Below are answers to some of the most common questions about our building plans.

Blueprints (“Blueprints” and “Drawings” are used interchangeably)


What is a PDF?

PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format. These are electronic files that can be emailed from computer to computer. You can open them on your computer as well as email them to others. One full set of construction drawings in PDF format is emailed to you. A PDF Reproducible Set provides the purchaser with a license to print unlimited copies that may be needed for bid requests, the builder, local building officials, and the owner. This is a license for the purchaser to build ONE house.

What is a CAD file?

CAD is an acronym for Computer-Aided Design. One full set of construction drawings in AutoCAD format is emailed to you. This allows a design professional to make modifications in AutoCAD compatible software. Please consult a design professional before purchasing. We include a complimentary PDF with a CAD File purchase. This is a license for the purchaser to build ONE house.

Should I buy a PDF or a CAD file and why?

If the house plan you want does not need modifications, the best choice is the PDF. However, if you want to make modifications the best choice is the CAD file. The CAD file allows a local design professional to make your modifications on their computer using AutoCAD compatible software. Both the PDF and CAD files are sent cost-free by email. We include a complimentary PDF with a CAD File purchase.

What’s included in your house plans?

Most of our drawing sets include the following:

  • Coversheet. This is usually a front elevation of the finished home which is not necessary for construction but gives a visual representation of the finished building. We include the name of the house, the sheet index (list of drawings), and general notes.
  • Foundation Plan. The foundation drawing is a detailed layout of the foundation including information such as thickness of foundation walls, column locations, footing location and sizes as well as other construction notes and details.
  • Floor Plans. The floor plan drawings depict the layout of each floor of the building. Included are wall sizes, room dimensions, window and door locations and sizes, plumbing fixture locations and other notes and details.
  • Exterior elevations. The elevation drawings describe the appearance of the exterior of the building from all sides and notes the finish materials such as siding, brick, stone, stucco, etc. Also, the roofing material and decorative trim elements are shown.
  • Sections. Building Cross-Sections may be on a separate sheet or on various sheets throughout the drawings. These drawings are a “cut” through the building indicating the composition of the foundation, interior and exterior walls, roofs, floors, and stairs. This is where the various building heights are shown such as floor-to-floor heights and roof pitches.
  • Interior Elevations. Most drawing sets contain some interior elevations which are views of various built-in elements such as fireplaces, kitchen and bath cabinets, built-in shelves, desks, etc.
  • Details. Details are enlarged drawings of important architectural and structural elements of the design. They may be shown on a separate sheet or in various locations throughout the drawings.
  • Electrical Schematic.  The basic electrical information is sometimes shown on the floor plan sheet or on a separate sheet. This is not an engineering drawing, but a design drawing which shows the locations of plug outlets, wall switches and lighting fixtures. It does not indicate the size or location of the electrical panel.

*Please note that not all our plans include every above sheet.

What is not included in our set of plans?

While our house plans include all the information you will need to build your house, some additional items may be required by your local building officials including but not limited to the following:

  • Architectural or Engineering stamp
  • Site Plan
  • Mechanical Drawings (location and type of heating and air equipment and duct work)
  • Plumbing Drawings (drawings showing the actual plumbing pipe sizes and locations)
  • Energy calculations
  • A Materials List

Do the plans include the Mechanical (HVAC), Plumbing, and Electrical design and drawings?

These construction drawings do not include HVAC, plumbing and electrical details. Due to regional variations it is not possible to include engineered heating and cooling design and drawings. Ductwork, venting, and other details vary depending on the type of heating/cooling system (forced air, hot water, solar) and the type of energy (gas, oil, electricity, solar) that you use. Plumbing fixture locations are shown on the floor plans. The locations of water lines and sewer system is site-specific and must be determined locally. An electric schematic reflecting locations of outlets, fixtures, and switches is typically included on the drawings, however, it is necessary to review the electrical details with the contractor to ensure that local codes are met. Mechanical, plumbing and electrical details and specifications are easily obtained from your contractor or local suppliers.

Do the drawings show the floor and roof framing layouts?

Many of the plan sets in this portfolio contain detailed floor and roof framing layouts and others have notations on the drawings indicating this information. In all cases the framing is clearly defined so an experienced builder or contractor will be able to construct the building.

How is the square footage of the building calculated?

The square footage calculations include all of the area inside of the exterior frame walls; they do not include the exterior wall thickness. This gives you the actual living space. Square footage calculations do not include decks, porches, patios, screened-in porches, basements, or attics. The calculated area is livable, heated and finished space (garage areas are listed separately). Basement areas that are listed are for unfinished space. Two-story and vaulted areas are included only once in the calculations for the first floor. Stairs are counted once for one floor only. Balconies in a two-story or vaulted area are included in square footage. The areas are taken from the actual construction drawings. It is not possible to calculate the square footage using the room sizes from the drawings on the website.

What is the difference between “stock” plans and homes that an architect designed?

Occasionally we are the “local architects” that the client comes to for help with modifications after purchasing a stock house plan from one of the many House Plan websites. These experiences have given us an opportunity to pass on some information we hope will clear up misunderstandings about the differences between stock plans and a home designed by an architect.

We have found that the majority of stock house plan drawings are not Construction Documents (CDs) but instead, they are what we call Design Drawings. This is the stage of drawing development before the actual Construction Documents are prepared. The important thing to understand is that a building cannot be built from Design Drawings. There is no structural information on these drawings other than the location of framing members.

We do not want to discourage anyone from buying a design they like from stock house plans but they need to be aware that they will spend considerable money to have the drawings completed by a local architect to the level of constructability.

Why are space, energy, and material efficiencies so important?

Space efficiency is always a critical issue. When a client hires an architect to design a new home, the design must accommodate all the needs and as many of the desires and wishes as possible within the client’s budget. The best way to do this is to design for no wasted space and in doing so, materials are not wasted. Designing for energy efficiency saves money over time.

Do your plans come with a materials list?

Full architectural working drawings never include a materials list. Until your builder has had a chance to analyze the plans and talk to you about specific materials and products, an accurate materials list cannot be developed. This list is typically compiled by the construction materials supplier your builder works with and it is tailored to availability, suitability, and cost.

Will I be able to build a house with a set of your drawings?

Our plans provide the necessary information you need to construct your home. However, some cities and states require a local licensed architect or engineer to review and “seal” a set of drawings prior to construction. We strongly recommend that you consult with your local building official to see if such a review is required prior to applying for a building permit or starting the actual construction. Our plans do not come with an architectural seal. You may need to have your plans sealed locally.

What about local building codes and zoning requirements?

Due to differences in geography and climate throughout the United States and Canada, each state, county and municipality has its own building codes, zoning requirements, building regulations and ordinances. Modifications may need to be made to your plans in order to comply with local requirements at Purchaser’s expense. Additionally, permits and inspections may need to be obtained from local governments before and during construction.

We authorize the use of our house plans on the expressed condition that you consult with a local licensed architect or engineer prior to beginning construction and strictly comply with all local building codes, zoning requirements and other applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, and requirements.

The foundation drawings included in each set of plans were originally created for a specific plot of land in a specific locale and therefore, may need to be modified for your building site. In addition to local codes and regulations, soil, climate, and potential natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) can affect the foundation design. Be sure to have your foundation plans reviewed and, if necessary, modified by a structural engineer in your area before the start of construction, even if local officials don’t require that you do so.

It is the responsibility of the Purchaser of the JHA house plan(s) and/or the Builder to see that the structure is built to meet all the codes and requirements of their specific area.


Can your plans be modified, and if so, by whom?

Yes, the plans you purchase can be modified. The options for modifying the building plans are:

  • Have the builder make minor changes on the site. If the builder can make the changes you will avoid the expense of having the original construction drawings modified. Any changes should be discussed with the builder before construction begins.
  • Another option is to have a local design professional make the changes. In this case a CAD file should be purchased which comes with a copyright release giving permission to modify and copy the original design. To see “Important Info” click here.

Please note that the modified design is still protected under the original copyright law. Also, James Hricko Architect LLC cannot be held liable for any modifications made by you or your agent as mentioned in the license agreement.

Are different foundation plans available other than what is listed?

The foundations listed for the various plan sets are the available foundations for each building design. If the foundation you need is not available you can modify the drawings to accommodate your local soil type and foundation requirements for your area. To see “Important Info” click here.

Can foundations (basements, crawlspaces, slabs, etc.) be changed?

Yes, foundations may be modified. The foundations listed for the various plan sets are the available foundations for each building design. If the foundation you need is not available you can modify the drawings to accommodate your local soil type and foundation requirements for your area. To see “Important Information” click here.

Can building designs with walk-out basements be modified for a flat site?

Yes, walk-out basements can be modified to adapt for a flat site. See “Can my plans be modified, and if so, by whom?”

Can the plan be reversed if it works better on the site?

Yes, if the CAD file is purchased, a local architect can make this change.

What is a right-reading reverse?

Sometimes the plan works better on the lot if it is reversed from the original layout. A right-reading-reverse plan flips the floor plan from left to right with all text and dimensions reading correctly.

Should I only consider homes that were designed for a lot like mine?

No, because this would limit your choices for no reason. Most floor plans can be adapted to a flat or sloping site. This would, of course, require changes to the foundation walls to accommodate the topography. Your builder or design professional could make these modifications.


Are the drawings stamped and sealed by the architect?

The plan sets in our portfolio are not stamped or sealed by the architect. If your area requires an architect’s stamp or seal, the drawings must be taken to a local architect for review and stamping. Modifications can be made if required by the local architect. The professional that you select must be registered in the state where you plan to build.

How long does it take for my order to arrive?

Your plans are in electronic format whether you purchase PDF or CAD files. The files will be emailed to you as soon as your order is processed.

What is your refund / exchange policy?

Our plans may not be returned for credit or refund under any circumstances once the order has been processed. Please double check your selection carefully before placing your order. It is also very important that you check the dimensions of your lot or site, taking into account the zoning/building restriction lines (setbacks) before placing your order.

Is my privacy and credit card information secure?

We make every effort to ensure that online shopping with us is secure. When a plan order is placed online, all information is encrypted before sending it from our secure server to an automated payment-processing center that validates your credit card. Once your credit card has been charged, your order information is sent to the order processing center without your credit card information. This ensures that your credit card information is never stored on our server and no one has access to it at any time. As for your privacy, your personal information is used only for our account management and is not sold or given to any other companies or organizations.

Is sales tax charged when a purchase is made from your site?

Only if your billing address is in Virginia.


Are your building designs copyrighted?

All building designs in this portfolio are the exclusive property of James Hricko Architect LLC and are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced. Copies can only be made if a PDF or CAD file is purchased. Only one structure may be constructed from the plan purchased and our plans may not be resold. Renderings are conceptual in nature and the plans shown on this website are as accurate as possible, therefore we are not responsible for errors or omissions on this website. Laws strictly prohibits reproduction in whole or in part of any of the building designs on this website.

What are the copyright laws?

For information about copyright laws click here.

What are the penalties for violating copyright laws?

Penalties for violating a copyright may be severe. The responsible parties are required to pay actual damages caused by the infringement (which may be substantial), plus any profits made by the infringer commissions to include all profits and from the sale of any home built from an infringing design. The copyright law also allows for the recovery of statutory damages, which may be as high as $150,000 for each infringement. Finally, the infringer may be required to pay legal fees, which often exceed the damages.

If I modify the house is it still protected under the original copyright?

Yes, modified plans are still protected under the original copyright.

Is it true that a builder can build one of your homes without the plans?

No, this is not true. To do so is a violation of the copyright law.

Is a construction license agreement transferable if I do not build the house?

The construction license agreement is not transferable. It is only granted to the person who originally purchased the plan set.

Can we build the house more than once?

As the original purchaser of the plans, you are licensed to build one house from the plans. Constructing the house more than one time with the original purchase of the plan sets is a copyright infringement and violates the designer’s copyright laws.

What may I do with the License Agreement?


  • Modify this design to meet your needs and print sufficient copies to construct one structure on your lot.
  • Provide this design to others (architects, engineers, draftsmen, and others (hereafter referred to as “your agents”) for the purpose of allowing them to modify the design to meet your needs. Your agents will also be bound by these same provisions.
  • Use this design or altered design for the sole purpose of constructing one structure on your lot.

What may I not do with the License Agreement?


  • Sell this design or altered design based on this design.
  • Build more than a single structure from this plan set in their original or altered form.
  • Distribute this design in its original or altered form, in any way, or on any media except as necessary to complete modifications through your agents or, except as necessary to use this design to construct one structure on your lot.
  • Infer that JHA is responsible for any revisions to the design as modified by you or your agents.
  • Remove the JHA copyright and/or logo block that identifies the design as a derivative of a JHA design.
  • Extract any portion of the information contained in the design and apply it to other projects, or distribute to others any part or portion of the design. All drawn entities contained within these drawings, representing the design, are considered a portion of the whole and are subject to all terms and conditions herein.

Architecture and design for commercial, residential, adaptive reuse, and historical spaces