FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
+ Business Information
1.) How does Architectural Overflow, LLC. differ from an architect?
Architectural Overflow, LLC is a full-service, residential design firm. Currently, we do not employ any licensed architects, although several of our employees are working towards this goal. We create detailed structural and construction documents that a general contractor/builder follows to build your home.
However, where an architect would source and list everything for your custom home, we leave those specifications for you and your builder to decide. This helps you to maintain flexibility with choices and greatly reduces the costs of the design process.
2.) What 'styles' does Architectural Overflow design?
Due to the variety of work we have done throughout the country, our expertise is not limited to any particular style. Our projects have encompassed everything from traditional homes to modern farm houses, as well as country-style homes and cottages.
3.) What areas of the country does Architectural Overflow conduct business in?
Architectural Overflow, LLC conducts business throughout the entire country. More specifically, we have worked with many clients in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region, as well as the surrounding areas of Atlanta, GA and the regional Southeast United States.
4.) Can Architectural Overflow recommend builders and general contractors?
Yes. With over 20 years of experience, we have worked with several builders, general contractors, and subcontractors and would be more than happy to assist you with a referral.
We also work closely with the Southern Living Custom Builder Program, which is a network of more than 100 of the South's top custom home builders. The invitation-only program selects custom builders acclaimed for their detailed craftsmanship, excellence in customer service, financial stability, and use of quality building materials in their homes. More information about Southern Living's Custom Builder Program can be found here.
1.) How do I get started?
2.) What kind of timeline am I looking at for my project?
As you may know, the timeline for a particular project will often depend on the size and scope of the work. A typical project takes 3-5 weeks to finish, but may take longer depending on many variables, including the size of the project, review points, and Architectural Review Board (ARB) approvals.
3.) How is the total living square footage determined?
Total living square footage is calculated from the outside face of the stud to the outside face of the stud. Total living square footage includes only the heated area of the house and does not include the garage, storage areas, or future spaces.
4.) What is a PDF Plan Set?
A PDF Plan Set is a digital version of the construction drawings, formatted for printing on large paper (most often 24” x 36”). This option allows you - through qualified architects and engineers - to legally modify the design without having to completely redraw the plan. As a derivative work, you are only allowed to build the home a single time under copyright restrictions. The CAD set serves the same function, but provides the drawings in an electronic format.
5.) When ordering house plans, how many plan sets do I need?
We offer four different plan packages, which include the pricing set, 5-set construction plans, PDF plan, and electronic CAD files. If you are ready to build the home as drawn, the 5-set construction package will provide a set for yourself, your builder, mortagage lender, insurance company, local building department, and several subcontractors.
6.) Why aren't detailed HVAC, plumbing, and electrical details included?
Local HVAC codes, climatic requirements, and commonly used system vary greatly throughout the country. Your local HVAC contractor, plumber, electrician, and/or lighting designer can determine the best layout for your new home.
1.) Will Architectural Overflow work from my design ideas and/or sketches?
Yes! We would be more than happy to meet with you at either of our office locations or over the phone to review your materials and design ideas.
2.) We want to build "green," can Architectural Overflow help achieve this?
Yes, we can. Several of our employees are qualified LEED Green Associates and would be more than happy to assist you in incorporating the most current green building principles, practices, and energy efficient design features.
3.) Does Architectural Overflow provide interior design services?
Yes, we do provide services for several interior design elements, although this is not one of our main focuses. For color selections, final design materials, and furnishings, we would be more than happy to connect you with some of the clients we have worked with in the past.
4.) Can Architectural Overflow make changes to a pre-existing plan and customize it to fit my needs?
We certainly can! Whether you would like to add a garage, bedroom, bathroom, move a window, or make a room larger, we can assist you with these design modifications. Contact us today and we can address any questions or concerns you might have regarding this process.
5.) Can I get the house plans with a different foundation?
Yes. For example, if you would like to change the foundation from a slab to a crawlspace, we can assist you. Contact us today for an estimate.
6.) The plan I am interested in has a two-car garage, but I would like a three-car garage. Can Architectural Overflow make these modifications?
7.) How can I get a better look at the plans I am interested in?
Our planning sets will allow you to get a better look at a plan and can even help you decide between two or more home plans that you're interested in. In a planning set, you will get all four exterior elevations, plus the floor plans shown to scale. Although you can't build from planning sets, they will allow you to gather bids from contractors, arrange your furniture in the plan, analyze traffic patterns, and gauge the site lines on your lot.
8.) Where can I see this plan built?
Unfortunately, due to privacy issues, we cannot give out the location of where the home was built, unless it was a show home open to the public.
1.) How does Architectural Overflow charge for its services?
Costs vary greatly depending on the size and scope of the project. With new, custom house plans and remodels, we often charge based off of square footage. For design modifications, we often work with our clients on an hourly basis.
2.) What is the cost for a pre-drawn house plan?
Construction sets for our plans are typically around $1,500. If you would like to have the plans customized, the total cost can range from $3,000-$10,000. This is a fraction of the cost of hiring a local architect to design a custom plan, where you will usually pay between 4% to 12% of the total construction cost. Therefore, pre-drawn house plans are a cost-effective way to purchase blueprints when building a custom home.
1.) What is Architectural Overflow's Return/Exchange Policy?
Because of copyright issues, we cannot accept returns on house plans at this time. If you would like to select a different plan, we will exchange one plan for another; however, an exchange will incur a 20% return fee.
+ Building Codes
1.) Do I need to be concerned about building codes?
Building codes are standards created to ensure the structural safety of buildings. They are established and enforced by your local government, usually through your city or county's building department. Every state, county, and local municipality has adopted their codes from one of the three nationally recognized building codes: UBC (Uniform Building Code), BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators), and CABO (Council of American Building Officials). The new IRC (International Residential Code) is a combination of all three. All are very similar in content. However, many regions have additional, more stringent regulations due to extreme weather or geographical conditions. If you live in the earthquake-prone areas of the Pacific Coast or the hurricane-risk areas of the Atlantic Coast and/or Gulf Coast, the greater Chicago area, and many parts of New York, make sure to inquire about the specifics of these additional requirements. For additional residential building code information, visit the ICC's website here.
2.) What if the plan I want doesn't meet my local building code?
We can make design changes to accommodate most building code requirements. If a seal, stamp, or specific engineering is required in your area, you will need to have a local engineer or architect review and revise the plans to accommodate your unique building codes.
3.) Do Architectural Overflow's house plans have all of the information I need to get a building permit?
Almost, with a few exceptions, depending on where you are building your house. All building departments will require a site plan to show where the house will sit on the property. You might also need beams sized to accommodate roof loads specific to your region. Your home builder can usually help with this. If you are not connecting to a sewer system, you will also need a septic design attached to your application. Many areas also require compliance with local energy codes, which is normally a simple form to fill out and to attach to your application. In some regions, you will also need to ensure that your house plans are in compliance with local codes, as some areas of the United States require strict engineering requirements. These areas may include earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Coast, hurricane-risk areas of the Florida, Carolina, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts. If you are building in these areas, you will most likely need to hire a state-licensed structural engineer to analyze the design and to provide any additional drawings and calculations required by your local building department. If you are not sure, contact your local building department to see what items are required in order to obtain a building permit.