Frequently Asked Questions
Starting Your House Plan Search
How do I find a specific plan to meet my criteria?
Please try the advanced search feature on the home page of our site, you can put in the criteria you want or need and only those types of plans will come up. Once you find a plan that is closest to your needs, you can purchase the reproducible or CAD (if available) that comes with the copyright release that allows a local designer to make the modifications you require.
How is the square footage calculated?
The square footage for a home is based on heated living space only. Typically this would include any finished basement area. It does not include the garage, any porches or any bonus space.
How can I view pictures of a completed home?
You can now search for plans with both interior and exterior photography through our advanced search feature.
Will the plans meet my county’s building codes?
Each state, city and subdivision have their own set of codes and regulations that they have determined work best for their area. As stock plans are sold throughout the country, they meet national codes. However, you will need to take the plans to a local architect or engineer to determine if the plans will meet local codes. You may want to consider our modification services.
What do I need to know about local building and zoning requirements?
At the time of creation, our plans are drawn to specifications published by the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) International, Inc.; The Southern Building Code Congress (SBCCI) International Inc. The International Conference of Building Officials; or the Council of American Building Officials (CABO). Our plans are deigned to meet or exceed national building standards.
Because of the great differences in geography and climate throughout the United States and Canada, each state, county, and municipality has its own building codes, zone requirements, ordinances and building regulations. Your plan may need to be modified to comply with local requirements regarding snow loads, energy codes, soil and seismic conditions and a wide range of other matters. In addition, you may need to obtain permits or inspections from local government agencies before and while in construction.
Prior to using blueprints or CAD ordered from us, we strongly advise that you consult a licensed architect or engineer — and speak with your local building official — before applying for any permit or beginning construction.
We authorize the use of our blueprints and CAD on the express condition that you strictly comply with all local building codes, zoning requirements and other applicable laws, regulations, ordinances and requirements. Notice: Plans for homes to be built in Nevada must be re-drawn by a Nevada-registered professional. Consult your building official for more information on this subject.
What do I need to know about architectural and engineering seals?
Some cities and states are now requiring that a licensed architect or engineer review and “seal” a blueprint, or officially approve it prior to construction due to concerns over energy costs, safety and other factors. Prior to application for a building permit or the start of actual construction, we strongly advise that you consult your local building official who can tell you if such a review is required.
Is there anyway to know if a plan has been purchased and/or built in my area?
We do not retain personal building information on the customers who have purchased plans from us due to privacy reasons. Normally when they have bought the plans, they move from the location where we have shipped. Even if we were allowed to offer such information, it’s impossible to track.
What is a walk-out basement?
A walkout basement is the type of basement that allows a door to open into the yard because the basement is at ground level. This type of basement is used for a rear sloping lot.
Do you offer a low price guarantee?
We guarantee to have the best online house plan prices. If, however, you find the identical plan online at a lower price, we’ll happily match that price subject to the terms and conditions below. This low price guarantee, coupled with the industry’s leading exchange and upgrade policies, makes ePlans the best place to shop for home plans. Buy with confidence today.
Terms and Conditions
If, within 30 days from the date you purchase a plan from Dreamhomesource.com, you find a lower, currently advertised price online for the identical plan, we’ll make things right. First contact us at 732-556-7388 within the 30-day period with the details of the pricing discrepancy. Once the price is confirmed, our customer service representative will happily refund the difference. The low price guarantee applies only to house plans, not ancillary products or services, nor does it apply to free offers, bundle offers or deferred savings offers.
My Blueprints Purchase
What is included in your plans?
The contents of each designer’s blueprint package is unique, but all contain detailed, high-quality working drawings. You can expect to find the following standard elements in most sets of plans:
1. FRONT PERSPECTIVE
This artist’s sketch of the exterior of the house gives you an idea of how the house will look when built and landscaped.
2. FOUNDATION AND BASEMENT PLANS
This sheet shows the foundation layout including concrete walls, footings, pads, posts, beams, bearing walls, and foundation notes. If the home features a basement, the first-floor framing details may also be included on this plan. If your plan features slab construction rather than a basement, the plan shows footings and details for a monolithic slab. This page, or another in the set, may include a sample plot plan for locating your house on a building site. Additional sheets focus on foundation cross-sections and other details.
3. DETAILED FLOOR PLANS
These plans show the layout of each floor of the house. Rooms and interior spaces are carefully dimensioned, doors and windows located, and keys are given for cross-section details provided else wherein the plans.
4. HOUSE AND DETAIL CROSS-SECTIONS
Large-scale views show sections or cutaways of the foundation, interior walls, exterior walls, floors, stairways, and roof details. Additional cross-sections may show important changes in floor, ceiling, or roof heights, or the relationship of one level to another. These sections show exactly how the various parts of the house fit together and are extremely valuable during construction. Additional sheets may include enlarged wall, floor and roof construction details.
5. FLOOR STRUCTURAL SUPPORTS
The floor framing plans provide detail for these crucial elements of your home. Each includes floor joist, ceiling joist, spacing, direction, span, and specifications. Beam and window headers, along with necessary details for framing connections, stairways, or dormers are also included.
6. ELECTRICAL PLAN
The electrical plan offers suggested locations with notes for all lighting, outlets, switches, and circuits. A layout is provided for each level, as well as basements, garages, or other structures. This plan does not contain diagrams detailing how all wiring should be run, or how circuits should be engineered. These details should be designed by your electrician.
7. EXTERIOR ELEVATIONS
In addition to the front exterior, your blueprint set will include drawings of the rear and sides of your house as well. These drawings give notes on exterior materials and finishes. Particular attention is given to cornice detail, brick and stone accents, or other finish items that make your home unique.
ROOF FRAMING PLANS — Please read
Some plans contain roof framing plans, however because of the wide variation in local requirements, many plans do not. If you buy a plan without a roof framing plan, you will need an engineer familiar with local building codes to create a plan to build your roof. Even if your plan does contain a roof framing plan, we recommend that a local engineer review the plan to verify that it will met local codes.
What’s NOT included in your plan?
ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING SEALS – Some cities and states now require that a licensed architect or engineer review and “seal” a blueprint, or officially approve it, prior to construction. Prior to application for a building permit or the start of actual construction, we strongly advise that you consult your local building official who can tell you if such a review is required.
What is a Reproducible print?
A Reproducible print is a single set of plans printed on mylar, sepia, vellum, or bond, per designer preference. The Reproducible print comes with a license to modify the plans and to make a limited number of copies (typically 12). This license allows you to hire a local designer to make changes to the plans, whether to match your personal preferences, to meet local building codes, or to adapt to your lot situation or local climate conditions. .
Why do I need to purchase a reproducible master in order to customize my plan?
Reproducible prints, CAD files, and PDF files include a copyright release which gives you the legal right to modify and reproduce the original design. They usually cost more because they confer more benefit to you. Typical blueprint packages (such as 1-sets, 5-sets, and 8-sets) do not include this right. When you purchase a Reproducible print, CAD files, or PDF files, you are required to sign a license. We will fax or email you a form that you must sign then fax, email, or mail back to us before your order can be shipped.
Do you offer study plans?
The study plan that we offer is the single set of blueprints that is stamped Not for Construction Purposes.
How many blueprints do I need?
A single set of blueprints is sufficient to study a home in greater detail. However, if you are planning to obtain cost estimates from a contractor or subcontractors — or if you are planning to build immediately, you will need additional sets. Because additional sets are less expensive when ordered in quantity with the original order, make sure you order enough blueprints to satisfy all requirements. The following checklist will help you determine how many plan sets you need.
- Builder (generally requires at least three sets; one as a legal document, one to use during inspections, and at least one to give to each subcontractor)
- Local Building Department (often requires two sets)
- Mortgage Lender (usually one set for a conventional three sets for FHA or VA loans)
Can I make copies of the plans?
The plans are copyrighted and not reproducible. Copies can only be made if you order the reproducible print.
What is a reverse blueprint?
If you want to build in reverse of the plan as shown, you can order one or more of the plan sets as reverse blueprints (mirror image) for an additional fee of $50. Although lettering and dimensions will appear backward, reverses will be useful aid if you decide to flop the plan.
What is the difference between the custom and mirror reverse?
Some of the plans may come in custom reverse,(all the writing reads correctly) with a custom reverse fee; these plans are also called right reading reverses. Other plans may only come in mirror reverse (all writing is backwards) with a mirror reverse fee. When purchasing the mirror reverse plans, you will also be required to purchase standard plans so that you can read the writing.
What is a materials list?
The material list is a listing of all the materials needed to construct the plan.
What are the EPCM Detail Sets?
The detail sets for electrical, plumbing, construction and mechanical provide helpful information regarding wire sizes, cable-routing, septic, methods for building roofs, fireplaces, walls, heating and cooling. This is very important additional general information to assist in the building process.
What do the abbreviations on the floor plans stand for?
Some common abbreviations that appear on the floor plans are:
- K.S.- Knee Space
- Pan.- Pantry
- W.I.C.- Walk in Closet
- FPL- Fireplace
- W. D.- Washer/Dryer
- Surf. Unit- Surface Unit
- D.W.- Dishwasher
- Ref.- Refrigerator
- VLT- Vaulted Ceiling
- Pdr.- Powder Room
What is included in the Builder’s Planning Package?
The Builder’s Planning Package includes the Electrical, Plumbing, Construction and Mechanical Detail Sets, and the Home Furniture Planner, all for just $55, a savings of over 25%!
House Plan Customization
Can I make changes to my plan?
With the expertise of Home Planners and homeplannercatalog.com, you can get a full spectrum of design change options. They range from enlarging or reducing the total square footage of a plan to changing a roof line or foundation type. This service is available with the purchase of the reproducible set of plans, which comes with the copyright release allowing modification to be done.
What modifications can I make through Home Planner’s customization service?
With the expertise of Home Planners and homeplannercatalog.com, you get a full spectrum of design-change options. They range from enlarging or reducing the total square footage of a plan to changing a roof line or foundation type. Your choices also include adding, removing and relocating rooms, windows, and doors, as well as many other refinements and amenities.
Can I customize my plan and change the type of exterior finish, for example, from brick to vinyl?
Yes! You can change the type of any proposed exterior finish. Those that are featured on the homes in our magazine and on our website are suggestions only. Many of Home Planner’s customization service’s customers choose to do so, whether for economical reasons or simply for personal preference.
Note: There are some structural changes involved when converting from brick to vinyl and vice-versa. It is very important that you have your plan modified if you decide to change the type of exterior finish.
Is it possible to customize my plan for different types of foundations like slab, crawlspace, and pier?
Yes! Home Planner’s customization service offers a variety of foundations to accommodate diverse soil types and basement requirements.
How do I get started Customizing my plan with Home Planner’s customization service?
It’s never been easier! Here’s our step-by-step process:
1. Choose a home plan online at homeplannercatalog.com. We have thousands of outstanding selections.
2. Purchase your home plan, by phone or on-line, and pay the approximate $50 consultation fee* to receive your modification checklist. A reproducible master is required to make any modifications.
3. Fill out the modification checklist, online or on paper detailing your desired changes. (You may also sketch your modification changes.) E-mail or FAX the completed check list and any optional sketch you may have.
4. Upon receipt of your modification information and customization fee, Dream Home Source’s customization experts will carefully review your requested modifications, and within 24-48 hours, a complete modification cost estimate will be sent to you.
* Should you decide to use our service, the required customization consultation fee will be applied to the total cost of your modifications.
Can I use your customization service to modify my plans to meet local building code requirements?
Unfortunately no. If any modifications are needed in order for your plan to meet local building code, you will have to work with a local Architect or engineer. Typically, these minor changes do not alter the design of the house, and therefore are permissable under copyright, regardless of which plan type you buy.
How much does it cost to customize my plan?
Once you’ve purchased your home plans and returned the customization checklist, our experts will determine the complexity of the work and send you an accurate cost estimate for your review.
How do I proceed once I’ve received the modification cost estimate for Customization?
Approve the estimate. Fill out the payment form with your credit card number. At this time, 75 percent of the total estimate is due. When Home Planners Customization Service receives your approved estimate and payment, full construction drawings will be completed, following approval of any preliminary designs. You will be notified of the completion and the final 25 percent payment will be due prior to shipment of your completed construction drawings.
If I use Home Planner’s customization service, is the $50 customization consultation fee refundable?
The $50 customization consultation fee is deducted from the total cost of your modification plan. If you choose not to proceed with the modifications, this fee is non-refundable.
What is the turn-around time for Home Planner’s customization services?
The average turn-around time is 10-15 business days*, following the receipt of the customer’s approval of any preliminary design modifications, if applicable. *excluding holidays and peak periods.
What is the exchange policy?
We want to make sure you get the house that is perfect for you.
We want to make sure you get the best house plan that meets your home design needs. With the exception of Reproducible Master packages, PDF or CAD file orders, we will exchange your entire first order for another blueprint from our plan collection within 90 days of the original order.
Please call our customer service department at 732-556-7388 or email@example.com for your return authorization number and shipping instructions. Fees for exchanging your blueprints are as follows: 20% of the amount of the original order, plus the difference in cost if exchanging for a higher priced plan or less the difference in cost if exchanging for a lower priced plan. Because they can be copied, reproducible masters, PDF and CAD files are not exchangeable or refundable. Please call for current postage and handling prices. Shipping and handling charges are not refundable. Please note that you will need to place your new order before your 80% credit is processed. If the returned blueprints look used, redlined, copied or if the staples have been removed, we will not honor the exchange.
Reproducibles are not exchangeable.
What if I ordered a 5 or 8 set of plans, but now I need the Repro, CAD or PDF?
OUR UPGRADE POLICY: We offer a 90-day upgrade policy. We will be happy to upgrade 1-Set, 5-Set and 8-Set blueprint orders to CAD, PDF and Reproducible Plan Packages. Because they are stamped “not for construction”, 1-Set blueprint orders cannot be upgraded to 5-Set and 8-Set orders, though they can be exchanged for 5 and 8-Set orders. Orders originating as CAD, PDF and Reproducible Plan Packages cannot be upgraded. We realize this upgrade policy may seem confusing but it is intended to help ensure your complete satisfaction, so please don’t hesitate to call our customer service department at 1-888-690-1116 for assistance. Please note that the entire content of your original order must be returned before the upgrade will be processed. Please call our customer service department at 1-888-690-1116 for your return authorization number and shipping instructions.
What are your shipping options?
Domestic Shipping – free standard shipping on house plan orders through Dec 31, 2012
Hawaii & AK
First Class Mail
|Estimate Summary Cost Report||N/A||N/A||N/A||$2.00|
|Estimate Material Cost Report||N/A||N/A||N/A||$2.00|
|Home Furniture Planner||$5.00||$N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Builders Planning Package||$10.00||$12.00||$22.00||N/A|
USA Shipping to Canada
|Reproducible + 1.5||$90.00|
|Express||First Class Mail|
|Estimate Summary Cost Report||N/A||N/A|
|Estimate Material Cost Report||N/A||N/A|
|Home Furniture Planner||N/A||N/A|
|Builders Planning Package||$44.00||N/A|
Is there a time limit for using my house plan?
There is no time limit for building. We do advise that you store your plans and your copyright release letter in a safe place.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. We also accept check by phone as a form of payment.
What are your disclaimers?
We, and the designers we work with, have put substantial care and effort into the creation of our blueprints. However, because we cannot provide on-site consultation, supervision and control over actual construction, and because of the great variance in local building requirements, building practices and soil, seismic, weather and other conditions, WE CANNOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENT OR USE OF OUR BLUEPRINTS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
Don’t have a fax number?
The Reproducible Master or CAD in your order requires that you sign a license. If you don’t have a fax machine, we will email you a form that you must sign then fax, or mail back to us.