Home Designer-House Plan Designer-Draftsman
Summary: As an alternative to an architect or buying home plans from a web site or magazine, you can have a home designer who is a draftsperson draw up most new homes.
Carl, You mention possibly using a draftsman in lieu of an architect.
How do I go about finding a good draftsman in my area?
A good home plan designer is a draftsman by trade with many years of drawing blueprints and designing new homes.
They will have many good references and they are not too expensive.
In fact, many lumber companies (not the big box home centers) have a draftsman on staff and offer free drafting service if you buy their lumber.
If they don’t have one, they may be able to at least recommend a draftsperson. This is better than finding one in the yellow pages as you are getting a recommendation for the draftsperson at he same time you are getting a name of one.
You can of course use the Yellow Pages or the Internet, but be sure to check the draftsperson’s references and local work.
In the Yellow pages, look under: “Home Designing & Planning Service”.
On the Internet, this Google search produced a plethora of lumber companies with designers/draftspersons:
Search terms - Home Designing & Planning Service + lumber company + your city & state.
In any case, always get references for people the designer/draftspersons have done work for, ask to see their work, and if possible, go see some of it.
At least, be sure to call their references to see if they were pleased.
Your building inspection department will most likely require a set of plans that include (but are not limited to) a foundation plan, elevations, floor plan, roof framing plan, and cross sectional framing plan, as well as a plot plan. See page 4 of my article on Reading House plans: house plans).
No matter who draws your plans have them reviewed by a structural engineer.
It only took one bad experience for me to never overlook that step again. It's not expensive. Structural failure is. Even sags are considered a failure.
Tip: Some Structural Steel companies have free engineering for small jobs such as a house. Most houses can and should use steel for large spans and/or load bearing beams. Steel is always better for these purposes than wood beams.
Good luck, Carl Heldmann