Custom Home Floor Plans | FAQ | Frank Betz Associates
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Frequently Asked Questions

Before You Purchase Questions

  • Do your plans comply with the building codes in my area?

    Our plans are drawn to meet the 2012 International Residential Code for One & Two Family Dwelling and 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Many states and counties amend the codes in their area. Consult your local building officials to determine your plan, code, and site requirements. Learn more about our design criteria.

  • Are your plans stamped by an architect or engineer?

    Frank Betz Associates, Inc. is a residential design firm. We do not stamp any of our house plans. Single family construction in most cities and counties do not require that a plan be stamped by an architect or engineer. Check with your building officials for the specific plan requirements in your area.

  • Where can I go to see a particular house built?

    Since we sell plans throughout the United States it is not possible for us to keep up with where our homes are built. Additionally, our privacy policy prevents us from disclosing names, phone numbers or addresses of our customers. While we do understand the desire to see a home completed, the privacy of our customers must remain a high priority. You may however, post a request on Facebook or Twitter to see if anyone has photos they wish to share.

  • Why aren’t HVAC, plumbing and mechanical details included?

    Because our plans are sold throughout the United States and Canada, it is not possible for us to include all the climate requirements and building codes. Your local builder or building official can determine the best layout and system for your home.

  • Do you offer material workbooks and can I purchase a workbook without first buying the plan? What is included?

    We offer material workbooks for the majority of our plans, you can call our office or check our website to determine if a workbook is available. Workbooks can be purchased prior to purchasing the plans. The workbooks are designed for easy, organized project management. The quantity of every item needed for construction is itemized.

  • Why don’t you have any photos of the homes I’m interested in?

    Because we sell homes throughout the United States and Canada we cannot photograph all of our homes. Therefore we rely on our customers to send us photos of their completed Frank Betz homes. We are constantly updating our website and adding photos so we encourage you to check back often. Additionally, a request can be posted on our Facebook or Twitter page asking if anyone has photos to share. (Please note that the homes may have been modified from the original design.)

  • How much will this plan cost to build?

    Many factors need to be considered when determining how much a house will cost to build. Obviously the best way is to purchase the plans and then have a builder price it out. However, in order to gather information prior to purchasing the plan you can consult with a builder or real estate professional about what the cost per square foot is in the area you are looking to build. We offer material workbooks (check for availability) that provide a list of all the materials required to construct the home. Keep in mind that level of finishes (flooring, countertops, cabinets, molding, light fixtures, etc.) all significantly impact the price of construction.

  • Do you offer “Green house plans”?

    Typically “Green” refers to the way the house is positioned on the lot and the materials used the construct the house, not necessarily the way the house is drawn. As such, any of our plans can be built using “Green” methods.

  • I bought a Frank Betz home that was already built. I want to finish the basement, can I buy a foundation sheet only?

    Getting a foundation after the house is already built is typically not going to help because there is no way of knowing if the foundation was built as it was drawn. A better option is contact a remodeler and have them measure and draw the basement foundation plan.

  • What information do I need to provide when I purchase a set of plans?

    Before placing your order you need to know which plan you want as well as the foundation. Additionally, we need to know what type of license you need, either single use or multi use. A single use license consists of 5 sets or 8 sets and can be built one time. A multi-use license is a reproducible, PDF or CADD file (format required) and can be built as many times as you want.

  • Should I buy the plans or let my builder buy them?

    The person who purchases the license is the one who has the legal right to build the house. If the homeowner purchases the license, they can hire any builder they wish to build the home. If the builder purchases the license, then they have the legal right to build the plan. Two things to keep in mind; if the builder purchases the license and they purchase a multi-use license they can build the plan as many times as they want as well as wherever they want. Even if the homeowner reimburses the builder for the license the homeowner would have no say in where another home could be built. Additionally, if the builder purchases the license and the homeowner reimburses the builder for the license and then the homeowner decides to go with another builder, the homeowner would have no plans and no right to build the plan.

  • Why don’t I get more than one set of detail sheets?

    The detail sheets are a complimentary set of plans that gives suggestions on how to construct certain details of the plans. The builder is not required to use the detail sheets, the detail sheets are printed on a reproducible paper so copies of the detail sheets can be made.

  • Do your plans include all of the information my building department requires for a building permit?

    Each building departments requirements vary. We recommend that you contact them for the specific requirements. Our plans include all of the drawings typically needed for construction, except site specific information and heating and cooling requirements. This information, if required, must be provided based on the geographic conditions in your area.

  • Is there a difference in the Southern Living® Plans and the rest of the Frank Betz plans?

    Southern Living® plans do not have separate framing drawings. The framing information, including the joist sizing, spacing, beam sizes, ceiling joist and rafters is included on the foundation and floor plans or details of each Southern Living® plan. To view the contents of a typical set of our house plans, click here.

  • What additional items do you offer to compliment your house plans?

    We offer material workbooks (for most of our plans), yard signs, and artwork.

  • What is included with my CADD drawings?

    CADD files are offered to allow our customers to make changes to the plans. Included in every CADD package are: the plan files, pen files, "Read Me" layer instruction file, typical detail sheets file and font files. One set of plans will also be included with your package. If the plans are emailed to you, you will receive a PDF of the plans. The Frank Betz Associates, Inc. title block and copyright must remain on the plan. A CADD program is required in order to use the CADD files.

  • How is the square footage calculated?

    Square footage calculations are made from outside the exterior frame wall and do not include decks, porches, garages, basements, attics, fireplaces, etc. Our calculations include only heated spaces. We include two story and vaulted areas only once in the calculations of the first floor. Stairs are counted once. Balconies and open walkways in two story and vaulted areas are included in the calculations of the second floor. The brick veneer is not counted in our square footage calculations. Square footage is calculated using the actual working drawings. You will not be able to calculate square footage based on the room sizes given on our website.

  • What dimensions are available prior to purchase?

    For planning purposes, we include major room sizes and overall dimensions on the floor plans and on the “plan spec” page of our website. The room dimensions are approximate and are measured from inside face of stud to inside face of stud. Exact dimensions are only available upon purchase of the plan license. The overall width and overall depth are measured from outside face of stud to outside face of stud. They do not include finish material, such as brick or stone veneer.

  • What are the ceiling heights of your plans?

    For the majority of our plans, the first floor height is either 8’-0” or 9’-0”. The second floor ceiling heights are 8’-0” except for some of our larger homes that have 9’-0” ceilings. These ceiling heights are for the typical rooms that do not have vaulted or tray ceilings. The rooms with a volume ceiling are indicated on the promotional plans and the construction drawings. (Click on “plan specs” for ceiling heights listed for each design.)

  • Are your basements daylight or post and beam?

    All of our basements are full basements and are designed as framed rear wall, walk-outs. The remaining foundation walls are concrete. The interior walls are 2 x 6 framed walls used to support the structure above. The layout of these walls often mimic the main areas of the first floor. These areas do not have to be finished and, please note, unfinished, non-heated, areas are not included in square footage calculations. Also, our basement plans do not typically include any finished areas and therefore are not available for preview. Need a Post and Beam basement? See our Modification FAQ’s. Please request a modification quote or buy a multi-use license and use a local professional. Crawl Space foundations are designed as four concrete stem walls around the exterior of the house. Interior concrete pilasters and/or piers support beams and/or girders, which in turn support the structure above. Slab foundations are designed for a single “monolithic” concrete pour. The perimeter of the slab consists of turn-downing footings. Interior concrete grade beams support the structure above.

Technical Support Questions

  • I’m modifying the house plans, what type of technical support do you provide?

    Our technical staff has access to our “stock” plans and plans that have been modified by our staff. Therefore, if your plan has been or is being modified by an outside source we will not be able to answer any questions as we have no way of knowing exactly what was modified and how it would affect the plan. We recommend that you contact the designer or drafter that made the modifications for you.

  • I’ve purchased a black line license and have decided that I want to modify the home plan, what’s the procedure?

    You will need to request a quote for modifications for your specific changes through our modification department. If you are using another designer, please contact customer service about upgrading to a reproducible or CADD file. Consult your local building officials to determine changes that should be made to the plans to meet specific local codes and site requirements. Redlines and other code related notes are allowed to be added to the plans in order to meet local code requirements.

  • I purchased a CADD file and information appears to be missing.

    Our house plans are drawn using DataCad 16 and may have been converted to other formats at the time of purchase. DataCad, uses a feature called “Go to View”, which automatically allows you to view a plan, such as first floor framing, without having to turn layers on and off. Other programs may not have this feature. You will need to turn on and off the view information. See the "Read Me" files for layering information.

  • Are there issues exporting information from DataCad to other file formats?

    When exporting to other formats, there can be issues with data translation. Drawing elements may be exploded or displayed differently. Hatching and dimensions are usually easily isolated by layers. See the "Read Me" files for layering information. You may also need to change the way information is displayed from within the program’s display settings, such as resetting line types. Text may not display properly because of missing font types. We include these font files with each CADD order.

  • Where are the foundation details?

    Included with your purchase is a detail sheet, D-1. This drawing contains typical sections and details showing the foundation. You will need to use the details pertinent to the foundation you are building.

  • What size studs are shown for exterior walls?

    All first and second floor exterior walls are 2 x 4 wood studs. Exterior walls in two story areas are typically 2 x 6 wood studs. All stud sizes are dictated by the building codes to meet the structural load requirements or the insulation requirements in colder climates, adjustments may be necessary to meet your local requirements. All of our basement plans exterior and interior load bearing walls are shown as 2 x 6 wood stud walls.

  • What do the window and door sizes represent?

    Our house plans are designed using wood, double hung divided light windows. The working drawings use a generic window sizing system that does not apply to any brand of windows. For example, a common size seen on our plans is 2862. This is a window that is 32” wide and 74” tall (2’-8” x 6’-2”). This is also the standard system used to identify the size of doors. A 2-6 is a standard 6’-8” tall door that is 2’-6” wide. Since all manufactures carry different sizes and types of windows, adjustments may be necessary to the “stock” plan. Keep in mind to follow all code requirements regarding emergency egress windows.

Modification Questions

  • If a house is shown in siding or stucco, can I build it with brick instead or vice versa?

    If brick is added to a house, a brick ledge must be added to the foundation to support the brick and wider overhangs may be required on the roof. If brick is deleted, the ledges on the foundation plan will not be required. Most changes to the exterior finish can be made easily without causing problems. Other changes should only be made after consulting with a qualified professional.

  • Can any house be built on a slab?

    Any of our plans can be built on a slab foundation. The type of foundation needed depends on your building site. If a slab foundation plan is not available, our modifications department can design one for you at an additional charge. You may order a custom slab directly through Customer Service.

  • How hard is it to switch from a front car garage to a side car or vice versa?

    Usually this is not hard to do. The most important consideration is the structure and the beam that spans across the garage. Depending on the current design of the garage doors and windows, the structure may need to be changed when the door is relocated. We will review this, when we do a modification for you. Learn more about our Modification Services by clicking this link.

  • How can I find plans that are similar to the one I like?

    Just enter your design parameters into our plan library search page. If a similar plan is available, click the link on the design page that says "similar plan." Similar plans are listed within the “plan spec” link for each design and at the bottom of each plan page. Similar plans are just that, similar. Not the same. They might be similar in appearance, or only in square footage, but not the same. If there are no similar plans listed, email and ask if there might be a similar plan. Please allow time for a proper search.

  • Do you offer different elevations for your designs?

    A stock plan will come the way it is advertised, either on web or in a magazine. Published photos are "builders’ versions" of our stock design. And not necessarily "true" to the stock plan design. There are no other "versions" or elevations offered. However, we offer modifications for most of our designs. Any requested changes have to go through the modifications department. Please note: Previous modifications made for other clients are not available for resale.

Ordering Information

  • How do I order your plans?

    There are four ways to order: Either by phone, online, by fax or by mail. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover or Paypal. Money Orders or Cashier’s Checks are also accepted. Sorry, we do not take personal or business checks or offer COD.

  • Can I purchase discontinued plans?

    Periodically plans are discontinued due to various reasons. These plans are no longer available for sale. Our Customer Service department can help you find a plan that resembles the discontinued plan.

  • Where do I find prices?

    Prices can be viewed by clicking the "See Prices and Order Online" link while viewing the plan of your choice.

  • If the plan doesn’t work for some reason can I return it for a refund?

    Single Use License (Bond): Plans are non-refundable. Plans may be exchanged within 30 days of original purchase. Exchanges are subject to any price difference and a 20% restocking fee.

    Multi Use License (Reproducibles, PDF’s, CAD, Homeplan Packs): All sales are final. Plans may not be exchanged or returned. For PDF and CAD orders, once the plan has been emailed it cannot be cancelled.

    Artwork and Material Workbooks (Print and Electronic): No refunds or exchanges will be accepted.

  • What is the difference between a mirror images and a true reverse set?

    A mirror image shows the plan in reverse however the lettering and dimensions appear backwards. Click here for an example of a "Mirror Image." A true reverse shows the plan in reverse with the lettering and dimensions right reading. Click here for an example of a "True Reverse." A true reverse is $250 and may have to be drawn by the modification. If ordering sets of blacklines, you may order some of the sets as "mirrored image". We recommend at least one set be sent as it is drawn. You can also order a "true reverse" in the blackline purchase. There is an additional charge for a "true reverse".

  • What type of foundation comes with my plan?

    Most of our plans are available with a basement or crawl foundation plan. Many of our plans are also available with a slab foundation plan. If the foundation you need is not available, it can be ordered through our modification department for an additional fee. Available foundations for each plan can be viewed by clicking the "order online" link, then "foundation" link while viewing the plan of your choice.

  • Can I purchase one set of plans and make copies of the plans as needed?

    No, all of our plans are protected by the United States Copyright Act (see Copyright Info). Our plans cannot be copied without expressed written consent from Frank Betz Associates, Inc. Our plans cannot be used in any way without obtaining a license from Frank Betz Associates, Inc.

  • How soon will I receive my plans?

    The plans are shipped the next business day after receipt of your order via UPS and can be shipped Ground, 2nd Day Air or, Next Day Air. UPS will not deliver to a post office box. Unless requested, packages will not require a signature for delivery.