Race Shop Plans & Race Shop Planning Help
This is an ongoing thought process that one must
undertake to build the ultimate shop.
There are many things you need when Planning your Race
Shop. Inspiration, imagination, experience, available
space, organization, and money just to name a few. All of
them fit together and all of them should work together.
The primary reason for planning and building a well
designed race shop is to make you a better racer. There
might be some ego involved with many of the things you
want and plan into your shop but the primary reason should
be building to beat your competition. You don't race shops
and you don't race trailers but a good design of each
makes your racing life a whole lot easier. In planning the
race shop the following priorities should be center stage:
1. Size, location, storage and work area. How big, how
high, outside water tables, outside water flow/runoff,
work benches, cabinets, storage of supplies and unused
items. Nothing should be lying around that is in the way.
A place for everything. Solid organized work areas, work
benches, and work stations. . No machining near engine
building, and no solvent products near painting. It all
has to fit together. Don't forget the trailer parking - in
or out? How high do you want your garage door? Don't
laugh, I know a racer who built a shop and had a 13' tall
trailer that wouldn't fit through the door. Don't forget
about flooding. Don't build your shop on the lowest spot
of your lot. Build your shop so the water flows away from
it. Don't just try to block the water from getting to it.
You will lose that battle. You cannot beat water and wind,
remember that. We will discuss this later, but don't point
your big doors into the wind. You will have dirt and dust
everywhere and the door will lose. It's a simple "cycles
to failure" equation for your door and the wind will win.
Much to think about here. Get a tablet and visualize all
these things. A page for the outside and a page for the
inside. Think big and plan big. If later you have to trim
so what. At least it's all organized and nothing is left
out. Throw in some landscaping ideas too. You want it to
look nice don't you. If your trying to impress sponsors,
believe me it matters. Don't forget to check ZONING. Don't
build a nice shop and then find out it isn't legal. Also,
make sure lines of sight for your neighbors view of the
mountains isn't blocked by your new shop. Yes, many legal
battles have occurred for just that reason. Check these
things out now! Talk to your neighbors. Let them know what
you want to do. defuse problems before they start.
2. Walls and Floors. How thick, how strong, local building
codes on wind and other weather considerations. Don't
skimp here. Pour a nice thick slab for your floor. It is
going to be supporting more weight than you think. Start
adding up the weight of everything and make sure your
architect knows what you need. Tell them the truth. Don't
hold back trying to save money. You won't.
Also prepare now for what type of flooring you want. Your
floor is the one thing that you and your visitors will see
the most of. It impresses when it's done right. We will
discuss floor coatings in our projects section. Your
contractor, or you, will have to plan on reinforcements
and vapor barriers if necessary for the particular
flooring you have in mind. Color is big here as well. For
your lighting to be effective your floor and walls must
reflect light to where you are working but not waist
resources on lighting areas that you aren't in. Now is the
time to decide on color scheme for inside and out.
Are you going to use an interior liner panel on a steel
building or Drywall (sheetrock), or a combination of both?
It's time to keep track of your running costs. Over plan,
you can always reduce later on the frills if over budget.
Shop around and talk to as many people as you can. You
will get a feel for what works for the successful racers
in these areas. Your local codes my dictate most of this
3. Power Organization. Many things to consider here. You
may have choices of electrical service and you may not. I
haven't seen too many shops that really need more than 200
amp service. You might have the opportunity for 400-500
amp service but it gets expensive quick! Not much need for
3 phase power either. Single phase will work just fine for
99.5% of most shop applications. Outlets, Outlets,
Outlets, need me to say more? 240V power also. Study your
compressor and welder needs for most people. Some may also
need to figure in blasting cabinets, flow benches, dynos,
lifts, etc. Now is the time to fit it all in. Once the
power guys trucks roll off the lot, you have what you
have. Also time to think about over-head power lines or
buried lines. We buried our lines because of frequent
violent weather. No down lines for us. They are in the
ground. But, burring a power line takes permits and very
strict inspectors. When they say 6ft deep, they mean 6ft.
When they say 2ft wide they mean 2ft. The back fill is
multiplayer and multi-material and they inspect it all
very carefully. It is involved but the look is clean and
the lines are safe. But this may or may not be an option
in flood prone areas. Check with your local power company
and building codes.
Word of warning here before we continue. Talk to multiple
sources about building codes and best practices. No one
knows it all and many who should know, don't! Some will
lie right to your face because they don't want to tell you
they don't know. Many are paid to know regulations and
don't. Get everything you discuss with an official in
writing! When it comes to construction, plumbing,
electrical, roofing, zoning, etc., make sure your
contractor, you, the inspectors and the regulations are
all on the same page and in agreement. Don't rush things
right at this critical moment. This is where the dreaming
stops and the hard work begins!
In Part 2 we will discuss:
Heating, Cooling, Water Supplies, Doors, Windows, Safety
and a whole lot more...