Estimating The Cost Of Building A 1 2 3 4 Car Garage

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What will it cost? Can you afford it? This is the next question you have to answer.

Here are the major areas of costs in building a garage:

Cost areas

  • Blueprints, engineering fees
  • Permit fees
  • Site work
  • Foundation, floor
  • Shell
  • Accessories

Blueprints, engineering fees

Blueprints will tell the planning and development department exactly how you will build your garage. They will review them to see that they meet their local building codes.

My blueprints are included in the cost of my garage plans. If you want something different you will need to contact a draftsman or an architect. They will charge you a few hundred dollars or more. Depending on what you want.

If your building department has additional requirements over and above the standard uniform building codes, like snow or wind load specifications, flood plain or earthquake engineering requirements, etc., you will probably have to hire a local civil engineer who is knowledgeable in those areas. This could cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Permit fees

Permit fees are usually based on the building departments estimate of the value of your finished garage. They will charge the same whether you hire a contractor or build it yourself, because the finished value will be the same.

They will generally base it on square feet and construction materials. You can get an estimate on this fee ahead of time by asking your building department.

Site work

Before you start building you will have to clear the building site of weeds, brush, trees and rocks.

If it’s level you will have no additional costs. But if it’s too sloped to build on, or unsuitable ground, then you might have some cutting and or filling to do.

You can do this work yourself if it’s simple and you have the equipment. Or hire it out to an excavation contractor. They will be happy to give you an estimate.

Foundation & floor

If a wood floor is suitable for your application it will be cheaper than a concrete slab and or stem wall. And its more likely you can do it yourself.

Figuring how much and what size floor joists, foundation lumber and floor sheeting you will need is fairly simple.

A concrete slab and or stem wall is more complicated to estimate. Total cost will depend on who does the labor.

For a mono pour, if you can dig and form it yourself that will save some money. But there will be a cost for the forms and concrete stakes. And the cost to rent any tools you need but don’t have.

And of course the big expense is the concrete it’s self. Calculate the volume of concrete for the footers, plus the volume of concrete for the slab. Then convert this number to cubic yards since this is how concrete is priced and sold.

Plus labor to finish it if you hire that part out.

If you build a stem wall there will be the cost of the blocks, mortor, and other components. A stem wall will involve a lot more labor than a mono pour.

Both types of cement foundations will require some rebar in the footer and “J” bolts every 4 ft around the edges.


The shell is the largest part of the cost of your new garage.

You’ll calculate this portion with a materials list and cost estimate worksheet. It lists everything you will need to build the garage. Take it down to your local building supply store and fill in the prices. Multiply the quantity out and total it up for the cost to construct your new garage.

This materials list assumes you put the pass door and window on the same wall. Which ever wall you put them on the total materials will be the same.

You can of course add more doors and windows. They are cheap compared to the overall cost of the garage. I’m assuming a 16ft wide overhead door where applicable because it’s easier to get vehicles into than two 8ft doors. And you can put a 16ft door on a smaller wall than 2 8ft doors.


Electrical is a necessity if you want an electric garage door opener. This usually requires a separate electrical permit. You can make the drawings up yourself for the buiding department.

Plumbing will have to be done before the slab is poured. And this often involves drawings and another permit. Even if you just plan to stub it for the future.

Insulation, drywall, shelves & cabinets are fairly simple to calculate the cost if you do the labor yourself. Otherwise a contractor will be happy to give you an estimate.

Total Cost

Add the individual component cost up and you have the total cost of building your new garage.

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