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Frequently Asked Questions

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Our customer service department and technical assistance staff have developed a list of the most frequently asked questions and offer them here to better serve our house plan customers. Before contacting our customer service department or technical staff, check out the questions sorted in two categories below and see if the answer you need is right before you. If you still need assistance, feel free to contact our staff by phone, email, or conveniently with live chat and a thorough explanation for your question will be answered in no time.

Q: I want to build a home, but where do I start?
Q: What are your office hours?
Q: What are building codes?
Q: How many sets of blueprints do I really need to build a home?
Q: How long will it take for me to receive my plans once I order them?
Q: What is your return policy?
Q: Does the estimated cost to build include all square footage and not just living space? Also, what about electrical, cabinetry and flooring? I noticed that there is no location specified for the furnace, water heater or air conditioning unit.
Q: What is the difference between a “1-Set” and “Reproducible Masters” in the Blueprint Price Schedule?
Q: What is included in the total square footage?
Q: Can I return the plans if I change my mind?
Q: Is a material list available?
Q: Can I purchase only a material list?
Q: Do I need a material list to build the home?
Q: Can we build the house more than once?
Q: What is CAD?
Q: What is a material list? Is a material list available for the plan I want to buy?
Q: Is it possible to obtain the rear, right and left elevations before purchasing the plans?
Q: I am planning on ordering plans, but have only one question. When it says total square footage, does that include the garage and porches?
Q: How do I know if I can afford to build the plan I’m interested in purchasing?
Q: Do you ship the plans overseas?
Q: Are there photographs available of the home I am interested in?
Q: Can I go see a particular home that has already been built?
Q: What makes a home plan energy efficient?
Q: Does a "green" home cost more?
Q: How do homeowners benefit from building green?
Q: What is the Framing Package that you sell and is it necessary to purchase?
Q: I recently came across your magazine and I would like to have a house built overseas where the metric system is used. If I order a plan, can you reproduce it in metric? What are the costs for that type of change?
Q: The plan I’m interested in says it has a slab foundation, but also includes a basement foundation. Do I receive both?
Q: How do I find the Estimated Cost To Build?
Q: How does houseplansandmore.com come up with the Estimated Cost To Build amount on house plans?
Q: What is included in the Estimated Cost To Build?
Q: I want to build a home, but where do I start?

A: Contacting a building or design professional (builder, contractor, real estate agent, etc.) is a good place to start. You can also do research information on general construction at bookstores, home improvement stores and on the Internet.


Q: What are your office hours?

A: Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CST. However, we have operators available 24/7 if you would like to place an order.


Q: What are building codes?

A: Building codes are safety regulations pertaining to how a building should be built. They are intended to protect both the builder and the home buyer. Many restrictions and regulations are regionally required and depend on soil, weather conditions, etc. There are four major nationally recognized model building codes that are similar in content: UBC (Uniform Building Code), BOCA (Building Officials & Code Administrators), CABO (Council of American Building Officials) and IRC (International Residential Code). Every state, county and local municipality has adopted some form of one, any or all of there standard building codes.


Q: How many sets of blueprints do I really need to build a home?

A: It depends. In most cases, five or more sets are needed (one set for you, one or two for your builder, one to two sets for your building department, one set for the bank, one set for each contractor or subcontractor and so on). You may want to check with your builder before ordering or consider ordering a reproducible master. With the reproducible master, you can make as many or few copies as you need.


Q: How long will it take for me to receive my plans once I order them?

A: Standard delivery is 7-10 business days. We also offer Priority (3-5 business days) and Express (1-2 business days). If you need to place a rush order, please call us by 11:00 a.m. CST Monday through Friday.


Q: What is your return policy?

A: Please see our Terms and Conditions for details.


Q: Does the estimated cost to build include all square footage and not just living space? Also, what about electrical, cabinetry and flooring? I noticed that there is no location specified for the furnace, water heater or air conditioning unit.

A: The estimated cost to build price that is available for each plan on the www.houseplansandmore.com website includes all the components necessary to build the house. The only cost factor not included is the land. The cost of the furnace, water heater and air conditioning units are included, but the placement will be determined by your local HVAC and/or plumbing contractor.


Q: What is the difference between a “1-Set” and “Reproducible Masters” in the Blueprint Price Schedule?

A: A "1-Set" plan package is perfect for studying your home in greater detail. A "1-Set" is considered a study set and is marked "not for construction". And, making copies of this set is a copyright violation. But, reproducible masters are printed on reproducible paper that is easy to alter and clearly indicates your right to copy or reproduce. This will allow your builder or local design professional to make the necessary changes without the major expense of redrawing the plans. Reproducible masters also allow you to print copies of the modified plans as needed. The right of building only one structure from the reproducibles is licensed exclusively to the buyer. However, you may not use this design to build a second or multiple dwellings without purchasing another blueprint.


Q: What is included in the total square footage?

A: The total square footage includes the entire heated living space, calculated from the exterior frame walls. It does not include decks, porches, garages, unfinished basements, attics and most bonus rooms. Also, any two-story rooms, like atriums, are added only once to the first floor square footage. Most plans with unfinished living spaces call out the square footage available, and any other square footages needed can be obtained by calling our customer service department at 1-800-373-2646.


Q: Can I return the plans if I change my mind?

A: No. Since blueprints are printed in response to your order, we cannot honor requests for refunds. However, if for some reason you find that the plan you have purchased does not meet your requirements, you may exchange that plan for another plan in our collection within 90 days of purchase. At the time of the exchange, you will be charged a processing fee of 25% of the original package price, any applicable difference in plan package prices, and the cost to ship the new plans to you. Please note that reproducible drawings can only be exchanged if the package is unopened. Please call our customer service department with any questions regarding your purchase to ensure you order the plans that will work best for you. Note: CAD packages and PDF files are not returnable and non-refundable.


Q: Is a material list available?

A: Material lists are available for many of our plans and availability is indicated when you view a plan on this site.


Q: Can I purchase only a material list?

A: Material lists are plan specific and are available for purchase only with the purchase of a plan that has a material list available.


Q: Do I need a material list to build the home?

A: It is not necessary to purchase the material list to build your home. However, each list gives you the quantity, dimensions and description of building materials needed to construct your home so you will get faster and more accurate bids from your contractor and material suppliers. You will save money by paying for only the materials you need. Please note that the material list is designed with the standard foundation only and it will not include alternate or optional foundations.


Q: Can we build the house more than once?

A: You, as the original purchaser of plans, are licensed to build a single home from the plans. Building more than one home from the plans is an infringement of the designer's copyright. The purchase of a multiple set package of plans is for the construction of a single home only. The purchase of additional sets of plans does not give you the right to construct more than one home. Therefore, if you would like to build a house more than once, you are required to purchase another full set of blueprints.


Q: What is CAD?

A: CAD files are a complete set of construction drawings in an electronic file format. They can be beneficial if you want to make moderate or substantial changes to the home plans or bring the plans up to your local codes. With the CAD file option, you have the ability to take the plan to your chosen design professional (provided that they have computer-based design equipment i.e. AutoCAD or DataCAD), discuss your needs/changes, and the designer can then modify the design much easier and quicker than trying to do so with a paper-based drawing - which will save you time and money. With your CAD purchase you will receive a one-time build copyright release that allows you to make your changes and the necessary copies that you will need to build your home.


Q: What is a material list? Is a material list available for the plan I want to buy?

A: Material lists give you the quantity, dimensions and description of the building materials necessary to construct your home. You’ll get faster and more accurate bids from your contractor while saving money by paying for only the materials you need. Our material lists are some of the most thorough in the industry. Please note that the material list is designed with the standard foundation only and it will not include alternate or optional foundations.


Q: Is it possible to obtain the rear, right and left elevations before purchasing the plans?

A: Yes. In fact, all of these plans can be viewed on our website www.houseplansandmore.com. There, you will find with many of the plans, the elevations available for viewing and printing for reference only. If for some reason, an elevation isn’t shown, please feel free to call our customer service department and they will be happy to assist you in obtaining the information.


Q: I am planning on ordering plans, but have only one question. When it says total square footage, does that include the garage and porches?

A: No. The total square footage pertains to only the heated area of the home. But, if for some reason you need to determine the square footage of the unheated areas, our technical assistance staff will be happy to work with you in determining these dimensions and sizes. Our technical assistance can be reached by calling 314-770-2228 and is available Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm CST.


Q: How do I know if I can afford to build the plan I’m interested in purchasing?

A: Our website, www.houseplansandmore.com, offers the most comprehensive estimated-cost-to-build feature that is gathered based on your zip code in addition to the building materials and labor. Just search online for the plan number(s) you are interested in purchasing, then insert your zip code to obtain a specific estimate to your location. These prices include all the components necessary to build the house; the only factor not included is the cost to purchase the land. Building materials vary greatly by location, so with this one-of-a-kind feature you will feel comfortable about staying within your budget.


Q: Do you ship the plans overseas?

A: Yes, we can ship overseas or internationally. Please call, fax or e-mail for shipping costs.


Q: Are there photographs available of the home I am interested in?

A: We do have photographs available for some of our homes. If they are available, they will be published in a book or on our Web site.


Q: Can I go see a particular home that has already been built?

A: We sell home plans throughout the United States and may not know exactly where they are built. If we do know the exact location, we do not release that information in order to protect the privacy of our customers. In some cases, we publish an actual photograph of the home that the builder or customer has shared with us.


Q: What makes a home plan energy efficient?

A: All plans in this collection are energy efficient because they have increased insulation from either 2" x 6" exterior walls, insulated concrete form walls or expanding foam insulation. In addition, most plans specify insulated exterior doors and windows and added ceiling insulation. After choosing your home plan, you may decide to build green by incorporating green lumber, bamboo flooring, solar panels, Energy Star® rated windows and appliances, and naturally-dyed carpets and “green” paints. Local Home Builders Association Chapters have specific guidelines to determine if a house is Green Certified if you wish to have your home inspected


Q: Does a "green" home cost more?

A: Yes and No. Upfront costs for energy efficient materials are typically 2-5% higher than standard products. However, energy efficient materials cost less to operate. Therefore, a green home will provide homeowners with monthly savings on utility bills that more than pay for the initial upfront overages. Also, a green home will recoup the costs in its resale value.


Q: How do homeowners benefit from building green?

A: The benefits of building green far outweigh any initial higher costs. The home will run more efficiently and be more economical, resulting in lower utility bills. Also, you will be more comfortable in any season with less drafts seeping through. The atmosphere throughout the house will be healthier, with increased ventilation and less toxic chemicals being dispersed. In addition, homeowners will have pride in knowing their home is safer for the environment, decreasing the amount of toxins submitted into the air. With all of these benefits, the home will be a pure joy to own. And when you’re ready to sell, your green home will prove to have been a solid investment with a higher resale value than any standard home.


Q: What is the Framing Package that you sell and is it necessary to purchase?

A: If you are looking for general framing knowledge, then purchase the Framing Package. It offers home builders details for constructing various foundations and numerous floor, wall and roof framing techniques. However, it will not pertain to your specific plan, so keep in mind all three Detail Plan Packages that we offer; the Framing, Plumbing and the Electrical plan packages act as a general guide in all of these fields.


Q: I recently came across your magazine and I would like to have a house built overseas where the metric system is used. If I order a plan, can you reproduce it in metric? What are the costs for that type of change?

A: Yes, a plan can be converted to the metric system. Our customizing service is able to accommodate this need. However, it can be costly, especially if the plan is large in size and has several pages in the blueprint package that need to be converted. The plans will still have the American scale per foot, but the dimensions will read metric. You will simply need to fill out the Home Plan Modification Request Form stating the changes you would like to make and then purchase the reproducible masters. For more information on customizing a plan, please see the article "Making Changes To Your Plan" on page 10 or call our customer service department at 314-770-2222 and they will be happy to assist you.


Q: The plan I’m interested in says it has a slab foundation, but also includes a basement foundation. Do I receive both?

A: If the plan page does not indicate in the foundation description to specify a certain type of foundation when you order the plan, then anything listed in the plan features is included with the plan package for that plan number.


Q: How do I find the Estimated Cost To Build?

A:

All house plans on HousePlansAndMore.com include an estimated cost to build. The estimates are provided on various pages throughout this site, including search results and views of individual plans. Additionally, you can search our house plan database by estimated cost to build.

To find the estimated cost to build, you must provide the zip or postal code for the new home site because location affects construction costs. All US zip and Canadian postal codes are acceptable. However, the actual cost to build in some Canadian postal codes, particularly in remote areas, can vary substantially. All results are presented in US dollars.




Q: How does houseplansandmore.com come up with the Estimated Cost To Build amount on house plans?

A:

Many web sites selling house plans have a simple estimation procedure considering only the region of the US and the square feet of the house. As you would suspect, not all 2,000 square feet homes cost the same to build, as this simple calculation would suggest.

HDA, Inc. has sold house plans for more than twenty years and has a skilled technical staff. We are familiar with the best tools for estimating the cost to build in your area. The model we use is updated several times a year to accommodate local price changes.

The factors in our estimating model include square feet, zip or postal code, and actual features of the house plan to determine a more accurate calculation.




Q: What is included in the Estimated Cost To Build?

A:

The estimated cost to build is based on the floor plan depicted on this web site with the specified standard materials and foundation provided by the plan's designers. Please review the list below for several major items included and excluded from the estimate. Note this is only a partial list.

Included

  • Standard foundation
  • Forced air heating and cooling
  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Cost of having a builder
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Interior finish consistent with the overall quality of the home

Excluded

  • Lot
  • Anything other than basic, flat site preparation
  • Appliances
  • Landscaping
  • Bonus rooms
  • Finishing basements unless a finished basement is standard with the plan
  • Driveways
  • Structural adjustments for earthquake and severe weather
  • Limitations

The cost estimating process we use involves several variables describing the structure of the home, recent local building costs, and subjective variables. We think you will find it a useful tool for narrowing your home search and comparing similar plans. However, like any formula-based model, it is impossible to predict the exact cost to build your home. Therefore, we make no assurances that the cost quoted on this web site will reflect the final cost of your home. Before building one of our plans, it is always best to review the cost and your budget in detail with a qualified builder.

There are many reasons the cost to build your home may be different from our estimates on this site, including but not limited to:

  1. Building a home involves many choices, including flooring, windows, trim work, cabinetry, fixtures, and dozens more. Upgrading features and improving building quality can easily increase the cost of a home by thousands of dollars.
  2. Home building involves many negotiated transactions. Your skills finalizing favorable terms and seeing that quality work is performed in a timely manner will affect your final price.
  3. The home is built on a different foundation than the standard foundation specified in the plan.
  4. The lot you choose may provide certain construction challenges for your builder.
  5. Materials and labor are subject to change based on fluctuations in supply and demand.
  6. Luxurious homes garner much of their expense from details, craftsmanship, and choice materials. The price you pay for a luxurious home will reflect these choices and will vary considerably from the estimates on this site.

We provide estimates on this site to help you narrow your search for plans that may be within your budget. To get a better estimate for a home constructed to your specifications, consult a respected builder.




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