After you have selected your design and ordered working drawings, you and your builder must go through three steps. If you understand the process, it will help to make building your dream home a pleasant experience.
1. Submit your construction drawings to your local building inspector to get a permit to build.
We suggest buying reproducible masters or CAD files if you are going to build a house. You can use these to make a review copy for the building official. Our designs were drawn to meet the national code. Building codes can vary from region to region due to the specific needs for that area. A home plan to be built in California will need to meet local codes related to earthquakes while a house plan built in Florida along the coast will need to consider local hurricane-related building code requirements.
After the building official itemizes the changes needed, your builder will probably suggest a local architect or draftsman who can adjust the plan accordingly.
2. Pay any fee required so that a building permit can be issued.
This permit allows you and/or your builder to build your house according to your local code requirements. This permit must be displayed at the construction site. It also states how long the permit is valid for construction.
3. Get a Certificate of Occupancy (often just called a “C.O.”) when the home has been completed.
The building official inspects the house construction to make sure the house is in livable condition and that local code was followed. Without the approved paperwork, a family cannot legally move into the newly constructed house.
Including these steps as part of your building process, along with a bit of patience, will make for a much smoother house-building experience!
Additional Engineering / State Stamp
In some regions, there is another step you will need to take to insure your house plans are in compliance with local codes. Even though our plans are drawn to national code standards, some areas of North America have additional engineering requirements. It is possible you will need to hire a State licensed structural engineer to review the design and provide additional drawings and calculations required by your local building department. Examples of this would be, but not limited to,
• Earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Coast
• Hurricane risk areas like Florida and the Gulf States
• New York, New Jersey, Nevada and sections of Illinois
If you aren’t sure, we highly recommend contacting your building department. They will be able to provide you a list of the items they require to submit to obtain a building permit.
Additionally, stock plans do not have a professional stamp attached. If your building department requires one, they will only accept a stamp from a professional licensed in the state where you plan to build. In this case, you will need to take your house plans to a local engineer or architect for review and stamping. In addition, plans which are used to construct homes in Nevada are required to be drawn by a licensed Nevada architect.