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Should I Buy Those Blueprints

To buy blueprints on-line is a decision a lot of our clients are considering. Luckily, the answer is very simple. It’s almost always a no. There are three concerns with buying blueprints on-line. Are they up to your area’s building code? Who is going to answer questions or conflicts that arise? Do you have anything you’d like to change?

Since the introduction of the International Model Building codes at the turn of the century, building codes have gotten a lot more consistent across the country. However, they still have regional and local differences. Some areas may have exempted themselves from specific code sections. Some may have tacked on their own requirements. Even if the codes are the same, the interpritation by local officials may vary between areas. If your plans are rejected by the building officials, who is going to fix that and what will it cost?

Construction is a field where nothing quite goes the way you expect. Who will be responsible for fixing mistakes that are found on the plans. Which party will tell you how to fix the mistake made by the plumber when he ran your drain line through the main load bearing girder? Who is going to verify that the flashing details spelled out are appropriate for your region. Are you going to verify your footing depths? Who is going to put together a site plan to place this house on your lot? There are a lot of modifications that can come up to localize or deal with field conditions.

Lastly, I’ve never met anyone who found the exactly correct plan on the internet. Usually, it’s close, but they need an additional bedroom or don’t want a dining room or need an extra window or two. The more changes you want to make, the less valuable these plans are. However, the more changes you want to make, the more you will be paying for them. There very quickly comes a point where getting someone local to do the plans based on the plans you can see becomes more affordable, even without the other advantages of working with a local professional.

In short, if you want to buy blueprints on-line, you need three things to be true. You want those exact specific drawings. You have a local builder you have a lot of faith in. Finally, you have a relatively permissive building official. If any of these statements don’t describe you, call a local professional to see if getting their help makes more sense.