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House Plans -- Is this site trustworthy


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Mary's Forum Posts: 11

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By Mary in OH on 8/9/2006


Has anyone used this site for getting their house plans?

coolhouseplans.com

We found a house that we really like, but are nervous about clicking "purchase." My husband and I would feel a lot more comfortable knowing someone else has used this site and found them to be legit.

BTW, here is the house we are looking at building. 

details.coolhouseplans.com

Mary


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Justin's Forum Posts: 125
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By Justin in Chandler, AZ on 8/9/2006


Mary,

I also have found a lot of nice plans on coolhouseplans.com, but never purchased their plans (or any stock floorplans) for the following reasons:

- You are only paying for their design, not the full engineered drawings.
- You will still need an architect/engineer who is familiar with the building codes where you will be building to make sure the house complies with local codes and to fill in the blanks and/or make changes to the stock plans you purchase.
- I never found a plan that I was 100% in love with.

An owner-builder consultant told me not to buy any of the plans online but to find something that was close to what I wanted and go from there. I purchased Punch Platinum's floorplan software and my wife and I imported a general plan that we like and have been modifying everything. The software allows for the design of everything including electrical (outlets, switches, data lines) and HVAC. I am still a newbie and waiting for my book, but from what I have read from the forums I will do a feature list for every room and visualize how I want everything laid out. The software also allows for you to "walk through" the house so you can see it in 3-D. Our computer doesn't have all the RAM that it should to run the program so it is a little slow, but nonetheless a handy tool to see how your home and each room will look.

Once I have it as close to perfect as I can get it I will then shop around for an architect to simply draw my floorplan to match the building code in my city. I won't need any designing or changes where he gives us several versions and we comment on them. This is what we're planning anyway; take it for what it's worth.

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By Darlene on 8/10/2006


I bought a houseplan from them and the plans were very detailed. Very happy with the plans we got. They sell plans from well-known architects.
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By Sybil in Leominster, MA on 8/10/2006


I bought house plans online. I didn't buy them from coolhouseplans because I found it was cheaper to buy them directly from the architect's website. If you're going to buy your plans online, search several sites for the same plan to compare costs. Costs vary widely. 

We don't require an engineering stamp in my area. My code enforcement officer sat down with me and went over all the details of my plan. The only things I needed to change were roof snow loads and footing depths to be within code on the overall design. ( I did call code enforcement before I ordered the plans to question what sort of engineering requirements my plans would need and to make sure buying plans online would be okay.) 

Just make sure any changes you do make are well documented for subs and suppliers. My roof truss rep will literally be my next door neighbor, who recently built his home... We discussed the snow load requirements, 70 lbs. in my community, but the bid I received was for 45 lbs., just like the plans noted. It was easily fixed, but it took more time.


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By Melissa in Richmond, KY on 8/11/2006


If you notice at the bottom of the page you posted, they list that they are members of the National Homeowners Association, so you could look them up there to see how legit they are. You can also check with Better Business Bureau. 

When you're buying online it's important to inquire about what's included in the plans, because mechanical, plumbing, etc. aren't always part of the deal and you can end up having to pay additionally to have those plans drawn up by your own architect or designer. Email makes the best way to sort all of this out with them because it creates a paper trail that confirms what they've offered or promised you just in case they come up short.


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