Before you go too far with your housebuild project, you have to select a simple or mansion-house-plan, usually prepared by an architect.
We had to buy copyrighted house plans to be used on a specific piece of property. Our houseplans are clearly not for use on any other property. So each house you build will likely need plans designated for your specific property too.
Even though we actually drew up the plans, they had to be gone over with a "fine tooth comb" by an engineer/architect to make sure the house was structurally sound and it met the building code.
Select a House Plan
It used to be that you could draw up your own plans, but most places now require an engineer to draft up your house plans which is going to mean that you have a little "up front" money. (We used a credit card which was paid off immediately with the first draw from our Construction Loan)
In most cases, you'll need an engineer's stamp of approval. When you select a house plan and choose your engineer, you'll give him a copy of your mansion-house-plan.
The architect-engineer can see problems with your plans and indicate how to build “this or that” section to assure stability and safety.
Experience told us the engineer doesn't catch everything, but for the most part they can save you some real headaches.
You pay the engineer to calculate what kind of structure you need to support your desired roof. Do you need 2x4's or 2x6's? Of course, today's roofs are made with engineered trusses, so the engineer will generally indicate how they are to be made.
Maybe you live in a northern area and have heavy snows in the winter. Perhaps you'll need a snow load roof. Or if you live in the south or near the coast, your requirements are different than inland living or cold climate living.
Find a local Engineer-Architect
An engineer in your locality knows what is required for your area. Don't discount the good of paying “so much” for your mansion-house-plan. In the end, you will be able to sleep knowing your house is going to “weather the storm” when it comes.
In our case, a lot of our changes would have been “caught” and addressed by the engineer, if we had made them before we gave our mansion-house-plan to the engineer.
As it was, we made our changes after the plans were drawn up, and it cost us in delayed time, and money due to
- change orders with the plumber,
- for an added half bath,
- several changes to the structure of the home by the framers,
- added basement that wasn't in the plans
- and confusion about the stairs and which way to run them
Architects & Engineers Drawings
Several of the subs only need one page of the Architects & Engineers Drawings (the floor plan), but some need the complete set, which amounts to 8 or 9 sheets.
Get sufficient copies of your plans made so you don't have to wait for your bids to come back from one sub before you can give the plans to another sub for a bid.
The electrician, plumber, Hvac sub, Concrete,and others will need to keep their copy till their job is done. An idea that was given to me was to number the simple or mansion-house-plan, then when you give out a copy of the plans, you can record who took which copy.
- #1 – framer
- #2 - plumber
- #3 - electrician
- #4 - Concrete (Basement only)
We laminated a copy of our house plans and kept them in a tube on the property until the house was framed. At that time, we stapled the plans to the wall of a bedroom where the plans were able to be viewed by the subs as they did their jobs.
Several people told RL they appreciated having them in plain sight, and the plans never got "washed out" due to rain. They never got torn due to wind and use because they were laminated.
It cost us an extra $50 at the printers, but definitely was worth it, and something we will do again with the next housebuild.
SEEYou be the General Contractor - Building your own Home
Choosing your sub-contractors
Inspections necessary in the build
- Deciding on building a basement - or not
A step by step guide to building your home
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