Sheds Are Not Tourism Cool…

Sheds are one of those buildings that appear to be a great, inexpensive solution to a new building. Lot’s of our clients are also really comfortable with sheds – they are all over their properties, being used for farming and manufacture activities. They are legitimately part of your authentic day-to-day activities, and sometimes old ones are full of character. I know you’re thinking ‘they’re sure to be interesting to tourists’! Surely putting a tourism experience in a shed is a logical next step, right?

Actually sheds are a minefield of additional costs, new and old alike. They are designed specifically for the farm and manufacture uses, and they are incredibly expensive to adapt into anything else. Not to mention the impression you give of your brand quality to tourists.

Here’s why putting tourism in a shed will cost you a lot more in the long run…

1. Sheds are cheap because they are built with absolute efficiency for one purpose. They are built for storage, not for people. What are the implications?

  • No extra strength or structure to hang anything, including plasterboard, shelving, interesting lights, ceilings. They don’t even accommodate a window easily. It costs extra to put the structure in to be able to put in extra doors and windows, and hang things from the roof and walls.
  • Not weather proof. They heat up in summer and get freezing in winter. They are drafty. It costs extra to make them fit for human occupation.
  • Not vermin proof. A standard shed comes with a range of cobwebs, mice, rats, snakes, termites, etc because the wall sheeting is not sealed against the floor slab. Sometimes they don’t even have a floor. It costs extra to make them vermin proof.
  • They move, so cracks will appear quickly. This is a maintenance cost long term, and an issue for the appearance of your brand new space right from day 1. Movement also means doors and windows will tend to jam because they are being twisted with the building. This will cost more in structure to prevent.
  • Sheds don’t normally have to accommodate toilets, points of sale, high heels, wheelchairs… Adapting them to accommodate extra power, data, plumbing etc, and making them safe for the general public, will cost extra.
  • Sheds are not welcoming. It will cost more to add entrance features that make it clear to tourists that they are welcome here.
  • Sheds are generally built out of sheet metal because it’s bargain basement cheap and quick to put up. Upgrading that to anything else means more structure and more cost for more expensive materials.

2. Good quality doesn’t live in the shed. To sell a good quality product, you need to imply it in your buildings. You bottom line will suffer from having to lower your price point because your buildings suggest your product is lower quality.

3. They are not built with care, and they aren’t meant to be. They are sheds. What does it say about your brand, to be housed in something that was not built with care? Again, your bottom line will suffer from having to drop prices in line with perception of quality.

In our experience, a shed that is upgraded and modified even at a minimum level to accommodate tourism offerings will cost at least the same as a custom designed building. If not more. Heritage sheds should be considered with care whether they are right for your brand before you commit to spending a lot of money to upgrade them.

Having said all of this, sheds are great for farm and manufacture. And it’s awesome to take visitors through your shed as part of their experience. They just shouldn’t be the entrance, the sales area, the main public tasting space or the exit. Reserve them for a tour or a behind the scenes experience – not the main one.

Now we’ve stirred the pot, what is the solution, if not a shed? We think the best place to start is to work out what kind of building your brand should have. Start with our quiz at 

#noshedsmovement #tourism #tourismarchitects


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.