Below are answers to some of the most common questions about house plans and building your dream home.
What type of modifications will you make to your plans?
Some of the designers are willing to make changes to their plans for an additional charge. Please provide us with a detailed list of the changes you would like to make to a plan and, we will contact the designer about the additional charge. Sometimes, minor changes, such as moving a door or window, can be made at the jobsite with the help of your contractor or builder. Be sure to discuss your changes with them before construction begins. The CAD files and Reproducible Masters are another option for making changes if you want to work with a local design professional. Be sure to discuss your changes with the design professional before ordering your plans and ask what types of plans he or she prefers to work with.
What is a CAD file?
A CAD file is an electronic version of the blueprint available in DWG or DXF format. Your design professional will help you determine which format is best to order. CAD files come with a copyright release giving you legal permission to make changes to the original blueprint. A CAD file can only be used to build the structure one time.
What is a reproducible master?
A reproducible master is a complete set of construction drawings typically printed on erasable vellum paper. They are offered for those who would like to make simple changes to their plans. This option allows you to work with your builder or a local residential designer to make the necessary changes to your blueprints without investing great amounts of time and money to redraw the entire plan. Once your changes are completed, you can make all the necessary copies you will need for the construction of your new home or garage. A copyright release is included with a reproducible master giving you permission to legally make changes to the copyrighted construction drawing and then make the copies you will need for building. You will need to take the copyright release with you when you take the blueprints to a copy shop. The copyright release does not give you the right to build the home more than once with the same set of construction drawings.
What foundation types are available for this plan?
Each blueprint has one standard foundation plan available with it. In the information given for each particular plan, it is indicated whether the plan comes standard with a slab on grade foundation, crawl space or basement foundation.
If you find a plan you like, but were hoping for a foundation type other than what comes standard, we can provide that for you. There is an additional charge of $275.00 to develop this alternate foundation for the plan you have selected. In some rare instances we may not be able to match the foundation you would like with the plan you have selected. An example of this would be with some of our smaller vacation plans. Most of those are either on a slab or crawl space foundation. Given that the stairs to the basement require a certain amount of space, it may not be possible to find a location for the stairs due to the small nature of the plans.
Please call us regarding alternate foundation types and we will be able to assist you with determining whether an alternate foundation type is feasible.
Do these plans include everything I need to obtain a building permit?
These plans include almost everything you need to obtain a building permit. Your general contractor will be able to assist you with the additional material that needs to be gathered and submitted for permits. If you are serving as your own general contractor we suggest you contact the Department of Public Works in the city or county in which you wish to build and they will be able to provide you with a list of what they require in addition to the architectural drawings (blueprints).
Some of other items necessary for a permit application may include a site plan, septic system design (unless on city sewer), pre-engineered roof truss diagrams, mechanical layout for heating and cooling system and installation instructions from manufacturer for a pre-fabricated fireplace if applicable. There may be additional items necessary so it is extremely important to consult with your Department of Public Works.
How is the total finished square footage calculated?
We calculate the living or finished square footage of our home plans and garage apartments by determining the total heated area contained within the exterior walls, including the wall thickness. This does not include the thickness of brick veneer if the exterior finish requires brick. Also, it does not include unfinished areas such as garages, porches and basements. If there are two-story spaces in the home, that area is only included in the first floor area.
Are room dimensions exact?
The room dimensions given in each room are rounded to the nearest inch. As you will see on some of the designs with open floor plans it is difficult to give exact room dimensions because there may not be natural starting and stopping points. An example of this may be a kitchen that is also open to the breakfast room and family room. The exact dimensions are only provided on the actual construction drawings.
Can I return the plans?
Unfortunately, the plans cannot be returned once they have been purchased. The reason for this is that with today's technology the plans can be copied easily, which is illegal. Please be certain of your selection before purchasing the plans.
Can I have the plans emailed to me?
We are now able to email CAD files and PDF's.
What is a material list and what does it include?
Our material lists are intended to be a guide for you during the construction of you new home or garage. We are comfortable with the accuracy and completeness of our material lists. However, due to variations in building practices and differing code requirements found throughout North America and Canada, exact material quantities cannot be guaranteed. Our material lists include the floor framing system, wall framing, roof system, exterior doors and windows, exterior finish and trim, insulation, bath cabinets and accessories, bath fixtures, drywall, interior doors, hardware and trim, kitchen cabinets and accessories, electrical, fireplaces, guttering and flooring and interior wall finish. They do not include rough plumbing, heating and air conditioning, foundation materials and appliances.
What is included with a set of plans?
Each set of construction drawings includes enough information to construct the home or garage. The drawings will include a foundation plan, floor plan(s), exterior elevations, roof plan, electrical plan, cabinet elevations, house section, typical stair and wall sections and other related details pertinent to a particular design. These are not designed to provide step-by-step building directions. There is a certain assumption the work will be done by those with some construction knowledge and experience.
How many sets of blueprints will I need to build?
Depending on the scope of the project and the number of people/tradesmen working on it, you will need a minimum of five sets of blueprints. Ask your local building department how many sets of plans are required to obtain a building permit. To that, add one for the foundation contractor, carpenter, electrician, plumber and heating and cooling contractor. If you are getting a loan for your building project, you should also check with the lending company to find out how many sets of plans they require. You might also consider a set of plans for yourself to serve as a reference during construction and in the future if you should decide to finish a bonus room or add a room addition to your house. Additional sets of prints can be ordered if needed (for one project) if ordered with 90 days of the original order.
Can I afford to build this home or garage?
Ordering at least one set of plans and a material list, if available, is really the best way to get a handle on the true cost of the project. Another way is to interview local general contractors to see what the average cost per square foot is to build a given design. Keep in mind they will only be able to provide approximate costs without fully analyzing the construction drawings. Since there are so many variables in the construction of a building (labor rates, material selections, fluctuating material costs, etcâ€¦) we are not able to give estimated building or material costs.
Where has this home or garage been built before?
We do not have the addresses of where our homes and garages have been built. When we receive orders we only receive billing and shipping addresses. Therefore, we are not able to give locations of where our designs have been built. We make every attempt to obtain photographs of our completed homes and garages so we can post them on our website for our customers to view.
Are these plans copyright protected?
These plans are copyright protected and cannot be legally copied without the expressed written consent of the designer. Note: Making illegal copies of a blueprint is considered copyright infringement and is punishable by law in the form of a fine.
How many times can I build this home or garage?
You are only allowed to build one home or garage from these plans. A multi-use fee is available for all of our home and garage blueprints. Please review the information under each plan for pricing.
Is the license transferable?
The license to these plans cannot be transferred to anyone.
Are the blueprints sealed by an architect or engineer?
The construction drawings will not be sealed by an architect or engineer. In some instances building officials require the drawings to be reviewed and sealed by a professional architect or engineer licensed in the state in which the structure is to be built. In this situation, you will need to take your plans to someone locally. A copyright release is available for such instances.
How long will it take to receive my blueprints?
We offer a variety of shipping options for our blueprints to accommodate your needs. Orders placed before 11:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) will ship that day. If your order is placed after 11:00 a.m. CST, it will not ship until the next business day. Our shipping schedule is as follows:
Express Shipping: 2-3 business days
Priority Shipping: 3-5 business days
Ground Shipping: 8-10 business days
Canada Express Shipping: 3-5 business days
Canada Ground Shipping: 10-12 business days
If your order must be shipped outside the United States and Canada, please call for a shipping quote and estimated shipping time.
Do you ship overseas?
We do ship our plans to countries other than the United States and Canada. Please call for a shipping quote and estimated shipping time before placing your order. Your order cannot be placed on this website. You will have to contact us by phone or email to place your order.
Will the blueprints meet my local building codes?
At the time these blueprints were drawn, we put great care into ensuring the construction drawings conform to national building codes. However, this does not mean they will meet all local building codes. Each city, county, municipality, etc. has its own set of building codes consisting of zoning requirements and other regulations that are best suited for that particular area. Be sure to check with your local building official to determine what is required for the area where you plan to build. It may be necessary to work with your builder, a local residential designer or another building official to modify the blueprints for code compliance in your specific area. Some areas of North America have very strict engineering codes such as the Northern regions with snow load requirements, hurricane-prone areas of the Golf Coast and parts of California that are in a high-risk zone for earthquakes. If you are building in these areas, it will be advantageous to higher a local engineer to review your plans and provide any additional drawings or calculations required by your building department. Along with the blueprints, your local building official may require a site plan, septic system design (if your property is not served by a county sewer system) and energy codes. If you are not sure if you will need to hire an engineer or supply the other items along with your construction drawings, contact your local building department. They can provide a list of all the required items needed to obtain a building permit.