The role of the house / home designer is varied and challenging at every new custom house plan project. I think this is what I enjoy the most as each home is different as well as each client is unique. Having done house designs now in 42 States across the country I have been exposed to many challenging designs and plan design criteria’s which has forced me to constantly learn and expand my knowledge base. Also because I try to take an interest in my customers experience after the house plans are completed I have had the chance to work with a large number of builders and tradesmen all over the country and have learned volumes from them as well as made many new friends.
My motivation for writing this article is to address one of the largest concerns I have as a professional custom home designer and master builder with close to 30 years in the residential construction industry. Anyone thinking about or preparing to build a new home should fully understand the concept of “A good house plan doesn’t cost you money, it saves you money” They need to completely understand the difference between a cheap house plan, a stock house plan and a professional custom designed house plan. I see cheap poorly done house plans all the time or outdated old stock home plans that are so inadequate they are nothing more than a plan to build a disaster, not a plan to build a good quality home. Some of the plans that I do are for people that already purchased a cheap plan or older outdated stock plan only to have a builder or permit official throw them back and tell them to go get a better detailed, code compliant set of plans. My concern is that if a person is about to build their dream home or any project why would they want to start the process with a cheap plan. As your home is one of the largest investments you make in life why would you accept anything less than a detailed, professionally created set of plans prepared by a dedicated experienced service and designer?
As a general contractor of over 25 years and now a home designer with 10 years experience I have and continue to be surprised at the huge online “Stock House Plan” market. All you need to do to see this is Google House plans on the internet and start scrolling. I have spent many hours looking at these sites and their inventory as well as working with individuals that have purchased one of these to actually use for the construction of their new home. I don’t want to give you the impression that what I am going to cover in this article is pointed at 100% of the Stock Plans market, it’s not. It is however going to point at the large majority of them and is intended to be a voice of concern from a professional experienced point of view and nothing more or less. I know there are some companies out there selling stock house plans that are both responsible and strive to offer a good up to date product. Problem is you really do not know which is which and so this begins the foundation of my concerns.