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Help! The internet has made it relatively easy for almost anyone – from novice drafters to top designers and architects – to offer their home plans online. Things that should matter to you include the designer/design firm’s experience (years in business, number of homes designed, number of houses built from their designs,) professional associations, knowledgeable and efficient customer support, technical plan support, and the level of services offered.

Your new home will be such a large investment, you want to know its designer and drafter(s) understand home construction – not just home design. Some home designs look beautiful, but unfortunately, they’re just not buildable as designed. Architects who are members of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and designers who are members of the AIBD (American Institute of Building Designers) show their commitment to their craft and professionalism. Those who specialize in designing new homes may also belong to the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders.)

We all appreciate getting our questions answered accurately and quickly. Reputable design firms can provide the information you need to make wise decisions on a timely basis. Finally, some design firms have specialized knowledge that may benefit you, such as value engineering of homes to reduce construction costs, designing with advanced building systems, and designing for aging-in-place.

Design Basics was founded in 1983 and since that time has designed several thousand home plans, with hundreds of thousands of homes built from those plans. A member of the AIBD, as well as NAHB, Design Basics is the only major home designer to be recognized for 25+ years of support of the NAHB International Builders Show. With an exhaustive database, most plan-specific customer questions are answered at the time of inquiry. Technical support for plans from Design Basics is available throughout construction, so if anything on the home plans is unclear, customers can contact us to ensure their complete understanding. Experienced with Log Home, Panelized, Structural Insulated Panel (SIP), Insulated Concrete Form (ICF), and Modular construction, Design Basics can create or modify our home plans to be built using these advanced building systems. Finally, Design Basics publishes a wealth of practical information to help home builders and home buyers make informed decisions regarding their new home’s design and construction.

Insulated Concrete Forms

Homes designed for Insulated Concrete Form (left) and Structural Insulated Panel (right) construction can be stronger/safer, healthier, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.

    Structural Insulated Panel

    The bottom line: You have questions and your home’s designer should have the answers. You want to work with a design company with a proven track record that will be there for you if questions arise, and one which stands behind its work.

    In our next post, we examine problem #5 - Online home plans are non-returnable. What if I order plans and then find out they won’t work for me?

    For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

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