With over 20 years of home design and construction experience, RDS has developed a portfolio with a variety of house plans. Each design is made with great attention to detail, and consideration for aesthetic, practicality, and cost efficiency.
GENERAL PLAN QUESTIONS
1. If you would like for me to modify the plan, please email your request to me at [email protected]. Provide the plan number of the plan you are interested in and list the changes you would like to have made. I will respond to your email with a quote to make the changes you have requested. At some point, we may need to have a phone conversation to clarify your request, but I will not provide a verbal quote over the phone. I receive many revision requests and the only way to keep track of them is to have a saved email exchange.
2. Another option is to have a local design professional modify my plans for you. This is why I have a CAD file available for each of my designs. The CAD files can be emailed to you and your designer will be able to import my drawing file, make your plan changes and then print the modified plans. A local designer is most familiar with your local codes and may have experience working with your code officials.
The square footage provided for each plans is based only on the areas that are heated and cooled. This total does not include basements, garages and covered porches if applicable. The square footage is calculated to include the exterior frame wall thickness, but does not include the thickness of any brick or stone. If a plan has a fireplace, that area is included in the square footage provided.
The dimensions indicated in each room are rounded to the nearest inch. On some of the designs with open floor plans, it is difficult to give exact room dimensions because there may not be natural dividing lines. A common example of this may be seen on kitchen and breakfast areas. Exact dimensions are provided on the actual construction drawings.
This is the descriptive term I use for a foundation that is made up of a concrete footing, with a short, concrete stem (foundation) wall on the footing and a concrete slab poured within the perimeter of the foundation wall. This foundation is accomplished in three separate concrete pours. This is often done for garages or the garage area of a house. This foundation is better suited for areas where the frost depth is deeper.
This is a concrete slab foundation where there is no separate footing, foundation and slab. This foundation is constructed as one single pour that is a concrete slab with thickened portions under load bearing walls and the perimeter of the foundation in lieu of footings. This slab is poured all at once and is generally better suited for warmer clients. Local building officials can let you know if this foundation type is suitable for where you want to build.
This foundation system has a poured concrete footing with a short concrete foundation wall on top of the footing. There is a shallow unfinished space, within the perimeter of the foundation walls, between the earth and the first floor framing. This space allows for access to plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems for maintenance.
A material list is an estimate of the quantities of the various materials used in construction. I am confident in the accuracy and completeness of my material lists, however due to variations in building practices and differing code requirements found throughout the country, exact material quantities cannot be guaranteed. My material lists include the wall framing, roof system, exterior doors and windows, exterior finish and trim, electrical and guttering. For designs with finished living space, they also include the floor framing system, drywall, insulation, bath cabinets and accessories, bath fixtures, interior doors, hardware and trim, kitchen cabinets and accessories, flooring, fireplaces and interior wall finish when applicable. My material lists do not include rough plumbing, heating and air conditioning, foundation materials and appliances.
When applying for a building permit, several pieces of information from other parties need to be submitted along with your architectural drawings (blueprints.) Your general contractor will gather, or assist you in gathering, the additional information required for the permit application. If you are serving as your own general contractor, contact the Building Department in the city or county in which you wish to build. They will provide you with a list of what they require in addition to the architectural drawings.
Other items necessary for a permit application would be a site plan, septic system design (unless on city sewer), pre-engineered roof truss diagrams, mechanical layout for heating and cooling system and installation instructions from manufacturer for a pre-fabricated fireplace if applicable. Additional items may be necessary as outlined by your building department.
The drawings typically include building specifications, a foundation plan, floor plan(s), exterior elevations, roof plan, electrical layout, wall sections, framing details, cabinet elevations, cross section(s) and a stair detail when applicable. Additional details may be included depending on the complexity of a design.
These are construction documents intended to be used by those with construction knowledge and blueprint reading ability. They are not intended to be “step-by-step” building directions for beginners.
Your general contractor will be able to help you determine how many sets of prints you will need for your project. Here is a partial list of people/contractors who will need at least one set of prints:
- Building department (for permits)
- General contractor
- Truss designer/supplier
- Foundation contractor
- Heating/Cooling contractor
- The number of copies of plans will depend on how many people/trades will be working on your project. It is a good idea to have your own set of plans to serve as a reference during construction. Additional sets of blueprints can be ordered if needed (for one project) if ordered within 90 days of the original order.
I recommend ordering the PDF file as this will allow you to run prints, as needed for one project, during the course of the project. You will need to know where you can print 24”x36” sheets when you order the PDF file. Most office supply stores have large format printers, but you can find printing less expensively at dedicated print shops.
Unfortunately, the plans cannot be returned once they have been purchased. Please be certain of your selection before purchasing the plans.
A PDF file is a file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted. In this case it would be a complete set of construction drawings. Along with the PDF file, you will receive a license agreement indicating you can run as many prints as necessary to build once. This file will be emailed to you, usually within one business day, and eliminates all shipping expenses. This is extremely useful when time is of the essence and/or when shipping out of the country. Since this is an electronic transaction, there are no plans to get tied up in customs and be subjected to additional fees.
Often times you may not know how many sets of prints your will need to complete your project. Having the PDF files gives you the ability to run additional sets of prints as you need them.
The plans are drawn on 24″x36″ sheets of paper. Office supply centers and shipping outlets typically have large format printers and can run these prints. However, dedicated print shops typically have lower printing rates.
The files can be reduced to fit on smaller sheet sizes for convenience. When reduced, some text can become difficult to read if the plans are reduced too far and the details will not be to scale.
PDF files can be sent to subcontractors for bidding and to building officials for record keeping without the need for hard copies.
The PDF files can be emailed to you often within one business day of placing your order. This saves time and shipping expenses.
As a reminder, the purchase of PDF files only allows you to build the home or garage only once and the license cannot be transferred to another party. The license agreement that comes with the PDF file elaborates on how these may or may not be used.
Orders placed before 11:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) typically ship that day. If your order is placed after 11:00 a.m. CST, it may not ship until the next business day.
Our shipping schedule is as follows:
Ground shipping: allow 8-10 business days
Priority Shipping: allow 3-5 business days.
Canada Ground shipping: 10-12 business days.
PDF files and CAD files are typically emailed to you within one business day of placing your order.
If you are ordering from outside the continental United States or Canada, please order the PDF or CAD files so they can be emailed to you.
USING YOUR PLANS
These plans are copyright protected and cannot be legally copied without the expressed written consent of Residential Design Services, Inc. Remember, making illegal copies of any blueprint is considered copyright infringement, punishable by law in the form of a fine. I make every effort to keep my costs as low as possible. Please be respectful of my livelihood.
Unless you purchase the unlimited build license with the PDF or Cad files, you are only allowed to build one structure from these plans.
No, the license to these plans is non-transferable.
These drawings are not sealed by an architect or engineer. Frequently, building officials require the drawings to be sealed by a licensed professional registered in the state in which you intend to build. If this is the case, you will need to engage a local architect or engineer to review, perhaps modify and then seal the drawings. A copyright release is available with PDF and CAD file purchases for such instances.
Your building officials may request the gravity and/or lateral load calculations to be submitted with the building permit application. Because loading conditions vary greatly in geographical locations, (heavy snow in the north, high wind on the east and gulf coasts, seismic conditions on the west coast, etc.) you will need to have a local engineer review these plans and provide the loading calculations. The calculations will need to be done by a licensed professional, registered in the state in which you intend to build
My plans were designed to meet the 2015 International Residential Codes (IRC). These codes are updated every three years, starting in 2003. However, not every city or county adopts the most current version of the IRC codes. I have learned the 2009 IRC codes are still the most widely followed. Some areas have adopted the 2015 version.
Even though these plans were drawn to the IRC, this does not necessarily mean they will meet all local building codes. Each city, county, municipality, etc. may have its own set of building codes consisting of zoning requirements and other regulations. Be sure to check with your local building official to determine what is required for the area where you plan to build.
It may be necessary to work with your builder, a local residential designer or another design professional to modify the blueprints for code compliance in your specific area. Some areas have strict engineering codes because of heavy snow loads, hurricane-prone areas of the Gulf Coast and parts of the west coast that are in a high-risk zone for earthquakes. If building in these areas, it will be necessary to hire a local engineer to review your plans and provide any additional drawings or calculations required by your building department.
OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS
This is a fair and simple question, but is difficult to answer. There are many variables that prevent us from providing an exact quote. Here are a few of the biggest variables.
Leading the list is varying labor rates from region to region. Hourly labor rates can easily double the cost of a building depending on the circumstances.
Fluctuating material costs also make estimates difficult. Material prices go up and down because of the economic climate, petroleum costs and lumber prices to just name a few factors. These conditions/prices swing back and forth regularly.
Another one of the larger variables contributing to the total cost is the grade or quality of material chosen for a house. Whether you are picking out doors, windows, siding, roofing, cabinets, countertops, or whatever; you will see there are many price points. You will find economical, entry level quality materials. You will find middle of the road priced materials. And you will find high end, top quality building products to choose from. Your taste and final selection will help determine final construction costs.
The best way to estimate building costs is to interview local general contractors. They will be able to give you a better idea of the construction costs because they will be familiar with local labor rates. They will also be able to show you the grade of material they typically use. You can then decide whether you prefer a higher end or lesser priced building product.
Because I respect and protect the privacy of each of my customers, I am unable to provide any building locations. I do what I can to provide pictures of completed projects in my photo gallery. Please help me with my photo gallery if you construct a building with my plans by sending me a photo.