Collective designs

Old 01-12-05, 10:13 AM
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Collective designs

Anyone know anything about an internet company that offers stock plans called Collective designs? I have found a home I would love to build but am worried being they show an artist drawing of house that maybe it has never been built maybe it is just a bunch of concepts by a student. They don't offer hvac or plumbing drawings what am I to do about these if I purchase plans? I can do electrical, hvac and plumbing work from plans but without them I'm kinda at a loss. I hate to hire a contractor to do skilled work that I am capable of doing myself maybe I don't have a choice any advise would be helpful.
Old 01-12-05, 10:33 AM
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Unfortunately, most stock plans that are offered via internet are done by designers/draftsman. Many are not done by architects as you would think they were. Almost all offer disclaimers that your Local codes will apply and in many cases the drawings will have to be redrawn. All offer options on the plan package and the fees for altering them will start to increase the cost.

Many municipalities do not require plumbing drawings, few require HVAC but all require electrical layouts. Most HVAC firms provide a sketch for the City. Electrical layouts would be provided by all designers and/or stock plans via internet.

Depending on who your purchase plans from what you get will vary greatly.

In my opinion, unless you are not particular, purchasing plans via internet is OK but you must read all the fine print. In most cases, by the time you ask for revised plans, you may not be guaranteed that they will be viable to your local Codes or the property it will be built on.

Maybe having a designer do your drawings would be the best choice. They know the local Codes, they provide one on one assistance and can assist in designs that meet your needs rather than accepting this or that on stock plans.

Does this help?
Old 02-03-05, 08:04 PM
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I have drawn custom homes all over the world and the U.S. There are more than a dozen different national codes just in the U.S. between BOCA, ICBO, California even has its own set of codes now. It is up to every City and County to adopt the codes as written or to make the codes stronger than those required. It would be impossible to know all the codes for every city, county and state. I am also an owner of a stock plan company on the internet and have sold thousands of plans through that outlet. It is more a question of time and effort on your part. Do you want to spend thousands on a set of custom home plans by a local architect? If not are you going to spend a large portion of that amount on a local building deisgner? The question of stock plans on the internet has been raised at least once a month on all the different forums. Here is the upside of stock plans. They are less expensive normally only hundreds of dollars. The savings is that instead of only drawing a set of working drawings once and getting paid once they are drawn once and sold many times. This savings is passed on to you for this reason.

It is the same comparison as a custom built home to a subdivision home. All the main components are the same just the quality of finish is different. Both houses are framed with the same lumber, they have the same concrete foundation etc... Stock plans to me are the same theory. The additional work necessary to complete stock plans is that you do need a local professional to do local code compliance verifications.

I am based in California and we have the toughest codes in th eworld. My plans comply in more jurisdictions due to this. If you look at 90% of the stock plan companies they all have the same 90-150 designers as all the rest. I do not know collective design but if you have found a design that you like you have two choices, purchase the plans and have them looked over locally by a local designer, or architect. The other alternative is take the design you have found and have the local designer draw it from scratch for you.

I know several of the designers on the web and most are just as reputable and take as much pride in their work as the local professionals do. You could always ask to have them send you a sample set in pdf format that you might look to see an example of the finished plan product.

Good luck,

Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer

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