The construction of a new detached garage can be a rather extensive project, one that should be taken very seriously. Details matter, as do budgets.

Determining who will be responsible for the construction is important. Having various builders out to answer questions and explain the process, while providing estimates and expertise, is encouraged.

While construction is never without hiccups and surprises, there are simple mistakes to consider prior to breaking ground.

Not understanding permits and zoning regulations.

Not educating yourself on the zoning regulations of your municipality upfront can become costly in the long run. Be leery of a builder who is not familiar with the permitting process or who does not believe they are necessary.

The local Building Department will provide the necessary information as far as permits required and the inspection schedule. Failure to build without the necessary permits can result in fines or possibly the halting or removal of the project all together.

These guidelines are regulations are put into place for the safety of the homeowner. Every property is subject to laws that determine what type of structures can be added and where, as well as the maximum height allowed.

Understanding the limitations, as well as any additional areas, such as the amount of impervious surface allowed to be built upon, is crucial in the planning phase.

Not creating a budget.

Creating a budget is never fun, however it is necessary when beginning a construction project as large as a new garage. Making changes, such as financial ones, after the process has begun can be quite difficult.

The budget should include everything from the cost to demolish the current structure, permit fees, garage doors, siding selection, roofing shingles, light fixtures, and windows. Estimates provided by builders should include these items and more.

Failure to itemize the budget can create problems further down the road.

It is also important to price out whether a new driveway will be extended or replaced, electrical services required, as well as landscape repair that might be needed once the project is complete.

It is encouraged to allow for room in the budget for cosmetic and aesthetic decisions to change, as well as the cost of lumber and materials to fluctuate.

Forgetting the extras.

Are you planning to run electric to the structure? Plumbing? A new patio for additional outdoor space?

Detached garages have become popular multipurpose spaces, therefore, make sure to plan for all of these options you would like to be included in the project while plans are being drawn up.

These extras will all require various subcontractors resulting in additional costs and often specific permits prior to finalizing the planning phase. It is also encouraged for homeowners to meet with their neighborhood HOA to ensure that the project falls within their rules and regulations.

Not allowing enough time for construction.

For those building their structure on their own, the project is at the mercy of your schedule, not to mention lining up any subcontractors needed. Scheduling their time ahead of the construction can be tricky.

For example, there may be a set-back that does not allow for the driveway to be poured, pushing that job further out based on their availability.

It is also important to note that permits do have time restraints, typically expiring after a year from the date they were issued.

The importance of a properly installed foundation.

The integrity of the entire structure depends on the strength and reliability of the foundation. Prior to beginning construction, it is important to determine if you are planning to repurpose the current slab, or have it removed and a new one poured.

If the plan is to build on top of an older slab, it would be encouraged to have the integrity of the slab assess. The concrete must be strong enough to withstand and support the weight of the new structure. The older the concrete, the greater the chances are that repairs are necessary.

Most builders will encourage a new poured concrete foundation to avoid potential problems and unnecessary risks.

If you are considering the addition of a new detached garage and would like a FREE consultation and estimate, contact Heartland Garage Builders at or 224-326-2698.