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Frequently Asked Questions


What do I need to know to get started?

It is best to do your research first. There is a lot to consider when building a new home. You will need an idea of the cost to build and the steps you will need to take. Talk to local builders and permitting departments. They can give you an idea of the building requirements and approximate costs involved. You will need a clear understanding of building codes in your area.

How do I find the right plan?

You can search for a plan for your dream home on our home page based on criteria such as the number of stories, bedrooms, bathrooms, or by square footage. For a more detailed search you can use the “advanced search” option to find the right plan based on more specific criteria such as home dimensions, foundation type or exterior style.

I tried an advanced search and could not find any homes that match my criteria. What is wrong?

If you entered very specific information such as a fireplace, large deck or large kitchen, it will automatically find less homes. It is possible that the homes may have that feature, but it is not found. Take out the fireplace option and try again. You can always change your perfect plan to add a deck or fireplace if there is none.

I found a plan what next?

You will want to consider what may be necessary in order to build. Who will need access to the plan? Do you need modifications? We usually recommend that you purchase the PDF version (electronic copy) of the plan. PDF copies are very popular because they are easily emailed and readily available on your electronic device when needed. You can print copies to scale through a local print shop or office supply store. If you want blueprints, please speak to your builder about the amount of copies needed. It may be necessary to get multiple sets for your builder, subcontractors or lending institution. Some designers offer different options for purchase such as study sets (for research only) or the CAD (program files) when extensive changes are necessary. The CAD files will require the appropriate software in order to open the files.

Is the square footage living area or total square footage?

The square footage in the plan is calculated by the areas of the home that are heated and cooled. That is considered the living area of the home. Please be aware of additional space such as garage and porches.

What is the difference between the available plan options?

Study Set Not all plans offer the study set. You will have to check if it is an option with your plan. The plans will arrive stamped “NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION” and are protected by Federal Copyright Law and you will not be able to reproduce or build from this set. It will allow you the opportunity to meet with potential builders and get quotes for your cost to build. If you decide to purchase the plans, we will credit the price of the study set against the purchase of multiple sets of blueprints, the PDF or CAD packages. “NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION” is stamped across each sheet of the study set.

5 or 8 Sets These paper print packages allow you one single use license to build. They will be shipped to you in full blueprint size. You will need to find out how many copies will be necessary. Consider your local building department, your mortgage company, the builder, and any additional contractors such as plumbers or electricians. Due to Federal Copyright Law, you may not make additional copies of the plans. We offer the option to purchase an extra set. You may choose to purchase a PDF file which has more flexibility.

PDF file This is an electronic scan of the plan that will be emailed to you. Typically, this option allows you to email the files to your building department, contractors, mortgage companies, and anyone else who may need to see it. You can print in it in full size blueprint copies through your local print shop or print 8 ½ “x 11” paper size from home. This file also is restricted to a one time build of the plan. Please call us for details if you would like to purchase a multiple build license.

Reproducible A Reproducible master uses a type of paper on which the drawings can be altered to make minor changes to the house plan. This will allow architects/designers to make changes without having to completely redraw the house plan. It is shipped to you in paper form and an emailed version of the PDF for a one-time build.

CAD file This file is necessary if you want major modifications made to your plan. The files cannot be opened or altered without the use of the design software or a compatible program. When your plan has been modified to your liking you will be able to save it in PDF format and email the files to anyone who may need them in relation to the construction. You can also email the PDF to your local print shop to print full size construction copies. This option is restricted to a one-time build. If you would like to find out about multi-use licenses, you can call our office for more information.

What if I need changes to the plan?

Most of the designers that we have partnered with will do changes to their plans. You can submit a form with a detailed description of your changes, and we will provide you with a free quote. Please allow at least 24 hours for the quote and possibly longer if submitted on holidays or weekends. You will need to buy either the CAD (program file) file or PDF version (electronic copy) of the plan and then you will add on the quote for the changes. If you prefer, you can have someone locally make the changes if the designer allows. The plans meet national building requirements, but depending on where you are building, local codes may require your plan to be reviewed and stamped by a structural engineer. They can usually make modifications to a plan as well. Please refer to local building requirements to see if you will need your plan stamped. You will need the appropriate program on your computer in order to open the CAD files.

Is my plan ready to build?

You will receive foundation plans, exterior elevations, roof, wall sections, and detailed floor plans. The plans will show placement of the various electrical outlets and fixtures, kitchen appliances, and general location of plumbing fixtures. The plans include everything required to meet national building standards. Certain details will be determined with the help of your builder and subcontractors depending upon local building codes. Depending on where you build, some plans may need to be stamped by a local structural engineer or architect. Please see local building codes for your area to determine what is required. Your plan may be able to be modified by the plan’s designer to meet local codes.

What if I am not sure about the plan and need additional information or photos?

Please contact us through the website or give us a call (251) 626-7789 and we will be happy to answer your questions or send more photos of the plan if available.

What is a daylight basement?

A daylight basement is a walkout basement that may include a door, windows, or both.

What is a mirrored image?

It is exactly as it sounds. It is a reversed image of the plan that mirrors the original plan including the printing. Some people choose to have their plan reversed if it is a better fit for the layout of the lot or driveway location. If you need the mirrored image but prefer the printing to be in the correct direction you will want to purchase the Right Read Reverse option.

What is right read reverse?

It is a reversed image of the plan. Everything from one side of the plan reverses to the other side. It is like a mirror image of the plan except the printing will appear in the correct direction.

When will I get my plans?

We have partnerships with many designers around the country. The designer will be sending your plans usually within 24 hours when ordered during the week and during working hours. If you choose electronic files you will receive them as soon as they are emailed which is usually within hours. The tracking information for plans will be sent to you as soon as we receive it and usually within 1 business day. Most plans are shipped via FedEx ground, but you do have options available for expedited shipping on most plans. Call for more information.

Can I return my plan if I change my mind about building?

Sorry, out of respect for our design partner’s copyright laws we cannot allow the return of a plan once it has been shipped or emailed. Please research the building process prior to placing your order and be sure to understand the process and all requirements. You may want to research the material prices and building costs in your area as well, so you purchase a plan within your building budget. Please see www.copyrights.gov for more information on federal copyright laws.

Do you offer a cost to build estimate?

Due to the extreme variations in building costs from region to region we do not offer an estimate for building costs. There are many factors that determine the cost such as the availability of skilled labor in your area and varying material costs. The best approach is to do research with your local building department, builders, and material supply stores. They can provide you with the information that you will need to determine if you can build your new home within your budget.