Why Detailed House Plans Will Save You Money and Time

When you hire a builder to build your home, you are likely making the biggest investment of your life. You need to feel secure that you can afford the project and that it will meet your expectations. What good is your favorite design if the finished home doesn’t match your vision? We want to make sure you know as much about the total cost as possible before you sign a contract with a builder.

That is why it’s important to have plans that are specific with detailed specifications and drawings. These plans become part of the contract between you and your builder. Simply put, detailed plans and specifications are the only way to know that your are getting what you ordered. The home that you want built is in those plans.

There are a lot of decisions to make when building a new home and every decision involves money and time. Without detailed plans as the base of the contract with your builder, these decisions will come in the form of change orders, or modifications to the contract that will usually cost you more money and extend the time of the project. 

Having complete plans and detailed drawings will reduce unforeseen change orders, delays and cost overruns.

There is a lot that goes into the design process. A successful design is not just a great plan or elevation, it’s a collective of the space, color, materials, orientation and methods of construction. Our plans have all of these detailed in the drawings, ready for you to hand to your builder and be assured you get what you paid for.

Let’s take a look at how meticulously detailed plans affect your team.

The Lender

Construction loans are also known as story loans. This means that the lender needs to understand the “story” of your new home and its construction before they will lend you money to build it. A conventional loan is based on an existing home that has a known value.  A story loan is based on a idea or concept.

The lender will use your plans to determine the value of your home, which will then determine the terms of your loan. If the house is built to a lesser specification, or lower value, than the lender agreed to, you could have to come up with more money at closing.

Our detailed construction drawings will tell the story and allow the lender to see the asset that will be created once built.

Building Department

The building inspector will review your plans for compliance with the building code. They will need to know:

  • material specifications
  • method of construction
  • structural specifications
  • that the design meets the fire and life safety portions of the building code.

The more clearly detailed and professional the plans, the quicker they will move through the building department. Less ambiguity on the plans will result in fewer issues during the required building department inspections.


Subcontractors are asked to provide competitive fixed price bids base on the drawings. They can only bid what they see in the plans and if there is nothing specified they may suggest an allowance which may or may not be accurate. But this is a competitive process so it is not uncommon for a subcontractor to low ball an allowance and come back for a change order if the allowance is not enough.

If the plans and specs are detailed and accurate you will know up front that you can afford the selections you have made. Clarifying your decisions in advance will help the project run smoother, reduce your stress and control the final price and quality of the project.

Note: In asking a subcontractor to give you his best price, I think it is courteous to provide accurate and timely information. If you are expecting them to be professional then you should be professional and fill in the missing blanks.

General Contractor

The builders job is to:

  • quantify materials
  • obtain subcontractors bids for labor and materials
  • manage subcontractors
  • procure materials
  • schedule the work
  • ensure that the project is safe and clean
  • ensure all work is compliant with the building code and the plans and specifications
  • account for the money
  • be the advocate of the owner

All of these functions require highly detailed house plans. Without detailed plans it is nearly impossible to get accurate bids for work and materials. There are just too many details to miss.

Bottom line: the plans are directions to create the design and as they say the devil is in the details so detail the devil out of it.

The contract with your builder will include the plans and specifications as addendum to the contract, so it is important that the plans include everything you expect to see in your new home. Promises and assumptions have no place in home building so protect yourself from a stressful, expensive process and invest upfront in the design process.

The builders we work with require detailed plans. They are in the business of building houses and know that the quickest path to successful completion is found in everyone involved knowing what they are building.


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