Whether you’re trying to add a fancy new west wing to your house or tackle an entirely brand new home DIY-style, you need a building plan. Without one, your project could end up looking like a six-year-old’s popsicle stick project. Because trust us, it’s not as simple as grabbing a box of nails, some 2 x 4s, and your old man's hammer.
But before you go and get your plumbing all twisted in knots, we’ve done some prep work for you. We’ve gathered a bunch of information about house building plans to help get you started. Let’s do this.
What Is a House Plan?
Plain and simple, a house plan is a drawing of your potential home or addition. It includes the measurements you’ll need to follow, dimensions, layouts, installation methods and techniques for the build.
Your house plan is going to be your go-to for the majority of the work you need to do, no matter the scale of the project. You stick to that, maybe some YouTube vids, and your project should end up a success.
What Is Included in a House Plan?
The ultimate purpose of a house plan is to provide a blueprint of every part of your home. According to sources, your typical house plan will include the following building necessities:
- Foundation: Footing layout, posts and beams, structural slabs, crawl space and/or basement.
- Floor: Layout of rooms, walls, doors and windows.
- Roof: Elements that make up the roof, including ridges, valleys and hips. May also include chimneys and decorative elements.
- Exterior elevation: A 2D representation of each side of the house ,including materials for walls, roof and other elements of the home.
- Building section(s): Shows adjacencies of spaces and relationship of the ground to the house and roof.
- Electrical: Location of lighting fixtures, switches and outlets.
When Do I Need a House Plan?
Once you’ve decided you’re going to tackle that new home addition or complete build, you’ll need to find the right plan for your needs. And remember, you’ll need a bunch of copies of the plan, too. You’re going to need a copy for your own personal records and some extras for any builders, contractors, your lending institution and the local building department.
Building plans come in all shapes and sizes, too. And the good news is, there is no shortage of resources to find the right one. You just gotta look.
Where Can I Find House Plans?
Just like ordering a pizza, the easiest and quickest way to find a house plan is online. There are countless websites that offer paid and even free house plans online. Heck, a quick trip to the Googles will unlock some of our favorite house plan sites, like:
Now, maybe you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for online. Or maybe you’re a Type-A personality with your home already perfectly mapped out in your mind. In these cases, you can always find an architect to draw up your plan for you.
But what if you’re just trying to make changes to your existing home and need a current detailed layout to reference? Or maybe you want to recreate your existing home in a whole new state. If that’s your story, you’ll need to chat with your local permit agency or records office and they’ll get you squared away.
How Much Do House Plans Cost?
Totally depends, really. If you download a house plan from the Internet, the cost can range anywhere from totally free to totally $5,000—it all comes down to the types of modifications you want to make.
But hiring an architect to draw up your dream house plan is around $4,000 for a 2,500 square foot home. An advantage here is that an architect will listen to your needs, wants and concerns to help tailor the plan to your best interests.
The decision all comes down to you. It may be best to first search the Web for the house/additions you’re looking for and examine the cost and quality of the plans. If that works with your hopes and budget, download and print it. If not, it may be best to travel the architect path for exactly what you’re looking for.
Choosing the Right Plan for You
Finding the right plan for your home can feel a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry. Try using these tips to make the process go more smoothly.
- Tip 1: Find a plan you love: This seems like a given, but finding the perfect plan for YOU will typically start by searching the square footage and the number of bedrooms you want, then whittling it down from there.
- Tip 2: Pick a plan based on your land: It’s more cost-effective to buy a plan for your land than the other way around. Plus, you’ll want to keep the size and shape of your lot in mind. A narrow, longer layout may not fit well on a small, square lot.
- Tip 3: Keep an open mind: Chances are your vision will change over time. So try to keep your mind a bit more open to different styles, characteristics and changes.
- Tip 4: Know you can change exteriors: Don’t get caught up on the appearance of the house because windows, roof lines, siding and other exterior details can all be changed.
- Tip 5: The perfect home may not exist: Prioritize your wants vs. your needs for your home. Needs should always come first.
- Tip 6: Understand blueprints can be changed: Any house plan can be modified to fit your needs—they’re flexible like that.
- Tip 7: Square footage can change: When you make changes to a plan it can increase or decrease the square footage of a house.
Time to Get to Work
Well, there you have it. Now, we obviously couldn’t cover everything you’ll need to know, but we hope we laid a nice foundation to get you started. Finding the right house plan is an easy way to get a jump-start on your dream home, and with countless house plans online and a few of our helpful tips, you’re definitely off to a great start.
Hammer’s up, everyone.