Lifestyle sheds are the ‘jack of all trades’ within the shed industry. 

With a range of possibilities and uses, there are endless options for how to use a lifestyle shed. However, because of this versatility picking the right one can be tricky. 

It doesn’t have to be, here is what to look for when choosing your new shed.


What is a lifestyle shed? 

Before we go into what to look for, first we should define what a lifestyle shed is. 

Lifestyle sheds vary in form. They can vary from small to medium-sized garages or sleepouts to larger American barns. 

Essentially, lifestyle sheds are buildings that are aimed at maximising the available space while giving you the space to grow, work, live or store your toys. 



KiwiSpan’s lifestyle sheds are incredibly versatile and adaptable buildings. 

Our lifestyle sheds have been used for everything from workshops, man caves, storage units, sleepouts and even your classic Kiwi farm wedding venue. When you are looking for a lifestyle shed, keep this versatility in mind. As chances are you’ll want to use the space for a whole raft of things once constructed. 

When you are designing and building your shed, be sure to experiment with the number of bays, access points and doors, and dimensions of the floor plan. A good builder, such as KiwiSpan, will be able to show you different layouts to choose from. 


Strength and durability 

The materials your shed is built from will dictate the strength and durability of the shed, which will directly impact the lifespan of your shed. 

Ideally, you will be intending for your shed to become an important part of your land, and life, regardless of what purpose you intended for it. Meaning you’ll want the doors, walls and roof to be capable of withstanding a few bumps. 

Insist on only using material of the highest quality. At KiwiSpan, we use 0.40 gauge steel for the roofing and cladding, with 0.55 gauge for all the flashings and gutters. Ensuring your shed is strong, durable and watertight. 


Internal options 

Tying in with the versatility aspect of your lifestyle shed, think about what internal features you may require. 

A good lifestyle shed isn’t just the perfect size for the land, but it also has versatile features that allow you to go about your business. Features such as internal walls allow you to create different spaces or rooms, or canopies and mezzanine floors allow for a separate space off the floor, for an office or sleepout. 

While, you’ll also want to include water facilities, such as taps and toilets, along with power sockets and plugs, for plugging in the power tools or sound system. 


Lifestyle sheds are a great addition to any lifestyle block or farm. With KiwiSpan’s wide range of lifestyle shed options, you can’t go wrong. 

If you are considering building a lifestyle shed at yours, talk to KiwiSpan. We can help create the perfect building for your space and needs. 

Contact your local licensee today. 


Is it time to take your business to the next level? 

Does your business require a new office space or do you have excess material and need somewhere to store it all?

If so, regardless of whether you need a new warehouse, offices, workspace or storage units, KiwiSpan’s commercial buildings will give you the space you need. 

Discover our full range below: 


Commercial buildings 

Be the envy of all your competitors, with your new KiwiSpan commercial space. 

We cater for everything from your new national head office, spacious and modern offices or showroom and retail blocks. Whatever you envision for your business we will help you achieve it. 

We specialise in designing unique buildings that fit your every need. Whether you have special layout requirements, need an open floor plan, multiple meeting rooms or a workshop outback, we can make this happen. 


Industrial building 

We are committed to building strong, durable and versatile industrial buildings that will stand the test of time. Our goal is to not only meet your expectations but exceed them. 

We understand that industrial buildings tend to take a few knocks and bumps over their lifetime. That’s why we pride ourselves on only using the strongest and highest quality materials available. 

Whether you need a workshop, warehouse or factory, we’ll tailor our designs to your needs. Ensuring your building is exactly what you need, both in the short and long-term. 


Commercial storage units 

Do you have more trucks, machinery or materials then you have space? We’ll solve that. 

Whether you need a small storage unit with a couple of bays on-site, or a large-scale storage facility, KiwiSpan will help. 

Storage requirements vary from business to business. As a result, we aim to tailor your storage building to your exact needs. We’ll take the time to understand your business, what your requirements are and how they might change in the future. From there we will design a storage unit perfect for your business. 


Why KiwiSpan

KiwiSpan offers a wide range of commercial and industrial buildings that offer unrivalled strength, style and versatility. 

Our experienced licensees can work with your team to design the premises you envision. Our one-on-one approach along with unrivalled skills and technology ensure we can turn your ideas and requirements into reality. 

A new business premise or building is a large financial commitment. So you must get it right, the first time. With KiwiSpan, you can trust this will be the outcome. 

Make sure you check out our wide array of testimonials and photos of commercial and industrial buildings we have completed. These showcase our wide array of capabilities and versatile designs. 

Talk to you local licensee today. 

From a quiet home office to an extra bedroom for teens, sleepout builds have only grown in popularity across New Zealand in recent years. These smaller spaces are a great way to add extra habitable space to your home and have the ability to increase your property’s value.

A flexible space

As a separate entity from your main house, a sleepout has a host of possibilities: a hobby room, extra storage, an art studio, a music room, a gym, a guest room, a home office and more.   Whatever it is you need, you’ll have a space that’s versatile and adaptable, designed to meet your growing needs. 

Boost your income

With a new space comes new opportunities; ones many Kiwis are tapping into. Using your sleepout as a short-term rental investment makes the build unquestionable value for money – an invaluable chance to increase your income. 

Get building consent

Like anything, there are rules and regulations. With the help of your local KiwiSpan team, you’ll need to check you have consent before building a sleepout or cabin. This will include having your plan ready detailing:

  • Dimensions of the project (height, total area)
  • Location on property where the project will go
  • Size of property in square metres
  • Total area of your property currently covered by buildings
  • Total area of your property currently covered by hard surfaces, for example, concrete or paved areas

At KiwiSpan

We offer a range of stylish sleepouts and habitable sheds to suit everyone. Built with New Zealand fabricated steel, they promise strength, style and comfort.

Every one of our builds can be finished with quality insulation and aluminium joinery, ensuring full protection from harsh weather conditions. 

We can help you build the sleepout of your dreams – adapting design to suit your specific needs.

Design your own or make an enquiry today.

We should note that not all KiwiSpan licensees offer habitable sheds as a service. Be sure to check with your local KiwiSpan team to understand your options – they’ll be happy to help.

Sheds have a lot more to offer than people might initially think. Improving your quality of life, they have the ability to transform your day-to-day in a number of surprising ways.

Here are just a few of the reasons it might be time to consider building a shed:

1. Value

Having an outdoor storage space will automatically add value to your home. The added bonus of more space is a huge attraction to homebuyers, meaning you can enjoy the short-term benefits knowing the long-term also pays off.

2. Protection

Our hard-wearing, New Zealand Steel manufactured sheds provide complete protection against the elements. That means your vehicles or more expensive items won’t be ruined by moisture exposure and rust. 

3. Flexibility

Build the right kind of shed and you’ll have a versatile and adaptable space that can change and grow with your lifestyle and situation. What might be a place for extra storage now may well be an art studio in five years time.

4. Storage

Everyone needs storage. A shed is the perfect solution for packing away Christmas decorations, toys, tools and more. Freeing up room in your living space and giving you a lockable area that can even serve to childproof your home. 

5. Inspiration

We all need time to ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of family life. A shed makes room for hobbies, old and new. A workspace without distraction that allows you to work more efficiently or in a more creative way – opening the door to a whole new world of opportunities.

And these are just some of the reasons! With KiwiSpan, there are many styles of sheds to choose from, each easily adapted with our innovative 3D Shed Designer tool. You can create a model of the building you want, take walls out, add lean-tos, or rollers doors and more.

To start planning your shed contact your local KiwiSpan licensee today. 

Developer Philip Solomon honed his shed design before building the ultimate shed


Philip Solomon has years of experience putting up large sheds and his top tip is that shed aesthetics are important.

“A lot of people just focus on what they want to put in the shed until it goes up and then they say, ‘Oh, I don’t like that’.”

Philip has installed three large sheds on different properties he’s developed so, when it came to designing and building a large shed on his own property in Gisborne, he had already developed firm ideas about what he wanted. That included making sure it looked right in the landscape and complemented the house.

He needed to drive a truck and trailer straight in, which set the width and span at 12 metres. He also needed a bay for a boat on a nine-metre trailer, and both the boat and the truck needed high doors. He settled on 3.2 metres, and a stud height of four metres. 


More than just a shed

Another part of the plan was to build in some accommodation, an office, lunchroom, and sleepover, complete with a bathroom at one end of the shed. As you can see in the pictures, that was built separately inside the shed later. Philip preserved the shed’s full useable floor area by building the ceiling of the accommodation strong enough to be a mezzanine floor. He says the four-metre height gives just enough headroom to use that space for storage without making the building too tall.

He chose the colours, and also window and door frames to match the 355- square-metre house he’s going to build on the same site — because shed aesthetics are important. So much so, according to Phil, that in each of the three developments he’s done so far with big sheds, he’s built the shed first. 

We asked Phil how he decided which steel shed maker he was going to go with and he said he’d gone with KiwiSpan every time. KiwiSpan offered the choice of colours that tie in with house designs. “Also they are dominant as far as strength goes,” he says.

“If you are building in a high wind zone, like we are here, you need something substantial, something designed and engineered so it’s not going to be a problem.” 


Building for strong winds

Builder Terry O’Neill of KiwiSpan Gisborne said Philip knew exactly what he wanted, so speccing the building was straight-forward. KiwiSpan’s design programme selects the correct sized portals and framing to suit the span, height, and the wind load. Being in a high wind zone meant the shed had to be strong to avoid flexing which would cause issues with the Gib-lined area. The large roller doors are industrial strength and the aluminium windows are all double-glazed.

The programme allows for different roof angles to be chosen to tie in with other buildings onsite. As the shed sits 200mm higher than the house will, Phil chose to keep the roof pitch shallow at 11° — again to avoid making the shed look too big. Adding the verandah roof to the end gable, over the ranch slider door, was also a simple task.

“Phil is pretty experienced and did a good job of the site works, so that was straightforward too,” Terry says.

Phil says that included capturing water from the roof from both the shed and the house and diverting it into two 30,000-litre tanks alongside the shed. 

Provisioning for water was important as the house will have a lap pool that will need to be topped up.


Phil is now keen to get on with the house build and, as in the previous properties he’s developed, having a big shed already onsite with storage space, a workshop and plumbed in facilities — and even a shady spot to have lunch with a view over the neighbour’s vineyard — is going to make that so much easier.


Written By: Ian Parkes, The Shed.

Photography By: Brennan Thomas.

One of the most important decisions to make when building anything of a sizable scale is choosing the right builder.

Pick anything less than the perfect partner to achieve your goals with, and you might regret it – not only during the build but down the line too.

Below, we share our top 5 tips for finding the right builder for you:


  • Seek Advice


You want to work with a builder who knows their stuff, so needless to say, research is vital to a successful project. That doesn’t necessarily mean digging deep into the depths of the internet – but asking around too.

Authentic recommendations from friends and family might seem like an old-fashioned way of doing things but the best builders will be known for their reputation. Community groups and forums like Facebook are also incredibly useful for local endorsements.


  • Consider Relevant Experience and Skills


It’s integral you have an idea of the skills needed for your build. Different builders have different expertise and experience, which you’ll be able to get a clearer understanding of by asking to see their portfolio.

For example, if they only have experience in renovations and extensions, they’re probably not the right choice. Enquire about the details of their previous projects – time, material, requirements – and you can compare this with your needs.


  • Focus On Quality


When it comes to a new building, the last thing you want to worry about are on-going repairs – which can be costly, to say the least. It’s important to check with your prospective builder what kind of products they use and the quality of their work. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can tour their past work, be sure to check references and question your builder about the materials you can’t see.


  • Ask Questions 


A good builder will answer all and any questions you might have about your build. They will understand the needs of the project, and moreover, want to do the best job possible for you. This means they won’t shy away from giving you answers.

If you feel communication isn’t flowing from the initial meeting, they probably aren’t the builder for you.


  • Have a Shortlist


Talk to as many builders as you feel comfortable talking to, and then start whittling them down. We would recommend a shortlist of 3. And then, consider the 3 P’s:

  1. People
    1. Their reputation in the community
    2. The connection you have with them
  2. Process
    1. Their transparency around the process on how to help you reach your goals
    2. Their transparency around pricing
  3. Product
    1. Their experience with the type of build you have planned
    2. Their experience with the type of materials you want to use


And, if this still comes out as a level-playing field, go with your gut!


At KiwiSpan, we understand what it takes to build to last. We have years of experience in the industry and pride ourselves on supporting our clients with affordable solutions, high-quality steel and advice you can count on.


For a free estimate, drop one of your friendly experts a line today on 0800 870 078.

A new shed in steel complements a new home in timber


David Thompson is a builder. When he wanted a new shed big enough to fit a car hoist you’d imagine he would knock one up himself. Not so.

Once he’d checked out the options and the pros and cons, he decided to go with a steel frame shed from a local supplier. He was used to working with timber but he said a wooden-framed building would cost virtually the same, and he expected to have fewer issues with steel framing in the years ahead.

“And it was up fairly quickly,” he says. “Three big frame portals with some rails around — you don’t have to frame a complete wall.”

Another consideration for David was that he had retired and he didn’t fancy clambering about on roofs any more. He decided to turn almost the entire project over to KiwiSpan’s local Taupo agent and builder, Dave Frazer.

“I shopped around a bit and he seemed to be good to deal with,” says David. “He had a sketch in my hand pretty quickly with an estimate. It was quite easy.”


The perfect match

Apart from specifying the height needed to provide clearance for the hoist, David simply wanted the garage to match the house, which already had a built-in double garage at that end of the house. The right look was easily achieved by making the roof pitch the same, which also provided enough height inside for a car on the hoist with a standard 2.8m stud height. “It worked out well,” says David.

The Coloursteel roof could be exactly the same as the roof on the house, and the Coloursteel wall panel was also available in the same shade as the house. Owner David says going to the same composite weatherboard as used on the house would have been too expensive but he reckons the shed, with its ribbed steel wall panels, looks right and the different finish probably complements the house better.

He also points out the new shed could be literally tied into the house as the finished wall heights of the house and the shed are the same. This means he could run the roof straight across and make a carport between the two.

There’s one more detail that ties the two buildings together visually. “They added a white bargeboard to match the one on the house,” says David. “It was a good idea.”


Nice touch

Once builder Dave had got the roof and cladding squared away he realised he could match the look of the white barge boards on the house’s gables by adding an extra flashing. This white flashing would sit under the barge flashing to create the contrasting white lines that matched the look of the house

“It’s the finishing touch,” says David. The build had only one minor change to the original plan after David realised he didn’t need a double garage door to match the one on the house. There was enough room to drive through the same entrance, past the hoist, to get another car into the space alongside it. But that change was made before the concrete floor was poured, so moving the pillar wasn’t an issue. 

Heating may be added for winter but too much heat in summer was a bigger problem. As David didn’t want windows for security reasons, it was important to block out the extra heat that poured in through the clearlite roof panels. “It was just too hot in summer,” he says. 

So Dave came back and lifted the clearlite panels to install some white building paper behind them, which did the trick. He says it’s a solution that has worked before. Apart from installing the electrics, owner David says the only work he did on the shed himself was to line it with plywood, a straightforward job with its uniform 2.8m stud height.


Shakes change plans

David is highly satisfied with his new KiwiSpan shed. He says it was a straightforward job that went up fast, and he expects it will keep performing well for years to come. 

The only issue he has had is a geographical one. He decided against leaving cars on the hoist when a recent spate of earthquakes was running its course in the central North Island. “We had a 5.2 the other day. We felt that.”


Written By: Ian Parkes, The Shed.

Photography By: The Shed.

Quality and professionalism make for a rewarding shed build.


If you are going to build a shed you will want to do it right. The owners of this stylish American-style barn are happy to recommend the team that put this together.

Shannon Jordan and Louise Simmons sold up in suburbia and bought a block of land in Ruakaka three years ago. They planned to live in a caravan while planning and saving for their house. From this magazine’s point of view, they had their priorities right and decided to build a shed first.

It would give them space to expand into and meet both current and future needs. They parked the caravan alongside, and put a bench, fridge, and small oven in the shed. It also gave them space to store all their furniture from their previous home and building materials for the next one.

The shed was designed to take their boat and the caravan which meant they needed oversized doors, even though both vehicles had to live outside in the meantime.

Finding the perfect shed

Shannon and Louise shopped around for the right steel frame building. “My background is in sales but frankly the attitude of some of the other companies put me off,” says Shannon. “One said come back when I knew what I wanted… I knew then what I wanted was to go somewhere else.”

They had already decided that an American-style barn would look much better in their spectacular setting than a plain steel box, and it would give them the height they needed in the middle, for the boat. They also had colours and materials in mind that would complement the house. Shannon went to KiwiSpan, and builder and Northland franchise operator Stephen Cross struck the right note straight away.

“He showed us a couple of options for door and window placements, and he pointed out that the higher door meant he could line up the angle of the roofs, which would look better.” 


Stephen Cross said aesthetics are important and, while KiwiSpan buildings are based on a range of standard plans using their own framing technology, it’s easy to customize them to meet individual requirements. But KiwiSpan also takes care to make sure the finished article looks right. “With American barns, the centre section can look a bit too high or too narrow. Getting them looking good is important,” Stephen says.


Thorough research

As his reputation would rest on customer recommendations, Stephen did due diligence into the integrity of the buildings before buying into the business. He highlights the extra quality in KiwiSpan’s fittings, such as the generous roof flashings, which are critical in preventing leaks.  

Brackets connecting the portal frames are also fully bolted, which gives the most secure connection. Other shed companies use self-drilling Tek screws, even in these critical joints. He also pointed to the overlap on the tophat purlins which create stronger and stiffer support for roof and wall cladding.  

Customers quickly decide if quality and durability and peace of mind matters to them. “That can become a real motivator,” he says.

Putting up any kind of a building is a journey, and when they have paid the deposit customers really start to pay close attention. He says it’s part of KiwiSpan’s ethos to work in partnership with the owners throughout that journey.


All the compliance handled

Shannon said they were building in a high-wind area which meant extra documentation and compliance certification and Stephen’s communication made that process easy.

Stephen likes to make sure new customers have talked to other KiwiSpan customers before committing to a new build. Shannon and Lousie are clearly happy with their barn so their comments were mostly about the building process. Stephen is not surprised.

“Customers really appreciate the strength and quality of the building — and the way the relationship has gone through the build,” Stephen says.

Shannon and Louise now have a shed that complements their rural lifestyle, and if they have any problems with their new house, they already know their shed is up to the job.


Written By: Ian Parkes, The Shed.

Photography By: The Shed.

Inexperienced engineers. Poor working standards. It’s easy to get even just the basics of a building wrong if you don’t do your research. With weather conditions becoming ever-more extreme, it’s vital that those looking to build do it right, with suppliers they can trust.

Below, we share our top 6 secrets of building a structure that will stand the test of time:


  • The Building Design


When KiwiSpan first began, we were involved with the first cold-formed buildings imported into NZ. We then went on to head an Australian franchise group, where we quickly noticed a number of Australian companies who were only interested in sales, with no attention to quality, durability and structural integrity.

We also noticed a number of discrepancies, for example, their cyclonic engineering calculations were less than NZ’s very high calculations. Fundamentally, the MPA (compression strength of high tensile steel) did not match the engineering calculations.

Under engineered buildings fail under pressure. When this failure occurs the structural members buckle and collapse. A great building starts with great design.


  • The Product Manufacturer


The manufacturing process of any product will determine the quality in supply. If you want to go super-cheap, the reality is the quality of your build is going to suffer. 

Proven suppliers take a range of variables into consideration, enabling them to accurately access and establish durability and performance of their product. This allows them to meet their requirements for warranty and durability statements. Manufacturers such as NZ Steel (NZ’s largest manufacturer) are readily available to back their product and statement of claim.


  • The Quality and Value


Working with a company with experience can save you thousands of dollars, so look to the well-established. For us, it’s our view that if you have:

  1. An NZ designed building 
  2. Locally supplied product with transferable warranties
  3. A nationwide company behind you with years of experience
  4. A good rapport with the company you are working with

Then you’ll experience a quality product with quality service.


  • The Customer Rating


Testimonials matter. If you know the company you choose has good customer satisfaction and retention, you can move forward with confidence, backed by credibility. 

All it takes is one simple question: Can I please review your current customer satisfaction file? From this, you can expect to see current authentic testimonials. If you are still in doubt of their authenticity, ask for contact details and pick up the phone. 


  • The Building Life Expectancy


This is generally determined by three demographics:

  1. Usage: You may experience durability issues around doorways, and low clad areas, most of which can be replaced over time or protected further, such as the installation of door bollards, electric door openers or concrete panels.
  2. Location: Buildings located within sea spray locations will deteriorate faster than inland areas. There are cladding options available that are more suited to harsher environments (coloursteel maxx).
  3. Type of building: By this, we mean the products of which the building is manufactured from. Consider the thickness of cladding, UV protection and the roof as key factors.


  • The Backup Service


A good building company will be focused on the future of your building. Look at building warranty and the materials they commonly use. Are they future-proof? Are their previous builds sturdy in structure? 

At KiwiSpan, we mostly use high tensile galvanised steel and cladding is typically ModnColour according to customer’s requirements. 


Want a Free Obligation Service?


We are a nationwide group with vast experience in the industry. To help you build the best you possibly can, we would like to offer you a free advice session before purchasing.

How? It’s easy. Just choose from one of the following options to get in touch with our friendly experts: