the overall structural integrity of the shed.
* look at where the steel is made - is it cheaper Chinese steel or Australian steel?
* how thick is the steel? Steel cladding generally comes in 0.42BMT (base metal thickness) or 0.35BMT - the thinner being noticeably flimsier, although cheaper.
* wind ratings - many people overlook the wind rating of their shed. Sheds can easily be blown apart in rural areas, particularly on open sheds. Your insurance may not cover damage to a shed that is under-rated for your area.
* watch your size - larger sheds may require cranes to lift the frame, scissor lifts, safety equipment etc, which all add to the price.
Just like building a home, there are many factors to look at when buying a shed - not just the price.