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Specifications Structural



Preparing Blueprints

Blue print Considerations

    You have now decided the style, approximate size, number of rooms, type of kitchen, number of floor plans, basement or not, type of home heating, fireplace design and where to situate your home plan on the lot.

     Now you need to develop and draw yourself, buy, borrow or have drawn a set of blue prints and floor plans. Building a home without blue prints should only be attempted by the most experienced professional.

    If an architects seal is required, you may want to have an architect design and prepare the blue prints for you. If you do not need any help with design, (like when you buy a set of stock blue prints online), perhaps you can find an architect to just prepare the bluep rints and omit the design phase. You should get a discounted price with the second option.

    Another option is to have a drafting company prepare the plans. They may have an arrangement with an architect to get the plans reviewed and sealed, if need be. This option should also be fairly economical.  Try to provide pictures, floor plans, old blue prints etc.

Stock Blueprints

    The simplest way is to find and buy a set of stock floor plans or blue prints from a magazine, a home center, the internet or some other source. You may have to search many floor plans and blue prints to find one that fits your criteria, but this is a very economical option.

    The downside is that they will seldom have the foundation requirements for your area. So, even if the blue prints are exactly what you want in every other way, the blue prints may still need to be modified. This is not difficult however. A few notations on the floor plan should clarify the necessary depth and size required in your area. Even if the plan does not have a basement, you can easily modify the foundation plan to include one. Check with your building department to see if they will accept the modified plans or set of blue prints.

    If an architect's seal is required in your area, try to find one before you buy the plans. Some states do not allow architects to put their seal on someone else's floor plans. If you need to have structural information only reviewed, you may find a structural engineer more easily than an architect to seal the plans. They are accustomed to providing structural information on someone else's blue prints.

    Our "House Plans" page has a collection of home plans and floor plans and blue prints that we have selected from some excellent  architects and designers.

Click Here For Select Home Plans


Blue Print Requirements

    All plans should conform to one of the national codes such as UBC or CABO or the new IBC.  You may need to alter your plans to conform to your local code or the amendments to one of the aforementioned codes. The vast majority of municipalities have adopted at least one of the national codes. Find out which one. The national codes can be found at your local public library, and the local ones should be available there too.

    Of course, you can draw your own floor plans if they will be acceptable to your municipality. Be aware that if you will be applying for a construction loan, the lender will undoubtedly require complete blueprints.

    Lenders are reluctant to lend to people that are acting as their own general contractor. You must impress them with your ability by putting together a good set of blueprints. It will also be helpfull if you get your permanent mortgage from the same lender as the construction loan.

    Whichever option you choose, the blue prints should include at least all of the information listed here. We are not including sample blue prints because of their size. If blue prints were reduced to fit the screen, they would be unreadable. Explanations and diagrams are included so you should be able to read and even draw a set of blue prints from the information provided.


Specifications - define the scope of work, what is being built - define responsibilities of trades, who does what - describe the quality of work for each of the trades - describe materials

(See samples on specifications page)


Site Plan - will not be included in stock plans you buy. You must provide a plat of survey showing the legal description, utilities, site dimensions, topographical features and the proposed building location with a floor plan overlayed on it.


Foundation Plan - will include basement floor plan if there is one, it should also show:

Footings for foundation walls, piers and columns
Foundation walls, piers and columns
Openings such as windows doors, sleeves and vents
Steel beams and pilasters
Complete dimensions and notes including thickness of walls and their depth
Drains, sumps, and other equipment
Retaining walls and supporting walls for porches etc.
Direction, size and spacing of the floor joists or trusses above
Interior wall and stair locations


Floor Plans - one for each floor should show:

Exterior and interior walls of floor
Window and door locations, identification and door swing direction
Stairs and fireplaces
Walks, patios and decks
Built in cabinets and appliances
Permanent fixtures
Room names and sizes with type of ceiling, flooring and trim
Direction, size and spacing of the ceiling joists or trusses above and rafters if top floor
Type and size of headers, beams and lintels
Complete dimensions and notes including thickness of walls


Elevations plans - at least four sides should show:

Grade lines
Floor and ceiling heights
Windows and doors including identification
Roof pitch and type, size of overhangs
Soffit and fascia type and size
Siding type, size color etc.
Other exterior finishes
Porches, decks, patios and exterior steps 
Chimney size and type
Vertical dimensions and notes not shown on the typical wall section of the blueprints


Electrical Plans - one for each floor plan - sometimes included in the floor plans should show:

Locations of all switches, outlets, phone jacks, thermostats, smoke detectors, recessed lights, appliance outlets, intercoms, security system, service entrance and panel, special outlets, fans and any other anticipated electrical needs
Type and size of all the above
Electrical plans often show HVAC plan outlets also


Typical Wall Section - (see our structural page for a sample)


Construction Details - shows special construction circumstances if there are any


Schedules - window and door schedules - light and vent schedules should show:

Brand, size, type, color, style, ID number, rough opening for each door and window, whether or not a window is egress (Manufacturers provide this information)    (National code is that each sleeping room have at least 1 egress window)

The total square feet of light the door or window will allow through for each unit
The total square feet of vented area when the door or window is open for each unit
( Manufacturers provide this information)

The total square feet of each habitable room along with each rooms total light and vent. (National codes require that the light allowed into each room be at least 8 percent of the total square feet of the room. Vented area must be at least 4 percent).

Example;             window  A  has 5.4 sq. ft. light and 4.1 sq. ft. vent
                             window  B  has 6.1 sq. ft. light but does not open
                             room      C  is 10 feet by 12 feet

Room C is 120 sq. ft. and requires 9.6 sq. ft light and 4.8 sq. ft. vent

Add light of A and B for a total of 11.5 sq. ft. light
Add vent of A and B for a total of 4.1 sq. ft. vent
In this example light is fine but vent is inadequate, and window B will have to be exchanged for one that opens or window A will have to be exchanged for a bigger window


Roof Plan - only needed if the roof plan design is complicated, should show:

Roof pitch and direction
Downspout locations
Vent type and location


Floor Plans Under 1500 sq ft
Floor Plans 1500 to 2000 sq ft
Floor plan 2000 to 2500 sq ft
Floor Plan 2500 t0 3000 sq ft
Floor Plans 3000 to 4000 sq ft
Floor Plans Over 4000 sq ft

Duplex Floor Plan
Garage Blueprints
Narrow Lot House Plan
Split Level Floor Plans
Cottage House Plans
New Home Plans

Blueprints - Floor Plans - New Home Blueprints - New Home Floor Plans 

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