Great House Design
Menu
Search Plans Prefer Custom Drawn House plans? Find out more!

FAQs

Getting Started

You have come to the right place! We recommend that you browse our site for ideas on how you would like your new home to appear. You can also solicit ideas from friends and family, and collect ideas from magazines. Additionally, think about your lifestyle and family and consider what home plan features would best suit your needs.

You can use our search options to focus in on what features you prefer. If you have a very specific vision for your new home, you can use our Advanced Search feature, to quickly find which of our plans meet your criteria.

House Plans

It depends on the complexity of the house, but in most cases, you will need roughly 5 to 8 sets. Those who will need a blueprint include you, your contractor, sub-contractors, the building department, your mortgage lender, and/or the building inspector.

Some of our Architects and Designers offer a One-Set House Plan Package. This allows you to review your home in detail before building, and it can be used to get bids on materials and labor. You can upgrade to a package suitable for building within 90 days by paying the difference in the cost of the house plan packages. Building with a stamped set of blueprints of a violation of copyright laws, as is copying stamped or unstamped house plans without a copyright release from the Designer.

Most of our published plans include the following:

  • Coversheet - Some of our Architects and Designers provide an artist's rendering of the finished home. This is used as a visual aid, but it is not needed for construction. NOTE: Not all Designers provide a Coversheet.
  • Exterior Elevations - The exterior elevations provide exterior views of the house and call out the exterior finish materials, such as siding, stucco, brick, stone, etc. This page also shows roof pitches and materials, and decorative elements, such as columns and window shutters. Sometimes window and door sizes are also shown here.
  • Floor Plans - The floor plan shows how each room is laid out on each floor of the house. In most cases, the floor plan will include wall sizes, room dimensions, notes about ceiling design, window and door locations and sizes, and other structural layout notes and details.
  • Foundation Plan - This page provides a detailed foundation drawing, including the thickness of the foundation walls, how the foundation is built, footing and wall placement, rebar schedule, as well as other construction notes and details. This page may also include a floor framing plan.
  • Cross Sections - Cross sections are views from the top to the bottom of the house plan showing structural details related to the construction of the home. They will show the composition of the foundation, interior and exterior walls, roof, floor and stair details. They also show rooflines, ceiling heights, and the relationships between floors. Cross sections may be on a separate page or on various pages throughout the home plan.
  • Interior Elevations - The interior elevations show built-in features of a house plan, such as kitchen cabinets, fireplaces, built-in bookshelves and desks, vanities, moldings, and hand rails.
  • Basic Electric - This page shows the locations of outlets, switches, and fixtures. It may be on a separate page, or located on the floor plan page.
  • Simple Plumbing - This page shows the locations of the bathtubs, showers, toilets, and sinks. This may be found on the floor plan, or it might be on a separate page.
  • Details - This page includes the structural details for the construction of the house.

NOTE: Not all stock house plans come with each element described here. They vary by Designer.

A reproducible master set is a complete set of home plans from which you can copy as many sets as you need to build your house. A copyright release is included to give you permission to legally make changes to the home plan and to make the copies that you will need for construction of one house. You will need to bring the copyright release with you when you take the plans to the copy shop. Some designers print reproducible masters on vellum paper while others print them on bond paper.

CAD and PDF files are complete sets of construction drawings in an electronic file format. Both files can be emailed to you (depending on the Designer, a processing fees may apply) or mailed out to you on a disk. It is a good idea to buy the CAD or PDF file if you want to make substantial changes to the drawings. Both files include a copyright release for you to legally make changes and build one structure.

Our plans are designed to meet national building codes, but not necessarily state or county codes. Therefore, these construction drawings do not include extensive HVAC or plumbing details. Your HVAC system will be determined by the size of your home and the types of units you use. Duct work will be defined by the type of heating and cooling systems you use and your local building codes. Although plumbing fixtures are included in your home plans, the flow of water lines and sewer system are site specific and must be determined locally. You can discuss these details with your local builder.

Mechanical details and diagrams are not included with most home plans, as they are not required for typical construction, and they vary drastically among regions and counties depending on local codes.

Many of our plans show detailed sections of the framing and the floor framing and roof layouts, but it is not often that they show the entire layout. An experienced builder will be able to construct your home using the information provided on the construction drawings.

The foundations listed on our website for each plan are the available foundations provided by the Designer. If the foundation you need is not available, we recommend that you check with your builder, as most builders can make a foundation change on the building site. Also, a Designer can modify most foundation plans, either locally or you can fill out a modification request form to get a quote from our Modification Team.

Walkout basements are suited for sloping lots typically with one wall of the foundation exposed rather than dug into the earth. The exposed wall allows for larger windows and a doorway that opens directly to your yard or property.

Our house plans are not stamped by an Architect or Engineer. If your area requires an Architect's or Engineer's stamp, you will have to take them to a local Architect or Engineer for review and stamping. The professional you select must be registered in the state where you plan to build.

Square footage calculations are made from outside of the exterior frame wall and measures livable, heated, and finished space. It does not include decks, porches, screen porches, patios, verandas, garages, unfinished basements, attics, future space and bonus rooms.

Two story and vaulted areas are only included once in the calculations of the first floor. Stairs are counted once. If a house plan calls out finished square footage in the basement, it will be calculated as a part of the total living square footage. Generally, brick is not included in our square footage calculations.

Square footage is calculated using the actual construction drawings. You will not be able to calculate the square footage from using the room sizes from floor plans on our website because hallways, closets and other small spaces are not included. If you need to clarify the square footage of a particular house plan, please contact us.

Yes, you can. We offer home plans with 2x4, 2x6, concrete block, insulated concrete form, and log and other various types of wall framing. Please use our advanced search option to select the type of exterior wall framing you need. NOTE: Many of the house plans listed with 2x4 construction are also available with 2x6 construction for an additional fee. Please view the home plan page for availability.

Yes, all house plans sold on this website are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission. Copies can only be made if a reproducible master, CAD file, or PDF file are purchased. All home plans and illustrations published on this site are the exclusive property of Great House Design and the Architects and Designers represented on this site. Only one structure may be built from the construction package you purchase. House plans may not be resold or copied. We strive for accurate representation of rendering and house plans and will not be responsible for errors or omissions on this site. Law strictly prohibits reproduction in whole or part of any home plans or illustrations on this site.

Each set of construction drawings uses a generic window and door sizing system that does not apply to any particular name brand. For example, a common window size on our plans is 4050. This is a window that is 4'-0" wide by 5'-0" tall. In like manner, a common door size is 2668, which means the door is 2'-6" wide by 6'-8" tall.

  • BA - Bath
  • BR - Bedroom
  • BRK - Breakfast Room or Nook
  • CLG - Ceiling
  • DN - Down
  • DW - Dishwasher
  • E - Entry
  • F or FURN - Furnace
  • FPL - Fireplace
  • KIT - Kitchen
  • KS - Knee Space
  • LN - Linen Closet
  • MBR - Master Bedroom
  • MC - Mechanical
  • OPT - Optional
  • P or PAN - Pantry
  • PDR - Powder Room
  • R or REF - Refrigerator
  • SHWR - Shower
  • SKLT - Skylight
  • STOR - Storage closet/space
  • VLT - Vaulted Ceiling
  • W/D - Washer/Dryer
  • WH - Water Heater
  • WIC - Walk-in Closet
  • WS - Woodstove

Building Codes

Building codes are regulations and safety guidelines dictating how a building should be constructed in a particular area. They range from nationally recognized guidelines to city and county building laws. Building codes are set forth and adhered to as a means of protecting the builder and the buyer of a new home. Many of the codes in a particular region are based on elements specific to that area such as soil and weather conditions. All of the house plans published on this website were designed to meet or exceed the requirements of the nationally recognized building code in effect at the place and time each plan was drawn. Generally, the house plans designed after the year 2000 conform to the International Residential Code.

Typically house plans drawn before 2000 conform to one of the building codes listed below that was in effect at the time creation.

  • UBC (Uniform Building Code)
  • BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators)
  • CABO (Council of American Building Officials)
  • ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials)
  • SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International)
  • Each state, city, county or municipality follows some form of one or any combination of these residential building codes. To learn more about the building codes in your area, please consult a local building official.

At the time the house plans are drawn, each Designer puts great care into making sure that plans conform to national building codes. Please remember that this does not mean that they will meet your local building codes. Each municipality has its own zoning requirements and regulations that work best in that area. It is a good idea to check with a local building official to see what to see what is required in the area where you plan to build. You may need to work with a local contractor or Residential Designer to modify your house plans to comply with codes in your specific area. Depending where you build, you may need an Architect or Engineer to review and stamp your house plans.

A site plan shows where your house is located on your property. You will need one, and you can get it through your builder.

Modifications

It is a good idea to discuss any changes you want with your builder before construction begins, as your home builder can make minor changes for you. Another option is to contact a local Designer to modify your house plan. To facilitate this, you should purchase a reproducible master, CAD or PDF file. Or, you can submit a modification request form to Great House Design's modification team. They will determine if your changes can be made and give you a bid within 2-3 business days. All modification requests must be made in writing.

NOTE: Purchasing a reproducible mater, CAD, or PDF file will provide you with a copyright release giving you permission to modify the blueprints and make enough copies of the plans to build one house.

The cost to modify a house plan varies greatly depending on the plan and the changes you want to make. You can fill out a modification request form to receive a quote within 2-3 business from the Great House Design modification team.

Yes, this is a simple change that in most cases can be done by your builder during construction. You can check with your builder or building official for local codes. Or your plan may already be available with either type of framing. You will see this on the house plan page.

Yes, you can typically change the type of exterior finish of your house. You can talk with your builder to discuss your exterior finish preference.

This is a common house plan modification, and typically, it is not difficult to do. Most of the time, your builder can make this change for you on the job. You can also talk to a local Designer about modifying your plan, or submit a modification request form to us and the Great House Design modification team will provide you with a quote within 2-3 business days.

Supplemental Items

Yes, you can upgrade your house plan package or purchase supplemental items within 90 days of placing the original order. Please call or email us and we will be happy to help you with your upgrade.

A material list is a complete list of the building materials to construct your home. It includes all of your typical materials, such as lumber, roof tiles, doors, windows, sheet rock, exterior finishes and more. HVAC, appliances, rough plumbing and foundation materials may not be included. Materials included will vary by Designer.

NOTE: A local building supply company will also create a material list for you.

Material lists are available for many of the plans published on our site. Availability is indicated when you view a plan on this site.

NOTE: A local building supply company will also create a material list for you.

Material lists are only available with the purchase of a house plan package for a home plan of the same plan number.

A material list is not necessary to build your new home. However, they come in handy, as they save your contractor time and allow you to get accurate bids from lumberyards and suppliers in a short amount of time.

Sometimes house plans work out better on property if the original layout is reversed. In this case, mirror reverse and right reading reverse plans are available for some of the house plans on our site. Availability is indicated when you view the plan page.

Sometimes a house fits better on a lot if the floor plan is flipped. As such, mirror reverse plans can be a helpful tool. Mirror reverse plans are a mirrored image of the house plan, with the text appearing backwards, just as if you were looking in a mirror. Although the dimensions and lettering are not readable, mirror reverse plans serve as a visual aid showing the floor plan of the home the way you plan to build it and also showing correct door swings. You can't get a building permit with mirror reverse plans, so when your order, only order one or two sets with the mirror reverse option and order the rest as the original plan.

A right reading reverse house plan will flip the floor plan from left to right with all of the text reading correctly. If you order a right reading reverse house plan, all sets will be shipped in right reading reverse. Availability is indicated on the home plan page.

Ordering and Shipping

Processing time and shipping options and rates vary per plan - see the "processing and shipping" section on the plan page. Generally, in the continental US, regular ground delivery takes 8-12 business days. We also offer Priority shipping (3-5 business days) and Express shipping (1-2 business days after the order is processed). Most orders are processed and shipped within 1 business day, although if we receive an order before 10 a.m. Pacific Standard time, it may go out the same day it was ordered, depending on the Architect or Designer. For orders shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, or for orders shipping from Canada to the US, please check the available shipping options listed on the plan page. Many of our Designers will sell and ship house plans overseas. Please contact us for further information before placing your international order (outside of the United States and Canada).

Many of our house plans are sold internationally. If you are not building your house in the United States or Canada, please contact us for house plan package availability and shipping rates.

We make every effort to ensure that your online shopping experience with us is as secure as possible. When you place an online order, all information is encrypted before sending it from our secure server to an automated payment processing center that charges your credit card. Once your credit card has been charged, your order is sent to the order-processing center without your credit card information. Your credit card information is never stored on our server and no one has access to it at any time. In addition, your personal information is only used to get your house plan out to you and is not sold or given to any other companies or organizations.

Sales tax is charged on any purchase made in the state of Missouri.

The charges on your credit card will appear as The House Plan Shop, LLC.

Miscellaneous

Your house plan purchase is NOT returnable. Since our house plans are printed and shipped in response to your order, Great House Design does not honor any requests for refunds, returns, or exchanges under any circumstances. Please review your order carefully before placing it. Also, please check the dimensions of your land, site, or lot before purchasing a house plan for it.

All sales are FINAL.

The building license is not transferable. It is only granted to the person who originally purchased the house plan.

When you purchase a plan from us, you are licensed to build one home from the plans. Constructing the home more than once constitutes copyright infringement and violates the Designer's copyright laws. Buying a multiple set house plan package does not entitle you to build the house more than once. And purchasing additional sets does not give you the right to build the home again. However, some Designers offer multiple build licenses or multi-use fees for those customers who wish to build the home more than once. Fees will vary by Designer. Please contact us for a quote.

If there are photos available, they are already on the plan page for each design.

Some of our home plans were originally designed for handicap accessibility. You can search specifically for these plans using the advanced search option. If you find a home plan that is not handicap accessible, you can have it modified for handicap accessibility, either by a local Designer after you have purchased a CAD or PDF file, or fill out a modification request form to receive a quote from Great House Design's Modification Team.

Green building, also called sustainable building, is a way of creating structures using processes that are resource-efficient and environmentally responsible throughout the life cycle of the building - from construction to demolition. The goal of green building is to minimize environmental impact and protect human health. This can be accomplished with energy efficiency, use if renewable energy, water efficiency, waste reduction, avoiding toxic products, using recycled and sustainable products, and smart growth. Green building also contributes to a healthy indoor environment by using products that emit minimal pollutants.