Location And Site Preparation For Your Garage

It’s important that you build your garage where it has been approved on the site plan for the permit. Otherwise you can have all sorts of problems in the future.

If it’s too close to the property lines or to an existing structure then you might have to tear it down if someone complains to the building department.

Even if your neighbor approves of the location, the next owner of that property might not and have a claim against you to move it.

When you sell the property with the garage you usually will have to certify that it’s built to code. If it isn’t you will have to disclose this and that will effect the value of your entire property.

Locate your property lines

Property lines are usually marked by iron rods in the ground at the corners if the property had a survey in the past. Other visible indicators are fence lines and curbs.

You can also ask your neighbors. They can be helpful if they have lived there for a long time.

But the ultimate responsibility for identifying the property lines is yours. If you aren’t sure where your property lines are then you might want to get a survey.

Stake the 4 corners

Measure the set back from the property lines and from any other structures as indicated on your approved sitemap and stake the 4 corners with wood stakes or metal rods.

Check the square by pulling a tape measure across diagonally from each corner. When the 2 diagonals are equal then the stakes are square.

This will clearly show where your garage will be located so you can clear the site as necessary.

Clear the site

Clear the trees, roots, rocks, weeds, debris etc from your building site. Clear sufficient access around all sides so you can work comfortably.

Trees and bushes should cut back so they will not interfere with the new roof line.

Check for buried utilities

The last thing you want is to dig into a water or electrical line. Determine if there are any utilities so you can work around them.

Call the Blue Stake service or any of the individual utilities you suspect might be in your work area. They will come out and mark their utilities.

Other things to look out are water lines and electrical lines installed by the previous owner.

You should have already located any septic system and lines and shown them on the site map you submitted for the permit.

Cut & fill

If your site is fairly level you will make the floor level through the foundation.

If it’s really out of level then you might need a stem wall. But stem walls over a certain height are regulated by code so they will be part of the building permit.

Cutting and filling are often regulated by building codes or zoning so you might need a separate permit if you have to do any serious dirt work.

The foundation needs to go into natural, un disturbed earth. But the pad area can to be filled with a compact able material like ABC fill.

There is a process for filling and compacting. You lay out a few inches of the proper fill material and compact it. Usually by driving a back piece of heavy equipment over it. Then add another layer of fill and compact it, keeping it at the right moisture for maximum compaction.

For a large area you might want to hire this part out.

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