Shed Manufacturers and Insurance

Posted on : April 11, 2013

The Shed rumor mill is on overdrive at the moment with what is speculated as an inevitable collapse of a big shed player (although a similar rumor has been incorrect before).  Irrespective if this eventuates, it happened a number of times before and will happen again.  The consumer is the last one in line and they lose their money without receiving any goods.  There must be a way to protect the shed buyer in this case.

Should the parent shed companies mandate home warranty insurance as a condition of reselling their product – specifically protecting against liquidation?

This is the only way to protect consumers against liquidation (even though some providers of the insurance only cover 20% in that event).  The problem is that a great number of sheds are not covered as the mandatory home warranty insurance threshold is $20,000.  This is due to the cost of obtaining the insurance, as the shed price is significantly impacted.  The real problem is that the home warranty insurance should have far smaller premiums (as it is very rarely claimed) and the threshold should be revised downwards.

There is a three prong strategy required here.

  • Lobby the insurance companies and work harder and get more competition in this low risk insurance area to significantly reduce the premiums.
  • Lobby the government to reduce the mandatory threshold.
  • Ensure that 100% of the shed buyers outlay is covered in the case of liquidation.
  • Ensure that the mandated insurance does not impact the shed price too much.

The market is tight, and this is when poor process or high risk is punished.



Sheds & Guns!

Posted on : July 26, 2012

Shed has more history than the Museum!

The newly restored shed at DownsSteam Railway and Museum is for the use of volunteers to work on the LOCO 106 “Pride of Toowoomba” which hopefully will be finished in 2015 for the locos 100th birthday!

William Boden and Tom Redwood are two of many volunteers who have helped get the new restoration shed at DownsSteam Railway and Museum up and ready for the opening on Saturday. Photo Dave Noonan

The full article concerning the shed and train museum is in the Toowoomba Chronicle on 19th July 2012. From the article the shed had many uses prior to its current use – and the original shed was purchased for use as an aircraft hanger at Oakey in Queensland (not far from Toowoomba)! The shed is not that special – except it was made in America in 1942 and shipped to Australia for use in the war period. The history of the shed is amazing – it was fabricated by Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania in 1942 nearly 70 years ago and with a huge effort of a design drawn up by USQ School of Engineering students, the shed was able to be reconstructed after many years lying at the old Bridge St quarry!

Now for the history the steel of this shed shares:  Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania was America’s second largest company that started in 1857 and finally filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and all assets sold. During the 1940’s it employed some 300,000 workers with 180,000 alone in the steel ship building sector. Coincidence is that Bethlehem Steel produced this railway gun and also the shed in Toowoomba that houses a railway museum. This particular gun is now in a museum in Brazil:

“Bethlehem 177” railway gun on display at Museum Militar Conde de Linhares

Along with this spectacular piece – Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania was producing one naval vessel per day – which totalled 1,121 ships which was more than any other builder in the war period.

6″, 10″, 12″, and 14″ naval guns being assembled at a Bethlehem Steel facility

So this company that made the Toowoomba shed also produce huge numbers of naval and army guns at the same time, How did it manage to fit in such a small (by comparison) order for an aircraft hanger at Oakey in Queensland. Well it will be an interesting tour of the Downs Steam Railway and Museum not only looking at the 100 year old “Pride of Toowoomba” locomotive, but seeing the 70 year old steel fabricated at the same time as thousands of guns, ships and icons in America. One like this one – that Bethlehem Steel supplied most of the steel for the cable cars and tracks – always it comes back to TRAINS!

Steel for the “San Francisco Municipal Railway” system came from Bethlehem Steel!


Shed Fire Safety!

Posted on : October 27, 2011

Shedeye Science.

Shed and Garage Fire Safety

Number 0001 of the Shedeye Science Series.

All garden sheds, domestics sheds and garages are a potential fire hazard – not from the shed itself – but from the behaviour of the owners and what they store inside the structure. Currently there are no rules in relation to alarms or safety procedures for sheds and garages. All Australia States have useful information on fire safety in Class 10A buildings as shown below for each state:

Just about every shed or garage (whatever variety) in Australia is utilised for storage from household furniture, cars, workshops, garden equipment & chemicals, pool chemicals, motor bikes, electric machinery, gas, fuels & oils, paint and junk. A great many of these items are highly flamable and hard to extinguish when ignited. This list is only small and some of the above combinations of the items above can be very dangerous. It is wise to consult with the above websites on the dangers of these various combinations. The Queensland Fire website has a specialised Shed Fire Safety report that could be extremely valuable to all shed owners in Australia. If in doubt call your local Fire Brigade if you are unsure of any of these instructions given in the report. Rural sheds have a different set of rules regarding fire safety and the above websites should be able to assist in this area.

Below is a photo of a double garage steel shed that resulted in costly damage to property, motor vehicles and a costly visit by the local fire brigade. Along with insurance claims and the lengthy time period for replacement – there is also the very high risk of injury or death to people. The causes of all shed fires have to investigated by the fire department to provide data for insurance claims and statistics.

The Results of fire in a double garage!

The Queensland statistics for Fire Safety Measures conducted in 2008 are below.

Fire safety measures

Of the 1,589,354 Queensland households an estimated:

  • · 97.3% (1,547,001) has smoke alarms;
  • · 93.5% (1,485,847) has a safety switch or circuit breaker;
  • · 78.6% (1,249,457) removes external fuel sources from around their home;
  • · 51.8% (822,561) has a home fire evacuation plan;
  • · 44.1% (700,487) has a non-mains external water supply;
  • · 42.4% (674,103) has a fire extinguisher;
  • · 31.5% (500,398) has a fire blanket;
  • · 9.9% (156,829) have a bushfire survival plan; and
  • · 2.7% (43,218) has a fire sprinkler system.

But how many have applied these concerns to your garage or shed? How many sheds have fire alarms installed, and how many are fitted with fire extinguishers. These two items should be compulsory for the backyard shed in Australia. There are roughly 10,000 house fires per year, causing more than 1,500 injuries and 70 deaths. Currently there are no statistics for shed fires only in Australia but a search of shed fires on Google will result in many hits.

The problem with sheds being utilised as living space is not only illegal, but does not comply with BCA Class 1 building regulations and hence a very high risk fire hazard. Power connection to a shed also requires a Licensed Electrician for all electrical work in the shed. Extension leads providing power and lighting to the shed are highly dangerous and illegal. All electrical installations must comply with Australian Standards and the BCA as well as being completed by a licensed electrician.

Safety in our domestic garage or shed is important and these items above should be discussed during your investigation or quoting stage from a shed reseller. The cost of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers is very small in relation to the overall shed cost.

Do a quick check on your shed – before it too late. Make sure you check out the relevant fire services in your state for safety procedures and regulations. Workplaces in Australia required Material Saftey Data Sheets on all chemicals, liquids etc not only for fire harzard reasons but for poison dangers also. We ask employers to provide this for the saftey of all employees – yet don’t apply the same rules to family and friends. The number of shed fires have increased recently in the news and endangers life and property.

Is Your Shed Shedeye Science Safe this Weekend?

The number of posts in the Shed Forum on this topic highlights the number of sheds have been burnt down in the last year.

See Article in the Shed Forum!


Innovation Award Submission 1

Posted on : August 12, 2011

The first Innovation Submission is from Campbell Shed Products. The following is an excerpt from their website in regard to the history of this company and it’s innovative founder Mr. Errol Campbell.

Campbell Shed Products Pty Ltd is a Grafton based, private sector, free enterprise business pioneered and managed by local Errol Campbell. It supplies the retail shed industry and hardware outlets of Australia with an expanding range of quality, innovative shed and garage products, components and accessories.

Campbell Shed Products has been successfully running for over 20 years. From humble beginnings as a pre engineered building fabricator and constructor to it’s own company having developed it’s own line of world first products during that time.

Errol has won various awards for his achievements and has created a new concept in the pre-fabricated building industry. In June 1999 Errol was rewarded for his accolades and won the Utility Section of the Inventor’s Fair held in conjunction with the international Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival.

In recent years, Campbell Shed Products has delved into the new market of accessories and components for the pre-engineered building industry. He has pioneered a range of products boasting to add additional perfection to a once thought basic shed. These include Vermaseal, FormGirt and are currently working on a full range of Retroseal products. They have grown from strength to strength and are now nation wide distributors from their Grafton factory.

Errol’s inquiring mind is said to be the motive behind the ideas. He felt he could significantly contribute to the growing industry. On receiving positive feedback on the new products, he pursued these concepts to be later left with a line of world first products.

Campbell Shed Products have also won government grants and as a result is a member of the prestigious ATS (Australian Technology Showcase).


Now to the product that Errol has chosen to represent Campbell Shed Products in the Shedeye Innovation Awards.

The below is the promotional detail on the “Superseal” which is a Multipurpose PVC vermin and weatherproof flashing that can be added to new or existing metal clad sheds, garages and homes with concrete floors. Not only is it easily installed – the multiple benefits it provides are numerous and quite unique.

"The Retroseal Superseal"

The features are numerous and include, snake & vermin proofing, maintains a drip free edge for the metal wall sheets, the internal skirt allows easy cleaning, very easy installation with a Tek screw though the sheet into the “Superseal”, UV protected, will not rust and also allows for up to 27mm of variation in the slab.

Here is a closer look at the detail (not to scale)

It must have been a difficult task for Errol to nominate this product over the others in the range. All of Campbell Shed Products could be successfully entered in these Awards.


Sheds & Garages Increase Value!

Posted on : July 16, 2011

Buyers and Renters demand a Shed.

Properties that have a seperate workshop, shed or garage have an advantage over properties without, by demanding higher sell prices, additional rent and also increase the chance of a sale or rental. In regional areas where the mining boom is prevelant, real estate agents report the advantages to property owners of the contsruction of a double garage or shed. Investment properties are sort after with the shed as an extra.

Reported in The Australian Property Investor – the article relates to Queensland towns of Mackay, Gladstone and Bowen. The comment by local realtor David Bugeja recently ” the ones to sell fastest were the properties with sheds”. He also reported that for a capital outlay of approximately $12,000 in a shed or garage – this will add an expected increase of $20,000 to the sale price and an extra $20 per week in rent.

In the same article Mr. Tooma of The Shed Company Mackay said “for between $10,000 and $12,000 a fully erected shed can be placed on site with the approval certificate, earthworks and concrete done”.

Even A Small Shed adds Value

The property investor can purchase a property with an existing shed or simply add a double garage to a property without. The end result is an increase in capital gain within a short time period or a guaranteed extra rental income. As stated in the article – it is wise to check local council requirements as to approvals, easements, sewerage locations and location.

For an investment of as low as $12,000 for a double garage to return an additional $8,000 extra is an extremely attractive option.


Shedeye reaches 100 Shed and Garage Designs

Posted on : January 15, 2011

We are really happy with the progress that this site is making and we are getting some extremely positive feedback with some great constructive criticism.

We are well ahead of our expected usage of this site; in fact we are quite surprised that anyone can find it! There have been some great, quite unique designs that have come out of the site already.

You will find two crazy designs nestled away in the site, created without my knowledge from my twin 6 year old boys. They found the site based on my conversations and proceeded to create their own designs. I only found out when they proudly insisted that I come and see them! Goes to show that it is child’s play to design a shed and request a quote, literally, using Shedeye.

Check out Caleb and Harrisons designs here :

Calebs Crazy Shed Design

Harrisons Crazy Shed Design

We are hoping for 2000 designs by June this year, once this is achieved this will make us the largest online steel shed and garage design and image library in the world.

Shed used as an Office

Double Garage with tool and workspace

Standard Double Car Garage

Single Caravan Garage

Thanks for using the site.  If you think of anything that could make it easier or more useful please let me know.  Over the next 2 months there are some exciting new features being introduced.

Russ Condick

Shedeye Founder.


Ten uses for a humble Shed

Posted on : November 25, 2010

A shed as a weekender? No way! You say. Think again. Thanks to some innovative design and plenty of competition in the steel industry, the once humble shed is finding creative, affordable and practical uses and presenting solutions to many modern problems. The steel-constructed weekender may be far from the image of the beach shack or tree change weekender, but it can be a genuine alternative particularly for weekend and holiday usage.  Sheds have come of age.

Technology and Sheds

Forgive the pun, but sheds are no longer a backyard industry. The shed industry in Australia is a half a billion dollar a year industry with some of the largest steel companies in Australia involved including Lysaghts (a subsidiary of Bluescope Steel), through its brand Ranbuild, and Stramit (a subsidiary of Fletcher).  These and other companies such as Fileders, Metroll, ABSCO and Spanbuilt Sheds  have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in plant and equipment and technology to support and indeed grow a burgeoning industry that now includes leading brands such as Fairdinkum Sheds and Garage World (both Stramit subsidiaries).

The shed fabrication industry has embraced technology with participants using state of the art materials and software packages to customise designs. Today, using sophisticated software handling the complexity, sheds can be custom built according to customer specifications and requirements. These designs are created using design software that can create a range of sizes and designs that minimise the decision making on the various aspects of fabrication. Rather than deal with multiple suppliers in order to source component material, customers can choose a pre-fabricated, modular solution.

While we tend to think of the shed as single, barn-sized structure, the shed industry is really part of the storage industry – an industry that has been growing strongly for more than three decades.

What can you use for use your shed for?

In urban settings, sheds are commonly built in the back garden of the home. In recent years  steel has become the material used by the majority of sheds for use across urban, industrial and rural use.  Sheds can be used for storage only, such as gardening tools and furniture, or they can be used as an impromptu entertainment area.

Common uses for sheds include garden sheds, bike sheds, boat sheds and agricultural sheds.  Sheds are supplied in modular fashion and have a large DIY component.  Larger sheds generally require a professional shed builder.

1. The garage.

Single or double? Limited only by the number of vehicles you own!  These are the basic criteria for your shed purchase for the car (s). Sheds fabricated as Garages are custom built enabling the customer to make choices over for example the number of bays, the location for the windows and doors .

Gone are the days when you simply parked your car in the garage. Nowadays, people utilise their garage space for storage space other than for the car.  Indeed some people in urban area lease out part of their garage to neighbours (without garages) for long term shortage of boxes.

2. The storage shed

The shed industry has evolved beyond the classic rural, industrial or barn-sized shed to include the more contemporary self storage concept. This is a sign of the times. Higher land costs, more inner-city apartment living have been a boon for self storage, an industry that has experienced strong growth . Virtually anything can be put into storage.

Comparison by population

City Sq. m storage
area per capita
Melbourne 0.10
Sydney 0.11
Brisbane 0.13
Chicago 0.16
Los Angeles 0.18
San Francisco 0.27
Atlanta 0.32

A growing application in urban areas around Australia – sheds are being tucked away in many corners of the suburban home to store all those things that can’t squeeze into the house – usually an assortment of filing cabinets, grandma’s heirlooms, childhood memorabilia, 14 years of bank statements and the kids bicycles

3. Pump House

Locating a pump under a house is not ideal; a shed is a far better alternative as it can be insulated, providing protection from freezing and contamination for a farm’s water pressure system. It is necessary to keep the pressure system warm and dry.

A pump house using the pre fab shed is a cost effective solution on the farm or rural property.

4. Man Shed

A man and his shed….well you how the line goes. A man shed should be the place for, well, a man and his essentials: beer, play pool with the mates and generally, escape suburban life (especially teenage children).

5. The Workshop

The fact is Australia is experiencing a DIY boom facilitated by companies Bunnings. Perhaps that’s a stretch but it is a fact is that the home improvement industry is booming, indeed data reclassed by the Housing Industry Association revealed that millions was spent on home renovations. A significant slice of this is DIY based if the growth of Bunnings is any indication.

6. Office – Home and Professional

As an alternative to a commercial or in-house office, a be used as a home or business office. The cost benefit equation is compelling as office leases are very expensive affairs once you factor in legal costs, bonds and outgoings. A shed as office is a solution to a home business needs.

7. Collectables.

The hobbyist or collector is often short of storage space. Whether a collector of antique clocks or colonial wash basins, space is invariably short in the average family home. With contemporary homes having less storage space (what happened to the attic?) solutions are needed. The shed is an obvious answer – and its big enough for a sofa if you’re banished to the “shed”.

8. A garden shed

The shed is an affordable and easy storage solution for keen gardeners who love to spend the summer crafting their beautiful surroundings. A shed can provide a dry and resistant area that is suitable for organising your lawnmower, hedge trimmer and all the other slicing, cutting and digging contraptions.  Tools do not live forever and can easily become rusty or damaged or broken, so it is essential that you look after them and store them away properly

9. Entertainment Recording studio

Teenagers with musical instruments do enjoy a jam session with their mates. Or a IT-savvy student can wire up their ipods and create a veritable recording studio.  All that is needed is some padding to form an anechoic chamber and the shed becomes the studio. Alternatively, those TV tragics who have purchased the latest JBHi Fi home entertainment system will need a shed to enjoy their new play thing.

10. The Artists Studio

In a similar vein, the artist needs their space. Paints and canvas take loads of space and create an awful mess while work is in progress.

What is the best use of a Shed you have seen?