Architect Necessity

"Hi Carl,
First of all, thank you for this VERY helpful website! It is a
tremendous resource.
I have drawn up a floor plan to scale. We will be going to a bank for a construction loan, so I know they will want to see elevations, engineered drawings, etc.

What is the best way to go to find an architect who will turn my floor plan into the kind of building plans a bank will accept? Or is there another option we are overlooking?
Thank you!
Denny & Pam"

Original Home PlansDavid Moore here, and since I'm an architect, Carl asked me to answer your question.

You're correct that you will probably need a complete set of plans to secure your loan. There are lots of designers who can turn your floor plan into a complete set of custom plans as long as your layout is workable.

Unfortunately, creating an entirely new set of custom home plans require a considerable amount of time and expertise. Design fees vary considerably based on these factors:

1. The size, complexity and level of fit and finish of the project: These are the same factors that affect the construction cost which explains why some fees are quoted as a percentage of the construction cost.

2. The extent of design services you need: Do you already have a plan in mind, or do you need a unique plan created to suit a special program or a difficult property? Are you a builder looking for a simple set of plans to meet code, or do you need carefully detailed plans which can be competitively bid? Are you going to manage the bidding and process yourself, or do you need assistance finding a builder and making sure he builds your project in accordance with the plans.

3. The level of experience and accreditation of the designer: Some states require all house plans to be drawn by a licensed architect or an engineer, but most don't. Are you requesting fee proposals from an architect, a professional building designer, a builder, or even just a student who can use a CAD program?

Given these factors, I've seen fees by reputable designers quoted anywhere between 2%and 15% of the construction cost, but I would expect to pay 5% for a decent set of plans.

A good alternative to buying a brand new set of plans for a house that's never been built is to look around at houses that have been built. Look for a design you like that's appropriate for your project and locate the designer. He or she may be willing to sell you a custom modified set of plans for a fraction of the cost for a new design.

It's important to remember that most home designs are copyrighted even if it doesn't say so on the plans. You must purchase copies of copyrighted designs from the original designer. Hiring someone else to copy a design, even if it's not an exact copy, is a violation of copyright laws.

Stock house plans are the least expensive way to purchase professionally prepared plans, but it can be frustrating to find exactly the plans you need. Many but not all stock plan designers will customize their plans although the cost of modifications can drive up the cost of the plans significantly.

That's why I started, an interactive home plan website where you can customize the designs on-line. Right now, our site has a great selection of Colonial and Cape designs, but we're working to add new series of plans. Even if we don't have the design you're looking for, our site may give you some useful ideas.

Good luck with your project,
David Moore, AIA
Original Home Plans

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Carl Heldmann,"