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Should You Purchase Stock Plans – Here Are The Pros And Cons

– Stock plans can save time in selecting a home. Since the designs are done and there for your review, you can select quickly and save time. Usually the plans are displayed as floor plans and exterior views. Depending on the catalog you may get just one front view, and sometimes you’ll be able to see a few other views to help you understand the design. It’s a mail-order solution. Mail-order items ha If you are considering purchasing stock plans from an internet site or from a book, make sure you are aware of what you are getting and its value to your project.

“Stock Plans” are construction plans which you can order from magazines, catalogs or the internet. Some builders also offer stock plans. These kinds of plans are not custom but can still be an excellent way to start off your construction project.

Stock plans can certainly be a great way to obtain construction plans. However, to many, the custom nature of building a home demands nothing less than a fully custom home design. Many would never consider using a predesigned set of plans.

Stock plans have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each:


– Stock plans can be less expensive. Prices for a set of plans can be a thousand bucks – or less. The plans are listed like a menu and the prices for the plans are clearly posted. Once you’ve decided on a plan it is an easy process of clicking and buying. You choose the form of the drawing and the quantity.
ve been part of our culture for a long time – from mail-order brides, to mail order kit-houses from Sears.

– Stock plans are usually collections from a variety of viewpoints. This can be stimulating as you browse through the plans and views. You’ll find “new” ideas that you likely have not considered before.

– Stock plans catalogs can kick-start your imagination. They can get the creative juices flowing. Stock plans can truly be a valuable launching point to explore new ideas.


– Stock plans are usually not ready for permitting. If submitted for permits without additional actions they will likely be rejected.

– It is quite common today that building departments will require that the plans be sealed by an Engineer or Architect. It is a good idea that you check with your local building department to see what the requirements are. The process of getting plans stamped is not an easy one. Professional Engineers and Registered Architects go through years of college, internships and testing to acquire their licenses and are expected to take responsibility for the plans being up to Code and sufficient. Many, if not most, will require a re-draw or, at a minimum, several revisions and additions to bring the plans up to standards. Their fees will depend upon what they do for you, but it can run quite a bit more than the original plans. This will also add time to the process thus reducing the time advantage of stock plans.

– Some revisions are inevitable. Because the plans are not customized for you it is rare that you will not see things you want to change. This can be expensive because most of the stock plan companies are not set up for individualized attention.

– Stock-Plans are considered by some to be reused plans. This might or might not be important – but if you are looking for a home that is as unique as you and as customized as the building process is itself, stock plans might not be the best way.

– Stock plans are designed for mass-appeal, like cars and other consumer goods. This is beneficial for factory created goods because its the only way there can be duplication of efforts which save us money. But home building is quite different from manufacturing in a factory. Home building is done stick by stick in the field. It is always custom. Some would consider using a mass market home plan for a custom building job would be like custom building car and ending up with a Ford Taurus. What’s the point?

– Homes in our country have a wide variety of needs specific to the area. Stock plans try to adapt themselves to all these area. Areas of the country have snow requirements, basements, high winds, earthquakes, cold and hot temperatures as well as many other factors that are unique to each. Also certain types of building systems will be prominent in certain areas. Generic plans can’t cover all the possibilities. You will also find that the local tradesmen can easily identify the stock plans and sometimes ready themselves for problems – though increasing their prices.

Local builders’ stock plans will usually side step many of these problems. They will generally be ready for permits and will be recognized locally. You combine this with the builder’s ability to have the plans modified for you and this can work quite well. They may not be entirely custom, but still be an excellent way to begin.

In summary, stock plans are valuable for study and education and are fertile source of ideas. They, however, will likely turn out not as inexpensive as you first think, or as quick, and certainly will not be something designed exclusively for you.

Having a professional working for and with you to develop a custom design based upon your ideas, your notions, and various ideas you have collected from many sources, as well as his or her experienced creativity will allow you to take full advantage the truly custom nature of building a home.

Remember, home Building is the only industry which remains truly custom in nature – the designs should be as well.