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The problem with Stock Plan Websites

Stock Plan Websites have their place and purpose in the design world. They are to design what the "dollar stores" are to retail. Get something cheap that will do the job, albeit not the best job.

Don't get me wrong. Most of the designs found on these websites are quite nice, functional and appealing. That doesn't mean they are the best option for your family. They are sometimes the closest, easiest or quickest option at a reasonable price. Even if the plan is not quite what you want you may be able to make changes during construction to suit. However that gets financially risky depending on the type of builder you are working with or where you are building.

But design is where their value ends. The problem is that in today's building regulatory industry, simply getting a plan is no longer sufficient. A lot of jurisdiction now require that home designers be licensed. You could get someone local to certify your stock plan. But that will add to the cost. It also does not account for changes made during construction. Chances are if your drawings have to be certified, any changes made during construction would also have to be approved by the designer. As-Built drawings may also be required.

So at the end of the day you may end up paying double or triple the price of the original stock plan.

The other issue that stock plans do not address is the building science behind a properly designed and constructed home. Not only should your plans be tailored to your family's needs from functionality and appearance perspective but it should also properly address the way it will be constructed. What type of materials or systems are best suited for you and your site, how they interact with other materials or systems, these are all important things that have to be examined during the design and construction process. This can only be done with strong, constant and effective communication between the designer and the client, before, during and after the design process. Correspondence between the designer and other consultants is sometimes required. Involvement during construction is also very important. Clicking "Add To Cart" just won't cut it.

These are all issues that go far beyond the scope of a simple stock plan order online. Unfortunately an alternative is working a large design firm. However the cost can be a overwhelming. Time can also be a factor when working with larger firms.

The key is finding an experience, licensed and reasonably priced design firm. Maybe we can help.

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