Copyright 2015. James Byrnes, Architect. All Rights Reserved.
LIMITATIONS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN PURCHASING A PLAN ONLINE
FOR CONSTRUCTION IN THE SUBURBAN CHICAGO AREA
Plans purchased online do not come with an Illinois architectural certification. Most villages in the Chicago suburbs require an Illinois architectural stamp on home plans submitted for permit. However, Illinois law forbids architects to stamp any drawings not prepared under their direct supervision such as online plans. Online plan sellers prevent copying of their plans through the current copyright laws. This combination of laws puts the purchaser in a difficult position. Even changing an online plan somewhat without the seller’s permission can result in an unlawful copy called a derivative plan.
Other possible problems when purchasing online home plans to be built in the Chicago area:
Many plans sold online show foundations that are unsuited for the Chicago area. Crawl spaces
rather than basements and concrete block rather than concrete are commonly found on plans.
Purchasers may like the online floor plan but not the exterior appearance of a particular plan.
Purchasers sometimes need an online home plan to be customized for their specific needs.
Several Chicago suburbs require extensive code detailing not usually included in online plans.
WE CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE TO CHICAGO AREA ONLINE PLAN PURCHASERS
After you have purchased the plan online, we can help with the following architectural services:
We will prepare a basic, economical redraw of the plan that includes only the critical items necessary to obtain a local permit. These plans will be both certified and updated structurally. We will stay with the permit review process until you obtain a building permit. The redrawn plans will include your custom revisions and any local building department requirements as needed. Most online home plan sellers will allow such a redraw or revision of their plans for a one-time build.
We cannot, however, simply copy an non purchased online plan without subjecting ourselves and our customer to severe civil penalties. We also cannot create a derivative plan by making a few minor revisions to a copyrighted plan because the same penalties apply.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Today there are literally thousands of home plans available online. This is a valuable asset for those planning to build their dream home. Almost every size and style of home can be found by searching the internet. It can, however, also be an overwhelming and confusing choice. Often customers still can’t find the right home plan even after a lengthy search online. Sometimes they need to sit down and take time to list their priorities. Perhaps they like parts of several different plans but don’t know how to combine them into an organized layout. That is when they might need the assistance of an architect to help with a custom home design.
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