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Everything You Need to Know About Stock House Plans

The House Plan Shop, LLC publishes top selling stock house plans from many of North America's top selling designers. Stock house plans and home plans are designs developed to suit the needs of various groups of people within the overall population. These home plans include many of today's most sought after features and amenities and are standardized to satisfy a larger group of house plan buyers and home builders than the single person or family for whom the custom home plan would be designed. (See Custom Home Plans Verses Stock House Plans.) Below is list identifying the elements and information included in a typical set of stock house plans although the information may vary slightly by designer.

The Elements of a Stock House Plan

  • Coversheet - In most cases this is an artist's rendering of the finished home. Typically, this page is not necessary for construction, but rather serves as a visual aid representing the finished home. Not all designers provide a cover sheet.
  • Foundation Plan - This page provides a detailed drawing of the foundation including information such as, thickness of foundation walls, column locations, floor joist sizes and spacing, as well as other construction notes and details.
  • Floor Plan - The floor plan pages reflect the layout and construction of each floor of the house. In most cases these pages will include all wall sizes, room dimensions, notes about ceiling design, window and door locations and sizes and other structural and layout notes and details.
  • Basic Electric - The basic electrical information is sometimes found on the floor plan page, while other times it is on a separate page. In either case, this information will reflect the locations of outlets, switches and fixtures.
  • Simple Plumbing - The simple plumbing information may be found on the floor plan, or it might be on a separate page. This diagram indicates the locations of bathtubs, showers, commodes and sinks.
  • Interior Elevations - This page contains descriptive details and drawings showing the built-in elements of the home such as, fireplaces, kitchen cabinets, built-in bookshelves or desks, vanities, moldings and handrails.
  • Exterior Elevations - The exterior elevation page is used to describe the look and feel of the home's exterior finish. It provides views of the house on all sides and calls out the exterior finish and trim materials and their placement, including siding, brick, stone, stucco, etc. This page also indicates the type of roofing materials and decorative elements such as window shutters. The exterior elevations typically indicate details such as roof pitches and ceiling heights. Sometimes window and door sizes are included here.
  • Details - Details may be found on a separate page or in various locations throughout the house plan. They communicate how smaller elements should be constructed. This includes items such as how the fireplace should look, the design of handrail spindles and the sizes and styles of moldings used throughout the home.
  • Sections - Home plan sections may be on a separate page or on various pages throughout the home plan. Typically, they are views of the home showing the composition of the foundation, interior and exterior walls, roofs, floors and stair details. These drawings indicate the rooflines, ceiling heights and the relationship between floors.

**Note: Not all stock house plans come with each element described here. They vary by designer.

Additional Information About Stock House Plans

While stock house plans generally contain all of the information you will need to build your new home, you may need additional information to obtain building permits. Building codes vary greatly from place to place and each city and county has its own requirements. Sometimes it is necessary to work with a local building official to obtain the additional information needed for your building permits. Below is a list of the items most commonly needed for building permits that are not included with stock house plans. We have included a little information about each item. If you need further clarification about what is required in your area to obtain building permits, check with your building department. Often, you can request a list of building requirements for the area where you plan to build to ensure you have everything you need to get started.

  • Site Map - A sketch or drawing of your lot reflecting where the house will be located and how it will be situated on the property. Because everyone's lot is different, it is impossible for the designer to provide this information. You will need to work with a local professional if you need a site map.
  • Energy Codes - This is a list of requirements indicating the types of windows, doors and insulation required for the region where you are building. You will need to obtain this locally as stock home plans are sold all over the continent and energy codes vary north to south and east to west across North America.
  • Building Codes for Specialized Areas - Depending on where you are building, you may need to request a list of specialized regional building codes. In northern regions such as, Michigan, Minnesota and Canada your house plan will need to meet snow load/roof load and insulation requirements. If you are building in a seismic zone such as California, you will need a list of requirements to protect your home against damage from earthquakes. Areas along the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard are prone to hurricanes and will need to meet local wind codes. Since stock house plans are built all across the continent, it is impossible to design them to meet the specialized building codes for all regions. You will need to work with your builder or local design professional to make adjustments to your stock home plan ensuring your new house meets the specialized codes.
  • Local Building Codes - This is a list of requirements necessary to build in your area. Every city, county and neighborhood has its own local building codes that you must follow. These codes vary greatly and can include such items as a specific foundation type, maximum ridge height, minimum or maximum square footage, location of furnace and type of exterior finish. Be sure to check with your building department to find out what is required and allowed in your new neighborhood. If slight modifications must be made to meet codes, your builder or local design professional can typically assist you for a minimal fee with the use of a reproducible master.
  • Septic Design - If you are building outside city or county limits and your lot cannot be accommodated by a sewer system, you will need to work with a local professional to obtain a septic design and layout. This must be done locally ensuring the design is specific to your lot and house plan.
  • Truss Layout - If your stock house plans call for a truss roof, you will need to obtain your truss layout from a local truss manufacture. You will need to provide a set of home plans and the manufacturer will design the truss layout. Typically, this is provided to you at no charge. The truss layout must be done locally to ensure it reflects the materials available in your area.
  • Finished Electric - Stock house plans come with a basic electrical plan, but if you need further information to obtain your building permit, you will need to work with a local electrician to ensure finished electric in your new home will meet local codes.
  • Finished Plumbing - Your stock home plans will come with a simple plumbing plan, but if you need further information in order to obtain building permits, you should work with local plumbing officials. They can determine the location of water and sewer or septic lines on your property and how they will run to and from your home, as well as, provide detailed information about the finished plumbing inside your new home.
  • HVAC - Stock house plans do not come with a heating and cooling plan. Occasionally, a designer may provide a suggested location for the furnace on floor plan, but this is not always the case. The heating and cooling layout will be determined locally based on the size of the unit you choose. Consult a heating and cooling expert for further information.
  • Architect's Stamp - Stock home plans do not come with a professional stamp on them. If you are required to have your house plans sealed or stamped by a professional, you will have to take them to a local architect or engineer whom will review the house plans and stamp them. Remember that home plans must be reviewed and stamped by a professional licensed for the state where you plan to build.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research what is needed to build with a stock house plan in your area. Some municipalities will require all of the items mentioned above, while others may require just a few, and still others will only require the stock home plan itself with no additional information at all. Start early and ask plenty of questions. Check with all necessary building officials before construction begins to ensure you have everything you need to build your dream home. There are tremendous benefits to building with a stock house plan but it is necessary to educate yourself about the residential construction process before you begin.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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