Sunday, January 3, 2016

A small barn for the summer house 2, drawings and considerations

After a lot of sketches, I have finally made some drawings that should suffice to show to the local planing department. 
More drawings will be needed before final approval though, namely one that will show the position and orientation of the building on the property, a drawing of the remaining two sides of the barn, and a drawing that will show the way the frame is built up, I think that normally a cut through drawing is used, but that wouldn't make much sense for a timber frame building in my opinion, so I might make drawings for each section of the building, that way I can use it as a construction drawing at the same time.

The view from the side looks strange to me, but I think it is because the drawing does not take into account that the roof has got slopes. I ned to make an isometric sketch as well, that should help a bit on the look of it all.

There is still the possibility that the planning department may have some issues with a window placed in the attic. because local codes prohibits two levels in a summer house. But since it will only be used for storage, I don't know how they will decide.

Part of the challenge is that the roof type I am planning to use is around 6" thick, coupled with a set of 6" rafters, the inside head room is quickly reduced.
Below the gable/end view of the barn, I have sketched the roof build up.
For those not fluent in Danish (or those who have problems reading my handwriting), the layers are (from the bottom):
  • Tongue and groove boards, 22 mm 
  • Tarred paper
  • Distance board 25 mm (1")
  • Laths 1.75" x 3"
  • Roof tiles made out of clay
The roof tiles are the old ones from our house that I kept when we installed a new roof a couple of years ago.

Maybe the other side of the barn will receive two windows, but I wanted to make sure that there was going to be some places where I could hang garden tools and maybe place a shelf. 
I plan to make 4 posts in the frame for the side, so in theory I could have three windows evenly distributed.

I also have to ask my wife what she thinks, but it will be easy to add a window or two to the drawing before going to the planning department.

End view.

Side view


  1. Look interesting that should be a fine addition to the yard.
    I'm not sure if its my lack of Danish or your handwriting, but yes, your transcription was easier to read :-)

    Last word of wisdom, always run your design by your spouse first in this instance. Small price to pay for harmony ;-)

    1. Hi Bob.

      Thanks for the comment.
      My wife says that she has a hard time figuring out designs based on a drawing, but I will definitely ask her first.

      I might try to see if I could make it a bit lower. But then I will have to make a new construction drawing first.
      The way I have done it so far has been by first drawing the frame work as seen from the end, and then I have added extra distance for roof and exterior walls.

      The design as it is now will make for an OK head room in the ground floor, even with the 6x6 joists for the attic.
      I think I might be able to cut off about a foot in the total height, but that's about it - so I am not sure if it is worth it.


  2. Jonas,
    I keep your work in the highest regard, it is by far more accomplished than mine. So I do feel a bit silly to comment on the design, but... While I like the overall design very much - could the side view look a bit off due to the roof's overhang? It's almost 40cm to each side if I understand the drawing correctly, 10% of the buildings width. While that certainly protects the walls from rain very well it makes the roof look a bit prominent for lack of a better word. Secondly, are the old clay roof tiles suited for only 25° slope?


    1. Hello Goerge.

      Thank you very much for the kind words.

      You are right that the overhang is 40 cm, and perhaps you are right that it is too much when viewed from the side. I just figured that it looked OK on the end view, so I tried to make the overhang (lengthwise) the same.

      I am in the process of making a new set of drawings, where I have manged to reduce the overall height with 30 cm. I think I'll try to follow your suggestion and reduce the overhang as well.

      I would like to keep the buildings height as it is, but I am afraid that the local planning department will accuse me of making a genuine second floor which is not allowed in a summerhouse area. So that is why I wanted to make a second set of drawings to have for comparison.

      The Danish code of good building practice calls for a minimum slope of 25° when using clay tiles. The reason is that our winter climate usually result in that the temperature will go from freezing to slight thaw and back to freezing again during the course of one day.
      As far as I understood from reading those guidelines, the 25° will ensure that the tiles remain reasonably dry and therefore prevent them from splintering in the frost.

      Technically I could just make a gambrel roof using tarred paper, but I would really like to recycle my old tiles, and a tile clad gambrel roof just looks good.


  3. Looks like you will have a nice building when all is said and done Jonas. I'm always facinated by the different building codes from around the world. Is there a practical reason given as to why no second floor is allowed?

    1. Hi Greg.

      The reason is that to ensure a level of privacy in the summer house areas. So an elevated porch on the top of a garage is also prohibited. They want to prevent you from spying on the neighbors etc.

      The funny thing is that the woman I spoke to at the planning department specifically mentioned it, but if you read the local code itself, it clearly states that you can have a utilized roof level. (I think there must be a more correct term?).
      Those rules I follow, so maybe I'll just have to show the drawings and have a talk with them. After all, I only intend to use the space as a stores room. But a bit of natural light never hurt anyone, and a window will look good at the gable.
      Generally the building codes in Denmark are pretty strict. For this area there are rules concerning the colour of the houses, and that you can't have a shining or flashy roof material etc. But I suppose it is done to prevent someone like me from going all berserk and constructing a small castle with onion shaped domes in chrome.


    2. Hey! What's the matter with onion domes?

    3. Nothing really. In theory it will be OK for me to make those also, as long as I stay under a total height of 6.5 m.

      But I find it hard claiming to be a traditionalist, and then making a small barn with an onion dome.


  4. Hey Jonas,

    I think it looks great, but as you know I'm kind of partial to that design, having built a similar one myself. In the county where I live, a building permit is not required for out buildings less than 400 sq. ft., so I built mine 12'x16'. It will be interesting so see how your dealings with your local planning department go. The drawings are great. I can't wait to see how your build progresses.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Jonathan.

      Technically I can build two sheds each of maximum 107 sq.ft. Without even telling the planning department, but in that case, no part of the building including the roof may exceed 8'2" So that sort of rules out a gambrel roof.

      The next division is a building of up to 377 sq ft. That must be built without applying for a permission, but I still have to inform the planning department that I will build it. I don't have to pay for the permit to build this kind of building.

      The full package is anything above 377 sq.ft. Here I have to apply for a permission, and pay a fixed fee depending on the area of the building.

      The middle model is fairly new in our country, It used to be that anything above 107 sq. ft. you would have to apply for a permit and pay the fee.

      I have a green house at home and also a shed for fire wood that both have been built with a full permission.

      If you build without a permission, you could be asked to demolish the building. Or it could be difficult to sell the property later. It might also cause a problem with the insurance if that unlicensed building catches fire, and the fire spreads to the regular house etc.

      I'll go home in 8 days, so my plan is to drop by the planning department and talk to them.

      Happy New Year

  5. I think it will look great! Will you be using this as a storage house? Workshop perhaps?

    1. Thanks Bill

      The original plan was to use it as a storage house, for garden furniture, the grill, garden tools etc. And to incorporate a firewood shed in part of it.

      But I have more or less ditched the firewood shed idea. It will be too nice a space to use for that. So I might put in a workbench in the future.

      Actually we mostly need a firewood shed out there, and a place to lock up the garden furniture. We have had two complete sets of garden chairs stolen over the last couple of years - but I really want to make a nice building with a gambrel roof and not just a small shed.

      So I am being selfish and doing the fun project that I have wanted to build for a long time. Then later I'll probably have to make a wood shed.


    2. Hej
      Inte säker på var jag skulle skriva, hittade ingen mail.
      Ätt det möjligt att köpa virke av dig?

    3. Hej Linus

      Det kan du godt. Men det kommer jo lidt an på hvor du bor henne?
      Du kan eventuelt skrive til mig på mulesaw[at]