The Home Design Phase
In order to establish an estimated cost for your dream home, and to determine whether it fits within your budget, you will need to decide upon a design. While you may begin with the sketch of a floor plan and a photo of an exterior that you like, you will need to get to a set of plans, also referred to as “prints,” “blueprints,” “architectural graphics,” and “engineering graphics.” You don’t need every detail established in your first set of plans, but enough to convey your intent to your builder. At this stage, a typical set of plans will include a floor plan, drawings of the exterior of the home, called “elevations,” and a generic foundation plan. It may also include rudimentary plumbing and electrical information and one or more drawings called “cross-sections” showing what your home would look like if it were sliced open, exposing the important structural details.
To convey the great breadth of design possibilities in our system, we’ll examine three scenarios, from simple to custom.
Pre-engineered home designs
With over 200 pre-engineered home designs, you may well find that one of them matches your dream exactly. Through this web site, you can search for individual plans that match certain criteria. You can also download one of our digital catalogues containing collections of homes organized by style and complexity. You will find everything from simple ranch homes to 1-1/2 story (“cape cod”) homes to two-story homes. You will find homes for sprawling rural sites and narrow homes for urban infill. You will find designs in the colonial, Victorian, rustic and contemporary styles and more. Plan sets for these homes are available at no charge through your selected builder. Please note that they are protected by copyright.
Pre-engineered home designs customized to your needs
Perhaps you like one of our pre-engineered designs, but need to make some changes so it will work in your community and on your building site or make some adjustments to truly personalize the design for your lifestyle. For a modest non-refundable engineering fee paid though your selected builder, we can modify a standard plan to reflect these adjustments, whether it’s simply adding a window or door or increasing the size of one or more rooms, or even adding a room. We have also pre-engineered many optional design features such as cross-gables, dormers, bay windows and many more.
Your own home design
What if you already have a design and it isn’t similar to any of our standard plans? We are among a small group of elite manufacturers who have the ability to build precisely to plans developed by others. We routinely work with plans from design services and can interact directly with professional architects. We may even be able to turn your own rough sketch into reality. Not every design can be cost effectively built in a factory. We have to divide any design into individual sections that can be safely transported from our factory to your home site, and for some designs that cannot be accomplished. We can tell you relatively quickly and without obligation on your part, if we don’t think it makes economic sense for us to build your home. However, don’t jump to conclusions. Ask us, because we have many ways to approach a design, and we may have suggestions about how to make some changes that render the design compatible with our methods. For a truly custom design, we need to develop a preliminary set of plans “from scratch.” Working with your selected builder, we will provide you with a quote for a non-refundable engineering fee to develop the plans. Sometimes, at this stage we are able to work directly with the plans developed by an architect, particularly if we have had the opportunity to brief the architect early in the design process.