Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are BGS plans ready for my building department?
In almost every case. All BGS plans are designed for specific environmental conditions such as wind speed, roof load and seismic zone, which can vary for some localities and states. The specific requirements a plan meets are noted on the top line of each plan's page. If your building department requires engineered plans, and if these conditions meet your location requirements, then the plans are ready for your building department's approval. If your conditions are different--say, if you live in Seismic Zone D and the plan was designed for Zone C - then most plans can be modified to be in compliance.
Templates for plumbing and electrical layouts, if required, are provided by BGS. Site plans are, naturally, provided by you, the owner.
Note: Site plans are not included and plumbing/electrical layout is filled in by you or your contractor on a base sheet provided by BGS.
2. How do I determine my building requirements?
First, call your local planning department. They will tell you what you are allowed to build: building size, height and set back requirements from your property line. If engineering is required, contact your local building department (they are responsible for how the building is constructed) and jot down their specifications for the following:
Note: It is always prudent to document the Department/Person providing this information.
3. If I buy another company's plan that isn't engineered, what does it take to get it signed if that's what my building department requires?
Please be aware that the building department isn't just looking for a signature; it's looking for assurance that your plan is structurally reliable and will meet all local requirements. An engineer doesn't sign off on a plan unless and until he's done the calculations that assure him that this is indeed the case. So you take your plans to an engineer to have them analyzed for structural soundness and code compliance. If your plans don't meet these requirements, the engineer will have to modify your plans to make them comply. This, of course, will cost you added time and money. It could also necessitate having to have the plans redrawn in some cases, an additional expense. This is why BGS engineered plans are such a solid value: all the engineering work has already been done on all our plans, making them easy for your building department to approve.
4. I found a plan that is close to what I need, but I'd like to make a few changes. Can I do that in the field?
Changes in the field are dependent on two main factors: the significance of the change, and the position the building department takes. Sometimes we don't hear from the building department if only minor changes are requested. If changes are more significant, however, they may require review by the engineer.
There are costs associated with additional work. Generally, the most cost effective approach is to modify the plans and have no changes in the field. Field changes generally add time and extra cost to your construction project.
5. If I do need to modify the plans, how much will that cost?
Most modifications add between $175 to $300 to the cost of the plans. Final cost is based on time required to make your changes.
6. How long will it take to modify my plans?
Our average response time is two to three weeks.
7. Is plan modification really cost effective?
Absolutely! Planned changes are always cheaper than 'surprises'.
8. What modifications can I request?
Building size, wall height, roof pitch, siding, window/door locations, etc.
9. What is the procedure for plan modification?
Select the plan that comes closest to your ideal building. Fill in the information required, and at the bottom draw a sketch of your floor plan showing where you want to locate windows and doors. Fax the sheet to BGS. After our review, we will contact you with questions/comments and a price for modifications. When you decide to proceed, payment can be made by VISA/MasterCard or personal check.
10. How does BGS address Building Department issues/comments, and at what cost?
BGS plans are prepared with initial information provided by the customer. We address any concerns the Building Department may have with our engineered plans. There is no additional charge for clarification or corrections.
However, if you live in Seismic Zone D (not C as indicated in your order) or the roof load requirement is really 80 PSF (not 20 PSF as noted on your order), those are new issues and additional charges will apply.
11. Can you design a house for me?
No. BGS only does accessory buildings: barns, garages & shops. We recommend www.nsse.com.
12. Why do your plans cost more money than other plans on the internet?
Because we supply you with much more information than other available plans. If someone offered to sell you a car without the wheels, the price would be cheaper, but it wouldn't necessarily mean you'd gotten a better deal, because you'd have to go out and buy the wheels later yourself.
If you buy other (cheaper) building plans, you may also need to add on the cost of engineering, the extra cost of building supplies purchased as the job progresses (as opposed to using a BGS plan, where all materials can be priced and purchased up front to get a better package deal), and the cost of the surprises that almost invariably come up in the construction process when some detail is open to interpretation because the plans used were not specific or detailed enough.
The extra details our plans provide: additional wall framing views (elevations), specifications for anchor bolt/hold down locations, additional construction notes and even full-sized templates for cutting your roof members (which assure that your roof angle is correct, without you having to calculate this detail yourself) end up saving you much more money on your build that our plans' initial cost. We think that makes them an excellent value.
13. Why do your plans cost less money than my local architect/engineer would charge?
The system we've developed over the past 28 years of specializing in barns, garages and shop buildings, and our extensive library of plans, enables us to provide a much more detailed, comprehensive and economical set of blueprints than can be produced on an individual basis.