In my last post, I provided a checklist for reviewing your construction drawings. Here I’d like to focus on the construction drawings required for your site-built structures. My goal is to motivate you to give these drawings the serious attention they deserve so that you won’t later regret what got built.
Construction Drawings for Site-Built Structures
If you are building a garage, porch, deck, finished basement, or some other structure on your site, you will need the required plans. This will include plan views of the structure and foundation, a cross-sectional view, an elevation, an electrical layout, and a heating/air conditioning layout.
Since your GC will use the plans to ensure that the structures are completed to your specifications, take the time to review the plans closely. For example, the location of windows and doors in a walk-out basement and garage can affect how you use the spaces. The number of lights and electrical outlets as well as the location of the electrical switches in these structures can significantly impact the enjoyment of your home. Do not wait until after you move in to find out that the basement storage closet is half the size you need, or until half of the second floor is finished before discovering that the children’s bedrooms are no bigger than walk-in closets.
Ideally you would have construction drawings completed before you select a GC, since your GC candidates will need them to ensure an apples-for-apples price comparison. However, unless you first hire a professional designer or architect, you will likely have to wait until you enter into a contract with a GC. At that point he should provide these construction drawings as one of his responsibilities. You should of course expect to pay him for them.
For more information about your construction drawings for site-built structures, see Designing a Modular Home, Selecting a General Contractor, and The General Contractor’s Responsibilities for Building a Modular Home in my book The Modular Home.