The Secret Life of Blueprints...

Although there is the great temptation to save thousands of hard-earned dollars by abbreviating or perhaps eliminating the design stage completely, the planning of your new home or renovation is at the very heart of your project.  The design is the foundation and translation of many months of planning and calculating.  The planning phase is what establishes the core value of your home.  In the right hands, the planning phase is the seed for your comfort, excitement, and aesthetic environment in a series of well thought-out spaces for many years of enjoyment.  And it is more than that, for the design and

execution of these spaces also establishes the physical reality and monetary value of the building in the marketplace.  A well-conceived space that feels comfortable, takes advantage of views, flows to other areas of the home, creates appropriate privacy, and is beautifully proportioned will have a universal appeal for many years.  But you’re not thinking that far ahead, and a set of “canned plans” at a very attractive price is most attractive right now.  Unfortunately, you soon discover that few if any of these actually accommodate the family and accomplish your goals.  The plan that feels right may not allow access to the garage from the required direction; it may obliterate the magnificent view which is the reason you bought the property; it may not have enough baths or too small a kitchen.  You may buy a set of plans only to find out the only way it will fit on your lot doesn’t allow for solar panels or that outdoor terrace you had anticipated.  So how can you get the home you want without breaking the bank on plans?  First of all, plans (commonly thought of as “blueprints”) are the communication tool to translate your concepts, needs, and wishes into graphic form at the job site.  A well-rendered set of prints gives instruction to your contractor and his subcontractors, material men and suppliers on how to fabricate the building.  “Blueprints” are a legal document, as well; binding these trades people to you and form a core part of their contractual obligation to each other and to you.  Thirdly, plans will be required by the local permitting authority and land use department and must be stamped by an architect and/or structural engineer.  They will be available to inspectors and all parties to the job at the jobsite and at the building department.  In short, they must be drawn according to code.