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Frequently Asked Questions

Starting Your Home Plan Search

My Blueprints Purchase

House Plan Customization

Customer Service

How do I find a specific plan to meet my criteria?

Please try the advanced search feature on the home page of our site, you can put in the criteria you want or need and only those types of plans will come up. Once you find a plan that is closest to your needs, you can purchase the reproducible, PDF or CAD (if available) that comes with the copyright release that allows a local designer to make the modifications you require.
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How is the square footage calculated?

The square footage for a home is based on heated living space only. Typically this would include any finished basement area. It does not include the garage, any porches or any bonus space.
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Will the plans meet my county's building codes?

Each state, city and subdivision have their own set of codes and regulations that they have determined work best for their area. As stock plans are sold throughout the country, they meet national codes. However, you will need to take the plans to a local architect or engineer to determine if the plans will meet local codes. You may want to consider our modification services.
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What do I need to know about local building and zoning requirements?

At the time of creation, our plans are drawn to specifications published by the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) International, Inc.; The Southern Building Code Congress (SBCCI) International Inc. The International Conference of Building Officials; or the Council of American Building Officials (CABO). Our plans are deigned to meet or exceed national building standards.

Because of the great differences in geography and climate throughout the United States and Canada, each state, county, and municipality has its own building codes, zone requirements, ordinances and building regulations. Your plan may need to be modified to comply with local requirements regarding snow loads, energy codes, soil and seismic conditions and a wide range of other matters. In addition, you may need to obtain permits or inspections from local government agencies before and while in construction.

Prior to using blueprints or CAD ordered from us, we strongly advise that you consult a licensed architect or engineer -- and speak with your local building official -- before applying for any permit or beginning construction.

We authorize the use of our blueprints and CAD on the express condition that you strictly comply with all local building codes, zoning requirements and other applicable laws, regulations, ordinances and requirements. Notice: Plans for homes to be built in Nevada must be re-drawn by a Nevada-registered professional. Consult your building official for more information on this subject.
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What do I need to know about architectural and engineering seals?

Some cities and states are now requiring that a licensed architect or engineer review and "seal" a blueprint, or officially approve it prior to construction due to concerns over energy costs, safety and other factors. Prior to application for a building permit or the start of actual construction, we strongly advise that you consult your local building official who can tell you if such a review is required.
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Is there anyway to know if a plan has been purchased and/or built in my area?

We do not retain personal building information on the customers who have purchased plans from us due to privacy reasons. Normally when they have bought the plans, they move from the location where we have shipped. Even if we were allowed to offer such information, it's impossible to track.
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What is a walk-out basement?

A walkout basement is the type of basement that allows a door to open into the yard because the basement is at ground level. This type of basement is used for a rear sloping lot.
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Do you offer a low price guarantee?

We guarantee to have the best online house plan prices. If, however, you find the identical plan online at a lower price, we'll happily match that price subject to the terms and conditions below.
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Terms and Conditions

If, within 30 days from the date you purchase a plan from us, you find a lower, currently advertised price online for the identical plan, we'll make things right. First contact us at 1-877-803-2251 within such 30-day period with the details of the pricing discrepancy. Once the price is confirmed, our customer service representative will happily refund the difference. The low price guarantee applies only to house plans, not ancillary products or services, nor does it apply to free offers, bundle offers or deferred savings offers.
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What is included in your plans?

The contents of each designer's blueprint package is unique, but all contain detailed, high-quality working drawings. You can expect to find the following standard elements in most sets of plans:


    This artist's sketch of the exterior of the house gives you an idea of how the house will look when built and landscaped.


    This sheet shows the foundation layout including concrete walls, footings, pads, posts, beams, bearing walls, and foundation notes. If the home features a basement, the first-floor framing details may alsobe included on this plan. If your plan features slab construction rather than a basement, the plan shows footings and details for a monolithic slab. This page, or another in the set, may include a sample plot planfor locating your house on a building site. Additional sheets focus on foundation cross-sections and other details.


    These plans show the layout of each floor of the house. Rooms and interior spaces are carefully dimensioned, doors and windows located, and keys are given for cross-section details provided elsewherein the plans.


    Large-scale views show sections or cutaways of the foundation, interior walls, exterior walls, floors, stairways, and roof details. Additional cross-sections may show important changes in floor, ceiling, or roofheights, or the relationship of one level to another. These sections show exactly how the various parts of the house fit together and are extremely valuable during construction. Additional sheets may include enlarged wall, floor and roof construction details.


    The floor framing plans provide detail for these crucial elements of your home. Each includes floor joist, ceiling joist, spacing, direction, span, and specifications. Beam and window headers, along with necessary details for framing connections, stairways, or dormers are also included.


    The electrical plan offers suggested locations with notes for all lighting, outlets, switches, and circuits. A layout is provided for each level, as well as basements, garages, or other structures. This plan does not contain diagrams detailing how all wiring should be run, or how circuits should be engineered. These details should be designed by your electrician.


    In addition to the front exterior, your blueprint set will include drawings of the rear and sides of your house as well.These drawings give notes on exterior materials and finishes. Particular attention is given to cornice detail, brick and stone accents, or other finish items that make your home unique.

    Please read

    Some plans contain roof framing plans, however because of the wide variation in local requirements, many plans do not. If you buy a plan without a roof framing plan, you will need an engineer familiar with local building codes to create a plan to build your roof. Even if your plan does contain a roof framing plan, we recommend that a local engineer review the plan to verify that it will met local codes.

    Please read

    Some cities and states now require that a licensed architect or engineer review and "seal" a blueprint, or officially approve it, prior to construction. Prior to application for a building permit or the start of actual construction, we strongly advise that you consult your local building official who can tell you if such a review is required.

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What is the Reproducible print?

The Reproducible set of plans allows you to modify the plans to meet your building codes, climate conditions, and adapt for the lot that you are building on. This set of plans also allows a local designer to make any design changes to the plans and comes with release allowing copies to be made of the plans.
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Why do I need to purchase a reproducible master in order to customize my plan?

When you purchase a reproducible master or vellum, PDF, or CAD you get a copyright release. This gives you the legal right to modify and copy the original design.The Reproducible Master, PDF, or CAD in your order requires that you sign a license. If you don't have a fax machine, we will email you a form that you must sign then fax, or mail back to us before your order can be shipped.
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Do you offer study plans?

The study plan that we offer is the single set of blueprints that is stamped Not for Construction Purposes.
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How many blueprints do I need?

A single set of blueprints is sufficient to study a home in greater detail. However, if you are planning to obtain cost estimates from a contractor or subcontractors -- or if you are planning to build immediately, you will need additional sets. Because additional sets are less expensive when ordered in quantity with the original order, make sure you order enough blueprints to satisfy all requirements. The following checklist will help you determine how many plan sets you need.

  • Owner
  • Builder (generally requires at least three sets; one as a legal document, one to use during inspections, and at least one to give to each subcontractor)
  • Local Building Department (often requires two sets)
  • Mortgage Lender (usually one set for a conventional three sets for FHA or VA loans)

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Can I make copies of the plans?

The plans are copyrighted and not reproducible. Copies can only be made if you order the reproducible print.
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What is a reverse blueprint?

If you want to build in reverse of the plan as shown, you can order one or more of the plan sets as reverse blueprints (mirror image) for an additional fee of $50. Although lettering and dimensions will appear backward, reverses will be useful aid if you decide to flop the plan.
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What is the difference between the custom and mirror reverse?

Some of the plans may come in custom reverse,(all the writing reads correctly) with a custom reverse fee; these plans are also called right reading reverses. Other plans may only come in mirror reverse (all writing is backwards) with a mirror reverse fee. When purchasing the mirror reverse plans, you will also be required to purchase standard plans so that you can read the writing.
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What is a materials list?

The material list is a listing of all the materials needed to construct the plan.
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What are the EPCM Detail Sets?

The detail sets for electrical, plumbing, construction and mechanical provide helpful information regarding wire sizes, cable-routing, septic, methods for building roofs, fireplaces, walls, heating and cooling. This is very important additional general information to assist in the building process.
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What do the abbreviations on the floor plans stand for?

Some common abbreviations that appear on the floor plans are:

  • K.S.- Knee Space
  • Pan.- Pantry
  • W.I.C.- Walk in Closet
  • FPL- Fireplace
  • W. D.- Washer/Dryer
  • Surf. Unit- Surface Unit
  • D.W.- Dishwasher
  • Ref.- Refrigerator
  • VLT- Vaulted Ceiling
  • Pdr.- Powder Room

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What is the Specification Outline?

The Specification Outline is a 16 page document that lists 166 stages or items crucial to the building process. It provides a comprehensive review of the construction process and helps in making choices of materials.
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What is included in the Builder's Planning Package?

The Builder's Planning Package includes the Electrical, Plumbing, Construction and Mechanical Detail Sets, Home Furniture Planner and the Specification Outline all for just $55, a savings of more than 35%!
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Can I make changes to my plan?

With the expertise of Hanley Wood’s design specialists, you can get a full spectrum of design change options. They range from enlarging or reducing the total square footage of a plan to changing a roof line or foundation type. This service is available with the purchase of the reproducible set of plans, PDF or CAD file which comes with the copyright release allowing modification to be done. A sketch and a bulleted list of the changes is the very best way to communicate your desired changes with our customization team.
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What modifications can I make through Hanley Wood's customization service?

With the expertise of Hanley Wood’s design specialists, you get a full spectrum of design-change options. They range from enlarging or reducing the total square footage of a plan to changing a roof line or foundation type. Your choices also include adding, removing and relocating rooms, windows, and doors, as well as many other refinements and amenities. This may include Right Reading Reverse, direction of garage doors, material lists and converting to Insulated Concrete Form (ICF). Our most popular changes include altering walls within a floor plan to make certain spaces larger or smaller, moving rooms around, creating new foundation options, raising ceiling heights, or adding a garage stall. Our modification service can modify most home plans to meet your needs as long as you can specifically define the changes you wish to make. (We recommend a sketch and bulleted list of changes).
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Can I customize my plan and change the type of exterior finish, for example, from brick to vinyl?

Yes! You can change the type of any proposed exterior finish. Those that are featured on the homes in our magazines and on our websites are suggestions only. Many of our customers choose to do so, whether for economic reasons or simply for personal preference. In many cases, this will involve just working with your contractor on the exterior elements of your plan. If you are changing the walls or entryway or other structural items, our customization team can provide you with a quote to make it happen.

Note: There are some structural changes involved when converting from brick to vinyl and vice-versa. It is very important that you have your plan modified if you decide to change the type of exterior finish.
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Is it possible to customize my plan for different types of foundations like slab, crawlspace, and pier?

Yes! Hanley Wood's customization service offers a variety of foundations to accommodate diverse soil types and basement requirements.
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Can a plan be converted to Metric?

Yes, we can convert to metric dimensions. You would need to purchase a CAD file (if available) or the customization team would need to redraw the plan to convert it to metric.
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Can I incorporate two different plan designs?

It really depends on what elements you wish to incorporate. You have to be able to clearly define what you want where, and with dimensions, room layout, etc. It cannot be vague, i.e. "make this plan look like the other one" or "shrink this plan like the other one."
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Can a house plan be made smaller?

Yes, however, you need to be able to define where you wish to remove square footage. We cannot help customers who just say "shrink my plan by 500 square feet." We suggest a sketch and bulleted list of changes.
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Can the customization team make the house wheelchair accessible?

Yes, to the extent the customer can define which doorways and areas they want widened and modified. It will not be associated in any way with a government standard.
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I would like to make changes to the kitchen; can I receive a quote to only make changes to the kitchen from the customization team?

Small changes may not require a modification at all and may be able to be accomplished by your builder or contractor. If you want to move walls or make bigger changes, the customization team can provide a modification quote.
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Can the roof pitch be changed?

Yes, in many cases, this is possible.
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Can you turn a one story home into a two story home by adding a 2nd floor?

Yes, in many cases, this is possible.
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Can I request copies of blueprints rather than the PDF or CAD once my changes are complete – and will I still receive my copyright release letter?

We can provide you with copies of your modified plan in the medium you prefer. The copyright release applies when you purchase the Reproducible Master, PDF, or CAD and allows you the ability to modify and build the designer’s plan, typically one time. Please check with the customization representative on their pricing for printed bond sets.
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How do I get started customizing my plan with Hanley Wood's customization service?

It's never been easier! Here's our step-by-step process:

1. Choose a home plan; we have thousands of outstanding selections.
2. Purchase your home plan, by phone or online. A reproducible master, PDF or CAD file is required to make any modifications. While modification quotes are free for most plans, some designs require a nominal fee that will ultimately be applied toward the total cost of your modifications. If you checkout online, look to see if the plan you've chosen has a Customization Consultation Plan Add On. If it does, you'll need to add the Customization Consultation to your order to receive your modification checklist. If you place your order by phone, ask your customer care representative if the plan you’ve selected requires a fee.
3. Once you receive your modification checklist, fill it out (online or on paper), detailing your desired changes. (You may also sketch your modification changes.) E-mail or Fax (866-444-2571) the completed checklist and any optional sketch you may have.
4. Upon receipt of your modification information and customization fee (if applicable), Hanley Wood's customization experts will carefully review your requested modifications, and within 24-48 hours, a complete modification cost estimate will be sent to you.

If you have any questions along the way, please call us at 1-877-803-2251. If you must leave a voicemail with the customization team, please know that we do not offer our customers' name or phone number to anyone or any business outside of the modification process.
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Can I use your customization service to modify my plans to meet local building code requirements?

Unfortunately no. If any modifications are needed in order for your plan to meet local building code, you will have to work with a local engineer. Typically, these changes do not alter the design of the house, and therefore are permissible under copyright, regardless of which plan type you buy. In most cases, we cannot offer architectural or engineering stamps or seals at a local or state level. Most cities or municipalities will require that plans of any kind are reviewed by a local structural engineer.
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How much does it cost to customize my plan?

Once you've purchased your home plans and returned the customization checklist, our experts will determine the complexity of the work and send you an accurate cost estimate for your review. Due to the variances between home plans and specific modifications, we cannot provide general pricing guides. Typical modifications can range from $700-$1,500, however your quote may be higher or lower than the average, based on your specific needs.
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How do I proceed once I've received the modification cost estimate for Customization?

Upon receipt of the agreement, full payment is due for the Reproducible Master set, PDF, or CAD files as well as the modification fees. During the course of your modification project, our design team will email you updates. When Hanley Wood’s customization service receives your approved estimate and full payment, full construction drawings will be completed, following approval of any preliminary designs. You will be notified of the completion prior to the shipment of your completed, modified construction drawings.

Unfortunately, our customization team is not able to provide you with a take-off/material list before agreeing to the modification services. Our customization team works very closely with their customers to define the changes for your modification and will provide you with an estimate and contract prior to starting any work. You would need to approve and sign off on each change as detailed in the contract.
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If I use Hanley Wood's customization service, is the customization consultation fee refundable?

The customization consultation fee is deducted from the total cost of your modification order. If you choose not to proceed with the modifications, this fee is non-refundable.
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What is the turn-around time for Hanley Wood's customization services?

It is usually around 4 weeks but varies by the time of the year. It is best to confirm your turnaround time with the customization representative when you discuss your modification.
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Can you complete custom designs from scratch?

Yes, we complete custom, "from scratch" designs. Our rate typically is based on $1.00 a square foot plus engineering fees.
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What is the exchange policy?

We want to make sure you get the house that is perfect for you.

We want to make sure you get the best house plan that meets your home design needs. With the exception of Reproducible Master packages, PDF or CAD file orders, we will exchange your entire first order for another blueprint from our plan collection within 90 days of the original order.

Please call our customer service department at 1-877-803-2251 for your return authorization number and shipping instructions. Fees for exchanging your blueprints are as follows: 20% of the amount of the original order, plus the difference in cost if exchanging for a higher priced plan or less the difference in cost if exchanging for a lower priced plan. Because they can be copied, reproducible masters, PDF and CAD files are not exchangeable or refundable. Please call for current postage and handling prices. Shipping and handling charges are not refundable.

(Reproducibles are not exchangeable.)

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What are your shipping options?

Domestic Shipping - Free Ground Shipping On All Floor Plan Orders

Is there a time limit for using my house plan?

There is no time limit for building. We do advise that you store your plans and your copyright release letter in a safe place.
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Can I trade my plans for a different set?

We will exchange your entire first order for an equal or greater number of blueprints within our plan collection within 90 days of the original order. Fees for exchanging your blueprints are 20% of the amount of the the difference in cost if exchanging for a design in a higher price bracket or less the difference in cost for a lower price bracket. Shipping and handling charges are not refundable.
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(Reproducibles are not exchangeable.)

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. We also accept check by phone as a form of payment.
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What are your disclaimers?

We, and the designers we work with, have put substantial care and effort into the creation of our blueprints. However, because we cannot provide on-site consultation, supervision and control over actual construction, and because of the great variance in local building requirements, building practices and soil, seismic, weather and other conditions, WE CANNOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENT OR USE OF OUR BLUEPRINTS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
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Don't have a fax number?

The Reproducible Master, PDF or CAD in your order requires that you sign a license. If you don't have a fax machine, we will email you a form that you must sign then fax, or mail back to us.
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What if I ordered a 5 or 8 set of plans, but now I need the Repro, CAD or PDF?

OUR UPGRADE POLICY: We offer a 90-day upgrade policy. We will be happy to upgrade 1-Set, 5-Set and 8-Set blueprint orders to CAD, PDF and Reproducible Plan Packages. Because they are stamped "not for construction", 1-Set blueprint orders cannot be upgraded to 5-Set and 8-Set orders, though they can be exchanged for 5 and 8-Set orders. Orders originating as CAD, PDF and Reproducible Plan Packages cannot be upgraded. We realize this upgrade policy may seem confusing but it is intended to help ensure your complete satisfaction, so please don't hesitate to call our customer service department at 1-877-803-2251 for assistance. Please note that the entire content of your original order must be returned before the upgrade will be processed. Please call our customer service department at 1-877-803-2251 for your return authorization number and shipping instructions.
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