Frequently Asked Questions
- Important Information
All sales on house plans and customization/modifications are final. No refunds or exchanges can be given once your order has started the fulfillment process.
All house plans from SpokaneHousePlans.com are designed to conform to the local codes when and where the original house was constructed.
Structural changes should not be undertaken unless all ramifications are clearly considered. If you deviate from the plans, our staff will not be able to support your field changes.
In addition to the house plans you order, you may also need a site plan that shows where the house is going to be located on the property. You might also need beams sized to accommodate roof loads specific to your region. Your home builder can usually help you with this. You may also need a septic design unless your lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. Many areas now have area-specific energy codes that also have to be followed. This normally involves filling out a simple form providing documentation that your house plans are in compliance.
In some regions, there is a second step you will need to take to insure your house plans are in compliance with local codes. Some areas of North America have very strict engineering requirements. Examples of this would be, but not limited to, earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Coast, hurricane risk areas of the Florida, Gulf & Carolina Coasts. New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and parts of Illinois require review by a local professional as well. If you are building in these areas, it is most likely you will need to hire a state licensed structural engineer to analyze the design and provide additional drawings and calculations required by your building department. If you aren’t sure, building departments typically have a handout they will give you listing all of the items they require to submit for and obtain a building permit.
Additionally, 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 will need to take your house plans to a local engineer or architect for review and stamping. In addition, plans which are used to construct homes in Nevada are required to be drawn by a licensed Nevada architect.
- What is included in a set of plans?
All plans are drawn at ¼” scale or larger and include:
- Exterior Elevations: A blueprint picture of all four sides showing exterior materials and height measurements
- Roof Plan: A view of the roof from the top, showing roof configuration, slope, hips/valleys, and overhang
- Foundation Plan: Drawn to 1/4″ scale, this page shows all necessary notations and dimensions including support columns, walls and excavated and unexcavated areas. Most of our plans show a basement or crawl space or slab plan.
- Floor Plan(s): Detailed plans, drawn to 1/4″ scale for each level showing room dimensions, wall partitions, windows, doors, cabinetry, beams/headers, etc..
- Cross Section: A vertical cutaway view of the house from roof to foundation showing details of framing, construction, flooring and roofing.
- Details: Typical details of structural elements.
- Notes and Specification: Design Criteria notes, important Building Codes and Portal Frame Details
Please note that items, such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing layout, fixtures, and finish products, are matters of local construction practices or personal taste. Their detailed specifications are a typical function of the general contractor, and a usual part of the construction contract documents.
- Can you modify/revise the plan I liked?
Absolutely! If you find the plan you like but want to change it, we can easily do it for you. There is an hourly charge which we can give you the estimate of . Some modifications, i.e. mirroring the plan, are free of charge. Contact us for details or a quote. Our prices are reasonable and turn-around time is fast!
- How is the square footage calculated?
Square footage calculations are made from the outside face of exterior wall and include all walls. Window, fireplace and room projections are included only when floor joists are extended over that area. Areas not included are decks, porches, garages, basements and attics.
- What is PDF Set?
This fully licensed digital construction set allows you to make as many paper copies of the plan as needed for your construction project, as outlined in the license agreement. Ideal for keeping on a mobile device, our PDF files are easily viewable on the go. Suited for streamlining your plan modification process, you can also attach notes and additional details to your construction drawings using your favorite annotation software. Specify materials, note drawing changes, or make full modifications to the original design as you need.
- What is an AutoCAD File?
An AutoCAD digital file allows plan changes to be made using professional CAD software. If you want to modify a plan and would like to do that locally, a Master CAD file offers the most flexibility and easiest way for professionals to modify the design. Once your plan has been modified to suit your needs, you can print as many copies as needed for the construction of your projects.
- What are the Energy Calcs?
In some states there is an additional Energy Calculations required in order to apply for a building permit. Based on heated space square footage, ceiling heights, insulation values of walls, floors, attic, doors, and windows, the Heat Loss Calculations will determine the HVAC equipment size needed for your home.
HVAC contractor can do those for you, or we can provide them for additional fee. This service is available from us for Washington only.
- Can you Mirror/Reverse the plan?
Yes! We can reverse (mirror) the construction set if needed. For example: you like the plan which shows garage on left side, but you need it to be on the right. This service is free of charge.
- I need help understanding your plans, or I’ve noticed an error, what should I do?
Contact our plan support department. It exists to provide plan clarification, and to control and improve product quality. Our goal is to provide clear and accurate plans. Please contact us immediately, should you encounter any error. It is important that you let us know of any errors or omissions BEFORE you begin construction.
- With which codes do your plans comply?
The plans, and associated documents have been prepared to comply with the latest adopted version of the International Residential Code (I.R.C.)
Each state in the US adopts a building code as their base code. Over the years, there have been several national code standards for states to choose from, but now the International Residential Code has become very widely accepted as the standard base code. For this reason, we choose to follow the I.R.C. in developing our plans. Unfortunately, each state can modify the base code with their own state adopted amendments, and may chose not to adopt certain sections of the base code. Energy requirements are a common section that is heavily modified or replaced by a different model code, by each state.
To further complicate the issue, the base code is revised every three years or so, and states vary in their timing of when they adopt each new code version – a year or more delay in adopting the latest code is very common. Beyond that – every local permit issuing jurisdiction within each state (counties, cities, etc.) can further amend the state requirements. Aware of this reality – our staff knows to never promise that our plans will be able to meet every requirement of every jurisdiction in the country. We do make every effort to comply with the national base code, and beyond that, we provide follow-up support to help our customers to meet the amended codes of their jurisdiction where possible.
- I bought a plan from you, and I want to build it again… What am I required to do?
Once you buy a plan from us you can build it unlimited number of times. If you want to make additional revisions to the plan after you have built it once, you will only pay hourly charge for the changes. Contact our office if you require further explanation, or for permission to copy or alter the design.
- I’ve noticed many items, such as window brands, are left ‘generic’ on the plans; why is this?
These plans are not intended to be the only documents of construction. Items, such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing layout, fixtures, and finish products, are matters of local construction practices or personal taste. Their detailed specifications are a typical function of the general contractor, and a usual part of the construction contract documents.
- How do Spokane House Plans address high wind and seismic design criteria?
Our stock plans require additional structural information and detailing in order to meet high wind and seismic requirements, which vary by geographic location and legal jurisdiction. For an additional fee, we can provide engineering to meet specific seismic zone, wind speed and wind exposure values for a specific building site. Such engineering analysis is site-specific and requires additional time to prepare. The drawings detailing this, and the supporting calculations, stamped by a licensed engineer are typically available for Washington or Idaho within a few days — check with our staff for availability in other states.
- Will the information on the “Specs” sheet meet all requirements, everywhere in the United States?
No, this would be virtually impossible as wind and seismic requirements vary dramatically throughout the country. The off–the–shelf engineering that we have available shows a way of reinforcing the structure, which is acceptable in portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
- How about beam calculations, do you provide these?
Yes, we can provide vertical gravity load calculations per your request, free of charge. These calculations do not carry a stamp from an engineer. Again, if an engineer’s stamp is required, you will have to make the appropriate arrangements, and allow for the added time and expense involved.
- What design load values are used in the gravity calculations you provide?
The structure has been evaluated with Roof Live Load of 30psf, Floor Live Load of 40psf, Live Loads of 15psf, and Soil Bearing Pressure of 1,500psf. Otherwise, design loads follow the current I.R.C. code book. Calculations using different design values require additional time and fee. It is best to enlist the services of a local professional for such “location–specific” structural redesign. Local lumber yards sometimes have contacts for such services.
- What species of lumber are specified on your plans?
Sawn lumber species are typically Douglas fir, or Hem–fir. Substitution of material (species or grade) should not be undertaken without the review of a qualified professional, as required by your local building codes and ordinances. Many lumber yards have staff that are versed in substitution of material, and can work from the load information contained in our calculations, to determine the proper replacements.
- I want to frame the house differently than shown on your plans; is this acceptable?
Changes, such as conversion between framed or trussed roof, are likely to drastically affect the structural design of the house, and should not be undertaken unless all ramifications are clearly considered. If you deviate from the plans, our staff will not be able to support your field changes.