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Considering Modifications

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Published On : 05-17-2011
Author : Steve Donegan
House Plan Modifications

One of the first questions you should ask yourself if you are thinking about modifying a set of house plans is:

As a general rule when it comes to modifying house plans, anything is possible. An experienced draftsman can usually make any change you can imagine, but there are a few issues to keep in mind.

Have a clear plan in mind.

The most common issue we run into with modifications is when people don't have a clear idea of what they want. Where does a draftsman even begin when his only instructions are "reduce the home by 3,500 square feet" or "we need 5 bedrooms instead of 3". We at The Plan Collection are more than happy to discuss your modification options with you, but we need you to have a plan first. If you want to reduce the square footage, we need to know where you want to take it from. If you want to add an additional bedroom or two, we need to know where you want to put them.

Is the modification feasible?

Most modifications are feasible.  The most common mistake however is wanting to shrink the house too much.  Local building codes require hallways, door entrances and stair cases have a constant width.  As a result, sometimes it is not possible to always shrink a house too much.

You need to be aware that your floor plan modifications can unexpectedly change the way the home looks.

Every time you move an exterior wall, you invariably end up changing the roofline as well. You also need to keep in mind that sometimes two windows that were once evenly spaced are now unbalanced. Most of the time, these are rather small differences that can easily be remedied, but you really should be mindful of the effects your modifications might have.

Another common issue is changing the features of a home to reduce costs always changes the initial charm of the house.  Changing a hip roof to a gable roof may oversimplify the house silhouette.  Eliminating dormers, wrap around porches, stone or brick facings might make the house too plain.

Try to get in the habit of visualizing your changes and how they will affect the rest of the home.

Consider the total costs of drafting modification changes

Each customer must first buy a vellum or CAD file. This allows the draftsman to modify the initial "master". It also gives you the copyright liscense to make as many blueprints as you need to build one house.  Most vellums or CAD files costs at least $900. 

Most modification specialists charge $75-$85 per hour for their services. If you aren't careful, your modifications can easily cost more than $2,000 above.  If you have some changes in mind, call or email us with your list of desired changes (click here for our contact info). We can normally get you an accurate quote within a day or two. The main thing to remember is to keep it simple.

Modifying a set of house plans is a great way to get exactly what you want in your dream home. It is usually a very simple and easy process, but if you can run into some big problems if you aren't careful.
Just remember the three suggestions we've just discussed:

  1. Always have a plan
  2. Be realistic with your changes
  3. Get in the habit of Visualizing your changes
  4. Keep it simple

By following these simple guidelines you can rest assured that your modifications are indeed feasible and that you are well on your way to building your dream home!

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