Do your plans comply to my local building codes?
While these plans are all you will need to build a house, they may not be all you will need to obtain a building permit. Some areas of the country have specific requirements that will necessitate a local engineer to review and possibility add details to the plans. California, as well as some other earthquake prone regions will require seismic engineering, and possibly energy analysis (which may be a simple form to fill out). The coastal areas of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina will have to be engineered to meet hurricane codes. Utah will require local engineering to meet building codes. Local building departments requirements can vary, even in the same state. If you are not sure you can contact the local building department for assistance.
Additionally, most plans will have one or more "LVL" (Laminated Veneer Lumber) beams that will need to be sized based on the local snow loads. Your supplier can normally have this done at no charge.
These plans are drawn to conform to the International Residential Building Code, except as stated above concerning local environmental issues.
Do you know how much it will cost to build this house?
No, no one actually does, it's a mystery to the very end. You can find references as to how much a home costs per square foot, but this can be misleading; after all, a Yugo and a BMW are about the same size. These guides can be helpful if they are detailed to your area of the country and given in ranges of quality. The biggest cost variable usually is determined by the quality of the finish materials; sheet vinyl flooring vs. ceramic tile, Masonite siding vs. cedar shingles, plus a whole range in cabinet prices, grades of window, etc. If you can find builders in your area building a similar grade of house that you want, they might be able to help you and in the process, you might find a builder you can work with. If you know the selling cost of a similar house, subtract the land cost as well as any other expense you don't expect to have (example; real estate commission, etc.). This can give you an approximate square foot cost to factor into a plan.
A two story home is generally the most cost efficient to build due to its having the least amount of roof and foundation. Two story homes most often have all the bedrooms upstairs to utilize that space. A 1 1/2 house is one where some rooms are contained within the roof framing, usually the secondary bedrooms. These homes will cost a little more than a two story home, but allows a nice balance of living spaces, generally with the main bedroom down stairs. The single story plan requires the largest amount of foundation and roofing materials, therefore costing the most, given all else is equal. One story homes are generally called ranches or bungalows, depending on viewing it from the short end or the long side.
Do you make changes to your plans?
Yes I do, if it is not too extensive. I have retired from custom work. You may call our Design Modification Dept. (me) for more information. Modifications also can be made with many local drafting services if you prefer. A copyright release is sent with the purchase of reproducible vellums. Many homeowners can work with the builder to make "field changes". This can work just fine or it can be a real pain. First check with the building dept. to see if they have any issues. If you live in Atlanta...forget it...they're nuts...every change has to be on paper. Your plans also serve as a binding document between you and your contractor, so don't be too casual with changes or you can get into unexpected trouble.
Modifications are provided on a $75.00 per hour basis. An estimate will be given before any work is started. You will need to fax (828-627-1479) or send a written description of the requested changes. Payment for modifications and 50% of the plan package fee is required as a retainer. Having Acrobat Reader installed on your computer is very useful to monitor progress (available free from Adobe.com; it's already on most computers).
Can I take your plans to a drafting service and have them redrawn?
Actually, no one has asked that question, but people have had these plans copied by unethical draftsmen. First the human approach. These plans are the product of my efforts; I make my living from my designs. The "working drawings" of my designs are the craft I used to detail the designs into something that can be built to fully reflect the intent. When someone copies my work, it is stealing, and they will probably not get the same end result. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I can't make a living with flattery. Please purchase the designs properly and enjoy living in the home you build from them; it is my pleasure to be a part of your endeavor. If you are making a living building spec homes, please pay for my work which is contributing significantly to your livelihood. Now the less human approach. These plans are copyrighted. More than once, a builder has reported that a competitor in their area has stolen my plans. Proving ownership in court is not difficult, though not pleasant to have to deal with. And then there is karma.
How do I order a plan?
You may e-mail, fax or phone. Please list what plan number(s) you would like, along with how many prints you need or if you want vellums. Also specify what foundation type you need. Plans can be sent FedEx COD. For that, you will give the delivery person a check made out to Rick Thompson. For COD you need to have the plans sent to an address where someone will be during the day, or you can pick them up at the nearest FedEx location. You may also send a check of course, it's just a little slower. We also except credit cards. All these options are available on the online order form.
Should I buy prints or should I buy PDF, and what is a PDF?
Five sets of prints will often do for the construction of a house. Permitting departments generally require two or three copies for permitting, but this does vary, so check beforehand. A PDF is a digital copy that can be printed locally at any print shop or Kinkos. It will emailed to you, which can then be emailed to the printer and the various builders and subs. You can make as many copies as you need to complete your project. You are given a copyright release for printing as well as making custom changes. The base PDF package is for building the plan one time, however you have the option to buy a license to build the plan as many times as you like.
Can I return the plans should I not be able to build the house?
No, please make your decision carefully. Do you homework before hand to see if you can afford what you want. Also read the information above on codes.
What about structural sizes?
The floor systems are specified as 2x10 #2 syp. or floor trusses (sized by supplier). The cover sheet supplies span charts for floor joist, ceiling joist, and roof rafters in both #2 southern yellow pine and #2 spruce-pine-fir. All beams that accumulate loads from the roof structure must be sized locally, as the snow loading requirements are regional. Beams are called out as "LVL", which means "laminated veneer lumber". These members can be sized by the local supplier for free; this is routinely done.
How do you determined square footages?
This is heated square footage measured from the outside of the wood frame. Stairs are only counted on the bottom floor. Vaulted areas are not counted.
What is included with the plan set?
- Cover sheet - General notes, structural notes, joist and rafter tables, abbreviations, and energy guidelines. Most plans have a rendering of the elevation.
- Foundation Plan - A crawl type foundation is standard, but an alternate slab foundation can be included. Some plans have a basement foundation available.
- Floor Plan(s) - Floor and roof plan(s) and showing all dimensions, joist/rafter directions, cabinets, window and door sizes, etc.
- Exterior Elevations - All elevations drawn at 1/4"=1'-0".
- Electrical Plans - All electrical located on separate drawings.
- Schedules - Door and window schedules.
- Building section(s) - Section through the building showing stairs, vertical dimensioning, and structural information.
- Details - Various details describing foundation, wall, column details, roof assemblies, porch and deck details... etc.
- Cabinet Elevations - Kitchen cabinet elevations @ 3/8"=1'-0"
- Roof Plan - Roof plan at 1/8"=1'-0"
- Alternate Slab Foundation - If requested an alternate slab plan can be included
Do you supply a material list?
Computer generated material lists are available, see plan sheet for pricing. A composite example is available for your viewing...download PDF here
. These can be very accurate in many regards, but still require thoughtful examination and should not be the sole basis for a material order. Roof framing members are exact cut sizes where floor and ceiling framing members are in standard sizes (ex. 34 - 2x10x12). These are not necessarily on file and might take several additional days to generate and format.
Do your plans include HVAC layouts?
The heating and cooling layout need to be sized locally as climatic conditions vary. This is normally supplied by the HVAC subcontractor as part of their job. Most plans provide an interior place for the unit, however a crawl space location is recommended if conditions in your area do not prohibit this. This saves valuable interior storage space in these small plans, and usually works quite well.