|Buying Stock Plans|
It is a scary fact in the home design business that most of my clients really do not understand just how important the plans are and understandably because they are not in the construction business. Another fact is that I can tell from creating one plan for a builder or professional contractor just how good he is and if I would consider using him to build my house. A good builder will want to take the finer details to the maximum in his plans because he wants everything down on paper as this is the best practice and protection for his future. The other guy would rather not have to think about all those details now in the design process and will often say “I will deal with that while building it” or something to that same effect.
All of this brings me to my concerns over the “Stock Plan” concept and for those people that are getting burned and ripped off every day because of it and the total lack of regulations or any form of checks and balances. There is not even a requirement to show the actual date the plans were created to start with not to mention any way of knowing if the actual designer is qualified to draw a building plan. A potential stock house plan buyer really needs to be very educated and diligent to try and find these things out before spending hundreds of dollars on a plan.
With the fast paced progress that the residential construction industry has made in the last ten years as to new methods, materials, construction techniques not to mention the enormous changes to the building codes. Also it needs to be said that the volume of new energy saving and green technologies alone is staggering to say the least. As I have stated the plans are the road map to a completed home, they should include the all of the information that determines the quality of the finished project and its use and operations costs. They need to be specific to each project not generic and random. Most important of all, as up to date as possible using all of the newest technologies that an owner can afford to have designed into their new house.
A house designed to be built in Georgia will not meet any of the code requirements in Maine or a plan designed to be built in Maine will cost way more than necessary if built in Georgia. If you design a house to be built at code minimum in the northern areas of Louisiana it will not pass code requirements in southern Louisiana because of the wind speed requirements. Even worse I have seen flawed substandard house plans prepared by a licensed architects pass the plans submission process only to end up costing the builder and owner thousands of dollars in the build out trying to fix the issues so the house would pass framing inspection. Sad to say I have seen this happen more than once and it even took a big chunk out of my wallet once.
In my opinion there is no way that the average person can look at a web site and determine if a plan is code compliant or up to date. They are for the most part very generic and random and with that I have to contend that the whole concept of getting a reasonably good house plan for a few hundred dollars off of the internet is seriously flawed.