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Permit Drawings

It will be necessary for the builder to annotate the Construction Plans prior to submitting a building permit application. We call the refer to the resulting redlined construction plan set as the “Permit Drawings”, and this is what will be submitted to the local permit office. In the most basic sense, the task involves checking off which alternates and options are to be constructed and crossing out details that are not applicable. Detailed instructions are provided in the Construction Plans for how to do this, and most builders have undertaken similar exercises for past projects. You can see a generic set of red-lined permit drawings here:

Enhanced Efficiency

If your goal is to incorporate our Enhanced Efficiency details into your permit drawings, that adds another dimension to the decision-making and budgeting. Key decisions that ripple through the plans and determine the comfort level of your home (and the energy bills) will be:

  • Thermal Slab vs. Basement vs. Crawl Space

  • Style of exterior wall(s) and insulation material

  • Attic insulation material

  • Windows (this is one of the first items you should upgrade where your budget allows)

  • Heating/cooling equipment

Close coordination with the builder is required in making these decisions, and they will be able to tell you the financial implications to the construction budget. If you plan to undertake some of the work as DIY projects, you’ll need to educate yourself to a greater extent than if you are simply making decisions for the builder to execute. Our Resources page provides a ton of useful reference information, and don’t underestimate the value of online resources. Importantly we are here to provide support via phone and email to a level rarely seen with other house plans retailers. We take a personal interest in our projects!

We sincerely wish we could iron out the wrinkles in the process to get signed/sealed permit drawings. Consider that we are currently one-person shop, and there are so many jurisdictions across the continent that we can never have the specific knowledge that local professionals will have. This is an unavoidable consequence of purchasing generic nationally marketed house plans, but we like to think we provide more options to help you navigate the process than most purveyors. There is a bright side though--buying a set of Dumb Home plans and hiring a local engineer should still be significantly less expensive than creating a home design from scratch.

Compact home mascot

Wrinkles - the good kind!

Coordinating With an A/E Firm

Dealing with the Structural Plans will often take the most effort of any task in obtaining your building permits. Always start with your local code official to make sure the "Building Code Data" is filled out property on sheet G1.1. They will be able to tell you if the local requirements are more stringent than the design values and whether or not you need an Architect's or Engineer's (A/E) seal. Most often, this is done by a structural engineer rather than an architect. There are several scenarios for how this may play out:

  1. The plans don't need to be sealed. Whew, you dodged a bullet, but the responsibility still falls you and the builder to make sure the design is compliant with local codes and practices.

  2. If you need a seal and the project is located in either Maryland or Delaware, you're in luck! Steve is licensed in both states and can mail you any number of "wet-stamped" structural plans. Contact us, tell us what you need, and we'll mail them out for an additional fee that you can pay through the web store.  The fee is usually equivalent to two hours of consulting time.

  3. If you need a seal in another jurisdiction, you'll need to hire a local architect or structural engineer to review, revise, and sign/seal the structural plans.  We can usually recommend a firm that can provide a proposal to do the work, so be sure to ask.  The local building permit official often has a list of local professionals that will help in finding a reputable firm. Within this scenario, there are three options for how proceed:

  • If the revisions are simple, the local A/E can probably just mark up the generic plans we send out for the base price listed in the web store. We've included a blank sheet in the pdf set in case they need to add a sheet. They would add their logo and contact info in the blank section of the title block, fill out the professional certification, and sign/seal in the lower left corner. DHL would be minimally involved in the process and there would be no fee involved for us. You would pay the local A/E directly.

  • If more significant revisions are required, or if the AHJ will not accept plans that have been marked up by hand, the drawings will need to be edited in CAD, reprinted, and then signed/sealed. DHL is usually able to perform those services under the direction of the A/E, and they would seal the drawings we prepare under their direction. Ask them to contact us to work out the details and for us to provide a not-to-exceed fee estimate. Payment to DHL would be made either by you as the owner or by the A/E prior to us releasing the work to the A/E. You would pay the local A/E directly.

  • The A/E may prefer to prepare the structural drawings themselves for whatever reason. We take no offense whatsoever! We are happy to provide our CAD file to them to modify as they see fit. Again, ask them to contact us to work out the details. We will require them to sign and return our CAD Release Form and provide payment before emailing the CAD file. Our fee is usually equivalent to one hour of consulting time. You would pay the local A/E directly.

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