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Project

Trailer Tube

Table of Contents

Introduction

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Looking at the design for the Trailerport RV Cover, I came to a realization: it looks an awful lot like a tube for the ATC Open Car Hauler I plan to purchase to move the cars around with.

And that's the inauspicious origin for the project's name: Trailer Tube.

Background

As I've mentioned on the Trailerport page, I need a trailer to move my Car Projects about.

In fact, I need one as soon as I finish constructing the Warehouse because move-in for that building will be immediate in order to save on the costs associated with storing my hobby stuff.

Even so, Project: Trailer Tube for the Trailerport is a bit of a back-burner project because it doesn't directly allow me to engage with my hobby, nor does it even allow me to build or maintain the buildings like the Workshop and the Junk Box do.

Why an RV Cover instead of a fully enclosed garage of some sort? Cost, plain and simple. It will do the job I need it to without the associated expense of doors, or a custom build because VersaTube — whom I'm using for the buildings in the Hobby Complex — sells an off-the-shelf three-sided carport the correct dimensions to house the ATC Open Car Hauler I intend to buy.

Were I to get a garage sufficiently large enough to contain the trailer, it would either be a much larger building than I need — thus expanding the foot print of the Hobby Complex and the land needed to build it on — or have the extra cost associated with a custom engineered design.

Therefore, in order to keep all the costs associated with the Car Lot down to reflect its purpose of a minimum viable design, I'm going with an RV Cover.

Description

The Trailerport RV Cover is a three-sided carport, co-opted to be used as an RV Cover.

VersaTube sells an off-the-shelf pre-fab kit they call a Classic Carport. It measures 12'x29'x10' — ideal to help keep costs down and perfectly-sized to fit the ATC Open Car Hauler. Not so ideal is the fact that this building doesn't actually look like the others. The corrugated sheet metal siding is horizontal instead of vertical — but at least it can be ordered with the same basic color. Since there is no trim, that won't match either, although I will probably paint the roof area to match the rest of the buildings and I have the option of creating faux trim the same way.

The frame of the building is 2"x3" rectangular steel tubing, which will be secured to a concrete foundation. I haven't made a decision about the foundation style. It may be two-part or monolithic — or possibly even a simple pad foundation if that will work — I'll have to speak with the VersaTube engineers and decide whether or not I'll pour it myself.

The only utilities going to the Trailerport will be electricity for the lights and some outlets, water for some external faucets, and a sewer drain to keep the pavement dry. Since I plan on using the building for some messier jobs, I will have considerably more lighting than would be necessary for parking a trailer.

As for the opening, I haven't decided whether or not I'll be adding a curtain, but as of now, I'm moving forward as if I weren't.

Reasons

The reasons behind the Trailerport are pretty straight forward and have already been discussed, but here's a short list:

  • A place to park and keep the elements off of the ATC Open Car Hauler so that it remains in good condition for years to come — it seems stupid to me to spend a bunch of money on a car trailer to let it go to hell.
  • A place to work on some messier jobs that need to be contained for easy clean up.

That's really all that's driving the Trailerport build.

Goals

Guess what? I need the Trailerport built to cover the ATC Open Car Hauler I'll be buying to move the cars around. I've already said that, and the rest of the goals for the project are pretty similar to the other buildings, but here we go:

  • Keep costs down, while still fulfilling my needs for the building.
  • My space for my hobby is limited so the Trailerport will need to pull double duty as a place for messier jobs. In order for it to pull double duty, I'll need to add extra lighting, water, and sewer. All that means extra cost over and above a simple RV Cover, but c'est la vie.
  • One more time for the people in the back (I'm not upset with you, I'm just tired of coming up with yet another way of writing this refrain), my hobby isn't building construction, it's wrenching on my Car Projects. What makes this building worse is that, like the Junk Box and the Workshop, this building doesn't directly impact the wrenching on the cars — for the most part — so it's more or less in the way of getting to that point, rather than a facilitator of it.

On the positive side, this is only a cover, so it should be fairly quick by comparison to the other Garage Projects — which means my goal of speed is really a possibility here.

Yay.

Scope

Project scope is meant to define both what a project is and isn't.

As an example, the Trailerport is an RV Cover, it is not a trailer condom.

Ba-dum-tss.

In all seriousness, though, the scope for Project: Trailer Tube includes only three areas: laying the foundation, building the structure, and installing the utilities in the building.

What this project doesn't include are installing the utility services (which will be handled in Project: Plotting and Scheming) or the walk and driveways that provide access to it (those will be handled in a later project for the Car Lot).

Another item left off the table is corner cutting for functionality, fit, appearance, or finish. The Trailerport is an extremely barebones structure and shorting any of those quality features won't precipitate much in savings, it'll only impact my satisfaction with the final result.

Timeframe

Let's talk turkey.

I mean, as I write this, Thanksgiving is only two months away.

Really, though, this building is pretty simple.

Although good-sized and with more utilities, I would put the Trailerport in the same category as the Boxes as far as complexity goes — after all, it doesn't even have any doors.

So, I'm giving myself just two months to get this thing up. That's twice as long as the Junk Box, but a month shy of the Workshop.

As with my other projects, I've got about five hours a day, two days a week to apply myself, and that breaks down as follows:

Per: Day Week Year Totals
Hours 5 10 80 80
Days 2 16 16
Weeks 8 8
Years 0

Budget

After dealing with $110,000 tab on the Parking Garage, the Trailerport will almost feel like I'm the one getting paid.

At $16,000, I should be able to raise the funds fairly easily — even the entire cost, up front — provided, of course, I have sufficient income. For entertainment's sake, I've gone ahead and broken the cost into a preliminary scheduled budget, below:

Week: 1 2 3
Initial Financing $12,000 $0 $0
Scheduled Financing $500 $500 $500
Scheduled Cost -$2,000 -$2,000 -$2,000
TOTAL $10,500 $9,000 $7,500
4 5 6 7
$0 $0 $0 $0
$500 $500 $500 $500
-$2,000 -$2,000 -$2,000 -$2,000
$6,000 $4,500 $3,000 $1,500
8 Totals
$0 $12,000
$500 $4,000
-$2,000 -$16,000
$0

Location

Obviously it'll be in the Hobby Complex, in my backyard, but its position is important.

My plan is to put it between the Workshop and the Wrench Works because in that position, it provides an ideal place to turn the truck and trailer around so that I can back the trailer up to the Warehouse to load and unload cars easily. It also happens to work well to turn the rig around so that I never have to back in or out of the Car Lot, regardless of what I'm up to, so bonus, there.

Work Requirements

For the requirements section, I've broken down the work necessary by building section.

Foundation

  • Foundation design
  • Site prep and excavation
  • Form construction and teardown
  • Concrete pouring and screeding

Building

  • Frame construction
  • Sheet metal fitting and installation
  • Roof painting
  • Trim painting

Utilities

  • Electrical service hook-up
  • Electrical panel installation
  • Electrical rough-in
  • Lighting and electrical outlet installation
  • Septic hook-up
  • Water hook-up
  • Plumbing rough-in
  • Hose faucet installation

Schedule

I foresee needing to reach seven milestones in order to complete Project: Trailer Tube. Without having a site to assess, contractors to consult, or a detailed plan to work from, the milestones below are as close to accurate as I can make them at this juncture.

Assessment, Feasibility and Go/No Go

As I work through the projects for the project garages, I'm getting a clearer and clearer picture of what I will and won't know before I get to this phase of Project: Trailer Tube.

I'll know a lot, quite frankly. I'll have assessed and prepped the site for the Trailerport during Project: Plotting and Scheming for the Hobby Complex. What I won't know during that project is the current state of my finances and other resources for this phase of this project. Neither will I know how much this site may or may not have deteriorated in the interim between the two projects. However, if all things check out and the project is feasible, I'll give the go ahead to launch the project, and begin planning it in detail.

Planning

As complicated as writing a project charter is, writing an actual plan to manage the project is even more so.

I'll need a detailed plan, however, to give the final go ahead to begin the principle project work and to manage it effectively.

Why do I need a detailed plan to manage the project effectively? A project plan provides a blueprint of sorts to compare the actual project's progress and results against. Without it, there isn't a great deal of actual control — since control requires something to control the project to. A gauge if you will.

Thankfully, though larger in size compared to some of the structures in the Hobby Complex, it is a very simple structure, so planning should be relatively easy.

Thought the idiot right before he said "hold my root beer."

Preparation and Coordination

This project is pretty simple. In fact, I plan on doing everything myself — still there are places where coordination may be needed.

Due to its size, the foundation has the potential to need more people than myself, so a contractor may be needed. The utilities may also pose a challenge — I don't think they will, but the possibility exists.

I don't even know that a carport requires a permit or an inspection, so whatever I do may be fine. I don't know enough about the permitting and inspecting process to know, though, so I may need a consultant to look over my work. We'll see.

Since the site, itself, should already be ready to go, I may only need to get the materials necessary to build the Trailerport on site before getting underway with the next phase, pouring the foundation.

Foundation

I have options.

At the moment I don't know what the correct option is.

For certain this building can be built on either a two-part foundation with a T-footing or a turn-down monolithic slab. However, due to the simplicity of the building, I'm going to have to check with the VersaTube engineers to see if a simple concrete pad will work.

I'm planning to handle this foundation myself, but, it may be too large to do so — as mentioned above. If it is too large, than I'll hand it off to a contractor and come into the principle work during the next phase, building the Trailerport structure, itself.

Building Structure Construction

This building is pretty simple. I don't really foresee anything that's going to throw me off. So, I'm pretty certain I can manage this whole phase by myself — there aren't even any doors to install — but, one never knows.

I mean, if I could see the future, I could for the Trailerport — and even the entire Hobby Complex — with ease.

I can't — so, I'm going to keep an open mind.

Utility Installation and Hook-Up

The Trailerport has more utilities going into it than the Boxes, but fewer than the Warehouse, so, we'll what that means for me and the work I do.

For sure it's going to need electrical for plugs and lights. It's also going to need plumbing for hose faucets and a drain or two just in case I need to keep the rain from puddling or I should need to rinse the place down. Of course, that will mean a trap, but that's fine.

I don't have it planned for in the budget for the charter, but I'm considering installing a vent fan just in case I do something crazier than I think I will. I'll have to wait and see.

At most, I'm guessing I'll need a contractor to advise me on what to do, inspect my work, and potentially hook up the utilities to their respective services. However, all that's up in the air as I've never done this type of work before.

Close Out

Project: Trailer Tube will be nearly done at this point, but not entirely.

As with the other Garage Projects, during the close out phase, I'll need to tie up loose ends, review the lessons I've learned, and apply them to the future projects.

Summary

The Trailerport is another side project that isn't primarily used to work on the cars, which means its $16,000 budget could be more directly spent on another project that will. On the other hand, it will be used for some of the messier jobs I don't want in the Parking Garage or the Wrench Works Service Garage. More importantly, it will keep the elements off the ATC Open Car Hauler I intend to buy to move the cars around. Given the cost, I expect that thing to last as long as my hobby — which is to say until I'm pushing up daisies.

Although not as complex as the rest of the buildings on the Car Lot, it's larger than all the Boxes and the Workshop, making the project more complicated than a simple carport should be to construct — I'm just not sure exactly how complicated that is at the moment. Once I know, though, I'll be able to decide how much of Project: Trailer Tube will need to be handled by contractors and how much I can handle myself.

Progress

For a building without doors, insulation, HVAC, or even a fourth wall, this thing should be making some pretty swift progress, but it's not.

Why?

No place to build it, no money to build it or buy the place, and a whole slew of Garage Projects in front of it.

Stay tuned right here. As soon as I'm able to get started on Project: Trailer Tube, this is where you'll find the updates posted.

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