This is the age of instant everything.
From instant coffee to instant payments, so many things are available ‘instantly’.
You would think that house plans are only created by real architects and that too after a careful study of the building site (your existing home in case of remodelling) but no.
Online house plans are available. And they are quite popular too.
So, should you go for them?
Being a leading interior designer in Bangladesh, Tilottoma tells you what you need to know.
What are your options for obtaining a house plan?
Well, there are 3 ways you can get a house plan
- You can hire the services of an architect to create a house plan for you from scratch. This would involve discussions, site visits etc, just like an interior design consultation.
- You can purchase a house plan online.
- In some countries there are ‘tract’ firms. These are firms who maintain stock plans but will customize them for you. It’s a kind of middle path.
With that cleared, let us proceed to the…
Pros and cons of buying your house plan online
First, the pros of buying your house plan online
- Lower cost
That’s the first one that springs to mind, right?
If you’re buying a stock plan, the architect does not have to consult with you or travel to your location or even work on your particular plan.
He has worked earlier to create the stock plan and that is all you are paying for. And since the same effort has resulted in multiple purchases, logically speaking, the remuneration for the architect’s effort is shared among multiple buyers.
In other words, house plans bought online should come at a massive discount.
- Less time
You browse through multiple plans and select the one that you like the best. Boom. Done.
No waiting for an appointment with an architect, no waiting for the architect to visit your site.
Which means the time spent on obtaining the house plan is less.
More importantly, the time is dependent entirely on you. You spend as much or as little time as you want to on going through different house plans before you buy.
- Choice between architects and plans
If you work with a particular architect, you are stuck with them only. Unless you want to switch, in which case your investment with that architect till then will be wasted.
Online however, you can just browse through the work of various architects (each with their own style). The only cost would be your internet expenses.
Even if you know which architect you want to buy your plan from, you can still browse between the various plans they have created and choose one for yourself.
- You can check reviews of the house plan you buy
Everything online can be reviewed these days – and online house plans are no different!
So, when you buy online, you can check out the reviews different plans get.
On the other hand, when you work with an architect, you can check the reviews that architect gets online, but not those for the house plan since he’s creating that from scratch for you.
Now come the cons of buying your house plan online
- Lot specifications
That’s the obvious one, isn’t it?
If you’re buying an online plan, you’re buying a generic design which may or may not match your lot specifications.
Tilottoma explains: Yes, you can filter online house plans by area.
But area is not the only consideration. Size and shape need to fit perfectly and then there’s the configuration to consider.
Maybe the plan fits your lot size but the windows are facing the wrong direction. These kinds of errors are quite possible with an online house plan.
Tilottoma adds: This should be obvious now but you should have your lot ready before you buy your plan.
While online plans are relatively cheap, they don’t cost the same as a cup of tea. They do cost a fair amount and if you buy your plan before knowing your lot, the plan you buy may be completely wasted.
- Building codes
Most jurisdictions have their own building codes which can influence the plan of your house.
If you’re buying a house plan online, it has obviously not been prepared with those codes in mind so your house plan may need to be redesigned to match the codes.
- Local environment
The local environment can massively influence a housing plan in terms of sustainability, safety and comfort. An architect drawing a plan for you would have visited your site and been aware of all these.
While a plan bought online cannot possibly have been created for your local environment.
- Communication problems
If you commission an architect to draw up the plan, they would either also be involved with the actual building. Or, they would have a detailed discussion with the builder to iron out all the issues that might crop up.
This may not be possible with a plan bought online. That would lead to miscommunication with the builder and possibly building errors.
The Tilottoma verdict on buying house plans online
Online housing plans serve as a good starting point
Browsing through the actual housing plans created by different people will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s out there and what isn’t.
That can start as a good starting point for you in creating your own housing plan.
But you should get your housing plan designed by an architect
If there are a few plans online that you particularly like, buy them if they’re not that expensive.
And take them along when you go to meet your architect, to give them an idea of what kind of plan you want.
And keep an eye on the cost
Building a house is a huge financial commitment. Keep a watch on your spending.
While online plans are cheap relative to bespoke plans (plans designed for you by an architect), you still need to spend money to buy them and you should ensure that whatever money you’re spending yields real value.
A final word from Tilottoma: Modifying a plan is not like changing an image on ‘Paint’ or even ‘Photoshop’. It takes a lot of effort to modify a housing plan.
So, if you’re thinking of buying your housing plan online and then just getting it modified, please understand that modifying the plan may cost as much as you paid to buy it or maybe even more.
You should take that into consideration when deciding what to do.
Maybe buying one or two stock plans that you like and then taking them to the architect who you’ll commission to design your housing plan would be the best way to go.