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7 Essential things you need to consider before buying a shed in a cyclonic region



Let’s take a journey back to early 2006.


It’s the 10th of March 2006. All is calm. You’re quietly working away in your brand new recently purchased shed, enjoying the peace and quiet. Your shed is a sanctuary away from the daily grind. You finish up and head home, all the while thinking about the next project you will start next week in your shed.

The next project never comes.

Between March 20th and 21st 2006, Cyclone Larry laid waste across tropical North Queensland leaving almost AU$1.5 billion in damage. Infrastructure was flattened. Beautiful sheds were destroyed.

After the dust settled and from insistence from government regulators, the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) published the Steel Shed Design Guide for Portal Frames, Sheds and Garages in 2008. The ShedSafe accreditation program was initiated by ASI and many leading shed suppliers (Including Wide Span Sheds) have made sure they are accredited to help lead and follow industry best practices.  

Here at Wide Span Sheds, we believe the prevention is better than cure and we have gone to great lengths to help arm you with the information you need to purchase the best shed. From better quality assurance through to employing industry best practices, we have worked long and hard to bring you a range of sheds, garages, barns and arenas that can withstand the harshest of conditions. As such, we have developed a comprehensive list of seven things you need to consider when looking to purchase a shed that will be erected in a cyclone region.

So, here we go.

1) Your Wind Region

Are you in a cyclonic region? Wind regions are derived from the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1170. There are four regions;

  • Wind Region A
  • Wind Region B
  • Wind Region C (cyclonic)
  • Wind Region D (cyclonic)

For cyclonic considerations, you will only need to concentrate on Wind Region C and Wind Region D. For region C the red lined cyclonic region applies from the smooth coastline to 50km inland. For region D the red and green lined cyclonic regions apply; for green lined region from the smooth coastline to 50km inland and then the red lined region from 50 – 100km inland. If you are 50km inland and may be on the border of two regions, it is highly recommended that you provide your postcode to Wide Span Sheds as we are the experts to refer your postcode to ‘ShedSafe Practices’ and expertise. This now brings us to our next item to consider.

2) Quality Assurance

Wide Span Sheds uses industry leading technology that can remove much of the guesswork to produce site-specific engineered buildings. We can pin point your exact location required for your shed and then design a building to withstand the elements and area. Your site check through Google maps not only assists in determining your sites wind region, it also aids in assessing topography factors including height and altitude, direction and steepness of slope, as well as surrounding buildings or vegetation. With all of this, the shed sales company should be able to then assist you in designing a shed that is suitable and safe to your specific address. 


3) Checklist For Parts and Materials for Cyclonic Region Buildings

  1. Is your shed frame fully bolted using Z purlins with cleats? There should not be top hats used.
  2. Has the supplier provide purlins and grits with 100mm +10% plus overlap as a minimum?
  3. Has your supplier conducted the Low, High, Low test to the metal roof cladding, its fasteners and support members? This is mandatory. 
  4. Are the purlin and grit spacings decreased to suit the design criteria for your specific site?
  5. The design criteria of your building typically should be designed to a minimum Terrain Category of 2.5 in most cyclonic areas.
  6. Importance Level 2: The design criteria of your specific building typically should be designed to a minimum of this.
  7. If a supplier is using a shielding factor of less than 1.0, be wary.
  8. If you are comparing more than one building, check the weight. If there is a large difference in mass, it is likely that the lighter building(s) is inferior in design and possibly safety.
  9. Is your sheeting for both roof and walls 0.47 TCT (Total Coated Thickness)?
  10. Are the roof screws supplied Class 4 and have cyclonic washers that suit your area been supplied?
  11. Internal Pressure Coefficient; Your building needs to be designed to +0.7 CPI
  12. If your building has been designed with roller doors, have they been provided with an engineer certified Windlok kit?
  13. If your supplier is using dyna bolts for structural columns, be wary as they are not approved by the BSA.
  14. Has bridging been used where required? Bridging that is added to portal frames significantly reduces purlin role.
  15. To cope with increased winds and rainfall in your area, has your building been supplied with larger flashings and higher gutters?
  16. Cyclonic sheds and homes have a ridge cap designed to be cut into suit the profile roof sheeting to stop water ingress.

If you are worried that all of the above is too much for you to remember, don’t worry, you can download and print our Cyclonic Building Checklist.

4) Is your building a ShedSafe building?

We’ve all heard the stories about insurance companies. The rejection of claims over something seemingly trivial. No one wants to have a claim rejected because their shed they purchased was not specified and engineered appropriate. With a ShedSafe accredited building you can be assured that the shed manufacturer has had the plans reviewed by an independent third party and has assured that all designs are in accordance with NCC (2016) and the current Australia Standards. In addition, the shed seller has undertaken training and will recommend a suitable shed for your specific needs and location. ShedSafe is about helping shed manufactures and sellers meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia which has requirements for structural and community safety. All of this should help assist in an insurance claim.

If your shed isn’t ShedSafe then it’s not shed safe.

5) Large Price Deviations

Given the significant capital investment required to purchase a shed we understand that pretty much all of you are going to go and get multiple quotes. We get it.

When comparing your quotes, take special note of any significant price differences. The lower the price, the more likely that cheaper (and unsuitable) materials have been used or the building has been under-engineered.  

6) The Ultimate Test

All the advice and research in the world is great. What’s better is seeing the results after a big old cyclone has rolled on through. Where there any sheds left standing? If the answer is yes, then find out which company supplied or manufactured the shed.

We are sure many of you can remember category five Cyclone Yasi back in 2011. It caused an estimated AU$1.5 billion in damage. If you do a quick Google search for “cyclone Yasi damage” countless images come up of the devastation.

A sea of smashed boats. Demolished houses. Destroyed crops.

Not much survived. A house here. A car there.

Even a small handful of sheds. One shed in particular was a Wide Span Sheds’ 14 x 7 shed owned by Ray Wilson and his wife at Tully Heads. Incredibly, there was no damage. The original article was published in ‘Queensland Country Life’ in April 2011. 

7) Social Proof & Reputation

Whilst the odd newspaper or publication article is great, nothing speaks louder than testimonials. Have a look online. If a company lacks online reviews, that should be a red flag. Have a look at product review for Wide Span Sheds. Look for a company that come close to this or in the very least with far more glowing reviews than bad ones.

If you are to take anything away from this article, just remember these things; find out your wind region specific to your site, ask what sort of quality assurance the company offers, download a copy of our Cyclonic Building Checklist, look for the ShedSafe logo, closely assess significant price differences and investigate, remember Ray’s shed from Cyclone Yasi and always, ALWAYS, look for testimonials.

Is there anything else we may have left out? If so we would love to hear your thoughts.

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