Below are answers to some of the most common questions about our building plans.
Blueprints (“Blueprints” and “Drawings” are used interchangeably)
How many sets of blueprints do I need to build from and what blueprint packages do you offer?
The number of sets of blueprints you will need depends on you and your builder’s specific needs. You will need a set for yourself and a few sets for your builder to estimate costs from. The local building department will need two or three sets and the mortgage lender will want a set. If the building design that you are thinking about needs little or no modification, the five or eight set package is usually sufficient. If you need to make changes to the drawings, we recommend the reproducible master to make changes by hand or the CAD files to make changes electronically. A copyright release letter comes with these two packages which allows you to legally change the copyrighted drawings and make copies of the changed drawings for construction of the building. The one set package is stamped “Not For Construction”. To build from a stamped set of drawings is a violation of copyright laws, as well as making copies of a stamped or unstamped set of drawings without a copyright release from JHA.
Why are one-set packages stamped “Not For Construction”?
A one-set package is considered a study set which allows you to review the drawings in detail and possibly obtain bids or estimates on materials and labor before you begin construction. Reproduction of these drawings is a copyright violation. You can upgrade to another blueprint package within 60 days of the original purchase by paying the difference in the cost of the drawing packages.
What is included with the blueprints?
Most of our drawing sets include the following:
• Coversheet. This is usually an artist’s rendering of the finished home which is not necessary for construction but gives a visual representation of the finished building.
• Foundation Plan. The foundation drawing a detailed layout of the foundation including information such as thickness of foundation walls, column locations, footing location and sizes as well as other construction notes and details.
• Floor Plans. The floor plan drawings depict the layout of each floor of the building. Included are wall sizes, room dimensions, window and door locations and sizes, plumbing fixture locations and other notes and details.
• Exterior Elevations. The elevation drawings describe the appearance of the exterior of the building from all sides and notes the finish materials such as siding, brick, stone, stucco, etc. Also, the roofing material and decorative trim elements are shown.
• Sections. Building Cross-Sections may be on a separate sheet or on various sheets throughout the drawings. These drawings are a “cut” through the building indicating the composition of the foundation, interior and exterior walls, roofs, floors and stairs. This is where the various building heights are shown such as floor-to-floor heights and roof pitches.
• Details. Details are enlarged drawings of important architectural and structural elements of the design. They may be shown on a separate sheet or in various locations throughout the drawings.
• Interior Elevations. Most drawing sets contain some interior elevations which are views of various built-in elements such as fireplaces, kitchen and bath cabinets, built-in shelves, desks, etc.
• Schematic Electrical. The basic electrical information is sometimes shown on the floor plan sheet or on a separate sheet. This is not an engineering drawing, but a design drawing which shows the locations of plug outlets, wall switches and lighting fixtures. It does not indicate the size or location of the electrical panel.
What is included in a reproducible set?
A reproducible master is a complete set of building plans on an erasable paper such as mylar or vellum. For simple changes to the drawings we recommend this option. This allows you, your builder or a local residential designer to make the necessary changes to the drawings without investing the time or money required to completely redraw the plans or draw a custom design. A copyright release is included with a reproducible master giving you permission to legally make changes to the copyrighted drawings and then make the necessary copies for construction. It is necessary to bring the copyright release to the copy shop when the copies are made. The copyright release does not give permission to construct the building more than once with the same set of construction drawings.
What are CAD files?
CAD files are a complete of building drawings in an electronic format. CAD files can be used if substantial changes are required to the drawings. It is necessary to hire a professional to make the changes. CAD files include a copyright allowing one to make legal changes to the copyrighted drawings. A CAD file allows you to construct the building one time.
Do the plans/blueprints include the mechanical (HVAC), plumbing and electrical design and drawings?
These construction drawings do not include HVAC, plumbing and electrical details. Due to regional variations it is not possible to include engineered heating and cooling design and drawings. Ductwork, venting and other details vary depending on the type of heating/cooling system (forced air, hot water, solar) and the type of energy (gas, oil, electricity, solar) that you use. Plumbing fixture locations are shown on the floor plans. The location of water lines and sewer system is site-specific and must be determined locally. An electric schematic reflecting locations of outlets, fixtures and switches is typically included on the drawings, however, it is necessary to review the electrical details with the contractor to ensure that local codes are met. Mechanical, plumbing and electrical details and specifications are easily obtained from your contractor or local suppliers.
Do the drawings show the floor and roof framing layouts?
Many of the plan sets included in this portfolio contain detailed floor and roof framing layouts and others have notations on the drawings indicating this information. In all cases the framing is clearly defined so and experienced builder or contractor will be able to construct the building.
Are different foundations plans available other than what is listed?
The foundations listed for the various plan sets are the available foundations for each building design. If the foundation you need is not available you can modify the drawings to accommodate your local soil type and foundation requirements for your area. See Important Information.?
Can building designs with walk-out basements be modified for a flat site?
Walk-out basements can be adapted for a flat site. You can modify the drawings or see Customizing Your House.
Are the drawings stamped/sealed by the architect?
The plan sets in our portfolio are not stamped or sealed by the architect. If your area requires an architect’s stamp or seal, the drawings must be taken to a local architect for review and stamping. Modifications can be made if required by the local architect. The professional that you select must be registered in the state where you plan to build.
How is the square footage of the building calculated?
The square footage calculations include all of the area inside of the exterior frame walls; they do not include the exterior wall thickness. This gives you the actual living space. Square footage calculations do not include decks, porches, patios, screened porches, basements or attics. The calculated area is livable, heated and finished space (garage areas are listed separately). Basement areas that are listed are for unfinished space. Two-story and vaulted areas are included only once in the calculations for the first floor. Stairs are counted once. Balconies in a two-story or vaulted area are included in square footage. The areas are taken from the actual construction drawings. It is not possible to calculate the square footage using the room sizes from the drawings on the web site.
Are the building designs copyrighted?
All building designs in this portfolio are the exclusive property of James Hricko Architect LLC and are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced. Copies can only be made if a reproducible master or CAD files are purchased. Only one structure may be constructed from the plan set package that is purchased and our plans may not be resold or copied. Renderings are conceptual in nature and the plans shown on this web site are as accurate as possible, therefore we are not responsible for errors or omissions on this web site. Law strictly prohibits reproduction in whole or in part of any of the building designs on this web site.
What does the nomenclature on the drawings for windows and doors represent?
Most of the building designs utilize a double-hung divided light window. The construction drawings use a generic window sizing system and not any particular brand of windows. For example, if the window designation on the drawings is 2852, this is a window with a sash size (operable size) of 2’-8” wide by 5’-2” tall or 32” wide by 62” tall. For doors a label of 3068 is a door size of 3’-0” by 6’-8”.
Do the plans meet the local building codes in my area?
At the time that the drawings were created, we put great care into ensuring that the drawings met the building codes in the area where the building was to be constructed. In fact, most of the buildings in this portfolio have been constructed and the construction drawings were reviewed and a building permit issued by the local authorities. However, this does not mean they will meet all local building codes. It is important to check with the local building official to determine what is required in the area where you plan to build. It may be necessary to work with a local builder or residential designer to modify the drawings to be compliant with the codes in your specific area. In addition to the building plans it is not uncommon for the authorities to require a site plan showing where the building is located on the lot. The builder or contractor can help with this. Also, a septic system design may be needed unless the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. Some areas have energy codes which may involve filling out a form proving compliance. Some areas of the country have very strict local engineering codes such as earthquake-prone areas of California, Northern areas with snow- load requirements, or hurricane-risk areas along the Gulf Coast. If you are building in these or similar areas you should hire a local engineer to review the building design and provide additional drawings and calculations required by the building department. The local building official should be contacted for a list of the items that are required for you to submit for a building permit. If the engineer needs to seal the drawings we recommend that you purchase a reproducible master or CAD files. This will allow the local professional to make changes to comply with local codes when reviewing the building drawings.
Modifying the Drawings
How do I customize the building plans?
The options for customizing or modifying the building plans are: Have the contractor make minor changes on the site. If the builder can make the changes you will avoid the expense of having the original construction drawings modified. Any changes should be discussed with the builder before construction begins. Another option is to have a local builder or residential designer make the changes. In this case a reproducible master or CAD file should be purchased which comes with a copyright release giving permission to modify and copy the original design. The third option is to submit a modification request to us in writing. We will determine the feasibility of making the changes and give you a quote in a timely manner. Additional changes may still have to be made after you receive the modified drawings in order to meet local codes. See Customizing Your House.
What is the cost to have modifications made to the drawings?
The cost to modify the drawings varies widely depending on the specific building design and the types of changes desired. Complete the Modification Request Form to receive a quote. We will respond in a timely manner.
Can the exterior walls be modified from 2×4 to 2×6 or vice versa?
Drawings can be modified for 2×6 framing which is a simple change that may be done by the builder during construction. Check with the builder and building official for local requirements.
Can the exterior materials such as siding or stucco be changed to brick and vice versa?
The exterior materials can be changed, however, if brick veneer is substituted for siding the foundation will need to be modified to add a brick ledge to support the brick. Also, the roof overhangs will need to be wider. If brick is being removed a brick ledge is not required. Consult with the contractor and/or building official concerning the changes you wish to make to the exterior finish materials.
Can the garage be changed from a front entry to a side entry and vice versa?
This is a common change and typically not difficult to achieve. There are some structural considerations concerning the structure above the garage area and above the garage doors that need to be addressed. Your builder may be able to make this change in the field, however, if you would like a quote for us to make this change please complete the Modification Request Form. We will send a quote in a timely manner.
I already purchased an initial set of plans. Can I upgrade the plan set package or order supplemental items?
The plan set package can be upgraded and supplemental items may be purchased within 60 days of placing the original order. This order cannot be placed online. Please Contact Us and we will help you with your upgrade.
Is a material list available?
A material list is not available. Until your builder has had a chance to analyze the plans and talked to you about specific materials and products, an accurate material list cannot be developed. The builder usually develops the material list with the lumberyard.
Can the plan be reversed if it works better on the site?
Sometimes the plan works better on the lot if it were reversed from the original layout. Mirror reverse and right reading reverse plans are available for some of the building designs in the portfolio. See the plan set page for availability.
What is a mirror reverse?
Mirror reverse plans are a mirror image of the plan, with the text appearing backward, as if looking in a mirror. Although the dimensions and lettering are reversed, mirror reverse plans are a visual aid by reflecting the layout of the building the way that you want to build it. You cannot obtain a building permit with mirror reverse plans, so only order one or two sets with the mirror reverse option and order the rest as correct or right reading plans.
What is a right reading reverse?
A right reading plan flips the floor plan from left to right with all text and dimensions reading correctly. When an order for a right reading reverse is placed, all plan sets will be shipped in right reading reverse. See the plan set page for availability.
Ordering and Shipping
How long will it take to receive the plans once the order is placed?
Please Contact Us for shipping times. Typically, in the Continental U.S., delivery is 8-10 business days. We also offer Priority (3-5 business days) and Express (1- 2 business days).
Is my privacy and credit card information secure?
We make every effort to ensure that online shopping with us is as secure as possible. When a plan order is placed online, all information is encrypted before sending it from our secure server to an automated payment-processing center that validates your credit card. Once your credit card has been charged, your order information is sent to the order processing-center without your credit card information. This ensures that your credit card information is never stored on our server and no one has access to it at any time. As for your privacy, your personal information is used only for our account management and is not sold or given to any other companies or organizations.
Is sales tax charged when a purchase is made from this site?
Sales tax is charged on any purchase made in the state of Virginia.
What is your return policy?
Since our plan sets are printed and shipped in response to your order, JHA does not honor any requests for refunds. Review your order carefully before placing it to be certain you need and want what you plan to order. It is also very important that you check the dimensions of your lot, taking into account the zoning/building restriction lines (setbacks) before placing your order.
Is a construction license transferable even if I do not build the house?
The building license is not transferable. It is only granted to the person who originally purchased the plan set.
Can we build the house more than once?
As the original purchaser of the plans, you are licensed to build a single house from the plans. Constructing the house more than one time with the original purchase of the plan sets is a copyright infringement and violates the designer’s copyright laws. Buying a multiple set plan package does not entitle you to build the house more than once. In the same manner, purchasing additional sets of the construction drawings does not give you the right to build the house again.
Are the house plans handicap accessible?
Most of the house plans in the portfolio are not handicap accessible. If you complete the Modification Request Form we will send you a quote to have it modified for handicap accessibility.