Frequently Asked Questions
Custom Design – Where do I begin?
Q. What should I be aware of in selecting my lot?
A. Deed restrictions, easements, set-backs, topo, trees and any features such as water, views, cliffs.
Q. What information should I provide to you after I’ve selected my lot?
A. The following are important to the design of your home:
1.How big will the house be (square footage)? Note: square footage is typically is calculated based on the heated or living area of the house and does not include porches, patios or garages.
2.Type and size of the garage. Will it be front, side, rear entry or detached? How many spaces?
3.Number of stories.
4.Plate height of stories. The plate height is the ceiling height at the outside wall, first and second floors.
5.Location of the stairs. For example, will the stairs be a focal point or utilitarian?
6.Room count, i.e. number of living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms.
7.Additional spaces such as game room, media room, tech center, wine room, office/study, outdoor living space, porches, patios, etc.
8.Exterior style such as Mediterranean, Texas Hill Country, traditional, Spanish, etc.
9.Additional information: what else do you want, such as wet bar, pool cabana, kitchen and bath appointments, etc.
Q. Do you have guidelines of questions to help me tell you what my requirements are for my home?
A. Once we have contracted with you to design your home, we will provide you with a list of what we will need to get started.
Q. Will I see a preliminary sketch of the floor plan?
A. Yes. The preliminary sketch of the floor plan will be shown on the lot. Note: this is called “Page 1”.
Q. Can I make changes to the preliminary plan?
A. Yes. We will work with you on preliminary sketches until you are comfortable with the room layout, room count and approximate square footage.
Q. How many changes can I make?
A. As many as are necessary.
Q. What happens when we’ve settled on the preliminary design?
A. Once a preliminary design has been decided on, I will start the working drawings and produce your first check-set.
Q. What does the first check-set include?
A. It includes the floor plan drawn at ¼ inch scale (1st and 2nd floor), all window and door sizes called out, all floor surfaces called out, all interior cabinets drawn, all electrical and a front elevation.
Q. Can I make changes to the first check-set?
A. Absolutely. This will be your first look at the “pictures” of the house. Again, changes will be made until you are comfortable with what you see before we proceed to the second check-set.
Q. If the exterior elevation shows brick or rock, can it be built with siding or stucco instead?
A. If brick is added to a house, a brick ledge has to be added to the foundation for support and possibly wider overhands could be required on the roof. On the other hand, if brick is deleted, the ledges on the foundation plan are not required. Many changes to the elevation finish are easily accomplished. However, some changes require consultation with a qualified professional.
Q. Explain the window and doors sizes.
A. Our plans are designed using aluminum single-hung windows. Each set of working drawings uses a generic window sizing system that does not apply to any brand of windows. In illustration, a typical size used on our plans is 3050. This window is 36” wide and 60” tall (3’0” x 5’0”). Additionally, this is the system used to call out door sizes as well. A “2-6” door is a standard 6’-8” tall door that is 2’-6” wide. Many different sized windows are carried by different manufacturers and thus adjustments may be required to “stock” plans. Bear in mind that code requirements must be adhered to regarding emergency egress windows.
Q. How long does the entire process take?
A. Anywhere from six to ten weeks (can take longer) depending on how rapidly you return your changes to the preliminary and check-sets. It also depends on how many changes are made.
Q. Do you provide any engineering?
A. No. It is recommended that the foundation and framing be designed by structural engineers.
Q. Are the plans stamped by an architect or engineer?
A. We are a building design firm and as such we do not stamp our home plans. While different cities vary in requirements, most do not require the stamp of an architect or engineer. It is your responsibility to verify with your city building officials what their requirements are in this regard.
Q. Will the plans I purchase comply with the building codes in my area?
A. Our plans are drawn with in compliance with the 2009 International Residential Code for One & Two Family Dwelling and the 2009 International Building Code with local amendments. You will need to consult with your local building officials in order to learn their requirements.
Q. Will the plans I purchase have what is required by the building department in my area in order to obtain a building permit?
A. You will need to check with your local building department to determine their particular requirements. Our plans have all drawings normally needed for construction but site specific and hvac requirements for different areas vary according to geographic locations and this information must be obtained locally.
Q. Do you provide a foundation plan?
A. No. We can provide a foundation layout if requested. All of our plans are designed for a single concrete pour. The perimeter of the slab is made of turn-down footings. Interior concrete grade beams support the structure above. An engineer’s design is required.
Q. Do you provide a rafter and joist plan?
A. No. We can provide one drawn to the IRC (International Residential Code), but it is not engineered.
Q. How many sets of plans do I get?
A. We typically provide fifteen sets. More are available at additional cost upon request.
Q. Do I own the plan when completed?
A. No. What you are buying is a custom designed home for you to use one time at the location specified. Jim Cox Designs retains ownership and copyright to the plan.
Q. If I purchase one set of plans, can I make copies as needed?
A. No. Our plans are protected by the United States Copyright Act and cannot be copied without expressed written permission from Jim Cox Designs. Our plans cannot be used in any way without obtaining permission from Jim Cox Designs. (See Copyright Information).