Serenbeideahouse

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions | John Tee, Architect

We have listed below the answers to some of the more common questions customers ask. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us directly.

QUESTIONS:

Q: What is the cost for a pre-drawn house plan?
A: Construction sets for our plans are typically under $1,500. If you desire to have the plans customized, the total cost is usually between five and ten-thousand dollars. This is a fraction of the cost of hiring a local Architect for a custom drawn plan where you will pay between 4% to 12% of the total construction cost. Pre-drawn home plans are a tremendous value when building a custom home.
Q: How much will it cost to build my home?
A: Building prices can fluctuate greatly, depending on where you live. Because of this, our best advice is to check with builders or lumberyards in your area.
Q: How is the total living square footage determined?
A: Total living square footage is calculated from the outside face of the stud to the outside face of the stud. Total living square footage includes only the heated area of the house and does not include the garage, storage areas or future spaces.
Q: Can the house plans be customized for me?
A: It's not unusual for our customers to want to make changes to their house plan; making a room larger, moving a window or adding a bathroom are a few examples. If you would like a proposal from us for customizing your house plan, just complete the on-line form or call us at 888-362-5517 for a free, no-obligation quote.
Q: Can I have this plan with a three car garage vs. two car?
A: Yes. If you would like an estimate from us for customizing your house plan, just complete this on-line form and we will provide you an estimate.
Q: Can I get the house plans with a different foundation?
A: Yes. If you would like an estimate from us for customizing your house plan, just complete this on-line form and we will provide you an estimate.
Q: Do I need to be concerned about building codes?
A: Building codes are standards created to ensure the structural safety of buildings. They are established and enforced by your local government, usually through your city or county's building department. Every state, county, and local municipality has adopted their 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). The new IRC (International Residential Code) is a combination of the other three. All are very similar in content. However, many regions have additional, more stringent regulations because of extreme weather or geographic conditions. If you live in the earthquake-prone areas of the Pacific Coast or the hurricane risk areas of the East Coast, Gulf Coast, or Nevada, the greater Chicago area, New Jersey, or many parts of New York, be sure to inquire about the specifics of these additional requirements. For additional residential building code information visit: www.iccsafe.org.
Q: What if the plan I want doesn't meet my local building code?
A: We can make design changes to accommodate most building code requirements. If a seal or stamp is required in your area or specific engineering, you will need to have a local engineer or architect review and revise the plans to accommodate your unique building codes. For additional residential building code information visit: www.iccsafe.org.
Q: Do your house plans have all the information I need to get a building permit?
A: Almost, with a few exceptions, depending on where you are building your house. All building departments will require a site plan to show where the house will sit on your property. You might also need beams sized to accommodate roof loads specific to your region. Your home builder can usually help you with this. If you are not connecting to a sewer system, you also need a septic design attached to your application. And many areas now require compliance with local energy codes, which is normally a simple form you fill out and attach to your application. In some regions, you also need to ensure that your house plans are in compliance with local codes. Some areas of North America have very strict engineering requirements. For example, earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Coast, hurricane risk areas of the Florida, Gulf, and Carolina coasts, as well as New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and parts of Illinois require review by a local professional. If you are building in these areas, you will most likely 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 can give you a handout, listing all of the items they require to obtain a building permit.
Q: How can I get a better look at the home I'm interested in?
A: Our Planning Sets will allow you to get a better look at a plan, and can even help you decide between two or more home plans that you're interested in. In a Planning Set, you’ll get all four exterior elevations, plus the floor plans shown to scale. And although you can't build from Planning Sets, they will allow you to gather bids from contractors, arrange your furniture in the plan, analyze traffic patterns and gauge the site lines on your lot.
Q: Where can I see this plan built?
A: Unfortunately, due to privacy issues, we cannot give out the locations where this home was built unless it was a show home open to the public. If a virtual tour is available you will find a link pages containing detailed plan information.
Q: What is a PDF / Customization set?
A: PDF / Customization sets allow you to legally have changes made to the plan and are delivered as a PDF file. This allows qualified architects and engineers to modify the design without having to completely redraw the plan. The CAD set serves the same function, but provides the drawings in an electronic format. As a derivative work, you are only allowed to build the home a single time.
Q: When ordering house plans, how many plan sets do I need?
A: We offer four different plan packages; planning set, 5-set construction plans, PDF / Customization Set, and electronic CAD files. If you are ready to build the home as drawn, the 5-set construction package will provide a set for yourself, your builder, mortgage lender or insurance company, local building department and subcontractors.
Q: Why aren't detailed HVAC, plumbing and electrical details included?
A: Local HVAC codes, climatic requirements and commonly used systems vary dramatically throughout the country. Your local HVAC contractor, plumber, electrician and/or lighting designer can determine the best layout for your new home.
Q: Is my credit card and personal information secure?
A. Yes! We use the most advanced secure software that encrypts all of your personal information. Including credit card numbers, name and address.
Q: Return/Exchange Policy
A: Because of copyright issues we cannot accept returns on house plans at this time. We will exchange Pricing Sets and 5-Set construction packages for another if you select a different plan. An exchange will incur a 20% return fee on the original plan purchase.