Frequently Asked Questions
To address the who, what, where, and whys, the following is a list of questions and answers that hopefully explains how this works. Should you not find the answer you need, please contact us with your question.
- What should I look into before ordering a plan?
1. Prior to purchasing a construction set of plans we recommend that you obtain a list of requirements from the governing agency(s) that authorize building permits in your region. The following is a partial list of items that you will want to confirm:
- The construction set of drawings may be required to be stamped by a professional architect licensed in that state. Stock plans do not have a professional stamp for many reasons. If your building department requires a stamp they will only accept one from a professional architect licensed in that state. Should this be the case, the construction drawings will need to be reviewed and in some jurisdictions will need to be redrawn.
- You may be required to have structural engineered drawings stamped by a professional engineer. If that is the case additional drawings, details, and calculations will need to be prepared by a structural engineer licensed in that state. States that are prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, and heavy snow loads are some examples where a structural engineer will be necessary.
- Many states now have area-specific energy codes that must be met. This may involve documented calculations, and building assembly detailing that demonstrates that your house plan is in compliance.
- To determine what size house you can fit on your property you will need a plot plan (site plan). In many cases this can be obtained from the planning department in your jurisdiction. If one is not available you will need to have one prepared by a licensed surveyor in that state. At a minimum a plot plan will generally show dimensioned property lines and a legal description of the property. In some cases the plot plan will indicate any on-site utility easements. If none is shown it is worth inquiring since another department may have that information.
- Once you have acquired a plot plan you will need to discuss with a planning department official any requirements that will apply to that property. Requirements include front, rear, and side yard setbacks, utility easements, building heights, buildable area allowed, percentage of “hardscape” i.e. building footprint, driveway, sidewalk, etc. to “landscape” area allowed, to list a few.
- When placing the home on the site plan, for setback purposes, be sure to include the room addition option. This will be important should you choose to build the addition at a later time or should you sell your home.
- If you are building in an area without a sewer line you will need to provide for an on-site septic system. The septic system will need to be designed by a septic designer and submitted for approval by your local jurisdiction. We advise that you have this prepared prior to ordering your home plan since the septic tank and leach field will need to be shown on the plot plan, and its location, and area required can impact where or if you can place the home you are considering on the property.
- As with every governing agency there are procedures that must be followed and that holds true when it comes to building a home. Both the zoning and building departments typically have a handout they will provide you with that lists all of the items they require you to submit to obtain a building permit.
2. Know what type of foundation you want before you order. We offer two types; slab-on-grade or a full basement. See, “What’s included in the Construction Set” for more information.
3. Building a home will be one if not the most expensive personal investment you will ever make. Because of that you want to make sure you take your time and do your homework. Know your property limitations, know that the floor plan layout will meet your needs now and in the future, and know your budget.
- What is included in a construction set?
The following drawings are included in the construction set:
- Cover Sheet: Project notes and construction set sheet index.
- Slab-on-Grade Foundation Plan Option: Plan dimensions and foundation notes.
- Full Unfinished Basement Plan Option: Plan dimensions, basement notes, and schematic floor framing layout. (Note: The foundation and framing information shown on this drawing is conceptual only and should not be used in lieu of structurally engineered drawings).
- Floor Plan: Plan dimensions, door and window schedule, and floor plan notes.
- Interior Elevations: Shows cabinet layout in kitchen, bathrooms, laundry/mud room, fireplace, and any miscellaneous built-in cabinetry or details.
- Schematic Roof Framing Layout: Schematic layout of roof and framing notes. (Note: The framing information shown on this drawing is conceptual only and should not be used in lieu of structurally engineered drawings).
- Reflected Ceiling Plan: Ceiling heights, soffits, and any ceiling configurations.
- Building Sections: Dissects the building at various locations showing the foundation, interior and exterior wall assemblies, roof assembly, and interior space configuration in a given room.
- Roof Plan: Shows roof configuration, roof pitch, roof notes, and attic ventilation calculations.
- Exterior Elevations: All building sides, exterior material callouts, and wall heights.
- Wall Sections: Detail of how foundation to wall to roof is assembled, and their components.
- Schematic Electrical Plan Layout: Shows suggested location of switches, outlets, and fixtures. Does not include an electrical diagram.
Drawings are 24”x36”
Reverse Reading (Mirror Image) Plans
All floor plans presented here are considered right reading plans. Basically meaning that is how the floor plan was originally designed. However, you may say I like this plan but it will only work on my property if I “flip” the house and have the garage on the opposite side. Or you may have a particular view that you want to take advantage of but the plan is facing the wrong way. To meet that need all of our plans are available in a reverse reading or “mirror image” format. When ordering a construction set you will need to indicate what reading you want.
Full Basement Option
A full basement is a basement where the finish grade is uniform around the perimeter foundation walls. To capture natural light and meet egress requirements window wells have been incorporated into the design. A full basement is ideal in regions where frost footings are required. A basement also doubles your square footage enabling you to add more bedrooms, storage, or recreation space depending on your needs.
Each standard plan comes with various room options. The construction set for room options consists of a foundation plan, basement/conceptual floor framing plan, floor plan, conceptual roof framing plan, and exterior elevations. This package is accompanied with the standard set of drawings for that particular house plan.
- Can I modify the house plan?
We will make reasonable modifications to the plans on an hourly rate of $150/hr. What is reasonable will depend on what you need to have done. If it takes up to 10 hours that would be reasonable; over 10 hours and you may have to decide if it�s worth the extra cost. What we need from you is your request in writing, a written description of what you would like to revise, and any sketches you may have. Based on your information an estimate will be prepared describing our understanding of what you are requesting, the hours that it will take to make the modifications, and the cost. Full payment of the construction set of plans plus half of the estimated cost is required prior to making the modifications. We will email you PDF files of the changes for your review and approval prior to sending out the revised construction set.
- Does the house plan comply with the building code?
Our designs are based on the 2006 International Residential One and Two Family Dwelling Code which is a national model code. That said, codes vary from region, state, city to local building official. What may be acceptable in one area may not be in another area.
- Are the slab-on-grade, basement/first floor framing and roof framing plan designed by a structural engineer?
No, and they should not be used as such. The drawings are schematic and are only to assist a structural engineer in understanding the design intent. You will need a structural engineer where it is deemed necessary by the state you will be building in.
- Are mechanical and plumbing drawings part of the construction set?
Every state has adopted some type of energy code compliance making it difficult to design a generic heating system. Additionally, there are many mechanical system options to select from. Choice of system can include forced air, hot water, or in-floor heat. Energy sources can include gas, propane, electric, geothermal, or possibly solar. You will need to choose the system and energy source, and proceed from there. Plumbing as well as electrical are not included because it is necessary to know where the service will be entering the home.
In most instances a master mechanical, plumbing, and electrical sub-contractor that the builder has selected will provide the necessary drawings for approval as part of their job. Each plan does include a mechanical closet, however, depending on the heating system you select the closet may not be sufficient in size and may need to be adjusted accordingly.
- Can you explain the copyright and license agreement?
Like everyone I’m trying to make a living doing something I truly enjoy, designing homes. All the plans displayed on this website took hundreds of hours to conceive, design, develop, and produce in the hope that someone will like a plan and purchase it. By offering house plans to a large audience versus the more traditional one-on-one individual custom home, there are those that would take advantage of the situation. To help dissuade those few individuals each plan and their design options has been submitted and recorded with the Federal Copyright Office. This provides legal protection for my work.
Since the house plans are copyrighted, permission must be granted to use the plans. That permission is the license agreement. When you purchase a set of plans you will receive a letter granting you limited permission to alter the construction set
- What construction set formats are available?
We provide the following format options for you when ordering a plan. These are PDF files or AutoCad files. With our licensing agreement you are permitted to make as many prints as needed to build one home.
PDF files is a fast and easy way to receive your plans if you do not need to make any modifications and you do not need an architect’s or structural engineer’s stamp. With PDF files you can go to a copy center such as Kinkos, Office Max or any professional reprographics business that has a large format photocopier. The Construction Set comes in 24″x36″ sized sheets. What if you live in an area where a printing service is unavailable? Contact our office and we’ll see what we can do. The PDF files will be emailed once payment is received.
AutoCAD files are your best option if you want to make any modifications, or require an architect’s signature stamp or structural engineer’s signature stamp. Contact the professional you will be working with as to what format they prefer. The CAD files we provide are save in AutoCAD version 2004 with the file extension DWG. If an older version of AutoCAD or a DXF extension is required let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. The AutoCAD files will be mailed within 2 working days after payment has been received.
- How many sets of prints will I need?
How many Construction Sets of prints you will need can vary. Generally, the building department will request 2 to 3 sets. If you need a structural engineer or other consultant(s) they will each need 1 set. The builder will need anywhere from 3 to 5 sets. Depending on what plan you select a construction set can have anywhere from 9 to 14 sheets. Hopefully, this will give you an idea when budgeting for printing costs.
- What determined the price of your home plans?
All of the plans were designed by a licensed architect using the principles of universal design. Each home was designed to be semi-custom, without the professional fees associated with a custom home, and provide the homeowner with the ability to modify the home to their lifestyle now and in the future. Plus our plans are all inclusive versus ala carte. What this means is you will receive a complete package based on what you ordered instead of having to select and pay for various choices, such as the optional additions, which we believe will assist in home re-sales.
- Can I return the construction set?
No, we cannot provide refunds or exchanges. The reason is the home plan can be easily reproduced. Please be sure to consider all aspects of building a home before you buy. See, “What should I look into before ordering a plan?” for a sampling of things to consider. Contact our office to discuss any concerns you may have before ordering.
- Do you know how much the house will cost?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that material costs not only vary from region to region but from week to week. That holds true for labor costs as well. Also, the cost is influenced by the type of interior finishes, doors, windows, appliances, plumbing, and lighting fixtures to name a few that you select.
- Do you supply a material list?
No we do not. The reason being the material list is contingent on region, construction methods, and rough and finish materials. An example would be the structural components such as footing size, foundation wall depth, concrete reinforcing, floor and roof truss size and spacing, headers and beam sizes, etc. However, we have attempted to provide comprehensive architectural drawings that hopefully will better assist the estimator.
- Are landscape plans included?
No. The landscaping shown on the site plan drawing is to provide you with ideas and engage you to visualize the type of lifestyle you want.
- For builders interested in building more than one plan.
The purchase of PDF or CAD drawing format does not give you the right to construct more than one home. Contact our office to determine if a reuse fee applies to your order and can be paid to receive another license to build the home.