In previous discussions of frequently ask questions that designers face, we talked about the cost to build a house and getting a home building permit. Those questions tend to be more frequent among the regular home plan questions. Another question we get a lot actually deals with the issue of having our plans sealed or stamped.

Take any given person in the general public that is searching for house designs, chances are high that they will end up making a purchase of a plan created by a building designer.  After all,  a large number of house plans are conceived and designed by what are known as building designers, residential designers, or home designers. When a homeowner is determined to build a specific plan done by a designer, but lives in a state that only allow registered architects house plans, what is a potential customer to do? Here is where the building designer receives a commonly ask question.

Question:

Are your house plans sealed? Or, Do your plan home plan have an architect stamp?

Answer:

The short answer is no. On the other hand, you do have an option. First, let us all be aware that even architects who sell house plans online across the country do not stamp their plans prior to shipping it to the customer. Now that this fact is established, we can move on to providing a solution that can be obtained.

Let’s assume you live in a state that require all residential projects be prepared by a state licensed architect. You have found a plan you like but it is either done by a home designer or an architect who isn’t licensed in your state. You may be thinking that you have no recourse, but not so fast. You can have a local licensed architect stamp these plans for you. In order for this to happen a few things have to fall in place.

First you should shop around for an architect who is open to reviewing the plans (for a nominal fee) of other design professional and stamp their work. After you have found your architect who will provide this service, you then need to contact the designer about purchasing the plan. You will have to purchase an electronic file in the form of some CAD file format as will probably be requested by the architect. The reason is that in order for an architect to seal or stamp the plans, it has to be within the border of the architect who will be providing the stamp. The electronic files will be a little more expensive when compared to buying blueprints but this cost is far less than having your architect create a similar design. CAD files will allow the architect to quickly import the drawings into his border so he can print and stamp the plans.

You and your architect will likely need to sign a license agreement with the original designer who retains copyright ownership in order to  make this happen. While it may take a little more work, you can have the plans of a home designer meet your state’s building department requirements. In the end, you will have the house plan you want at a price that can still be considered reasonable when compared to the cost of a custom design.

Kirya J. Duncan, Building Designer

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