The base code requires that the design of your structure meet certain requirements. The code allows for a couple of ways to meet these requirements. The first method is known as "prescriptive" wall bracing, and is built into the code as prescribed building elements that must be included at specified positions of the building. Prescriptive methods are acceptable as long as the structure's design fits within certain limitations (wall height, window size/location, etc.). The second method is to demonstrate, by engineering analysis, the forces imposed upon the structure, and the design of structural elements to withstand those forces. Whereas the prescriptive method imposes certain limitations on the design of the structure, the engineering analysis of the building allows for greater flexibility in the design, while ensuring it can withstand the actual natural forces the structure will experience.
In almost all cases, Mascord designs will require site specific engineering analysis. This analysis is required to be conducted by a professional, such as a structural engineer, who is licensed by the state in which the structure will be built. The analysis is specific to the exact building site - for this reason, we do not have "pre-engineered" plans that can be built anywhere. An engineer will need to review the plans and provide an engineering analysis report and additional drawings and specifications to go along with your plans for permit submittal. You should allow for additional time and expense to complete this process.
Some regions have additional engineering requirements, such as earthquake-prone areas of California and the Pacific Northwest, or the Gulf, Florida, & Carolina coasts that are frequented by hurricanes. Additional Wind and Seismic engineering drawings are required to accompany your home plans to obtain a building permit in most areas. These additional drawings need to be provided and stamped by a professional licensed in your state. In most cases we have working relationships established with engineers who can help you obtain the necessary drawings cost effectively, or you are welcome to source your own local engineer.
When the design includes retaining walls, these will also require engineering. Although the code provides for some prescriptive basement and concrete/masonry wall designs, these only work in limited situations. The use of site-engineered retaining walls allows for much greater design flexibility and ensures that the walls are designed specifically for the design loads, unique soils, fluid pressures, and drainage characteristics at the building site. It makes little sense to place the most expensive investment a family typically makes onto a foundation that is not designed for the unique characteristics of the land on which it is set.
All Mascord house plans are designed and detailed to conform to The International Residential Code (for orders out of state), or Oregon and Washington local state codes (for orders in those states).
Your area may have also have specific energy codes that have to be followed. Compliance could include filling out forms providing evidence that your construction drawings meet requirements. In many cases the forms are simple and can be filled out by yourself, or with the aid of your General Contractor.
To find out exactly what drawing details you should expect with your Mascord house plans, see "What's included in a Plan Set?"
If you aren’t sure what may be required, contact your building department and ask for a list of all of the items they require to submit for and obtain a building permit.
Building jurisdictions in several states - including California, New York, New Jersey, Nevada and Illinois - require that your home design is reviewed and your entire set of construction drawings is stamped by a local professional. If you are building in such an area, it is most likely you will need to hire a state licensed structural engineer to analyze the design and provide additional drawings and calculations required by your local building department.
In addition to the construction drawings, you may also need a site plan that shows where the house is going to be located on your chosen property, along with any grading and water management / septic system requirements.