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What You Need to Know about Stock Garage Plans
The Garage Plan Shop publishes top selling stock garage plans from many of North America’s best selling designers. Stock garage plans are designed to suit the needs of various groups of people within the overall population. From basic garage floor plans to full featured garage apartment plans, these stock blueprints incorporate many popular features and are standardized to satisfy a larger group of garage owners and builders unlike the customized garage plan designed to suit the needs of a single person or family. Below is a list of the elements and information included in a typical set of stock garage or garage apartment plans. Please note the information may vary by designer.
The Elements of a Stock Garage Plan
- Coversheet: Typically, the cover sheet is an artist’s rendering of the finished garage. In general, this page is not necessary for construction. It is meant to serve as a visual aid representing the finished garage. Some designers do not include a cover page with their garage blueprints.
- Foundation Plan: The foundation page offers a detailed drawing of the foundation including information such as, dimensions, column locations, the thickness of foundation walls and other construction notes and details.
- Floor Plan: The floor plan pages provide the construction and layout information of each floor of the garage. They include details such as room dimensions, window and door sizes and locations, wall sizes and other layout and structural details and notes.
- Basic Electric: The information regarding the basic electrical layout may be found on its own separate page or it may be shown on the floor plan page. The electrical layout indicates the locations of switches, outlets and fixtures.
- Simple Plumbing: The simple plumbing information may be found on the floor plan page, or it might be on a separate page. This diagram provides the locations of bathtubs, showers, commodes and sinks.
- Interior Elevations: The interior elevations page includes drawings and descriptive notes about the built-in elements of a garage or garage apartment including kitchen cabinets, vanities, built-in bookshelves, fireplaces, handrails and moldings.
- Exterior Elevations: The exterior elevations page provides views of all four sides of the garage. It is used to describe the look and feel of the garage’s exterior finish calling out exterior finish and trim materials and their placement including brick, siding, stone, stucco, window shutters and other decorative elements. The exterior elevation page will indicate the type of roofing materials needed as well as roof pitch and ceiling heights. Sometimes window and door sizes are included here.
- Details: Other construction details may be found on a separate page or in various locations throughout the garage blueprint. They communicate how smaller elements should be constructed. For example, there is information about how the fireplace should look, the sizes and styles of moldings used throughout and the design of handrail spindles.
- Sections: Garage plan sections may be on a page of their own or they may be found on various pages throughout the blueprint. Typically, they are views of the garage showing the composition of the foundation, interior and exterior walls, roofs, floors and stair details. These drawings indicate the ceiling heights, rooflines and the relationship between floors.
Note: Not all stock garage plans come with each element described here. The elements vary by designer.
Additional Information About Stock Garage Plans
While stock garage plans generally contain all of the information you will need to build your new garage or garage apartment, you may need additional information to obtain building permits. Building codes vary greatly from place to place demanding each city, county or municipality has its own requirements. Sometimes it is necessary to work with a local building official or another building professional to obtain additional information required for your building permits. The list below describes the most commonly needed items that are not included with stock garage plans. For further information specific to the area in which you plan to build, please consult your local building department. Most building departments will provide a list of requirements for your area to ensure you have everything you need to get started on your construction project. Note: Some items may not apply to all garages.
- Site Map: A drawing or sketch of your property indicating the location of the garage and how it will be situated on the lot in relation to other structures and features such as a house, well or septic system. It is impossible for the designer to provide this information because each building site is different. If you need a site map, you will need the help of a local professional.
- Energy Codes: This is a list of requirements calling out the types of insulation, doors and windows required for the region where you are building. You will need to obtain this list locally because stock garage plans are sold all over North America and energy codes vary greatly from east to west and north to south.
- Local Building Codes: This is a list of building regulations and requirements for your area. Every city, county and municipality has its own local building codes. These codes vary greatly across the country and from one zip code to the next. Some examples of local building codes include such items as the overall width and depth, maximum ridge height, location of furnace and type of exterior finish. It is necessary to check with your building department to find out what is allowed and/or required in your area. If minor modifications are necessary to meet codes, your builder or a local design professional can usually assist you with the use of a reproducible master.
- Building Codes for Specialized Areas: Some geographic areas have specialized, regional building codes. Depending on where you live, you may need to request a list from your building department. Seismic zones, such as portions California, have building regulations to protect your garage against earthquake damage. Some areas along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast are prone to hurricanes and have wind code requirements. Northern areas such as Minnesota, Montana and Canada have specific snow load/roof load and insulation requirements. Because stock garage plans are sold across North America, it is impossible to design them to meet the specialized codes for all geographic regions. It will be necessary to work with your builder or a design professional to make adjustments to your stock garage plan ensuring it meets your specialized building codes.
- Septic Design: If your lot is not served by a city or county sewer system, you will need to obtain a septic design and layout. This must be done locally with a professional ensuring the septic system design is specific to your lot and garage or garage apartment plan. (This only applies to designs with plumbing such as a utility sink or half or full bath.)
- Truss Layout: If your stock garage plan calls for a truss roof system, a local truss manufacturer can provide a truss layout for you. The manufacturer will require a set of blueprints in order to design the layout. The layout must be done locally to ensure the design reflects the materials available in your area. Often it is done at no charge.
- Finished Electric: Stock garage plans are generally drawn to include a basic electric plan. However, if additional information is needed to obtain a building permit, you will need the assistance of a local electrician to ensure the finished electric in your garage complies with local building codes.
- Finished Plumbing: Stock garage plans come with a simple plumbing plan. However, if you need additional information to obtain building permits, you should contact a local plumbing professional. He or she can determine the location of water and sewer or septic lines on your lot and how they will run to and from your garage. The professional can also provide detailed information about the finished plumbing in your garage or garage apartment.
- HVAC: Stock garage and garage apartment plans do not come with a heating and cooling plan. Sometimes the designer might suggest a location for the furnace on the floor plan, but not always. The heating and cooling system and layout must be determined locally based on the square footage of the space you wish to heat or cool and the size of the unit you choose. Check with a heating and cooling expert for further assistance.
- Architectural or Engineer’s Stamp: Stock garage plans do not come with a professional stamp or architect’s seal on them. If you are required to have your plans sealed or stamped by a professional, you will have to take them to an engineer or architect to review and stamp them. The professional must be licensed in the state where you plan to build.
It is important to allow yourself plenty of time to research what is needed to build with a stock garage plan in your area. Some counties, townships and municipalities will require all of the items mentioned above while others might require just a few or none at all. Start early and ask plenty of questions. Keep good notes and as you collect the items you will need keep them all together in a safe place. Contact all necessary building officials to make sure you have everything you need before construction begins. There are numerous benefits to building with a stock garage plan, but it is necessary to educate yourself about the residential construction process before you begin.
For more information please read, The Value of Building with Our Garage Plans.
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