Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I purchase plans from you when I can find plans on the internet for free?

There are many great ideas for floor plans you can find for free on the internet but our plans include a construction set containing much of the information you need to actually build the home! Whether you are building with a contractor, architect, or on your own, you will want detailed information on the dimensions, notations, and elevations in order to get your house right. Building a house is one of the most expensive projects you will ever do and the home you build will most likely be there for years and years to come. It may be temping to "wing it" with a basic outline of a plan, but you (and your contractors) will surely be thankful for spending the time and money to have as many details laid out as possible up front, and save some of the "tweaking" on site for items you can really afford to do on the spot. 

What about the big websites with thousands of house plans for sale?

All of our house plans are personally designed. Buying plans directly from us means you are working with the designer who not only knows the plans inside and out but has a true passion for home design and building a connection with customers. You are also guaranteeing the lowest rate for your house plans and showing your support for the designer's small business- we value all of our clients! 

Will your plans meet my local building codes?

Our plans are designed to meet general IRC guidelines. We use 2021 IRC current codes. Your area may require additional items or may have amendments to the building code you may need to follow or provide supplemental information for in order to demonstrate compliance. Since our houses are designed to be built throughout the U.S. and Canada, the major code regulations for items such as door widths, hallway widths, plumbing fixture clearance, electrical outlets, and square footage minimums including headroom are included on each design unless otherwise noted on the plans.

Do your plans include mechanical/plumbing plans?

We do not include mechanical or plumbing drawings, however, we can mark HVAC units and stands on the exterior elevations if required by your HOA or permit department. It is best to plan ahead or discuss your HVAC and water systems with your general contractor and/or local HVAC companies to decide what will be the best direction and placement for your mechanical items. Some homes will be most efficient using a traditional heating and cooling system, while others may see benefits from using a ductless or mini-split/hybrid unit system or solar systems incorporated. 

Can I resell a house plan once I've purchased it?

Our house plans are sold with a single license release for a one-time build. If you would like to purchase licenses for additional builds of the same plan, please inquire for multi-license purchase rates and a release form.

Can you make changes to a plan for me?

We are happy to provide free estimates for changes to the house plan of your choice. We do in house minor changes and outsource major modifications to a third party design company. Major modifications often require a more intensive custom design and will require a greater expense and more time back and forth with the designer. 

Minor changes include but are not limited to:

-Changes to the overall dimension of the exterior of the home (ie widen or deepen the house by a certain amount of feet)

-Changes to the overall heated square footage under 200 sq ft added or removed. 

-Changes to the ridge height or roof pitch

-Changes to the window grids

-Addition or removal of windows or doors

-Small changes to the interior of the floor plan that do not require a major redesign

-Changes to the exterior siding or roof types

-Changes to the foundation type

-Adding an attached garage to a plan

-Addition of storage spaces or bonus rooms to ground floor

-Addition of covered porches or decks

Can I make my own changes to your house plans or hire my own architect to make the changes?

You can make your own changes to a plan set you have purchased but read this before proceeding with your order:

The files we offer for purchase are exported from Chief Architect software. It is required that you or your designer have the Chief Architect X15 software or Home Designer Pro (2023) and newer. These files cannot be used in any other program. Be sure to consult your designer to find out what software they use. The Chief Architect files (.plan and .layout) are great for making changes to the overall design of the house whether it be the floor plan, exterior, or just to visualize the home in 3D and add furniture or interior design elements. It is advised that your designer has some expertise or experience in Chief Architect. Home Designer Pro cannot make certain modifications but is great for making minor adjustments or using the 3D models.

What about AutoCAD or "CAD" files?

We offer CAD (.dwg) files for sale for your engineer or surveyor to be used on the designs AS-IS. Since we do not work in AutoCAD, our CAD (.dwg) exports can be complicated when used for design changes with any CAD/BIM program other than Chief Architect. This is due to the way the formatting exports and imports to other CAD programs and can create a lengthy process to make even simple adjustments to the design. Some designers may be familiar with these imports and we are happy to provide a sample .dwg export for them to test before purchase.

Are you able to export files to any other 3D BIM software than Chief Architect?

We can export the following file types: 3DS, SketchUp, Collada, STL, DWG. 

Why are some of your homes built on stilts or piers? Could I purchase a plan to build without them on a slab or crawlspace foundation?

Many of our designs are "elevated" style which means they are built on piers or pilings and are used in coastal areas that are prone to floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. These designs usually have drive-under garages and a full flight of stairs to reach the main living spaces. They often include elevators in order to make things easier to transport up and down. These plans are also great for hilly pieces of land in mountainous regions where you might want to do a "walk-out" style ground floor or foundation. The garages beneath can be built into your grade and could have additional enclosed bonus rooms that walk outside or are built into the ground similar to a basement or half basement. We can convert our designs to almost any type of foundation you like and even add attached garages in place of the drive unders. 

Do your plans come with an architectural or engineering stamp?

Your home will be built in a local municipality or city that has its own requirements for architectural and engineering stamps. Some areas require a locally licensed (state or county) architect or engineer's stamp to get permits. We do not provide stamps, however, we may be able to put you in contact with an engineer in your area. Please inquire for more information.

Will I need engineering plans?

We recommend that all of our house plans be reviewed and/or have supplemented drawings supplied by a licensed engineer in order to determine and verify the particular loads for your area and your specific property. Soil properties, varying grades, flood zones, earthquake zones, etc. can play a factor in whether or not adjustments to the foundation and structural elements should be made. Our house plans that are elevated on piers or pilings will require supplemental drawings by a structural engineer and oftentimes will require a stamp by your local permitting department. 

Where can I get framing plans?

A local engineer, architect, or truss manufacturer can supply framing plans curated to your project by working from the construction sets we provide. It is good to ask them whether or not they would like to work off of the CAD drawings or whether a PDF will suffice. 

How do I know if I need CAD drawings?

Although a PDF can suffice in many situations (especially garage plans or smaller houses), many engineers and surveyors require or request a CAD (.dwg) file to complete their drawings. Providing the CAD files can also reduce the amount of work and cost for those trades as they make it easier to scale and develop their own drawings. 

Can I get the house plotted on my lot to check whether or not it fits?

If you have the dimensions of your lot and any required setbacks we can check to see whether a footprint will feasibly work for you. We can also provide exports of the ground floor/footprint plan for you to work with and ensure the house will fit on your property. Please check with your zoning department and/or HOA to find out whether you have setbacks or variances within the confines of your lot. Landscape architects and surveyors may request that the house footprint be in a CAD form in order to plot your house footprint. Please inquire for rates to export for site plans.

Do you provide materials lists for takeoffs and estimates?

We provide materials lists by request. Please submit an inquiry for more information.

What else will I need in order to get a building permit?

Every local municipality is different but you should expect to supplement our construction plans with a few additional items such as: structural engineered drawings, framing plans, site plans, HVAC/plumbing plans, and other items required by permit, zoning, or HOA departments.