Home Plan Facts, Answers, & Questions
What's included in the set of plans I receive?
- Presentation Plan - An illustrated 2D floor plan and one or two renderings, some designs include a floor plan with furniture layouts
- Floor Plan - 2D layout complete with dimensions, window and door sizes, and building code notes
- Electrical Plan - 2D typical layout of switches and outlets plus indications for door bells, ceilings fans, etc., plus code notes
- Exterior Elevations - Four sides of the house in 2D view with material callouts and vertical dimensions
- Building Section - At least one cross section that illustrates a cut of the house to indicate structural type and position and interior heights
- Wall Section - Larger scale than the building section of an area of exterior wall indicating finish materials, roof-wall juncture and foundation type
- Foundation Plan - 2D layout indicating configuration with dimensions and indications for structural components
- Framing Plan - 2D layout indicating configuration with dimensions and structural components
- Details - Either on a separate sheet or within one of the above drawings, these indicate key architectural and/or structural elements
Can I build a "Green" home that uses less energy and is more careful about the environment from these plans?
- You may adapt most Green Building measures to these plans. Energy conservation and environmental protection can be applied to all houses, and each house needs specific consideration to determine what measures will benefit it.
Can I build this house plan where I live?
- This is an important question that you must investigate prior to ordering plans. Most locations in North America have similar building codes and zoning ordinances, however, some locations have more complex requirements.
- If your lot is within an HOA, you may need their approval of the design first.
- If you live in an area that requires a "Design Review" process, your home design must be approved by them, usually through the Planning Department, before your construction documents can be reviewed and approved by the Building Department prior to the issuance of a building permit.
- If you build in active seismic zones, especially California, or you build in areas with extreme wind conditions, such as hurricane prone areas, the plans must be engineered by qualified local professionals. All plans can be engineered, but this may alter some conditions indicated in the plans. Begin by inquiring with a local building professional who is familiar with the homebuilding process where you intend to build. Ask if they will work with you from a set of stock plans.
- Verify your requirements with the Planning Department and Building Department that have jurisdiction over your lot. If you are not familiar with difference between these two departments, keep in mind that Planning Departments administer zoning ordinances and Building Departments administer building codes. Visit these local government departments on the internet and find out what information they offer online about the construction of single-family dwellings. You may also visit these departments in person, but be prepared by taking advantage of any published information that they provide first, It will make your visit go more smoothly and quickly.
- Last, consider your climate. Temperate climates may take almost any design, but more extreme climates, whether hot or cold, need careful consideration. Defer to indigenous historical dwellings for clues to what suits your region. You will need to work with a local professional to position the house on the lot. Rely on them to assist in optimizing orientation.
What other plans do I need to build this house plan?
- You will need a site plan, which is a drawing that indicates the extent of the parcel of land where your house is to be built including the position of the house on the lot, plus information about the site such as trees and topography, If your building department requires a fire suppression system, increasingly more common, you will need a plan for that purpose. Some states require energy consumption calculations and documentation included in the plans. These types of requirements are site specific and must be obtained locally. Most locations in North America have similar building codes and structural requirements, but revisions to building codes occur every few years and new requirements are usually added in each update. Plan accordingly to insure that you meet all of the requirements of your local government.
What are the costs to build my house?
- This varies significantly on many levels. Cost of land, entitlement fees, structural complexity and your desired finish quality all impact your budget. If possible, visit a similar new house that is on the market in the area you wish to build. You may be able to deduce the cost it took to build that house by factoring the price per square foot and comparing that to its level of quality to the quality you desire. Involve a general contractor early in your process. They will likely provide rough estimates in the beginning and should be able to supply a firm bid with the set of plans that you buy from CAHomePlans.com. Begin your material and equipment list as early in the process as you feel comfortable, perhaps even before you buy plans, so that when you shop for plans you will know whether or not you can fit that big range you would like to buy within your layout, for example. As another example, determine the set of plumbing fixtures you require and obtain a quote from your source. These figures will assist in determining your overall costs. There are hundreds of decisions to be made in the process of building a new house, so stay organized. Keep in mind that there is a plethora of choices of materials, equipment and finishes on the market today and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Narrow your selections at the outset so that you control your budget and only shop for items within your parameters.
Which plan will work best for me?
- Assess your plan choice by these primary issues:
- Determine a rough estimate of your budget and break it down into costs per square foot. Find a plan with square footage that is below the threshold of your cost per square foot budget.
- Finding exactly the right plan isn't realistic, so carefully consider how you may make minor changes like re-purposing a bedroom into an office, for example.
- Stretching the plan to add square footage or rearranging rooms within the footprint is not recommended. Consider buying CAD files and have a professional prepare updated plans for you if you want significant changes.
- Consider your storage requirements. Vacation homes usually can do with much less than full-time homes, for example.
- If you already have a houseful of furniture, make an inventory of everything and record the measurements of each piece. Check them against the measurements of rooms of the plan you desire against where you will place your furniture. If you are buying new furniture, request the dimensions of those pieces.
- Watch square footage carefully and put your money in quality over quantity. Here is a rough guide to give you an idea of how much space may be relative to you: Allow 200 (small), 350 (modest), 500 (comfortable), and 750+ (luxury) square feet for each child. Allow 500 (small), 750 (modest), 1,000 (comfortable), and 1,500+ (luxury) square feet for each adult.
Can I alter the house plan that I buy?
- CAHomePlans.com recommends that you follow the plans as closely as possible, however, most home buyers need and want changes to the plans. Keep these following points in mind if you wish to make changes:
- Minor changes that can be made during construction include reducing window and door sizes (increasing them may incur structural changes), specifying built-in features, or using a different siding material, among other possible alterations.
- Order CAD plans if you wish to add square footage and have a local professional complete the set of plans.
- Reconfiguring bath and kitchen layouts may or may not affect structure or plumbing stacks. Discuss such changes with local professionals.
Do I need more than one set of plans to build my house?
- You will need more than one. Check with your local Planning and Building Departments to inquire how many sets of plans they require to approve your building permit. Ask your general contractor how many sets of plans they will require to construct your house. Plans are available in pdf format so that you may print as many sets as you need for your project if you order this way. CAD files are electronic files that can only be read by certain design software. Only buy these if you have someone who works with CAD files to translate them into plans for you.
Can I order prints of the plans?
- All plans that you order from CAHomePlans.com are delivered electronically. Order the PDF format of the plans and have them printed locally by a company that normally handles large format documents for architects and engineers. This saves on expensive shipping, paper is very heavy, and enables you to obtain the prints quickly. If you order CAD files of the plans, it will be up to the person assembling your final plans to print and deliver those to you.
- CAD Plans are not annotated. Since the objective of electronic CAD files is to make changes, annotation should be left up to the person making changes to add the appropriate information based on how the changes affect the design and structural components.
Where has this house plan been built?
- The plan purchaser's privacy protects them from publication of this information. Photos of completed houses are provided when possible.
Can I get a reverse of the plan?
- If you wish to reverse the layout of the floor plan, send an email with your request and a quote will be returned to you for a service charge to make the change for you. If you agree with the extra cost, plans will be created for you.
Do plans have a materials list?
- None are provided as this time. If you would like to have one made for you, please send an email requesting more information. The plans contain thorough information that indicate dimensions, window and door sizes as well as cabinet and fixture locations. Quantities and take-offs should be easily assessed by reading the plans provided.
Do you have more plans or new plans that are not on the site?
- Sign up to receive notifications and newsletters regarding new plans. Plan updates post monthly,
How do you determine the square footage of the plans you sell?
- The stated square footage of a plan is the habitable, or conditioned, space within the dimension to the outside structural wall studs. When walls join a garage and living area, the square footage is given to the outside of the stud of the conditioned space, giving more space over to the conditioned area than the garage. Consider the stated square footage an estimate to within approximately 3% of how others, such as an appraiser, may calculate square footage. As an example, the Newport Cottage plan is 30 feet wide by 22 feet deep from outside stud to outside stud, which gives a square footage of 660 square feet. The siding material may add several inches to the plan, which someone else may include in their square footage calculation.
Can I get a refund if I decide I do not want the plans that I buy from you?
- Make sure your plan choice meets your requirements before ordering. Since you are buying intellectual property, not physical goods, all sales are final and not refundable. This circumstance is similar to buying music or a book. You own a single copy for your use only, and duplication or sale of the information to anyone else in any format is prohibited by copyright law. Plans are sold for single use only, that is only one house may be built per a single purchase. Please inquire directly if you wish multiple use of a plan. Please take this seriously. Prosecution of copyright violation is common.
Is my payment information safe with your web site?
- Payments are received through SQUARE, a reputable small business transaction service that handles point of sale as well as online purchasing.
What advantage do your plans have over other available house plans?
- CAHomePlans.com's objective is to sell house plans carefully designed in a specific established and popular North American architectural style. Layouts are designed to consider furniture placement. Cabinet and fixtures comply with common standard sizes and dimensional tolerances allow for fixture and code compliance. Designs comply with common wood-framed construction techniques.
Do you sell plans outside of the United States and Canada?
- Not at this time. Check back frequently for updates to this policy.
Why buy pre-designed house plans?
- When compared to the expense of hundreds of hours that custom design demands, a ready-to-build house plan saves significantly. Imagine, each person having their car designed just for them.