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Stock Plans vs Custom Design

A common question we hear from clients building a new home - "We can go to our local book store or search online and find many plans that are ready to go and much cheaper than designing new".  Our answer is simple, you need to evaluate what you are getting and what are the short term and long term costs.  For some people, it makes sense and you might be able to save some money.  However, for most people that live in an incorporated city or especially if they have a Home Owners Association (HOA), stock plans may not work.  Plus you need to understand that changes to stock plans can be very expensive and unless the plans were designed in your area of the country, it probably doesn't meet your local codes or building techniques.  One last thing is stock plans never include a plan that represents exactly how your home is positioned on your property.  This is a required document by the International Residential Code (IRC).

 

If a plan is drawn or designed in Florida then the designs will have an emphasis on air conditioning, minimal insulation, shallow footing design and typically lots of windows and doors.  Plus that home will have substantial design details for hurricane force wind.  Now if someone from the midwest were to buy that plan it would have to be modified so its focus would be more on heating rather than cooling, more insulation, deeper footings (for frost) and probably fewer windows because of the loss of heat windows create.  And the added hurricane design could add thousands of dollars to the overall construction cost for reinforcing that is likely not needed.

 

Aside from the changes you may want to the home - lets assume that you find exactly what you want in a plan catalog.  Once you submit it to your local municipality for a building permit they typically return the plans for corrections or clarifications.  You will have to find a service that does this work locally for you at an additional expense.  Once the permit is granted, there may be other clarifications or additional information needed by the contractor or inspectors.  Again, you will have to turn to a local service to provide this.  The plan services and books rarely provide any of these types of services and when they do they are very expensive.

 

Robert Klob Designs, Inc. does it a little different with their stock plans.  For the fee of our stock plans, we include a site plan for your lot.  Plus we do a code review and incorporate the code data into any plan set that when your lot is in an IRC municipality (most are).  We will also make clarifications and provide additional information to contractors and inspectors during construction.  As an added bonus, RKD has negotiated discounts for materials and services that occur during construction that can save our clients many times what our fees are.

Pros:

 

Cons:

Stock Home Plans

Pros:

to make one

 

Cons:

Custom Home Design

Below is a breakdown of a plan that a client of RKD purchased online and the costs that were incurred during a normal building permit process vs. a plan another client hired RKD to provide a custom design.  As you can see, the stock plan cost the client substantially more than they anticipated.

Plan 39949

2,212 livable square feet

3 bed/2 ba, 2 car garage, 2x6 stud exterior walls

Single story

 







Sample cost for

Stock Plans

Sample cost for

Custom Home Design

Initial Cost of Plans (reproducible set)

$1,650.00



Shipping/handling

1 set of plans

$50.00



Changes

(hourly - 27 hrs x $75/hr)

$ 2,025.00



Site Plan or Plot Plan

$ 350.00



Structural Engineering

(non cad, $1.25/s.f.)

$ 2,765.00



City & Code Review Changes (10 hrs x $75/hr)

$    750.00



Misc. Printing/Plotting

 $    350.00



Field Questions & Clarifications

$    400.00



Total Cost for Plans

$ 8,340.00



RKD Custom Design

2,235 livable square feet (2,200 s.f. as contracted)

3 bed/3 ba, 2 car garage, ICF exterior walls

Single story

 







Initial Cost of Plans


$ 6,705.00



Shipping/handling

1 set of plans

$ 0.00



Changes

(Included)

$ 0.00



Site Plan or Plot Plan

$ 0.00



Structural Engineering

$1.00/s.f.

$ 2,235.00



City & Code Review Changes (Included)

$ 0.00



Misc. Printing/Plotting

 $ 50.00



Field Questions & Clarifications (Included)

$ 0.00



Total Cost for Plans

$ 8,990.00




Structural Engineering was less expensive due to the fact the plans were in CAD and the engineer was able to utilize standard details, notes and information already in the system.

FOR THIS CUSTOMER, A FULL SERVICE CUSTOM DESIGN WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN AN ADDITIONAL $650!


Why not get EXACTLY the house you want and the service you deserve?


Before you purchase that Stock Home Plan, Call Robert for a Free, no pressure review of you specific needs and your local requirements.

Changes included:  Client  Requested Design Modifications, Local Code Required Changes, City Required Notes & Info, Energy Code Plan Updates, Details for Local Building Standards & Techniques.