**These FAQs relay general information regarding the project plans published on our website when applicable. Please contact us if additional clarification is needed.**
If you want to build a project plan such as a deck, gazebo, garage or doghouse, there are some easy-to-access resources that will help you throughout the construction process. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you may want to consult one or more of the following resources:
- Local Construction Professionals – Take some time to contact local construction professionals to discuss your project. These people include your local building official, building inspector, general contractor, residential designer, carpenter and other sub-contractors.
- Lumberyard Staff – Visit your local lumberyard and talk to the professionals at the contractor’s desk. They are especially knowledgeable about building materials.
- Family and Friends – Talk with family and friends who have built a project similar to the one you are considering building. They can share knowledge based on their own experiences. Family and friends will be able to tell you what went well, what didn’t go so well, what they would change if they were to build the project again, etc.
- Use the Internet. There are many helpful websites designed to relay construction information to the consumer.
Our project plans are grouped into categories or plan styles making it easy to find the type of project plan you desire. There are links to the various project plan styles on our home page for your convenience. If you aren’t sure what type of project plan you desire, we recommend using the Browse All Styles feature.
The Project Plan Shop offers a variety of blueprint packages and useful supplemental items. The blueprint packages and any supplemental items available for a specific plan are listed and described on that plan’s respective webpage under the “Order Plan” heading. Pricing for each available blueprint package and supplemental item is listed here as well. NOTE: Available plan packages and supplemental items vary by plan number.
The complexity and size of your project will determine the number of sets of blueprints you will need for construction. Small projects such as a birdhouse will only require one set of blueprints while larger projects such as a room addition or a garage plan will require multiple sets of plans or possibly an electronic version of the construction drawings.
Your specific needs and the needs of your builder will determine the number of sets of blueprints needed for construction. It is a good idea that you have a set of plans for yourself. Your builder and subcontractors will need a few sets of plans as well. Check with your builder to find out how many sets of blueprints will be needed on the jobsite. If you are working with a lender, the lending company may require a set of blueprints for loan approval. Also, you should check with your local building department. You may need to provide a set of blueprints when you apply for building permits, and the building inspector may need a set to review throughout construction. If you plan to build your desired structure as-is or with very little modification, the five-set or eight-set plan package is usually sufficient, but it is still best to check with all the people mentioned above before ordering. If you would like to make substantial modifications to the project plan, we recommend the reproducible master to make changes by hand or the PDF or CAD file to change the blueprints electronically. You will receive a copyright release letter with each of these garage plan packages giving you legal permission to make changes to the copyrighted project plan and then make the necessary copies of the blueprints required for construction. Keep in mind the one-set plan package is stamped “not for construction.” Building with a stamped set of blueprints and/or making copies of stamped or unstamped blueprints without a copyright release from the designer is a violation of copyright laws.
A one-set project plan package is stamped “not for construction” because it is considered a study set. It is intended for you to review the project plan in more detail before construction begins. The single set, or study set, can be used to obtain estimates for labor and materials.
The following is a list of the information included in a typical set of construction blueprints (when applicable.) Information will vary by plan.
- Coversheet – The cover sheet is an artist’s rendering of the finished project plan. Typically, this page is not needed for construction, but rather offers a visual representation of what the project will look like when construction is complete. Not all designers provide a cover sheet with their project plans.
- Foundation Plan – The foundation page is a detailed drawing of the foundation and includes necessary information such as the thickness of foundation walls, floor joist sizes and spacing, column locations and other pertinent construction details and notes.
- Floor Plan – Depending on the size of the project plan, there may be one or more floor plan pages. The floor plan pages provide the layout and construction for each floor of the structure. In general, these pages include room dimensions, window and door locations, wall sizes, notes about ceiling details and design, and other notes and details regarding layout and construction.
- Basic Electric – Basic electrical information can be found on the floor plan page or on a separate page. This information reflects the suggested locations of switches, fixtures and outlets when applicable.
- Simple Plumbing – Simple plumbing information is found either on the floor plan page or on a separate page of the blueprint. This information shows placement and locations of bathtubs, toilets, showers and sinks when applicable.
- Interior Elevations – When applicable, the interior elevations page describes and provides details and drawings about the built-in elements of finished living space such as, vanities, kitchen cabinets, fireplaces, moldings, handrails and built-in bookshelves or niches.
- Exterior Elevations – The purpose of the exterior elevations page is to describe the look and feel of the structure’s exterior finish. It provides views of the structure on all four sides and calls out the type and placement of finish and trim materials including brick, siding, stone, stucco, roof shingles, and decorative elements like window shutters. Other details may be provided on this page as well, like roof pitches and ceiling heights. In some instances, window and door sizes are included.
- Details – Construction details may be found on a separate page of the blueprint or on various pages throughout. The details communicate information about how smaller elements should be constructed such as, the design of the handrail spindles, the sizes and styles of moldings and other trim used throughout, and the look of the fireplace or built-in cabinets.
- Sections – Project plan sections may be a separate page of the blueprint or they may be found on various pages throughout. In general, they are views of the structure showing the elements and composition of the foundation, exterior and interior walls, roofs, floors and stair details. These drawings show the relationship between floors and indicate ceiling heights and rooflines.
Note: Not all stock project plans incorporate every element described here. Blueprint pages vary by designer and plan number.
A reproducible master is a complete set of project blueprints typically printed on erasable paper such as vellum, mylar or sepia. The Project Plan Shop recommends the reproducible master if you would like to make a few simple changes to your project plans. This method allows a local residential designer or even your builder to make changes to the blueprints without investing the time or money it would take to redraw the stock plan in its entirety or custom draw a project plan. After your modifications are completed, you can make all the copies you will need for the construction of your project. A copyright release is included with the reproducible master giving you legal permission to modify the copyrighted project design and make the necessary copies needed for construction. Remember to take your copyright release with you to the copy shop. The copyright release does not give you permission to build the project more than one time with the same set of construction drawings. Not all designers offer the reproducible master so please check for availability. Note: Some designers print reproducible masters on bond paper requiring White Out to make changes to the blueprints. A copyright release will come with the project plans.
A CAD file is a complete set of project plans in an electronic file format. If you want to make substantial changes to your blueprints, a CAD file is recommended. It will be necessary to hire a design professional to make changes to the electronic files. A copyright release is included with the CAD file allowing you to legally make changes to the copyrighted project plan and print the copies needed for construction. You are entitled to build the structure one time with the CAD file. In most cases, it can be emailed to you within 24-48 hours of placing your order during regular business hours, Monday – Friday. Please be aware that some of our designers require customers to sign and return a license agreement before the electronic file will be emailed to the customer. Note: CAD software is required to open CAD files. CAD files are not available for all plans. CAD files are non-returnable once the designer has emailed the file to you.
The PDF project plan package is an electronic version of the construction drawings in PDF format. It will be sent to you via email, saving you shipping costs. In most cases it can be emailed to you within 24-48 hours of placing your order during regular business hours, Monday – Friday. Please be aware that some of our designers require customers to sign and return a license agreement before the electronic file will be emailed to the customer. After receiving the PDF, simply take the electronic file of your project plan to a local print shop to have your blueprints printed. The PDF file allows you to reproduce the number of blueprints necessary for obtaining bids and permits, as well as the copies needed for construction of your project plan. Furthermore, the PDF allows you to print sets of blueprints in various sizes to suit your needs. Note: PDF files are not available for all plans. PDF files are non-returnable once the designer has emailed the file to you.
The project plans published by The Project Plan Shop are stock plans, which were designed to meet the nationally recognized building code in effect at the place and time of creation. Stock plans do not necessarily meet any state or county building codes. Threrefore, the construction drawings do not include extensive electrical, HVAC and plumbing details. Some project plans include a simple electrical schematic reflecting the suggested locations of fixtures, outlets and switches. However, it is necessary to review all electrical details with your builder to ensure local codes are met. Information about the HVAC system will depend on the types of units you use and the size of your structure. The type of heating and cooling system you choose and the building codes for your area will determine the necessary ductwork. While plumbing fixtures are included in the blueprints, the flow of water lines and the sewer system are site specific and must be determined locally. Discuss all plumbing details with your contractor or plumber. They should be able to supply you with the necessary plumbing information based on local building codes.
Mechanical details are not required for typical construction and vary greatly among regions and municipalities depending on local codes. Therefore, mechanical details and diagrams are not included with project plans.
Some of the project plans published by The Project Plan Shop include detailed cross-sections of the framing and the floor joists and roof layouts, but rarely do the blueprints include the entire layout. However, an experienced contractor will be able to build your garage using the information provided on the construction drawings.
The project plans published on The Project Plan Shop’s website are not sealed or stamped by an engineer or architect. If your building department requires the blueprints to be sealed or stamped, you will have to take your blueprints to a local engineer or architect to have them reviewed and stamped. This professional must be registered or licensed in the state or province where you plan to build.
The living square footage encompasses all the finished areas of the project plan that are dry-walled, painted, carpeted, heated and cooled. Typically, square footage calculations are made from outside the exterior frame wall, but do not include any brick. Decks, porches, verandas, screened porches, fireplaces, attics, and bonus rooms are not included in the living square footage. The actual square footage of a design is calculated using the construction drawings, therefore you will not be able to calculate square footage based on the room sizes provided on the spec floor plans shown on our website. If you have questions about the square footage of a particular project plan, please contact us.
The total finished square footage of our project plans includes all the area inside the exterior face of the “heated walls,” meaning only the heated living space. The total square footage does not include garages, porches, screened porches, decks, future spaces, unfinished loft areas, attic space or bonus rooms. Be aware that the dimensions listed for each room cannot be calculated and added together to come up with the total square footage of the design because smaller spaces such as closets and hallways are not shown on the spec floor plans published on this website.
All the project plans published on our website are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced. The blueprints can only be copied if a reproducible master, PDF or CAD file is purchased. These plan packages come with a copyright release granting legal permission to change the plans and make copies of them. Also, all project floor plans and illustrations published at The Project Plan Shop are the exclusive property of The HousePlanShop, LLC and the designers and architects represented on this website. Only one structure may be built from the blueprint plan package you purchase. These project plans may not be copied or resold. Copyright laws strictly prohibit the reproduction in whole or in part of any garage plan or illustration on this site. We strive for accurate representation of the project floor plans and renderings we publish and will not be responsible for errors or omissions on this site.
Building codes are safety regulations and guidelines dictating how a building should be constructed in a particular area. These codes range from nationally recognized guidelines to specific municipal ordinances. Buildings codes are set in place and adhered to as a means of protecting the builder and the buyer of a project or other structure. Many of the building rules and regulations in a particular geographic region or area are based upon elements specific to that area such as weather conditions, like temperature and precipitation, and soil conditions. All the blueprints published on this website were designed to meet or exceed the requirements of the nationally recognized building code in effect at the time and place each plan was drawn. Typically, blueprints designed after the year 2000 conform to the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC is composed of portions of the four major building codes listed below. Project plans drawn before 2000 conform to one of these four building codes in effect at the time of creation.
- BOCA (Building Officials & Code Administrators)
- CABO (Council of American Building Officials)
- ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials)
- SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International)
Each state, city, county, municipality or township follows some form of one or any combination of these residential building codes. Please check with your local building department or a building official in the area in which you plan to build to learn more about the required building codes for your area.
Each residential designer or architect puts great care into ensuring the project plans conform to the national building codes in place at the time the blueprints are drawn. However, this does not mean the project plans will meet all local building codes. Every city and county has its own set of building codes and regulations based upon the specific qualities of that area. It is necessary to contact the local building department or talk with a building official to find out what is required in the area in which you plan to build. Furthermore, it may be necessary to work with your builder, a residential designer or a building official to modify your project plans to meet the specified building codes in your area. In addition to your project plans, you may need to supply a few other items when you apply for a building permit. Your building department will be able to provide a list of the items you will need, which may include the following:
- Site Plan – A drawing of the lot showing the location of the future structure as well as the locations of other structures presently situated in the lot. Your contractor can help you with this.
- Septic System Design – A diagram showing the details of the septic system. This is not necessary if your lot is served by a sanitary sewer system.
- Energy Code Compliance – A form that must be filled out proving the materials used to construct the project are energy compliant.
Some areas of the country have very strict local engineering codes. In this case, you should hire a local engineer to review your project plans and provide additional drawings, details and calculations required by your building department. For instance, many Northern areas have snow load and 2x6 wall framing requirements. Hurricane-risk areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have wind load specifications and require wind strappings and as well as other items. The earthquake-prone areas of West Coast follow seismic zoning regulations demanding additional structural elements.
If you are not sure about any of these items, contact your local building official for more information about what is required in your area.
Our plans are pre-drawn stock plans. They are designed to meet the national building codes in place at the time each plan was created. However, we do not guarantee the plans will meet all local building codes. Our plans are sold and built all over the US and Canada. The codes and requirements you have in your area may be completely different than the codes and requirements for someone building the same plan you are considering in another part of the country. It will be up to you/your builder to make any adjustments necessary to meet local building codes and requirements. You may need to hire a local design professional to add notes to the blueprints regarding some of your local building codes if your builder cannot make these adjustments at the jobsite or if you building department requires them to be shown on the plans in order to get building permits. We recommend talking with your builder and your building department to find out what is allowed in your city, county, etc. as far as making changes and adjustments to meet local building codes.
Additionally, our plans do not come with an engineer's/architect's seal or stamp (engineering requirements). The seal/stamp is a local requirement. The items required for the engineer’s or architect’s seal/stamp in your area are completely different than the requirements for a customer building the same plan in another part of the country. Often the requirements that coincide with a seal/stamp for a particular state, province, city, etc., are influenced by climactic and geographic elements that are specific to the area where you plan to build making them local requirements. If you need engineering or an engineer’s/architect’s review in order to get building permits, it will be up to you/your builder to hire a local engineer/architect to review and seal/stamp the plans. This professional must be licensed in the state/province where the structure is to be built. If you need your plans to be engineered, sealed or stamped, we recommend finding someone who can review the blueprints and provide a seal before you actually purchase plans. Sometimes the design professional providing the seal/stamp will have a preference as to which plan package he/she works with, and this will influence which plan package you purchase. Most likely he/she will want the CAD file or PDF because it is much easier to work with the electronic format when it comes to adding extra notes and elements to the plan that are necessary to meet local building codes. The only way to be sure about what plan package to purchase is to ask your local design professional before you make a blueprint purchase. There is information about this topic in our FAQs should you need to reference it later.
A material list, sometimes called a takeoff, is a complete list of the building materials needed for a given construction project. In general, all the typical materials required for building are included such as lumber, drywall, windows, doors, exterior finish and trim, and more. Items that are not usually included in a material list include foundation materials, rough plumbing, HVAC, appliances and various interior finishing materials. Note: The materials included on the material lists vary by designer.
Material lists are available for some of the project plans published on The Project Plan Shop website. Availability and pricing is indicated on the plan page when you view each project on this website.
Material lists are only available with a purchase of blueprint package for the project plan of the same plan number.
In general, a material list is not necessary to build your project plan, although they can be a handy tool. A material list indicates the quantities and sizes of the materials needed to build your desired project. They will save your contractor the time it takes to create a materials list from scratch and will allow you to obtain accurate material bids from lumberyards in a short amount of time.
A mirror reverse project plan can be a helpful tool. In some cases, the structure will fit better on a lot or in a given area if the floor plan were flipped from left to right. A mirror reverse project plan provides a mirror image of the original design in which the floor plans flip from left to right with the text appearing backwards just as if you were looking in a mirror. Though the text, such as room dimensions and informational details, is not readable, the reversed images serve as a visual aid reflecting the layout of the structure the way you plan to build it. It also shows the correct door swings. You cannot build or obtain a building permit with a mirror reverse set of plans. When you order your blueprints, The Project Plan Shop recommends only ordering one or two sets in mirror reverse and the rest as correctly reading sets. Check for availability of mirror reverse when you view the plan page of a specific design.
Sometimes, a project plan will work better on a lot if the original layout of the plan were reversed. For these situations, some of our project plans are available in right reading reverse. This means the garage floor plans are available in a flipped version with the floor plan flipping from left to right and the text reading correctly. Availability is noted on the project plan webpage. If you order your project plans in right reading reverse, all sets of blueprints will be shipped to you in right reading reverse.
Ordering and Shipping
Processing and shipping options and rates vary by project plan. The processing and shipping methods available for the design you wish to purchase are listed in the "Processing and Shipping" section on the plan page for each respective plan. Typically, in the Continental U.S., Regular delivery takes 8-12 business days. We offer Priority shipping (3-5 business days) and Express shipping (1-2 business days) if you wish to receive your project plans more quickly. Blueprint orders placed before 11:00 a.m. CST Monday through Friday will be processed the day they are placed. Blueprint orders placed after 11:00 a.m. CST Monday through Friday or over a weekend will be held until the next business day. For project plan orders shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada or for orders shipping from Canada to the U.S., please check the available processing and shipping options listed on the webpage for each respective project plan. Many of our designers will sell and ship their plans overseas. Please contact us for further information before placing your international order (outside the U.S and Canada). CAD and PDF orders are typically emailed within 24-48 business hours of placing your order.
The Project Plan Shop and many of our designers are happy to serve customers outside the United States and Canada. Many of our plans can be sold and shipped overseas. If you are not a resident of the United States or Canada, please contact us for plan package availability and processing and shipping rates.
At The Project Plan Shop, we make every effort to ensure your online shopping experience is as secure as possible. During the online ordering process, all information is encrypted before sending it from our secure server to an automated payment-processing center that validates your credit card. Once your credit card has been charged, your order is sent to the order processing center without your credit card information. This process ensures your credit card information is never stored on our server and no one has access to it at any time. Your personal information is used only for our account management and order processing purposes. It is not sold to any organizations. However, your name and street address may be supplied to third parties directly related to home building, residential construction and home improvement.
Sales tax is charged on any purchase made in the state of Missouri only.
TheProjectPlanShop.com is brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC. Credit card charges will appear as The HousePlanShop, LLC.
Your blueprint purchase is NOT returnable. Since our blueprints are printed and shipped in response to your order, The Project Plan Shop does not honor any requests for returns, exchanges or refunds for any reason. It is necessary that you review your order before placing it online. Be sure you need and want the items you plan to purchase. Also, it is VERY important that you verify the dimensions of your lot/building site before purchasing a project plan. All sales are FINAL.
The building license is only granted to the person who originally purchased the project plan. Therefore, the building license is not transferable.
As the original purchaser of the project plan, you are licensed to build the structure only one time with your blueprints. Constructing a project more than one time with the original purchase of the project plans is copyright infringement and violates copyright laws. Purchasing a multiple set plan package, such as a five-set package, does not entitle you to build the structure more than one time. Likewise, buying additional sets of the blueprints does not give you legal rights to build the structure again. However, some designers offer multi-use fees or multiple build licenses for those who wish to build a structure more than one time. Multi-use fees vary by designer. Please contact us for a quote.
Photographs are available for some of our designs. If they are available, they are posted on The Project Plan Shop’s website. As we receive new photos of our designs, they are added to our site. Note: The photographs published online may differ from the actual construction drawings depending on the modifications made by the owner or builder. Refer to the floor plans for the actual layout of the design.
The Project Plan Shop sells blueprints throughout the United States and internationally. While we know where our blueprints have been shipped, we do not know the exact locations where our project plans have been built. Additionally, it is our responsibility to protect our customers’ privacy and therefore, we do not track this information. However, we do have photography for some of our project plans and the photos can be viewed on the respective project plan page. New photos are posted as we receive them.
In some cases, a rear elevation or rear photo is available for our project plans, and they are posted on our website. As we receive new elevations, photos and other images, we make every effort to publish them as soon as possible. However, if you would like to see a rear elevation for a plan that is not presently published on The Project Plan Shop website, please contact us, and we request the elevation from the designer.