It has always seemed obvious to us where the shop should go. It is a small clearing on the northeastern border of our land, near the garden, close to the road and is surrounded on three sides by a cluster of green alders. After a few brainstorming and drawing sessions we decided on a 2o' X 20' and staked it out. Dane, our helpful neighbor, agreed to help us level the area enough for a slab-on-grade foundation with his back hoe, provided we can get it done by April, when he changes it's attachments. That leads us to where we stand today.
At 400 Square feet, the shop will have to be permitted. Since the idea is so basic, a square box with a roof over it, we figured we would buy plans from one of the many websites or books that sells basic, stock construction drawings. I called the county to make sure that would be kosher, before we spent the $200. Nope. It turns out that there are specific requirements for our particular seismic zone, D2, that any stock plans will almost definitely not meet. The helpful county permit technician on the phone told me, however, that she often sees people bring in drawings that LOCAL architects have around and are willing to sell at a bargain if asked appropriately. I asked her if she could point me the direction of one of these architects, but as a government employee, could not legally refer me to one company over another. Turns out she can't even tell me something that rhymes with a particular architect, or even tell me what letter of the alphabet she might start looking at to find one of these particular architects. I tried those.
That is how I came to spend a large part of my day cold calling any architect I could find in Kitsap county and asking them for basic, cheap shop plans. As you might expect, most of these educated and well paid professionals in this intellectually demanding and artistic profession did not take well to being asked to sell me a cheap plan because I don't want to pay a whole new engineer. I got hung up on twice. I gave up on this idea.
Here's where things get interesting....
I found a brochure from the county which describes something called "prescriptive design" which allows simple building plans (rectangular shapes with all right angles, no walls longer than 25' or higher than 10'.... our shop) to be drawn out by people like us by following some guidelines provided by the county. Simple requirements, a little hard work and a bit of learning in exchange for not paying anybody any money for our shop plans?
You bet we're gonna draw them ourselves!
It's not going to be that easy of course, the brochure on "braced wall panels", a requirement unique to our seismic zone, is often referred to, but exists nowhere on the county's website. We'll have to track that down. We're setting aside this weekend to draw our first set of plans. We'll post them up here and keep you, uh, posted. Wish us luck.