Warehouse or Tent for Building a Boat?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by CatBuilder, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I have two options for building right now - warehouse or tent.

    Both are exactly the same amount of money (ok, the tent is about $4000 more).

    Everything else is equivalent.

    These build locations are in FL and it's going to be hotter than I am used to down there.

    Would you choose a warehouse to build in or a tent to build in? Why would you choose one vs the other?

  2. thedutchtouch
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 91
    Likes: 2, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: baltimore. MD

    thedutchtouch Junior Member

    warehouse- less chance a big storm gets in than a tent. it's always nice to have a solid roof and walls to prop things against as well.
  3. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,336
    Likes: 113, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    HI catbuilder, my freind John built this tent, one wall is shipping containers, the others secondhand roofing, the roof is fabric & been through 125 kmh winds(disconcerting at the time) & now at about 10-12 years old is pretty weary, I built tooling for my cat in it but I doubt if our local surveying authority would like it for composite vessel construction, all the best with your endeavours from Jeff.

    Attached Files:

    • 045.jpg
      File size:
      394.3 KB
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  4. AndrewK
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 475
    Likes: 33, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 344
    Location: Australia

    AndrewK Senior Member

    Go for the warehouse as you have a better chance at controlling climate conditions.
    The biggest mistake I have made with my project is only having erected a barn style shed. No concrete floor and only side walls, ends are only closed off with shade cloth curtains.
    I am building a foam, glass & epoxy catamaran and bore I started I had aspirations of putting in 60hr week. Although I knew that Brisbane is relatively humid I assumed that the shed would be OK to build in as there were plenty of local builders doing like wise.
    It was only after I started building and got a humidity meter I discovered how bad the humidity was. So instead of being able to put in 60 hr week I am lucky to average 20 productive hours per week.
    This is going to turn out to be a very long build, luckily for me the build is just as important as the sailing.
  5. SeaJay
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 211
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 112
    Location: Sacramento

    SeaJay Senior Member

    I started in a tent structure but the county building officials gave my landlord a bit of grief so I ended up moving into an adjacent barn. I don't have the humidity problem so I can't weigh in on that topic, but I much prefer the barn. I would definately opt for the warehouse as I assume it has a concrete floor. My barn does not and keeping the dirt out of work areas is a bit of extra work. One issue is blowing dust and dirt. The more enclosed your work area, the better off you'll be in this respect. The downside to a tight building is proper ventilation when you need it.
  6. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Good advice. Thank you, everyone.

    I'll go for the warehouse.
  7. SuenosAzules
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 33
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 18
    Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

    SuenosAzules Junior Member

    My vote..

    i would go for the warehouse as well.. Hands down..
  8. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Ok, things have really progressed this week. I am again in need of some expert opinions from people who have been there and done that. I am back to the "do I build in a tent or a warehouse?"

    Why? I have several marinas now that would like a free $7000 tent up North, close to my wife, as well as a warehouse building that is ready for lease signing. I need to choose between the two options, but don't have enough building experience to know.

    Factors include building ease and quality as well as cost. Let's take a look:

    The tent is this one. I guess it's more properly called a "fabric building." It's $7000 and has a 15 year warranty.



    The warehouse looks something like this and has an overhead crane, as pictured:


    Those are the two types of buildings I can build in. Here's a summary of costs:

    • First Year Total Cost $19,321
    • Total Cost for 2 Years $24,321 all second year costs are heat or AC
    • Located at a marina on the waterfront
    • Tent is 60' x 30', boat is 45' x 25' no extra storage except in tent

    • First Year Total Cost $23,100
    • Total Cost for 2 Years $38,900
    • Must pay $1000 to use hydraulic trailer to move boat from building to water on the other side of this marina
    • Must pay $4000 to open up the building to pull the catamaran out, then put building back together - tent doesn't have this cost
    • Must pay $1000 to remove a fence in the way then put it back - tent doesn't have this cost
    • Building is 60' x 27' - boat is 45' x 25' VERY TIGHT, but have extra storage room for materials.

      SO!! What would you do?!??!

  9. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Only you can answer this question and only you should.

    Do a pro / con sheet and assign value figures to each point.

    Add each column and the higher number column wins.

    It's easy and very effective.

    Good luck!

  10. SeaJay
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 211
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 112
    Location: Sacramento

    SeaJay Senior Member

    I'm not sure if I'm understanding the costs correctly. I assume the extra $6k noted for the warehouse items is in addition to "total costs"? I'm also assuming that both options have a concrete floor. In any case, here are some things to think about.

    The $4k to open up the building could be problematic. You only have 1 ft. clearance on each side which may involve removal of critical structural elements in the front of the building. I could see this cost escalating. In either case, you want to check out overhead clearance once the boat is on a trailer. I'm an inch overheight to get out of my doorway which may involve some work on the building. Anyway, be sure you've got this figured out.

    The thing that worries me about both spaces is the tightness around the sides. I suppose that you may be able to walk between the hulls for some period of time, but at some point there is going to be an issue. On thing I did in my space that is really working well is that I build a 25'x20' shop platform at the back of the barn that is raised about 6 ft. I can step right off of this deck onto the transom (at waterline). I learned from the last time I did this that it is really a pita to have to climb out and over and back again each time you need something. Could you do something like this at the front of the "tent"? You'd need to build it so that it could easily be dismantled, but it might also provide needed storage below. (I find this area extremely useful in my setup)

    The crane would be handy, but not critical in my opinion. All in all, I think I'd be leaning toward the fabric structure because of the width and costs. And since you are purchasing the tent new, I'd suggest seeing if you can get it just a tad bit larger in both dimensions.


  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Pros and Cons, the warehouse wins, of course. However, the tent is cheaper. I normally go for what's cheaper, but in this case I don't have the boat building experience to understand the tradeoffs.

    The tent is cheaper, but I also have to come up with flooring - level flooring. I will also have no security, since you can break in with a utility knife. There will be differences in climate control. There are a lot of differences between the two and of course, the warehouse is better.

    However, it costs nearly twice as much at year two because it's rented.

    What I don't know is if this doubling in price will really save me money in the long run because it's so much better to build a boat in a warehouse.

    This question can't be answered by pros and cons because it's weighted with money and also with people's experiences building in each type of structure, which I have none of.
  12. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Good point. My costs were written a little poorly.

    The total costs are totals *including* all of the extras for modifying the warehouse. I just broke them out to show what they were. Sorry if that was confusing.

    I have 27' inside the building inside the structural columns. The boat will come out, no problem, with 1' on either side. There is one structural column to remove, but the whole building is bolted together. You unscrew this or that and take a piece off. The exterior is sheet metal. It's modular, and everything has already been measured.

    My overhead clearance is quite low because I have no keel. 15' max, the building is something like 20-25' tall.

    The measuring has all been done.

    I think the tightness around the sides is going to be a huge PITA when it comes time for Awlgrip. Maybe I can paint athwartships before I put the hulls into place? :confused: Definitely that will be a huge issue and I haven't 100% solved it yet.

    Thanks for the input. I'll think hard about the fabric structure and platform. Good idea there.

  13. SeaJay
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 211
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 112
    Location: Sacramento

    SeaJay Senior Member

  14. liki
    Joined: Nov 2008
    Posts: 220
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 114
    Location: Finland

    liki Senior Member

    It seems that cost is an very important factor in this choice. So, how do the costs escalate for both options when you do not meet your planned for schedule?

  15. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1818
    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    look around everywhere
    very very seldom does a project like this finish on time
    go for the cheapest
    the costs escalate soooo much anyway that you will **** yourself at the end

    be warned - the 2 years will EASY EASY become 3
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.