House Plans

house plans

Frequently Asked Questions

Plan Support Information

With which codes do your plans comply?

These plans, and associated documents have been prepared to comply with the latest adopted version of the International Residential Code (IRC) or, if you’re building in those areas,Oregon / Washington Residential Specialty Code (O.R.S.C. / W.R.S.C.).

Each state in the US adopts a building code as their base code. Over the years, there have been several national code standards for states to choose from, but now the International Residential Code has become very widely accepted as the standard base code. For this reason, we choose to follow the IRC in developing our plans. Unfortunately, each state can modify the base code with their own state adopted amendments, and may chose not to adopt certain sections of the base code. Energy requirements are a common section that is heavily modified or replaced by a different model code, by each state.

To further complicate the issue, the base code is revised every three years or so, and states vary in their timing of when they adopt each new code version --- a year or more delay in adopting the latest code is very common. Beyond that, every local permit issuing jurisdiction within each state (counties, cities, etc.) can further amend the state requirements. Aware of this reality, our staff knows to never promise that our plans will be able to meet every requirement of every jurisdiction in the country. We do make every effort to comply with the national base code, and beyond that, we provide follow-up support where possible, to help our customers to meet the amended codes of their jurisdiction.

This is a great design, and I want to build it again... What am I required to do?

It is important that you review the license document included with your plan set when it is delivered. It lays out the permissions granted to you by Mascord when using the design depicted in the plans. It basically states that you have the right to build this design once, unless you have purchased a “multi–use” license. We also offer a discount for repeat purchases of the exact same plan. Contact our offices if you require further explanation, or for permission to copy or alter the design.

I’ve noticed many items, such as window brands, are left ‘generic’ on the plans; why is this?

These plans are not intended to be the only documents of construction. Items such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing layout, fixtures, and finish products are matters of local construction practices or personal taste. Their detailed specifications are a typical function of the general contractor, and a usual part of the construction contract documents.

I need help understanding your plans, or I’ve noticed an error, what should I do?

Contact our plan support department. It exists to provide plan clarification, and to control and improve product quality. Our goal is to provide clear and accurate plans. Please contact us immediately, should you encounter any error. It is important that you let us know of any errors or omissions BEFORE you begin construction.

Important Structural Information

How do Mascord designs address high wind and seismic design criteria?

Our stock plans require additional structural information and detailing in order to meet high wind and seismic requirements, which vary by geographic location and legal jurisdiction. For an additional fee, we can provide engineering to meet specific seismic zone, wind speed and wind exposure values for a specific building site. Such engineering analysis is site-specific and requires additional time to prepare. The drawings detailing this, usually referred to as “L” sheets, and the supporting calculations, stamped by a licensed engineer are typically available for Oregon or Washington within a few days — check with our staff for availability in other states.

Will the information on the “L” sheet meet all requirements, everywhere in the United States?

No, this would be virtually impossible as wind and seismic requirements vary dramatically throughout the country. The off–the–shelf engineering that we have available shows a way of reinforcing the structure, which is acceptable in portions of Oregon and Washington.

How about beam calculations? Do you provide these?

Yes, vertical gravity load calculations are either included with your plans, or available for a nominal shipping/handling fee. These calculations do not carry a stamp from an engineer. Again, if an engineer's stamp is required, you will have to make the appropriate arrangements, and allow for the added time and expense involved.

What design load values are used in the gravity calculations you provide?

The structure has been evaluated with Roof Live Load of 25psf, andSoil Bearing Pressure of 1,500psf. Otherwise, design loads follow the current IRC code book. Calculations using different design values require additional time and fee. It is best to enlist the services of a local professional for such “location–specific” structural redesign. Local lumber yards sometimes have contacts for such services.

What species of lumber are specified on your plans?

Sawn lumber species are typically Douglas fir, or Hem–fir. Substitution of material (species or grade) should not be undertaken without the review of a qualified professional, as required by your local building codes and ordinances. Many lumber yards have staff who are versed in substitution of material, and can work from the load information contained in our calculations, to determine the proper replacements.

I want to frame the house differently than shown on your plans; is this acceptable?

Changes, such as conversion between framed, or trussed roof, are likely to drastically affect the structural design of the house, and should not be undertaken unless all ramifications are clearly considered. If you deviate from the plans, our staff will not be able to support your field changes.

What roofing materials are typical on your plans?

Our plans will depict Composition/Shake or Tile roofing. In some cases (larger homes) both types are available. The major difference is simply the dead load of the heavier roofing materials, in the case of tile. You may, for instance, use a different roof material, so long as its dead load is no more than specified on our plans. Follow manufacturer’s installation recommendations for the material you select.

I have some changes to make; how should I proceed?

To satisfy the requirements of most building departments, we recommend that you have the plans revised to properly account for your alterations. Our staff can assist you with this, or you can enlist the services of a design professional in your area. In either case, don’t wait till the last minute!Plan ahead and allow adequate time for review of structural design changes.

City of Portland Base Zone Standards

We have many plans which meet the City of Portland Base Zone Standards. Please note also, that additional plans can be slightly modified to meet the PDX Base Zone Standards quite quickly. If you have any questions, contact sitespecialist@mascord.com (503) 225-9161 x230.

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