Can I Get Plans From A Contractor?

Every major home improvement project will have plans. One of the most common professionals that will come to peoples minds when they think of project plans are architects. But what about contractors? Can’t you just go to them instead?

Plans From Contractors?

  In short, the answer is yes. You are able to get plans from a general contractor. Typically though, a contractors focus is to build the project. They don’t spend as much time on the design and over the years we have seen fewer and fewer contractors attempting to do the design and engineering work that’s needed in order to get the project approved in most California cities. Our chief architect Dale mentions that if you’re out in the west, Midwest or some of the central states where the requirements are less than in California, it may be more common to go with a contractor. However, in California projects have become more complicated due to building codes and regulations such as, environmental requirements and green building requirements. In the last ten years a good set of drawings would probably be ten to twelve sheets of documentation. Even on a smaller project like a two-room addition. Go back fifteen or more years and you might have been able to draw up a project like that on three sheets of documentation. As you can see it has gotten more complicated and more specific due to the new laws and regulations. In our opinion, your best bet is to work with an architect. This being due to the fact that they work with the city and building codes on a regular basis. They know the requirements and have experience with them. You also need to have your drawings/plans stamped and signed by a licensed architect. Your local building department requires this.

Click here for the specifications on a licensed architects stamp in California.

Another thing to consider is the amount of education and experience that is required for architects. Licensed architects have to go through extensive schooling, infield study, and testing in order to obtain their license. They are also required to complete a continuing education course every year to renew their license. Architects are always up to date on the latest codes in the state and city they practice in.

When doing a major home project, you want to be sure that you are working with someone who has a lot of experience in their field and fully understands the state and city’s building codes and regulations. Architects are professionally trained to provide design services in the field of construction and design of homes. They are the most qualified to handle your project.