House Plans For Florida

The Difference Between Stock and Custom House Plans

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Should you hire a home designer to draft a custom house plans for Florida or buy a ready-to-use house plan online? That’s the question most people ask themselves when they decide to build their own home.

As a St. Augustine home designer, I’m often asked what the pros are of investing in a custom house plan. The justifications are many, so I’ve put together a list of sound reasons why I think it’s almost always better to go for a custom-designed version.

Reasons to have a custom house plan by McConnell Custom Design:

  • I take your ideas to create a house plan that fits your lifestyle, taste and functionality (giving you exactly what you want)
  • You’ll be able to make changes to the plans through a series of mark-up sets (saving you money in the long run)
  • You’ll get a concise drawing set without all the unnecessary fluff that stock plans sell you
  • Custom House Plans by McConnell Custom Design are ready for the next step in the permit process.

Reasons not to use stock house plans:

  • Building departments have been known to reject plans with too much fluff that often comes with stock house plans
  • Stock house plans may imply they’re ready for permit when they are really not. Most counties in Florida require a structural engineer set of plans to accompany the Design Drawings
  • Stock house plans often come with multiple situations that only add to the number of pages and do not address your specific local conditions.
  • Many structural engineer have issues irrelevant information on the Design Drawings.

House Plans Cost and Engineering

Whether you decide to use custom-designed house plans for Florida or stock house plans, the cost is small compared to the overall cost of your home, so my best advice is to not buy a stock house plan unless it’s exactly what you want. Remember, this is probably the biggest investment of your life, so you need to nail the design of your house at the very start of the project. If you don’t, you could end up regretting it.

St. Johns County and most Florida building departments require a structural engineer to certify the structural plans of a house. Since stock house plans are generally not engineered according to Florida building code, they will be rejected by the building department without local engineering.

I work closely with local structural and truss engineers when drafting, which is why I can guarantee that a house plan produced by McConnell Custom Design will be accepted by an engineer. Why is it so important to have a stamped engineered plan? Because they tell the builder and inspectors exactly what they need to know about aspects such as the type and location of hurricane clips, header and beam sizes, footer sizes and other requirements.