Frequently Asked Questions

Can I purchase one set of plans and make copies of the plan as needed?

No, all of our plans are protected by the United States Copyright Act. Our plans cannot be copied without expressed written consent from Arnell's House Plans, Inc.
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Do your plans comply with building codes in my area?

Our plans are drawn to meet the 2006 International Residential Code for One & Two Family Dwelling and the 2006 International Building Code with Utah amendments. Many states and counties amend the codes in their area. Consult your local building officials to determine your plan, code, and site requirements.

Are your plans stamped by an architect or engineer?

We are a residential design firm. We do not stamp any of our home plans. Single family construction in most cities and counties do not require that a plan be stamped by an architect or engineer. Stamped Engineering calculations are available for Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming & Arizona if required. Check with your building officials for the specific plan requirements in you area.

Do your plans include everything needed by my building department for a building permit?

Each building department's requirements vary. We recommend that you contact them for their specific requirements. Our plans include all of the drawings typically needed for construction, except site specific information and heating or cooling requirements. This information, if required, must be provided based on the geographic conditions in your area.

How is the square footage calculated?

Square footage calculations are made from outside the exterior wall and do not include decks, porches, garages, basements, attics, fireplaces, etc. Our calculations include only heated spaces. We include two story and vaulted areas only once in the calculations of the first floor. Stairs are counted once. Balconies and open walkways in two story and vaulted areas are included in the calculations of the second floor. Square footage is calculated using the actual working drawings. You will not be able to calculate square footage based on the "plan spec" room sizes provided on our website.

What dimensions are available prior to purchase?

For your planning purposes, we include major room sizes and overall dimensions on the floor plans and on the plan specs page. The room dimensions are approximate and are measured from inside face of stud to inside face of stud. Exact dimensions are only available upon purchase of the working drawings. The overall width and overall depth are measured from outside face of stud to outside face of wall.

What are the ceiling heights of your plans?

For the majority of our plans, the first floor and second floor ceiling height is 8'-0". The ceiling height can be adjusted in the field on one level homes, however, in two story styles the stair run needs to be considered in raising the ceiling on the main floor. Scissor trusses can be substituted for standard trusses to create vaulted ceilings in most cases.

I just received my home plans, what is the next step?

Prior to construction, we recommend that you review the home plans and report any discrepancies to us immediately. We reserve the right to make changes to any home plan and provide no warranty, expressed or implied. Check with local building officials for their requirements, so that, during your review, you can make the necessary adjustments before submitting the drawings for permit.

I'm modifying the home plans, what type of support do you provide?

Our staff has access to the "stock" plans only. Therefore, if your plan has been modified, we are not able to answer any questions. We recommend that you contact the designer who has made the modifications for you.

Where are the foundation details?

Included with your purchase is a detail sheet, D. This drawing contains typical sections and details showing the foundation.

What size studs are shown for exterior walls?

All first and second floor exterior walls are 2 x 4 wood studs. 2 x 6 studs may be used on exterior walls but adjustments may need to be made to interior areas to accommodate the thicker walls. Exterior walls in two story areas are typically 2 x 6 wood studs. All stud sizes are dictated by the building codes to meet the structural load requirements or the insulation requirements in colder climates, adjustments may be necessary to meet your local requirements. All of our 2 story basement plans interior load bearing walls are shown as 2 x 6 wood studs.

What do the window and door sizes represent?

Our home plans are designed using vinyl thermo pane windows. Each set of working drawings uses a generic window sizing system that does not apply to any brand of windows. For example, a common size seen on our plans is 3050. This is a window that is 36" wide and 60" tall (3'-0" x 5'-0"). This is also the standard system used to identify the size of doors. A "2-6" door is a standard 6'-8" tall door that is 2'-6" wide. Since all manufactures carry different sizes and types of windows, adjustments may be necessary to the "stock" plan. Keep in mind to follow all code requirements regarding emergency egress windows.

If a house is shown in siding or stucco, can I build it with brick instead or vice versa?

If brick is added to a house, a brick ledge must be added to the foundation to support the brick and wider overhangs may be required on the roof. If brick is deleted, the ledges on the foundation plan will not be required. Most changes to the exterior finish can be made easily without causing problems. Other changes should only be made after consulting with a qualified professional.

Can any plan be built on a slab foundation?

Any of our plans can be built on a slab foundation. The type of foundation needed depends on your building site. Most contractors can make those adjustments. Furnace and water heater placement must be considered if removing the basement. If a slab foundation plan is not available, we can design one for you at an additional charge.

How hard is it to switch from a front car garage to a side car or vice versa?

Usually this is not hard to do. The most important consideration is the structure and the beam that spans across the garage. Depending on the current design of the garage doors and windows, the structure may need to be changed when the door is relocated. We will review this, when we do modifications for you.

How can I find plans that are similar to the one I like?

Similar plans are just that, similar. Not the same. They might be similar in appearance, or only in square footage, but not the same. We have well over a thousand plans in our portfolio and only a portion are shown here. Our plan book contains about 250 plans. You may contact us and we can see if we have similar plans. Please allow a reasonable time for our search.

Do you offer different elevations for your designs?

A stock plan will come the way it is advertised. Published photos are "builder's versions" of our stock design. They are not necessarily "true" to the stock plan design. Some of our plans do have different elevations for them and we can also make modifications for most of our designs. Contact us for further details.

How do I order your plans?

There are four ways to order: Either by phone, online, by fax or by mail. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover.

Can I purchase discontinued house plans?

Periodically plans are discontinued due to building code changes, etc. As a result, these plans are no longer available for sale. We suggest finding a similar design which can be modified to resemble the discontinued plan.

Do you sell study sets?

We do offer study sets and bid sets . We want you to be sure before buying the full package, but please revue the copyright information.

Where do I find prices?

Prices are the same for all of our plans.

If the plan does not work for some reason can I return the plan for a refund?

Plans are printed to order and returns are not accepted. Please use the bid set or study set to verify that it will work for you.

What is the difference between a mirror image and a true reverse set?

A mirror image shows the plan in reverse however the lettering and dimensions appear backwards. A true reverse shows the plan in reverse with the lettering and dimensions right reading. If ordering blacklines, you may order some of the sets as "mirrored image". We recommend at least one set be sent as it is drawn. You can also order a "true reverse" in the blackline purchase. There is an additional charge for a "true reverse" of $150.00.

What type of foundation comes with my plan?

Most of our plans are available with a basement. Many of our plans can be built with a slab on grade or crawl space foundation. Slab on grade plans can be ordered for an additional fee.


Our basement plans do not typically include any finished areas. The exterior foundation walls are concrete. The interior walls are 2x4 framed walls used to support the structure above (2 x 6 for two story applications). The layout of these walls typically consists of one wall, approx. thru the middle of the house and as required by joist spans. With 2 story homes they will mimic the main areas of the first floor. These areas do not have to be finished and, please note, unfinished, non-heated, areas are not included in square footage calculations.


Our crawl space foundations are designed with concrete stem walls around the exterior of house. Interior concrete pilasters and/or piers support beams and/or girders, which in turn support the structure above.


Our slab foundation is designed with a concrete foundation stem wall with an interior perimeter notch to receive the slab floor and gravel under the slab. Interior concrete grade beams support the structure above.

How soon can I receive my plans?

The plans are shipped the next business day after receipt of your order via Federal Express and ship either 2 day or priority overnight. Federal Express will not deliver to a post office box.