View Full Version : House Plans for the "do it yourself" types?

November 28, 2004, 18:11
Does anyone know of a web site that has a good selection of house plans for the 'do it yourself" type. I would like to build a home using recycled materials and/or "alternative" building materials. My wife and I have the land but have been unable to find any good house plans that meet our goal of "cheap and unique".

November 28, 2004, 18:20
I had a 1200 sq. ft. hundred year old farm house on a large lot in the city.

My wife wanted an extra room.

If you ask her once a week what she wants, she will tell you. I know.

I now have a 3500 sq. ft. hundred or so years old farm house on a large lot in the city. The distance from floor to ceiling in the family room is 23 ft. I use 25 ft. long 2x12 beams to span the ceiling from a warehouse in Dallas that was being demolished.

It is unique, built of recycled materials and it is NOT cheap.

Da Nerd
November 28, 2004, 18:27
Here is a house not too far from me...give it a try...
my favorite is a house made out of large straw bales and stucco or adobe.

November 29, 2004, 10:07
Not from recycled materials, but I built a house on 1989 / 1990, It was smallish, 1,243 sqft ttl living. Brick veneer, cost $30,000 including carpet, drapes and major appliances. The ONLY thing I hired out was the brick work. Took me one solid year, Worked 8 - 12 hour days on the job, till 12 or 1 AM every night. I drew my own floor plan, and simply applied sound structural practice to effect the plan. The house was built like a tank! It endured a cat III and a cat IV hurricane, 23 air miles from the NC coast. ZERO damage. The only advice I EVER offer for someone who wants to "do-it-themselves" is:

You better DAMN WELL MEAN IT when you start! 'tis a hard task, not for the faint of heart!

November 29, 2004, 12:49
When buying house plans of any type, make sure that you get structural drawings as part of the package. See this all the time, A guy spends $700 to $1500 for house plans, applies for a building permit, I review the plans, and see that they're just elevations and floor plans, nothing there to tell the framer how to build it. He goes back to the people he bought the plans from, and they hose him for another bunch of money for structural plans.

the dog

November 29, 2004, 13:04
alphadog,,,,don't know where you are / work, but it is good to know there are some places that have some rules in place to prevent residential construction customers from getting hosed. This could be viewed as too much interference from Big Brudda. I have been in the (commercial) construction industry all my adult life. I know the ins and outs of the design process and the inspections authority process. From design through acceptance. So many poor saps have a house built that literally falls apart at the seams. I believe in allowing an individual the priviledge to screw up his own construction, to a point. (the job should meet minimum standards for all disciplines) If an individual wants to submit a permit application for construction, with only a basic floor plan, then I say let them have at it. If they don't have the right MEP (my discipline) or the proper structural elements, then they fail the inspection. Hence, no permanent power connection.

Some places don't care what you build or how you do it. Others won't let you replace a blown off shingle without a permit. (seriously!)

Ramble Off

November 29, 2004, 14:40
Owlcreek, click on my profile to find where I am. Building a house without good drawings is okay, if you're building a ranch, cape, colonial, or other simple boxlike structure. The house designs that I see coming across my desk these days are anything but simple boxes. The framers, for the most part, are still the dumb mokes that have been building boxes all their lives. If the structural drawings aren't clear, and the framer has to design something in the field himself, he almost always screws it up. If the plans do have the detail and clarity to build from, then the chance for structural f'kups is much smaller. I hate to have to tell the builder during a framing inspection that the microlam ridge beam in the 20 foot tall 'great room' is too small, and must be changed. I want to find stuff like that during plan review. Much easier to change on paper.

the dog

November 29, 2004, 15:52
Couldn' agree more, 'dog. Same difference in my area of work. There are Htg & A/C guys, then there are Mechanical Experts. Different realms.Give me a generic floor plan and tell me to lay out equpment, duct, piping and I will do it. Add more architecture than has a six sided box, and I'll run pipe through your pretty little acoustic "clouds"!:tongue:

Another hijacked thread, sorry rw66. I would say that the first step for you is to establish the basic home features you want. The materials you use will give way to many avenues of approach in respect to method of construction. If your local jurisdictional authority requires "stamped" drawings, then find a reputable firm in the business. Hiring an architect and then getting it built by a contractor will cost an amount. Finding a contractor who does design/build is, in theory, less expensive. Caveat Emptor. There are a lot of design / build contractors out there who can "sell" a set of drawings utilizing the 'rules' that folks like alphadog have to follow. This does not mean it will be "right" at the end of the day. The successful contractors in your area can tell you (and will readily do so) who the best designers are. They want to build the jobs that the "good guys" draw because they are able to complete the project in a quality, timely and profitable fashion. The designers can tell you who they like to see building their projects as well. If you local authority requires little in the way of drawings, you will have to rely on your own savvy and the trust you place in the builder. The local inspections department will protect you to varying degrees. I have worked with inspectors who were experts in the field of work they inspected. Others hardly knew which end of nail was sharp. If you have the skills to do it yourself, design, construction and can pass the local rules, then well,,,remember my first post, YA BETTER MEAN IT! I think I aged 5 years in 1 yr when I built mine. Last item that comes to mind. A person told me when I was building mine, "If your marriage lasts through a self built home, it will likely last through anything"