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Summer Sale | Take 15% Off ALL House Plans | Code: SUMMER15
Summer Sale | Take 15% Off ALL House Plans | Code: SUMMER15

Important information to know before purchasing house plans!

If you’re buying house plans online, you should know that many online stock home plan companies sell plans that do not include all of the information necessary to safely build your home. At The House Designers, we want to give you all the information you need so you can make a well-informed decision before you purchase your plans online.

The details of your construction drawings are critical to ensure that your new home is built using proper details and building methods. The House Designers has the highest standard approval policies of any house plan website online and has held that standard since the inception of our company in 2001.

Our company is owned by architects and designers, not a third-party investment company mostly focused on quantity and the bottom line. We have always been and will continue to be a quality focused company only featuring plans from the highest regarded architects and designers in the US and Canada. Wherever you choose to purchase your plans, please take the time and review the following information before making the very important decision of purchasing the construction documents that will be used to build your new home.

Building Standards and Code Conformity

All house plans from The House Designers conform to the International Residential Code (IRC), in effect at the time the design was created. It is important to note that all plans sold on The House Designers will indicate, wherever possible, framing components and layout.

  • Floor framing may indicate general layout, joist size and spacing
  • Supporting structure, including beams, girders, headers and columns shall be sized, if available.
  • Stick framed roofs shall indicate rafter layout direction and bearing points.**
  • Trussed roofs shall indicate layout direction and bearing locations.**

** Rafter and ceiling joist sizes, dependent upon local roof/snow design values may need to be sized locally (typically by a local design professional or we can also offer change estimates for most changes). Manufactured trusses may require design by an engineer for conditions indigenous to the location of construction.

Additional Engineering/State Stamp

In some regions, there is another step you may need to take to ensure your house plans are in compliance with local codes. Despite our all-inclusive structure on our plans, some areas of North America have additional engineering requirements. It's possible you may need to use the services of a state licensed structural engineer to analyze the design and provide additional details and calculations required by your local building department. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • Earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Coast
  • Hurricane risk areas like Florida and the Gulf States
  • The Carolinas and Atlantic Coast
  • New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and sections of Illinois

Contact your local building department to receive a listing of the items required to obtain a building permit in the area you're planning to build your new home. If you need help reaching your building department, we'd be happy to help with that.

Additionally, online stock plans do not have a professional stamp attached. If your building department requires one, they will only accept a stamp from a professional licensed in the state where you plan to build. In this case, you can take your house plans to a local engineer or architect for review and stamping. Plans that are used to construct homes in Nevada are required to be drawn by a licensed Nevada architect.

Foundation Site Plan

Our foundation plans have been designed for universal conditions and do not address a specific site. Soil samples should be taken at the site by a competent local soil testing laboratory. The foundation should be modified by a local structural engineer if needed to comply with the findings and recommendations of the soil testing laboratory.

Site and Septic Plan

In addition to the house plans you order, you may need a site plan that shows where the house is going to be located on the property. Your home builder or surveyor can help with this step.

You may also need a septic design, unless your lot is served by a public sewer system. Many areas now have area-specific energy codes that may need to be followed. This usually involves filling out a simple form providing documentation that your house plans are in compliance.

Discounts

Any discounts or promotions being applied to orders are for the house plan package. We doubt you'll find a better price than what we offer on our site, but if you happen to find a better price on plans or modifications, we'll match that price plus give you an additional 10% discount. See more info about our Best Price Guarantee here.

Return Policy

The House Designers offers a one-time, 14-day exchange policy for non-electronic plan packages that have not been modified, used, marked on, or copied. Exchanges are subject to a 20% restocking fee and all sales on electronic house plans and customization or modifications are final.

Additional Information

If you need more information, help with obtaining an engineering stamp, modification estimates, or design assistance for ideas on modifying any of our plans from our seasoned house plan advisors, simply email, live chat or call 866-214-2242, and we’d be happy to assist you.