FAQ's

If you do not see the question you need the answer to, please phone or email us your question. If enough people have the same question, we will expand this list. And remember, no question is too small, we deal with home plans all day so what might be obvious to us could be a total mystery to someone building a home for the first time.

What building codes do the plans comply with?

How many times may I build this plan?

How much will this plan cost to build?

Where can I go to see a particular home built?

How is the square footage calculated?

What are your specialty ceilings?

Does Sater Design Collection recommend builders?

Are your homes available in ICF?

Should I buy a house lot first, or a house plan?

What style of home plan is right for me?

I've got my house plan, what do I do next?

How do I select a house builder?

Should I be my own contractor?

What is the difference between print licenses?

What is an electronic PDF file?

What is an Electronic CAD plan?

Do you have photography for the house plan I am interested in?

Can we modify a house plan?

What are Plan Options?

What is included in a Set of House Plans?

What building codes do the plans comply with?

Plans are designed to specifications published by the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Code Congress (ICC). Our plans are designed to meet or exceed the national building standards. Because of the great differences in geography and climate throughout the US and Canada, each state, country, county and municipality has its own building codes, zone requirements, ordinances and building regulations. Your plans may need to comply with the local requirements regarding snow loads, energy codes, soil and seismic conditions and a wide range of other matter. Therefore we always recommend that you have the plans reviewed by a local structural/truss engineer.

How many times may I build this plan?

As a registered purchaser of a plan, you are licensed to build only one structure from the plans, regardless of the number of plan sets you purchased. If you intend to build a plan more than once, contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 718-7526 for more information.

How much will this plan cost to build?

The best way to determine the actual plan cost to build is to consult a local builder in your area that typically builds homes like the one you are interested in. This quote, based on expert knowledge in your specific area, will provide you with the most accurate quote possible. The materials lists we offer will help them in determining the cost. Even then, costs will vary widely based on the finishes you will choose to complete your home such as lighting fixtures, cabinetry and flooring.

Where can I go to see a particular home built?

Many people want to see a particular home that has been built. Our house plans are sold throughout the United States and Internationally, however we have a privacy agreement with our clients and therefore we cannot divulge this information.

How is the square footage calculated?

Square footage calculations are made from outside the exterior frame wall and do not include decks, porches, garages, basements, attics, fireplaces, lanais, etc.

What are your specialty ceilings?

There are a variety of specialty ceilings available…some are listed below.

  • Tray Ceiling – An inverted indentation with sloped sides and a flat top.
  • Stepped Ceiling – An inverted indentation with stair-stepped sides and a flat top.
  • Coffered Ceiling – A ceiling with beams laid out in an intersecting grid pattern with regular intervals.
  • Pyramid Vault – A vaulted ceiling working gradually to a central point.
  • Groin Vault – The intersection of two barrel vaults in opposite directions.
  • Cove Lighting – Concealed lighting used in a recess.

Does Sater Design Collection recommend builders?

Sater Design Collection can recommend builders near your area. We provide you with resources to make an informed decision about the right builder for your project. On our site, you will find a listing of builders which may include some in your area, as well as an article to help guide your search for a reputable, quality builder.

Are your homes available in ICF?

Yes, we can convert homes to ICF through our Plan Modification services.

Should I buy a house lot first, or a house plan?

If you are shopping for home plans, it is important to consider if you will buy your lot or your plan first.
One important consideration that may help you determine this is the local set-back requirements. Each municipality has its own rules about how far your new home must be from the edges of your lot and the middle of your street. Specific neighborhoods may have their own requirements as well.

If you are set on a specific neighborhood or a specific home plan, you have probably made up your mind on what will come first for you. However, if you are still flexible, check out some home plans you like in your size range and the average lot requirements of your building area. Compare that to the specific lots for sale, and see where this leads you.
Lastly, if you have your dream home plan and your dream lot and they are not a perfect match, consider having our modifications department handle the changes needed to make them work together. We have often done slight size changes to fit lot restrictions with minimal impact on the overall interior spaces.

What style of home plan is right for me?

The style of home will likely be dictated to some extent by the area and neighborhood in which you plan to build. However, there are other considerations when evaluating the style of home for you.

What is the size and age of your family? For example, if you and your spouse are planning to retire in this home, consider one with a first floor master or elevator option to improve your satisfaction in years to come. Families with growing children may appreciate a plan with a computer loft or bonus room as extra “hang out” space for the kids.

What special features are important to your family? Based on hobbies and interests, you may want to consider workbench space in the garage, a special media room or just a spacious outdoor kitchen for eating outdoors. Does a member of your family work out of your home part-time or full-time? Consider the types of office space you would like to have.

Just like when you are searching for a pre-built home for sale, set forth your must-have features and then search for the plans that have as many of your additional features as possible. Keep in mind that our in-house modifications department can help you make the close, but not quite perfect, house better meet your list of wants.

I've got my house plan, what do I do next?

There are multiple steps you need to take before submitting your plans to your local planning commission.

Your local plumbing contractor needs to draw in the plumbing lines based on your lot, the positioning of your home on your lot and the location of the water supply. They will use that information, along with the location of the plumbing fixtures shown in the plans to create your plumbing plan.

Additionally, your local HVAC contractor will draw in the duct lines for your home. Since energy calculations are different throughout the country (and world), it is important to have lines drawn to support the equipment your HVAC contractor has determined will best suit the size and climate of your new home.

We strongly recommend you have your plans reviewed by a local structural and truss engineer to ensure your plans will fully satisfy local building codes and be expediently approved. Different locations have different conditions, such as hurricanes or earthquakes that homes need to be able to withstand. A local expert familiar with your specific locale is best prepared to ensure your plans meet the requirements of your area.

Please remember to verify if your municipality requires a licensed Architect to stamp and seal the plans. You will need to arrange this if it is required in your area.

How do I select a house builder?

Selecting a builder for your new home is as critical, if not more critical than, the selection of your new home’s plans. The success of the build and your satisfaction with the final product are absolutely contingent upon securing a quality, reputable builder to work on your new home.

Start by developing a pool of potential builder candidates. Ask for suggestions from your family, friends and work associates. Also, if you are building in a new neighborhood, consider asking your new neighbors if they would recommend their builders. An additional source could be attending a Parade of Homes or similar event in the area you are planning to build. You will be able to see the work of multiple builders first-hand.

Once you have located a few builders you are interested in working with, narrow down your choices by meeting with them. Confirm that they have built properties that are similar to what you are trying to achieve in terms of size, style and budget. Inquire about their schedule and the potential timeline they could offer for your build. If you have already selected your plan, ask each builder to bid on your specific home plan.

Ask to see sample timelines, invoices and other similar information from previous bids, to see how they work and the manner in which they report progress to you during the build. This will help you see how organized they are. Ask about specific crew experience, how they select subs, and similar questions.

Verify the reputation of the builders you have selected and contact the state licensing board to ensure your candidates all have up-to-date licenses and current insurance. Ask each builder for references of homes they have built. Contact these homeowners and ask about their work. Also, consider driving by some of the houses the builder has built and some of the sites they currently have under construction to see how tidy, organized and productive they are in working.

In the end, weigh the overall bids you have received with the references and overall rapport you have forged with different builders, as well as your gut instinct to make the best overall builder decision.

Should I be my own contractor?

Instead of hiring a builder to manage the building of your home, there is the option of being your own contractor. Proceed with caution if you are thinking about going this route.

First, being your own contractor is taking on the job another person would be doing full-time. The hours you will need to be on your property will be very early and you will need to visit the property very often. You and your spouse will already have dozens, if not hundreds, of finishes to select from exterior colors to doorknobs and cabinetry. Do you have the time needed to do the job successfully?

Second, it requires specialized knowledge. Will you be able to recognize things that are going wrong as quickly as an expert? How well can you read plans? Are you confident in your ability to trouble-shoot if you should have to resolve issues while building?

Finally, how will you locate reputable sub-contractors? A builder has an established set of subs they work with that they trust. Finding qualified and insured professionals will take time and effort and you may still encounter pitfalls along the way.

What is the difference between print licenses?

A print license is conveyed to the purchaser as either a PDF file or a printed vellum. The PDF file cannot be modified and can only be printed. The vellum is erasable and allows for very minor changes and /or notes to be added. An electronic license allows for the client or the client’s consultants to make more elaborate modifications to plans (i.e.: widen a bedroom, add a fireplace, or add a window, etc.).

What is an electronic PDF file?

When you order a plan in PDF format we will email you one set of plans in PDF file format. We also ship a DVD with the PDFfiles on it. Along with the DVD we ship your license agreement and valuable materials from our corporate partners that will help you build your home. This format allows you to receive the plan the fastest, usually within the same business day (by email) and allows you to take it to your local blue print shop to print copies as needed. See the Plan Licensing Information for specific information on the number of copies you can make.

What is an Electronic CAD plan?

When you order a plan in electronicCAD format you get one set of plans saved asAutoCAD 2010 DWG files on a DVD. We ship you the DVD, your license agreement forms, and valuable materials from our corporate partners that will help you build your home. This format will allow you to take theAutoCAD files to your builder or local draftsman and they will be able to make changes to the plan.See the Plan Licensing Information for specific information on the number of copies you can make.

Do you have photography for the house plan I am interested in?

Our website is rapidly updated when we acquire new photography of plans. If you do not see photography for the plan on the website, we unfortunately do not yet have photography to share with you.

Can we modify a house plan?

We offer two was to make changes to a house plan. Firstly, some plans have available Plan Option, see below. Secondly, you can make custom modifications to a plan. You can find out more information about modifying a house plan on our "Modification Consultation" page.

What are Plan Options?

Plan options are additional changes that can be made to a plan. We go into greater detail on our "Plan Options" page. Plan options are different from modifying a plan.

What is included in a Set of House Plans?

You can find out all about what is included in our house plan sets by visiting the "Whats in a set of plans" page. We explain what sheets are included and give examples of each.

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