An Answer… to Your Most Frequently Asked House Plan Question (and 49 more)

Are you planning to build a home or simply have a house plan question? You can find answers to the 50 most frequently asked home-planning questions right here.

Wyatt project: “Observation tower.”  Nestled near tree tops like a tree house, it’s the ultimate hidden retreat to unwind or snuggle up with a good book.

Question: What exactly are blueprints?

To begin with, the words “house plans” and “blueprints” are considered the same. Years ago, the process of making copies of the drawings rendered all of the lines and text, you guessed it… BLUE. Thus, they became known as “blue” prints, and the name stuck. However, due to changing technologies, most plans these days are black ink on white paper.

In general, a house plan / blueprint is a set of drawings for a building. Furthermore, the plans contain many drawings which show various parts of the building in detail. Additionally, within each drawing, numerous dimensions and notes add even greater detail explain the shapes, sizes, and specific details of each room. The same goes for the exterior.

You can see a plan simply by clicking this link to view a SAMPLE HOUSE PLAN .

COST
How much will this house cost?
Will every house have the same per sq. ft. cost?
Is building cost figured by the square foot?
How much should I figure per sq. ft.?
How much does it cost to modify the plans?

COPYRIGHT
What is this copyright stuff all about?
Are Wyatt house plans copyrighted?
Can I use the plans more than once?

CUSTOM HOME DESIGN
Can you draw plans to remodel our home?
Do you travel and design homes for people out of town?
We can’t find the house we like what do we do?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
What can we do to have low heating and cooling bills?
Is this house plan energy efficient?

EXTRA COPY OF PLANS
How many sets of plans do I need?
Who will need a set of plans?
Can we make our own copies?
What is a reproducible?
What are the reproducible formats?
Our plans are in bad shape, can we get more?
Can I save money by making my own copies?
Can I use the plans more than once?

GETTING STARTED
We want a new house. What do we do first?
Can I drive by the house to see it in person?
We can’t find the house we like what do we do?

HOME REMODELING
Do you travel and design homes for people out of town?
Can you draw remodel plans for our existing house?

PLAN MODIFICATIONS
How much does it cost to modify the plans?
Can I change the house and / or plans?
We can’t find the house we like what do we do?
Can I have the house flipped so the garage is on the opposite side?

SQUARE FOOTAGE
How is square footage figured?
How is finished square feet defined?
What qualifies as being finished square footage?
What is included when figuring square footage? SQUARE FOOTAGE (Cont.)
What is NOT included in sq. ft. calculations?
How is “Above-grade” and “Below-grade” defined?
How is square footage listed?
Does the square footage include unfinished areas and heated areas?
What should not be included in the square footage?
Is building cost figured by the square foot?
How much should I figure per sq. ft.?
Will every house have the same per sq. ft. cost?

PLANS INCLUDE
What is included in a set of plans?
Is a materials list available?
Do the plans include mechanical details?
Do the plans show framing dimensions or finished dimensions?

PLANS OPTIONS AND UPGRADES
What is the difference between “Mirror” reverse and “Right Reading” reverse?
Do you offer right-reading reversed plans?
Can I have the house flipped so the garage is on the opposite side?

RETURN POLICY AND WARRANTEE
What is your return policy?
What sort of warrantee comes with the plans?

SAVING MONEY
Can we purchase fewer sets of plans to save money?
Do you offer advertising materials to help market and sell the house?
Can I save money by making my own copies?
Can I use the plans more than once?
What can we do to have low heating and cooling bills?

SELECTING A BUILDER
The contract protects the builder, will it protect us?
Should I be my own general contractor?

SPEC HOMES
Do you offer advertising materials to help market and sell the house?
We’d like to build a the home on speculation – any advice?

STRUCTURAL
What kind of foundation does the plan have?
What is the exterior wall thickness? Is a materials list available?

UNDERSTANDING BLUEPRINTS
What is the difference between “Mirror” reverse and “Right Reading” reverse?
Do you offer right-reading reversed plans?
What is a reproducible vellum / original?
Can I drive by the house to see it in person?
What is your best plan and why?
Do the plans show framing dimensions or finished dimensions?
Is there a difference between framing and finished dimensions?


House Plan Question no 1: HOW IS SQUARE FOOTAGE FIGURED?

With so many facets to this topic it is difficult to compress into a short answer. Fortunately, the long answer is thorough.

People often wonder if the square footage only includes climate controlled areas or whether it should also include the garage, patio, or screen porch. Although all these spaces have “square footage,” they should not be added together. These areas should be listed separately in finished, and unfinished, categories.

The Wyatt Drafting & Design, Inc. method for measuring and listing square footage is an adaptation of the American National Standards Institute (ASNI) method, see ANSI Z765-2003. This is for calculating square footage in single family dwellings only. It is not used for apartments or multiple dwellings.

Note: Although there is a standard to figuring square footage, two people can still arrive at different figures because some people treat terms like “heated space” and “square footage” the same – although they mean different things.

The focus of this topic is specifically on heated space not the larger square footage of the entire building.

House Plan Question no 2: How is finished square feet defined?

FINISHED AREA / SQUARE FOOTAGE (sometimes referred to as “heated living areas” or “heated square footage”) is an enclosed area in a home suitable for year-round use that is intended for human occupancy and has the following qualifications:

House Plan Question no 3: What qualifies as being finished square footage?

  1. The area is heated by a conventional, permanent heating system or systems (forced air, radiant, solar, etc.) that are permanently installed in the dwelling which generates heat sufficient to make the space suitable for year-round occupancy.
  2. The area is enclosed and suitable for year-round use, embodying walls, floors, and ceilings of materials generally accepted for interior construction (e.g., painted drywall/sheet rock or paneled walls, carpeted or hardwood flooring, etc.)
  3. The ceiling height is not less than 7-feet high (except under beams, ducts, etc. where the height must be at least 6 feet 4 inches). In rooms with sloped ceilings (e.g. finished attics, bonus rooms, etc.) at least half the square footage area must have a ceiling height no less than 7-foot. No portion of the finished area which is less than 5 feet high is considered in the finished square footage and for that to be included at all, a minimum of one half of the finished area of the room must not have ceilings less than 7-foot high. Also, the room must be directly accessible from another finished living area (though a door or by a heated hallway or stairway.)

House Plan Question no 4: What is included when figuring square footage?

  • Areas included in sq. ft. calculations meet the qualifications listed above and more specifically:
  • Closets are included with their respective areas. Bedroom closets are counted as finished living space, closets in a garage are part of the garage, which, being unsuitable for year-round occupancy, are not counted.
  • Bay windows are included when they have a floor, a ceiling height of at least seven feet, and meet the other criteria for living area. The mechanical room (containing items like a furnace, water heater, or other similar items) if it is located in a small closet within the living area, it is included in the total square footage. It is included in the living area even if it does not meet other living area criteria.
  • Exterior walls are included and are measured to the exterior, finished surface of the wall. A good way to remember this is the homeowner “buys the walls too.” However, Wyatt D & D does not include brick veneer because it is often omitted to save cost or used on different walls.
  • Chimneys are included when the base is inside the living area. If the chimney base is outside the living area but the hearth is in the living area, then the hearth in the living area is included but not the chimney base.
  • Finished areas above garages (e.g. bonus rooms) are included in the finished square footage if they are connected to the house by continuous finished areas such as hallways or staircases from other finished areas. If accessed through any unfinished space it is not considered finished square footage.
  • Areas above garages (e.g. bonus rooms) that meet living area criteria are considered in the square footage calculation only after this area is finished and heated. Until such time this area is listed separately.
  • Stairs are included on the level they sit on.
  • When an area that is not part of the living area (e.g. garage) shares a common wall with the living area, the measurements for the living area will include the thickness of the common wall, and the measurements for the other areas will not.

House Plan Question no 5: What is NOT included in sq. ft. calculations?

  • Unfinished areas are not included in the calculations of finished square footage.
  • Areas of a room with a ceiling height less than 5 feet are not included.
  • Porches, balconies, decks, garages, and similar areas that are not enclosed or suitable for year-round use are not included as part of the finished / heated square footage. However, these areas are figured and listed separately.
  • Although garages may be finished and also heated, garage square footage is not intended for living space. Therefore, they are listed separately.
  • Wall protrusions like chimneys and bay windows are not counted in square footage calculations unless the protrusions have a floor on the same level and meet ceiling height requirements.
  • Volume “spaces” (e.g. the upper part of two-story foyers, vaulted ceilings, and cathedral ceiling areas) are not counted with square footage. The high space that opens to the ceiling of the next higher level is part of the lower room only and the space is subtracted from the square footage of the upper floor. Ceiling heights may be noted elsewhere but it is not part of the square footage calculations. A good way to remember this is, “If you can walk on it, count it, if not, don’t”.
  • A stairwell, or open area above a stair, like that of a cathedral ceiling, is not counted as finished square footage. It is considered open volume. The “hole”, or opening, for the stairway is subtracted from the square footage—“air space” that cannot be walked on is not included.
  • For below-grade areas, assuming that a concrete foundation is already set in place to support the main floor, the concrete foundation is not included with the area of the finished below-grade room(s). Therefore, finished basement rooms are calculated to the inside of the concrete foundation. In areas with a stick framed walkout basement wall, the measurement is taken to the exterior surface of the wall. (see “belowgrade” areas)

House Plan Question no 6: How is “Above-grade” and “Below-grade” defined?

  • Any level with living area accessible by interior stairs and has earth adjacent to any exterior wall on that level is considered “below-grade.” If earth is adjacent to any portion of a wall, the entire level is considered “below-grade.” Levels that are “at” or “on grade” are considered “abovegrade.” Above-grade and below-grade areas are listed separately. (above-grade is entirely above ground level; below-grade is wholly or partially below ground level.)
  • The total above-grade finished area of a house is the sum of finished areas on levels that are entirely above-grade. The total below-grade finished square footage is the sum of finished areas on levels that are wholly or partly below-grade.

House Plan Question no 7: How is square footage listed?

  • Square footage is reported to the nearest whole square foot
  • Square footage for above-grade and below-grade finished areas is listed separately.
  • Square footage for all areas that contribute to the value of the dwelling is listed, although these areas do NOT meet the criteria for finished heated living space like those of unfinished basements, unfinished attics (with permanent stairs), porches, patios, balconies, garages, decks, unfinished bonus rooms, shops, and carports. The square footage is computed and listed separately with finished and unfinished areas indicated. Does the square footage include unfinished areas and heated areas? The figures shown on the website only represent finished/ climate-controlled areas suitable for year-round use that is intended for human occupancy.

House Plan Question no 8: What should not be included in the square footage?

  1. Don’t use the room sizes shown on the website. Room dimensions represent the floor area within a given room. Computing the width and length of each room, then adding up the total of each room will NOT result in the total square footage. That would overlook stairwells, closets, and space within the walls. Yes, that’s right, you do include wall thickness when figuring square footage. There is a simple way to remember this; you have to pay for the walls too – they are part of the house.
  2. Don’t count high ceilings. Space above a room, such as a cathedral ceiling or two story high room, is not considered square footage. Sorry, it’s just a high ceiling. It is “heated space” and nothing more. That space would be computed as a “cubic” foot calculation. Don’t confuse it with square footage.
  3. Don’t count low ceilings. Crawlspaces, attics, or other rooms with ceilings less than five foot high are not considered finished living space (even if they are finished).
  4. Don’t include bay windows without a floor. Bay windows are not included in the square footage unless a floor extends into the bay.
  5. Don’t count seasonal rooms. Any room that cannot be used yearround is not included in the finished square footage.

NOTE: Square footage calculations may differ as per calculation practice and formula used. Finished room sizes may vary slightly from plans. If the room sizes shown on the website are added together they will not equal the total sq. ft. The stated room sizes do not include wall thicknesses. The figures shown on the Wyatt House Plans website represent only finished heated/ conditioned living space. A complete sq. ft. breakdown is listed on the actual house plans.

House Plan Question no 9: How much will this house cost?

Due to various labor and building costs (which differ from one region to the next) as well as the type of finish materials you select for your home, it is impossible for us to estimate the cost of your construction project.

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House Plan Question no 10: Is building cost figured by the square foot?

Figuring cost based on square footage is misleading because homes are built from different materials and because some spaces cost less to build than others. A garage, for example, is generally less expensive than a kitchen. In contrast, the costs of all the appliances, counter tops, flooring, and cabinets have to be averaged over the size of the kitchen – and that makes the kitchen price per square foot a lot more expensive.

Some people like to focus on lumber costs. They have a rationale that lumber costs are roughly the same in all homes. That is not true. Yet, in reality, as significant as it is, the lumber in a home is a small part of the total. The things you touch and see every day are a very big in all homes. Those very materials that give your home its personality and character impact the cost in a most significant way.

Related topics:
How much should I figure per sq. ft.?
Will every house have the same sq. ft. build cost?
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House Plan Question no 11: What is the average square foot cost? … How much should I figure per sq. ft.?

You’re looking for an average cost, but who’s to say your house is average? Every single item that goes into a home affects the cost. Costs are dependent on the materials and finishes you select for your home.

Granted, a building company might have an “average” sq. ft. cost of what their homes cost, but don’t forget, average means that expensive must be blended with cheap to determine an average. Which end of the spectrum will your house be, or will it really be average?

Related topics:
Is building cost figured by the square foot?
Will every house have the same sq. ft. build cost?
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House Plan Question no 12: Will every house have the same sq. ft. build cost?

No. Having an expectation that a single price applies to all homes is like expecting all meat at the supermarket to cost the same.

In fact, it’s very possible for two floor plans that seem identical (and also have the same square footage), to have different build costs (which means the price per square foot is not the same).

Here’s an example. House “A” might have an all brick exterior, marble floors, and a cathedral ceiling. House “B” has vinyl siding, carpeting throughout, and eight-foot high, flat ceilings. Between the two, house “A” will cost more. While the square footage of the houses remained the same, the cost per square foot varies.

Related topics:
Is building cost figured by the square foot?
How much should I figure per sq. ft.?
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House Plan Question no 13: HOW MANY SETS OF PLANS DO I NEED?

Every person involved in the construction of a home may need one or more sets of plans. It is possible that you will use fifteen (15) sets of plans. Each set of plans have several pages of information – enough that each trades person can see and understand the big picture.

Related topics: Who needs a set of plans?

House Plan Question no 14: Who will need a set of plans?

  1. Homeowner
  2. General contractor
  3. Excavator
  4. Foundation / concrete specialist
  5. Electrician
  6. Plumber
  7. Heating / air conditioning contractor
  8. Building department
  9. Mortgage holder / bank
  10. Lumber yard
  11. Interior decorator
  12. Lighting consultant
  13. Landscaper
  14. Miscellaneous estimates
  15. Subdivision review committee

Use one of your sets of plans, or buy an extra set, to mark the locations of certain underground items like; your sewer line, water supply, telephone, septic tank and so on.

House Plan Question no 15: Can we make our own copies?

Reproducible plans are licensed for reproduction. They are available in three different formats:

  1. PDF version of the plans (sent via Email) (you may print all you need)
  2. INK vellum (make all the copies you need)
  3. Easy-Change PENCIL vellum (make all changes and copies you need)

  • Making copies of the standard 15-set plan package is not permitted. They are red-ink stamped and copyright protected. If the 15 sets of plans are not sufficient you give us a call and purchase additional sets of plans.

House Plan Question no 16: What is a Reproducible?

A reproducible is a set of plans available in one of three different formats, (i) PDF, (ii) INK vellum*, or (iii) PENCIL vellum*. A license to make as many copies as you need is included with the purchase of these formats.

* “Vellum” is a special, semi-transparent paper.

House Plan Question no 17: What are the reproducible formats?

We offer three different reproducible formats, (i) PDF, (ii) INK vellum*, or (iii) PENCIL vellum*. A license to make as many copies as you need is included with the purchase of these formats.

* “Vellum” is a special, semi-transparent paper.

House Plan Question no 18: What is this copyright stuff all about?

Copyright protects the intellectual property of the person, or company, that created, or owns, a design. Anyone who intends to use the property must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Permission is made through a license. Purchasing a license does not transfer any copyright or ownership.

Wyatt house plan licenses may not be transferred, gifted, or sold to a third party unless permitted in writing by Wyatt, at the sole discretion of Wyatt. Purchasing multiple copies of house plans (licenses), does not enlarge the rights of the purchaser or provide any additional entitlements. Legal action can be taken against anyone who copies a design without authorization, or make derivative works thereof. TO AVOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT (A FEDERAL OFFENSE) ALWAYS PURCHASE THE PLAN. DO NOT REPRODUCE OR COPY ANY HOUSE PLAN IN ANY WAY, INCLUDING TRACING OR REDRAWING UNLESS A LICENSE HAS BEEN PURCHASED FOR THAT PURPOSE. Contrary to popular belief, changing a design by making a few, or several changes, is NOT a way around copyright. Changes do not constitute a new creation. Changes are typically viewed as a derivative (a copy) of the original work. If a design is completely redrawn (that would be the first violation of copyright) making every room made larger, it would still be the same design and violate copyright. If the floor plan or exterior of any derivative work is strikingly similar to the original there may be cause for action. In cases where changes are inevitable, plans must be purchased. Those who purchase a Wyatt license are granted permission to alter the design without risk of violating copyright law.

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House Plan Question no 19: Are Wyatt house plans copyrighted?

Yes. A copyright has been registered for all Wyatt house plans at the Library of Congress, Washington D. C. Wyatt Drafting & Design, Inc. is the owner of the house plans and has exclusive rights, including copyright, in and to the design as represented in the structure, plans, and drawings and reserves the right to collect statutory damages from the infringement or unauthorized use of designs that may be as high as $100,000 for each and every infringement. Persons liable for infringement are also required to pay legal fees which can exceed the amount of damages. In addition to the house plans, all illustrations, photographs, Blog content, and articles are Copyright protected. All website content, related web pages, including the primary domain website plus related and connected domain names and websites, and all textural content are the exclusive property of Wyatt Drafting & Design, Inc.

House Plan Question no 20: What is the difference between “Mirror” reverse and “Right Reading” reverse?

“Mirror” reverse plans where all text and numbers are backwards. We only offer “Right-Reading” reversed plans.

House Plan Question no 21: Do you offer right-reading reversed plans?

Yes. We only offer “Right-Reading” reversed plans. They are NOT “mirror-reverse” plans… where the text and numbers would be backwards. When Wyatt reverses a plan, the numbers and text will be legible.

House Plan Question no 22: Can we purchase fewer sets of plans to save money?

We provide 15 sets of plans because we find that most orders for less than 15 sets resulted in callbacks for more plans. So, we upgraded our print systems to better handle and process larger orders. That makes it easier for us and we pass the benefit right along to you. This is good news… and less hassle for you. Plus, it’s comforting to know you’ve got what you need from the start, rather than wait for additional sets to arrive later.

House Plan Question no 23: Do you offer advertising materials to help market and sell the house?

Yes we do. If you plan to sell the home, ask what advertising materials we might have available to help.

House Plan Question no 24: After being on the job and in the weather, our plans are in bad shape, can we get more?

Yes. Plans get tattered and torn during the construction process. Since you already purchased the plans we will happily issue another 15 sets of plans. A modest re-use fee applies to cover the costs that arise from the production of new plans. Also, because we frequently update and add information to our plans, the re-issued sets will include any updates.

House Plan Question no 25: What kind of foundation does the plan have?

Most of our designs are planned on a full basement. Yet, a few are shown on a slab or crawlspace. Generally, your builder can make any necessary adjustments to accommodate whatever you want, or what your site dictates.

House Plan Question no 26: What is the exterior wall thickness?

For energy efficiency and stability, unless noted otherwise, Wyatt house plans are designed with 2 x 6 exterior walls.

House Plan Question no 27: We’d like to build a the home on speculation (a spec-home) – any advice?

Inquire about advertising materials to help you promote the home and hopefully sell it before you finish the home.

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House Plan Question no 28: Can I save money making my own copies?

We provide 15 sets of plans as a service to you. That’s generally plenty of plans and it saves you from driving to a reprographics company for more copies.

For more information see:
What is a reproducible vellum / original? and
What is this copyright stuff all about?
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House Plan Question no 29: How much does it cost to change the plans?

Changes could be minor or they might affect many items and many drawings. We work by the hour.

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House Plan Question no 30: Can I change the house and / or plans?

Yes. Making changes is a great way to personalize your home. However, you should be cautious. Most items are integrated and designed to work together. Making changes can make it impossible for some things to fit and flow as planned. Generally, if you have extensive changes in mind, you will be better off finding a different plan that is more suitable. Changing the design is not a way around copyright issues. See: What is this copyright stuff all about?

House Plan Question no 31: Can I use the plans more than once?

Certainly. If your 15 sets of plans become tattered and torn from use, we will happily issue another 15 sets of plans for a modest fee. This covers the costs that arise from the production of new plans.

House Plan Question no 32: What is a reproducible vellum / original?

“Vellum” is a special, thin paper. Plans that are printed on vellum are reproducible. We offer TWO kinds of vellum plans, INK, or PENCIL. It’s understood if you have the original plans, you can make as many copies as you need them, anytime you need them.

  1. INK reproducible plans are printed on a vellum paper. Sometimes called “vellum” or “original,” the names are used interchangeably but refer to the same product.
  2. PENCIL reproducible plans are similar to ink reproducibles except that the plans are drawn in erasable pencil. This option is great if you think you will make changes. Simply erase and make changes!

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House Plan Question no 33: Can you draw plans of existing homes?

Yes, if you are close to our office. Creating plans of existing structure requires on-site measuring and visitation. We would have to see the property in person and obtain our own measurements. We do not work from another person’s plans or dimensions.

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House Plan Question no 34: We want a new house. What do we do first?

Don’t rush into completing a home design. (i) Purchase, or at least secure, your building site. (ii) Determine the buildable area of the lot by subtracting building setbacks from each property line. (iii) Now a design can be created to fit within those building setbacks.

Keep in mind, people sometimes find an existing home to buy while they are looking for property to build on. So, it’s good to wait on the home design until you know for sure where you will live.

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House Plan Question no 35: What can we do to have low heating and cooling bills?

All Wyatt house plans are energy efficient – if they are built and insulated correctly. If you want your new home to have really low utility bills there are several construction methods that can qualify your new home for a special energy efficient mortgage. Something you may not be aware of is some banks may offer energy efficient mortgages. However, they seldom mention them, so you’ll have to ask.

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House Plan Question no 36: Is a materials list available?

NO. We do not offer materials lists at this time.


House Plan Question no 37: Do the plans include mechanical details?

They are not included. Building codes, and HVAC (heating & cooling) needs vary from region to region as well as the location of underground utility services. Local contractors can assist your mechanical needs.

House Plan Question no 38: Can I drive by some of your homes to see them in person?

Sorry, we do not release the address of any home site. This is to protect the privacy of the current owners. We go to great effort and expense to provide numerous professional-grade, interior and exterior photographs, artist illustrations and computer models to represent Wyatt designs. If you’d like to receive news of any updates, become a part of our social networking group.

House Plan Question no 39: What is your best plan and why?

The best plan depends on the needs (and opinion) of the individual. Wyatt has created a variety of plans. Each plan has its own unique features.

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House Plan Question no 40: What is your return policy?

The plans are created specifically for your order, due to the nature of the product, house plans may not be returned for credit and/or refund under any circumstances.

House Plan Question no 41: What sort of warrantee comes with the plans?

Wyatt does not warrant the suitability of the plans’ use at purchaser’s site, application or in any manner whatsoever and disclaims all other warranties, expressed or implied, including merchantability or fitness of purpose. Wyatt is not liable for special, consequential, incidental, or indirect damages of any kind, including, but not limited to, loss of anticipated profits, business opportunity or other economic loss arising from the use of services or plans received from Wyatt. Wyatt does not authorize the use of plans without the purchaser assuming all responsibility to verify dimensions and product availability prior to construction and purchaser’s obligation and agreement to strictly comply with all state and local building codes, building inspections, and the obligation of obtaining any and all building permits. Use of the plans should not be undertaken without the assistance of a construction professional. Wyatt does not guarantee the availability of any materials or products suggested or specified in the plans. In the event that any liability is imposed on Wyatt Drafting & Design, Inc. the liability to you or any third party shall not exceed the price paid for Wyatt’s product(s).

House Plan Question no 42: The builder’s contract seems to protect him, will it protect us?

Sounds like you have a builder who believes in a detailed contract. That’s a sign he is thorough. As with any legal document, and to make sure you are protected, consult an attorney.

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House Plan Question no 43: I live a few states away and want to remodel. Can you come here and create plans for my home?

That’s hard to pass up – if you are near a great vacation spot! Unfortunately, considering of hotel accommodations, air fare, plus other traveling expenses your money is better spent hiring a local designer.

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House Plan Question no 44: Do Wyatt house plans show framing dimensions or finished dimensions?

Wyatt house plans have framing dimensions on framing plans. Plans for finish work, like cabinets, shelves, and fireplaces have finished dimensions.

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House Plan Question no 45: What is the difference between framing and finished dimensions?

Framing dimensions are used by the people building your house literally during the “framing stages.” This is a period of time where the builders are installing the unfinished studs and “framing dimensions” measure to the unfinished stud. In other words, framing dimensions do NOT include the thickness of drywall or trim work. On the other hand, finished dimensions typically include drywall.

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House Plan Question no 46: We can’t find the exact house we like, but found one that is close. Can you help?

If you find a plan that is close to your needs, reward the designer by buying a set from the designer. Perhaps they can modify it for you. Sometimes, what you may think is a major change, is really quite easy. For example, if you like the interior but not the exterior, it is usually very easy for an experienced designer to give it a new look.

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House Plan Question no 47: Can I be my own general contractor?

Being a general contractor takes an incredible amount of time. Many people put a real value on someone else doing all the worrying and getting the headaches. If you hire a general contractor you can spend all your time doing the fun things like picking out the trim, flooring, paint, doors, siding, roofing, cabinets, lighting and so on. That alone is quite an undertaking. Ultimately, selecting a general contractor or being your own is your decision. We find that the best homes are built by professionals who work in the trade every day. The things you may not know, and need to figure out – an experienced contractor already knows. A contractor’s experience, together with their team of professionals, makes them efficient and worth their fee. They already know where to find products at the best prices and which subcontractors do the best work for the money. A contractor takes a lot of responsibility over your home. They can keep things on schedule (less acts of God). Plus, they are insured against loss of materials on your jobsite through severe weather and theft. Also, new construction is typically covered by a contractor’s warranty for a full year after completion. Those things offer peace of mind. If you seriously are entertaining the thought of being your own general contractor, consider the following when evaluating your abilities:

  1. Your lost wages, sleep, and hours consumed by meeting and scheduling subs adds up quickly, not to mention the troubles you deal with with subs don’t show up. Seriously contemplate whether or not you can save enough money to justify the work you’ll be putting into the project.
  2. Anyone who decides to be their own general takes on the responsibilities of building, pricing, scheduling, obtaining permits and surveys, engineering, and complying with building codes.
  3. Building codes vary from state to state, even from county to county. The contractor is responsible for complying with building codes. Will you be able to comply with the codes in your area?
  4. If materials are cut wrong or installed incorrectly, requiring replacement, you will lose money that you were trying to save.
  5. Some products carry warranties but if not installed correctly the warranty may be void.
  6. You must carry insurance in case someone you hire gets hurt or loses a limb while working on or traveling to or from your jobsite.
  7. Do you know enough sub-contractors to get the job done? Which are reputable?
  8. If you don’t schedule well and don’t have the right materials on site when needed you might end up paying someone to stand around until the materials do arrive.
  9. Discounts? Unless you build several homes a year you may not be able to convince suppliers to give you the contractor discounts some builders get.
  10. Subcontractors may not show up when you planned. Keep in mind, they will probably give better service to, and remain loyal to, the contractor who gives them regular work and a regular pay check. Why not, they don’t know you or how often you’ll pay them. You might be able to pay them at the end of each day to keep them on the job but you’ll still find yourself competing with their regular contractor. If Mr. Big Contractor calls when the sub is about to start your project you might be looking for another sub. That’s the reality of it.
  11. What are the latest and greatest building products? Which products are tried and true? Do you have time to check out the trade shows and building conventions?
  12. Builders receive new product information from company reps and by mail all the time. Do any big companies know you exit or that you are building?
  13. Hiring anyone, and supervising someone, requires an incredible amount of time. A builder I know put it this way… and don’t forget, he is in the building business and has all the contacts and subcontractors he needs… but he said, “Building this house has become a full time job.”

Back to the Question List:

House Plan Question no 48: Will the home be energy efficient?

All Wyatt house plans are energy efficient – if they are built and insulated correctly. We also advocate various framing methods and things like energy-heel roof designs and air-lock attic accesses for maximum insulation.

House Plan Question no 49: Can I have the house flipped so the garage is on the opposite side?

Yes. Any Wyatt house plan can be reversed. All numbers and text will be modified and arranged to remain legible.

House Plan Question no 50: What is included in a set of plans?

Wyatt house plans include about twice as much detail as the average set of plans. Rather than the typical 6 to 8 pages, many of our plans exceed 20 pages. Here’s what is typically included.

  1. Exterior Elevations
  2. Notes, including a complete square footage breakdown and details
  3. Dimensioned Elevations
  4. Foundation
  5. Foundation Details
  6. Separate Basement Details (as needed)
  7. Main Floor
  8. Second Floor (for two story homes)
  9. Roof Plans, typically including rafter or truss notes
  10. Cross Section A
  11. Cross Section B (if needed)
  12. Interior Elevations (primary rooms)
  13. Interior Elevations for custom built-ins
  14. Kitchen Cabinet Details and/ or Elevations
  15. Fireplace Design for Mantles and Surrounds (when applicable)
  16. Bookcase Elevations and Details (when applicable)
  17. Bathroom Cabinet Details and/ or Elevations
  18. Flooring Details (when/ where applicable)
  19. Specialized Custom features built-ins or trim work (when applicable)
  20. Patio Layout Plans (when applicable)
  21. Electrical Placement

Floor boarders compliment this bathroom cabinet design. There's nothing left to question in a thorough house plan.