Frequently Asked Questions


Do you modify designs?

Any plan from the SMALL HOUSE CATALOG can be modified to suit. Please visit the Drafting page for details and/or to request an estimate.

How do I print my plan?

To print a plan, simply:

  1. Download the PDF to your desktop. 
  2. Take or email the PDF to a local printing store and request either 18" x 24" or 24" x 36" black & white Architectural prints. Your plan will indicate which paper size to request.
  3. Print as many as you need.

What's included in a typical set of building plans?

A typical house plans package is drafted to current IRC code and includes,

  •  3D Cover & Exterior Perspectives of Project
  • General Construction Notes
  • Dimensioned Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Cross Section
  • Detailed Wall Section
  • Foundation Plan & Details
  • Floor Framing Plan(s)
  • Roof Framing Plan & Details
  • Construction Details
  • Interior Elevations (Kitchens & Bathrooms)
  • Door & Window Schedules
  • (see example plan)

Plans show fixture types, HVAC equipment and appliance locations. Dedicated mechanical, plumbing, electrical plans (MPE) are offered as optional services because they're not generally required for permitting. Visit the drafting page for more details.

Do you offer any free plans?

Until April 1, 2017 we offered an open source free house plans program. The success of the program was great and our email list grew to more than 20,000 subscribers. Unfortunately, people started illegally selling the free plans on other websites, including Ebay and Etsy, and even websites dedicated solely to selling our free plans. So we permanently ended the program. We still receive several calls and emails each week from people asking for free stuff. Please do not email requesting free plans or services. 

How much does it cost to build a small house?

In the United States the average cost to build (contract) a house in 2017 is $150 per square foot. Those costs tend to run higher in some regions, like Western Washington state, California, et al. and average $175-200 (or higher) per square foot.

Do plans have an architect's stamp?

An architect's stamp is not required to submit house plans for permitting anywhere in the country. Plans may be require an engineering review (wet-stamp). This requirement is most commonly seen in seismic and high wind regions of the United States and Canada. Architects, architectural designers, residential designers, draftsmen, even owner-designers, are all potentially subject to engineering reviews. 

Check your local building departments for specific requirements and read Our License Agreement & Stock Plan Disclaimer for more information.

What size paper should I use to print my plans?

Most plans are designed to be printed in either of two IRC standard paper sizes:

  • 18" x 24"
  • 24" x 36"

Each plan specifies the correct printing size.  

Please note: Building departments require black & white prints. 

Can I sell your plans?

Feel free to email us with your ideas but don't use plans without permission, it's illegal copyright infringement and can get you into trouble with your host, eventually lose your website, or worse. 

What's your refund policy?

Plans, models and services are all delivered as digital goods and are non-refundable. We stand behind our products and client satisfaction is important to us. However, our creative work is delivered via an internet download as "intangible goods" therefore we do not offer refunds. 

What types of buildings can you design?

We design & draft many styles! And we can design houses, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), tiny houses on wheels, cabins, cottages, garages, studios, office spaces, backyard buildings, sheds, barns, small commercial spaces, and more. We work with clients in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. Please visit the drafting page for more information and pricing.

Find a mistake in a plan? Let us know!

If you find an error in a plan please contact me right away so it can be corrected. Corrections move to the top of my daily work load and once the correction has been made the corrected plan will be emailed to you at the address you used to contact me. While I work to make corrections same day it may take up to 72 hours to turn around the corrected PDF depending on the day I receive notice (weekends, holidays may take longer, e.g.).

Can I build one of your plans for resale?

Absolutely. Your purchase includes a license to build a single house from your plan to use for personal or professional purposes. If you choose to build another version of a particular house just purchase another plan. It's that easy!