What You Need to Know Before Getting Your House Plans or Garage Plans

Find out what is required legally in order to build.

When you choose AzCad Design we check and make sure you can build what you want. This is the most important part of any construction project. If overlooked, it can cost you a lot of time and money. You may end up paying for house plans or floor plans and never use them. Even worse, you could build and then end up tearing down what you built. Working with any part of the government is not fun and can be a real headache. Getting caught building from the government with out the proper permission will be even worse.

How to get the building requirements.

The first thing you should do is call the county or city you are located in. You can find the phone number usually by searching the Internet or the phone book under government listings. When you search the Internet you will want to start by searching for your local government sites. Start your search with your state and then county or city. Once you find there site you will then look for a title similar to “Planning and Zoning” or “Building and Safety Department”. Some of the bigger cities may have both. Most of the smaller towns and cities might have just one department that handles anything to do with plans to build.

What is planning and zoning?

The planning and zoning department will have all the information that is associated with your piece of land. They will have a copy of your lot or land with measurements. You will also need to get any setback and lot coverage percentage requirements. Setbacks are a required distance from the property line or other structures that you are not allowed to build in. Lot coverage percentage means that you can only cover a certain amount of your land with structures that have a roof. There might be a height restriction. You may need a civil engineer to do the plot plan or civil plans and stamp them for you. Most of the time residential property will not require a civil engineer. Once you have a plot plan that shows where the existing structures and new structures are located on the property, then you will submit them to Planning and zoning. You will also want to submit the building plans to the Building and Safety Department at the same time.

What is the Building and Safety Department?

The building and safety department will be the place that you will be submitting your full set of architectural and structural plans to. They will check and make sure the building plans are drawn to code. You may want to have an architect or residential drafter draw the house plans or garage plans for you . People often think that an architect is required for residential house plans, but the truth is that most states do not require an architect to draw house plans. Drawing the house plans yourself or using a drafter will be the least expensive route. An experienced drafter will know the code. States may require a structural engineer to evaluate and stamp the plans after they are designed. Some states may only require a structural engineer depending on the design of the home and the complication of it. Some desired designs are a trigger for structural engineering. Using a structural engineer may be an even wash on expense do to the material the structural engineer may be able to save in the design. You might want to use a structural engineer for piece of mind.

Questions that you will want to ask planning and zoning.

  • What are the lot or land dimensions?

  • What are the required setbacks for the type of structure you are wanting to build?

  • What is the lot coverage percentage?

  • What are the height limits?

  • Questions you will want to ask the Building and Safety Department.

  • Do the plans require an Architect stamp?

  • Do the plans require a Structural Engineer stamp?

  • How many copies of plans are needed?

Getting your house plan.

Everybody has there own name for house plans. They are often called floor plans, blue prints, Architectural plans, and building plans. Either way, you can work with an Architect or Drafter locally or through the Internet to get your house plans. Our Drafting services are generally lower in price then an Architect. Most states do not require an Architect stamp on residential house plan. See our States and Architect stamp requirements list. Another option to getting plans is to buy a set of house plans on the Internet. We have great options for pre-drawn house plans and we will modify them to what you desire.

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