Building a small woodworking shop...

I've bought books and searched the internet and haven't been able to find a clear answer to this...
I plan to build a 12x20 workshop of sorts in my back yard. My budget is pretty tight, so I plan to do all reasonable work myself, with the exception of electrical work. My yard slopes a bit and there's about 2-3 ft drop along what will be the length of the shed. I'd LIKE to have a concrete slab, however that'd be a lot digging and an whole lot of concrete. I might as well just higher a contractor to do the excavation and pouring. The question is, if I instead go the way of poured piers, what exactly will I need to do to ensure a wood floor frame will support all the equipment I plan to put in there (i.e. tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press, etc.)?
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On Wed, 12 Mar 2008 14:51:02 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Thoughts:
1. Make sure your building code will allow poured piers. (Probably will, but check to be safe).
2. Strong enough? Well, there are plenty of references to how to ensure the strength of the floor if you made it of wood.
3. I'd prefer concrete myself, rent a tractor with a loader, buy some sand, and do your site work. Work with the concrete sub-contractor to see what he recommends as well.
I doubt an adaquate wood on piers will be any less expensive than a professionally poured slab.
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I am a concrete contractor and a general builder. The cost for a sturdy wood floor construction compared to a slab construction is higher. You would still need perimeter support also. Normally in Calif. a perimeter foundation is in order. You would not necessarily have to excavate much with a slab foundation. You would build a perimeter foundation @ about 6 to 8 inches above grade at the highest point and then build a level wall from there 12x20. Backfill with sand, and pour a concrete slab @ 4 to 5 inches. If you went with the wood construction you would not backfill, and set up a floor system with 2x10 or 2x12 @ 16" o.c. and I would use 2-4-1 or 1 1/8 inch ply for subfloor. A person could build a retaining wall and then have a level slab. If no permit is required, piers could be placed about a ft. in from the perimeter and 4x4 posts and 4x6 girders and then a floor system. I feel better with the perimeter foundation and or slab/wood floor. A small excavator is not that much. Good wishes. jloomis

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Don't forget with a pier and beam, plus subfloor type, you'll need a skirt. If the shop is to be insured, the skirt will most likely have to be of some sort of masonary. If so, check with your homeowners insurance company. This type of skirt entails some sort of running slab to support the masonary at the perimeter. Most likely stairstepped on the slope sides. By the time all is said and done, you might as well go with a concrete slab. If you choose the latter, consider sloped concrete entry for easier moving your equipment in the building.
--
Dave

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Thanks for the replies everyone! Seems like the most popular idea is a slab and since that's what I wanted to do to begin with, looks like that's the way I'll go. Appreciate everyone's advice.
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