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Frequently Asked Questions:



GENERAL QUESTIONS:

Q. What are the different basic types of foundations?
Q. How do I ask the designer about a plan?
Q. What if the foundation option I need does not show as being available?
Q. What is a Materials List and what does it include?
Q. What does Living (i.e. Heated) Square Footage include?
Q. What is included in TOTAL Square Footage?
Q. What is considered a bonus room?
Q. Are Garages included in the total heated square footage?
Q. Can I change the Foundation type?
Q. I want to build this home on 3 different lots. Can I just purchase extra sets?
Q. What is Mirror Reverse and how does it differ from Right-Reading Reverse?

HOUSE PLAN PACKAGES:

Q. What does a typical set of plans include?
Q. Are plans reproducible?
Q. What is a Review Set?
Q. What is a CAD File Set?
Q. What is a Reproducible Set?
Q. What if I only need 1 set of plans? Can't I take them to Kinko's to make more copies?
Q. Do you include a Materials List in your plans?

BUILDING YOUR HOUSE PLAN:

Q. How do I find out if the house I like has been built in my area?
Q. What are the next steps after purchasing my plans from you?
Q. What building codes do your house plans comply with?
Q. What are home building codes?
Q. Will the plans I order contain all of the information needed by my local building department?

HOUSE PLAN MODIFICATIONS:

Q. What if I need custom modifications made to a set of plans that I purchase at Home Design Central.com?
Q. How much do modifications cost?
Q. Would my modifications be less expensive if I drew them on my Home Architect software?
Q. Can I buy a plan and have it modified by someone else?

Have a question that's not anwered here? Send us an email...

Q. What are the different basic types of foundations?
A. There are three primary types of foundations commonly used in the United States:

Slab Foundation
Slab is a type of foundation consisting of a structural concrete slab poured directly on the grade. No accessible space exists in slab construction. Slab foundations are popular in areas (i.e. the Southern United States) where there is a relatively high water table (i.e. the "water table" refers to the depth in the soil at which you find water). Traditionally, the slab foundation is normally the least expensive foundation type when building on a relatively flat lot.

Crawlspace Foundation
Crawlspace is a type of foundation which includes an accessible space with limited headroom, typically between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of a home. Crawlspace construction is predominant in areas where there is heavy clay content in the soil, where the home owner needs additional under-home storage space, or the homeowner needs access to pipes, wiring, etc. under the floor of the home.

Basement Foundation
Basement is a type of foundation which includes an accessible space between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of a home. It usually has more headroom than a Crawlspace. Basement foundation construction is predominant in cold climates where the foundation needs to be situated below the frost level.

Q. What does a typical set of plans include?

A. In general, each house plan set includes the following elements, but the presentation of these elements may vary depending on the size and complexity of the home and the style of the individual design:

Cover Sheet
Showing architectural rendering of residence.

Floor Plan(s)
In general, each house plan set includes floor plans at 1/4" scale with a door and window schedule. Floor plans are typically drawn with 4" exterior walls. However, details/sections for both 2"x4" and 2"x6" wall framing may also be included as part of the plans, or purchased seperately.

Foundation Plan and Details
In general, each house plan set includes one foundation type.

Additional foundation types may be available for a given house plan, and these options can be viewed on each plan's detail page.

Foundation types typically offered: (each type may or may not be available for a given design)

* Slab: Slab is a type of foundation consisting of a structural concrete slab poured directly on the grade. No accessible space exists in slab construction. Slab foundations are popular in areas (i.e. the Southern United States) where there is a relatively high water table (i.e. the "water table" refers to the depth in the soil at which you find water). Traditionally, the slab foundation is the least expensive foundation type when building on a relatively flat lot.

* Crawlspace: Crawlspace is a type of foundation which includes an accessible space with limited headroom, typically between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of a home. Crawlspace construction is predominant in areas where there is heavy clay content in the soil, where the home owner needs additional under-home storage space, or the homeowner needs access to pipes, wiring, etc. under the floor of the home.

* Basement: Basement is a type of foundation which includes an accessible space between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of a home. It usually has more headroom than a Crawlspace. Basement foundation construction is predominant in cold climates where the foundation needs to be situated below the frost level.

Electrical Plan with electrical symbols legend
In general, each house plan set includes an electrical plan which will show the locations of lights, receptacles, switches, etc.

Roof Drainage Plan
In general, each house plan set may include a roof drainage plan which will show the layout of all roof sections/planes.

Exterior Elevations
In general, each house plan set includes all applicable front, sides and rear elevations, as well as any special exterior details.

Interior Elevations
Where applicable, each house plan set includes relevant interior elevations, including cabinets, cabinet details, columns and walls with unique conditions.

Specifications Form
In general, each house plan set includes a blank short-form FHA/VA specifications document for your reference.

License to Build
Each set of construction plans include ONE license to build.

If you would like to build multiple houses from one set of plans, please contact us to obtain pricing for a multi-use license.

Plans include relevant building sections and details.

Plumbing diagrams and HVAC plans are not available for these homes since each county's code will vary and a licensed plumber and/or electrician must follow the codes.

Note: Plan packages do NOT contain a Materials List. A Materials List can be purchased seperately for any of our plans for an additional fee.

Q. Are plans reproducible?

A. The normal sets of plans are NOT reproducible, but most designers do allow you to purchase a "Reproducible", "PDF", or "CAD File" set.

Q. How do I ask the designer about a plan?

A. On a given plan's detail page, click on the " Ask a question" link.

Q. What if the foundation option I need does not show as being available?

A. Give us a call and we can verify this information. Often times, the designer is able to change the drawings for you, as a modification, but you will need to contact us for a quote.

Q. Do you include a Materials List in your plans?

A. Most designers do offer an OPTIONAL materials list with their plans, and these can be added to your order on the online order form. If a plan you are interested in does not show that option, just send us an email and we can verify whether or not the materials list is available for that house plan.

Q. How do I find out if the house I like has been built in my area?

A. Unfortunately, Home Design Central.com and the designers of the house plans do not release this information for privacy reasons.

Q. What is Mirror Reverse and how does it differ from Right-Reading Reverse?

A. Mirror-Reverse Floorplan:
A mirror-reversed house plan drawing has been, literally, copied in reverse, resulting in the same image you would see if you held the drawing up to a mirror.

Everything, including the text, is backward in relation to the original. These kinds of drawing are typically used to re-orient an original plan more advantageously on a site, either because the homeowner prefers it that way or because of limitations of the site itself.

Right-Reading Reverse Floorplan:
A right-reading reversed floorplan is one that is the reverse layout of the plan, BUT all text, symbols, etc. are not reversed, as in the mirror reverse option above. This type of plan option is usually available for plans that have been designed in CAD software.

If you've picked out a plan but need to purchase it in a reversed layout, make sure the appropriate "mirror reverse" and/or "right- reading reverse" options are available for that plan.

Q. What are the next steps after purchasing my plans from you?

A. The first thing that you would probably would want to do is contact your local building department to find out exactly what is required for permitting. Some areas require an engineer or architect to sign-off/seal their approval to meet local building codes.

Next, you will need to decide if you want to go with conventional lumber for your floor and roof system or engineered prefabricated trusses. Conventional floor and roof systems may need engineering if required by your local building department. If choosing engineered trusses, you'll need to drop off one set of plans to your local truss plant or building materials center where they will furnish truss layouts and truss details. Generally, they provide this service as part of the truss price package.

Finally, you MUST get the specific requirements from your local building department. What we at House Plan Gallery, Inc provide are the "design" and "working drawings". There are no engineer or architectural stamps/sign-off's, unless otherwise specified. Engineering is not provided with any plans and should be provided by your own hired, local Engineer.

The best place to start looking for an local engineer or architect would be through referrals or via your local phone directory since they would need to be familiar with YOUR local building codes.

Wind load, snow load, earthquake engineering, or any other type of special requirements would be the full responsibility of YOUR engineer or architects.

Q. What building codes do your house plans comply with?

A. All of our house plans are designed to conform to the building code in use at the time and place of creation. Most building codes in the United States are similar because they meet industry-standard minimums that are based on three nationally recognized standards. Building codes set minimum standards. They are established and enforced by your local government, usually through your city or county's building department. Most states, counties, and local municipalities have adopted codes from one of the three nationally recognized building codes: UBC (Uniform Building Code), BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators), and CABO (Council of American Building Officials). All are very similar in content. Q. What are home building codes?

A. Building codes set minimum standards.

Building codes usually include safety regulations pertaining to how a building (commercial or residential) should be built. They are intended to protect both builders and home buyers from building an unsafe structure.

Q. What is a Review Set?



A. Review Set plan package includes to-scale floor plans and elevations ONLY. This package allows you to get a much better idea of a particular house's layout and size. In addition, this plan package is intended to help you to decide if the home you have chosen will fit into your budget, and to give you a better idea of room size. The Review Set plan package does not include the roof plan, the foundation plan, building sections or details.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A CONSTRUCTION SET OF PLANS. A LICENSE TO BUILD WILL NOT BE INCLUDED.

Q. What is a CAD File Set?

A. A CAD File plan package includes an electronic file version of the house plan with full size, quarter-inch scale copy of all sheets of the design. This particular plan package is best utilized for situations in which you have found a plan that you like but it still requires moderate-to-significant modification. With the CAD file option, you have the ability to take the plan to your chosen local design professional (provided that they have computer-based design equipment i.e. AutoCad), discuss your needs/modifications, and the designer can then modify the design much more readily than if trying to do so with a paper-based drawing.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: A CAD File plan package includes a copyright release allowing you to make changes to the plan and to, legally, make copies of this copyrighted plan. It does not, however, provide a license to build the plan more than one time without a Multi-Use Construction License.
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Q. What is a Reproducible Set?

A. Reproducible Set plan package is similar to the normal construction plan packages, with the additional feature that it is printed on an erasable paper called Mylar, sepia, or vellum. This type of plan package would be preferable for you if you plan to make minor changes to the plans. Once you've made your changes, you are legally able to make, typically, up to 10 copies of plans to build from.

You may use one of the following items to remove the image from the vellum paper (these items can be purchased at a blueprint/drafting supply store):

1. Xerographic eradicator fluid such as Michlin film eradicating fluid applied per manufacturer directions.
2. A dark grey ink eraser in an electric eraser.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: A Reproducible plan package includes a copyright release allowing you to, legally, make copies of this copyrighted plan. It does not, however, provide a license to build the plan more than one time without a Multi-Use Construction License.
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Q. What if I only need 1 set of plans? Can't I take them to Kinko's to make more copies?

A. No. It is illegal under United States Copyright Law. All plans sold through Home Design Central.com are protected by copyrights held by the individual designers. Feel free to review our copyright policy for more specifics on this issue.

Q. What if I need custom modifications made to a set of plans that I purchase at Home Design Central.com?

A. Most home designers do offer complete modification services for their houseplans. To do so, you would first need to purchase the plans from Q. (either a "Reproducible", "PDF", or "CAD File" set), and then contact us to receive a modification quote form the designer. Alternatively, you can simply purchase a "Reproducible", "PDF", or "CAD File" set and take the plans to a local building design professional to make the modifications for you.

Q. Can I buy a plan and have it modified by someone else?

A. Yes, if you purchase a CAD File Set, PDF File Set, or Reproducible Set you can take those plans to a local design professional to have changes made.

Q. What is a Materials List and what does it include?

A. The Materials List product provides a listing of the general quantity and quantity of basic materials needed to build the primary structure of your home. A materials list is a great value for you and your builder to speed up the bidding and building process, and is very helpful in acquiring a construction estimate. Pricing and availability varies by house plan. Please visit the plan's detail page on Home Design Central.com for additional details.

Q. What does Living (i.e. Heated) Square Footage include?

A. In most cases, it includes all the finished (i.e. heated and cooled) area, and usually does not include garages, patios, porches, unheated storage, unfinished rooms, and decks.

Q. What is included in TOTAL Square Footage?

A. In most cases, it includes all the finished (i.e. heated and cooled) area AND the unheated areas, such as garages, patios, porches, unheated storage, unfinished rooms, and decks.

Q. What is considered a bonus room?

A. A bonus room could be a study, computer, loft, children's playroom, etc. It is usually a space which is made available by certain characteristics of the home design (i.e. a particularly steep roof over a garage space) and can be left either unfinished (i.e. storage) or finished, depending on your particular needs.

Q. Will the plans I order contain all of the information needed by my local building department?

A. In most areas of the country, stock house plans will provide everything that you should need to build, but may not necessarily contain everything you need to obtain a building permit.

In addition to the house plans you order, you may also need a site plan that shows where the house is going to be located on the property. You might also need beams sized to accommodate roof loads specific to your region. Your home builder can usually help you with these type items. You may also need a septic design unless your lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. Many areas now have area-specific energy building codes that also have to be followed.

In some regions, there is a second step you will need to take to ensure your house plans are in compliance with local codes. For example, some areas of North America have very strict engineering requirements. An example of this would be earthquake-prone areas of California. If you are building in some states, it is most likely you will need to hire a state licensed structural engineer to analyze the design and provide additional drawings and calculations required by your building department. If you aren't sure, building departments typically have a handout they will give you listing all of the items they require to submit for and obtain a building permit.

Another item to consider is that stock plans do not usually have a professional stamp attached. If your building department requires one, they may accept a stamp from a design professional in the state where you plan to build. In this case, you will need to take your house plans to a local engineer or design professional for review and stamping.

Q. Are Garages included in the total heated square footage?

A. Not typically, since garages are rarely heated/cooled areas. Square footage is calculated as livable heated (i.e. heated/cooled, dry walled, painted, carpeted) square footage. Decks, courtyards, patios and verandas are usually not included in this calculation.

Q. Can I change the Foundation type?

A. Yes, in most cases. If what you are looking for is not listed, please contact us to verify the options that are available for each plan. For an additional fee, we may be able to have the plan redrawn with the foundation type that you require. In many cases, however, this is a simple change and can be modified during construction.

Q. I want to build this home on 3 different lots. Can I just purchase extra sets?

A. No. In addition to buying a set of plans, you are also buying a license or permission to use the designer's copyrighted material for the construction of one home. Some designers offer discounted fees for multiple use, but please contact us and we can verify specifics for you.

Q. How much do modifications cost?

A. Minor to moderate changes usually range from $350 to ~ $1000. If you should want to make extensive changes to a larger house, you may spend a few thousand dollars. If that seems like a significant amount, remember that fully-custom house plans can cost as much as $5 per square foot, and the average stock house plan price is about $700. You're still saving thousands of dollars by choosing a stock house plan. Also, keep in mind that requested changes may affect the total square footage or width and depth of the design.

In general, most people who modify a house plan spend between $300 to $1200 for the changes. The cost is directly affected by the complexity of the changes and the amount of labor involved. Your cost may be more or less depending upon the time needed to make your changes. If an exterior wall is moved, then additional changes would be involved because the updates affect additional aspects of the drawings (such as the roof, foundation, exterior views, etc.). If exterior walls are not involved, the cost is normally less.

Q. Would my modifications be less expensive if I drew them on my Home Architect software?

A. Unfortunately, no. Even though it would clarify your intentions, the designer would still need to redraw the entire house plan.

Have a question that's not anwered here? Send us an email...
 
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