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Total Square Footage does not include "Bonus Room" or "Optional Basement Foundation" square footage.
Popular House Plan Questions at Donald Gardner Architects. Below is a list of frequently asked questions to assist in your house plan search. Popular Questions

Welcome to the Donald A. Gardner Architects Popular Questions page . Below is a list of frequently asked questions to assist in your house plan search. Click on the question to find the answer you are looking for. You may also visit our Terms and Definitions page. If you need additional information not provided here, please Contact Us.

  What do I receive when I purchase a plan package?  Answer 
  How many plan sets do I need?  Answer 
  Can I return the plans?  Answer 
  What is a reproducible vellum?  Answer 
  How do I make changes to a reproducible vellum?  Answer 
  Once I have purchased my Plan Package, how many times may I build the plan?  Answer 
  Can I make copies of my plans?  Answer 
  Do you have study plans?  Answer 
  What is included in a Materials List?  Answer 
  Do you offer modification services for your house plans? What is the process?  Answer 
  Do you make modifications to your plans to meet local codes?  Answer 
  How is the total living square footage determined?  Answer 
  What is the exterior wall construction?  Answer 
  Why aren't HVAC, plumbing and electrical details included in the plans?  Answer 
  The framing design is based on what loading conditions?  Answer 
  Do you think I could build this house myself without hiring a licensed builder?  Answer 
  Can you recommend a builder in my area?  Answer 
  Do you know if this house has been built in my area?  Answer 
  What if the plan does not come with the foundation I need?  Answer 
  How often do you release new plans?  Answer 
  Can I see photos of the home I am interested in?  Answer 
  How do I estimate building costs?  Answer 
  How do I read my House Plan Blueprints?  Answer 
  What are the ceiling heights in your house plans?  Answer 
  Are side elevations available without a house plan purchase?  Answer 
  Can I purchase a materials list without purchasing the house plans?  Answer 
  Are your house plans available with ICF construction?  Answer 
  Do you have “green” house plans available?  Answer 
  What are the dimensions of each room in your floor plans?  Answer 
  Do you offer custom house plan design services?  Answer 
  Are your house plans trussed?  Answer 
  Can I get the colors used in the photos of a particular home?  Answer 
  Where are the water heater and furnace shown on the house plans?  Answer 
  Do you have any multi-family home plans?  Answer 
  Are there any model homes that I can walk through?  Answer 
  I need help finding a home plan with the following criteria…  Answer 
  Do you offer basement versions, 2x6 options, or full reverse for your house plans?  Answer 
  Are your home plans stamped or sealed?  Answer 
  Do you offer any pool house plans or cabana house plans?  Answer 
  Have the floor plans of photographed homes been modified?  Answer 
  Are your house plans available with SIP (structural insulated panels) construction?  Answer 
  I have not received my order yet. Can you tell me why?  Answer 
  Please define the following architectural terms…  Answer 
  Do your plans meet codes in my area?  Answer 
  Do you have any builders in my area?  Answer 
  Do you offer marketing materials?  Answer 
  Can I come into your office and view plans?  Answer 
  What is the overall height of this plan?  Answer 
  How do you determine square footage?  Answer 
  What are AutoCAD Drawings on CDROM?  Answer 
  Are Don Gardner house plans printed on recycled paper?  Answer 
  How come you don’t offer “green” home plans?  Answer 
  Are your plans structurally designed?  Answer 



Q What do I receive when I purchase a plan package?
A You will receive a one-time license to build on 5 and 8-set bond set purchases, and on PDF, vellum and CD purchases in addition to the construction drawings. The construction drawings include the front rendering, exterior and interior elevations, door and window schedules, necessary wall sections/details, structural plan and one specifications outline. Heating/air conditioning layouts are not included. Consult a local mechanical contractor for systems suitable for local climate conditions. Top
Q How many plan sets do I need?
A The number of sets you will need can vary depending on your specific situation. Besides a set for yourself, you will probably need sets for your builder, mortgage lender, local building department, and any subcontractors who need one.

Learn more about House Plan Sets.
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Q Can I return the plans?
A Because plans are printed especially for you at the time you place your order, returns and refunds are not acceptable. If for some reason you find that the plan you purchased does not meet your needs, then you may exchange bond (paper) plan sets within 60 days of the date of purchase. At the time of exchange, you will be charged a processing fee of 20 percent of the total amount of the original order plus the difference in price between the plans (if applicable) and shipping costs for the new plan. Reproducible vellums, PDF plans and AutoCAD CD’s cannot be exchanged. All original sets must be returned to us and authorization given before an exchange can take place. Please double-check your selection before ordering. We encourage you to learn the building codes for your area. If you have a builder in mind, show him the plan and determine what he will need to build the home and meet local building codes. Feel free to call our offices to discuss any concerns you may have before ordering. Top
Q What is a reproducible vellum?
A Reproducible vellums allow qualified architects and engineers to make simple modifications to the design without having to completely redraw the plans. A copyright release letter is included with the purchase to allow the plans to be copied as many times as needed to build the home ONE time. (We recommend you consult the professional making changes before purchasing.) Top
Q How do I make changes to a reproducible vellum?
A
Xerographic eradicator fluid such as Michlin film eradicating fluid applied per manufacturer directions.

In some cases, depending on your building department's policies, you may be able to modify the plans simply by adding notes on the drawings describing the changes or substitutions to be made. Doing this on the vellum set saves time, as opposed to marking up multiple sets, and guarantees that all your copies are the same. Where necessary, moderate erasures can be done on the vellums with Michlin film eradicating fluid. However, it can be difficult to completely remove the image from the vellum without damaging the paper surface, so this approach should be reserved for fairly small areas. For more extensive changes, a "cut and paste" method is usually a better approach, using an "intermediate" print in the process. For instance, if an area is to be substantially redrawn, you might tape a piece of white paper over it, or use white correction fluid, and have a new set of drawings created from that, providing a blank area with a fresh drafting surface. Or, you may be able to draw the changes on a separate opaque sheet, tape it over the affected area, and run your final set of drawings from that. In some cases, to make a "stretch," it might make sense to literally cut the plan apart and move one part by the desired amount, taping it to a backup sheet, then connect the lines and create the final set of drawings. The approach that works best will depend on the nature of the change to be made.
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Q Once I have purchased my Plan Package, how many times may I build the plan?
A If you have purchased any licensed Plan Package (5 and 8 set bond, reproducible vellum, PDF or plans on CD) as the registered user of the plan, you are licensed to build the plan ONE time. Study Sets are stamped “not for construction” and you may not build from a study set. Plans are licensed to the user only. Reselling or transferring plans is prohibited and subject to license violation fines. Top
Q Can I make copies of my plans?
A It depends on what type of Plan Package you purchase. All construction drawings are protected under copyright law. You may not make any photocopies and/or computer generated copies of bond (paper) plans for any purpose. If you purchase reproducible vellums, PDF files or CAD files on computer disc you may make as many copies as needed to build the home one time. Recent changes in US copyright laws allow for statutory penalties of up to $150,000 per incident for copyright infringement. The law can be confusing. For your own protection, take the time to understand what you cannot do when it comes to copyrighted home plans. Top
Q Do you have study plans?
A We offer a study plan set, which is one set of plans stamped “Not For Construction” on each sheet. Purchasing a study set and a Materials List for your builder to study is a great way to estimate the cost of building your home. You are not granted a limited license to build using this study set. You have to purchase a five-set plan package or higher in order to receive a limited license to legally build the house. Top
Q What is included in a Materials List?
A Our Materials List is a quantitative take-off estimate of the materials required to build the home. This list does not include finished materials (i.e. paint, carpet, etc.), electrical, mechanical or plumbing materials, as these items are customer specific. Top
Q Do you offer modification services for your house plans? What is the process?
A Yes! Our staff members are available to answer questions about our home plans and the feasibility of the changes to suit personal preferences. Please consult the Design Modification Services page of this website for additional information about the house plans modification process and associated fees. Top
Q Do you make modifications to your plans to meet local codes?
A We cannot make changes to meet your local building codes. At the time of creation, our plans are designed to conform to the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code or the International Residential Code, but do not meet local climatic and geographical design criteria. National and local building codes vary with location and change from time to time. Consequently, it may be necessary for you to meet with a local builder, architect or other construction professional to review your local building codes and make any changes to the plan these codes may require. Top
Q How is the total living square footage determined?
A All square footage is calculated from outside face of stud to outside face of stud. For brick, it is calculated to the outside face of the brick. Total living square footage includes only the heated area of the house and does not include the garage, storage areas or bonus room. Top
Q What is the exterior wall construction?
A We design all of our plans with 2x4s on a 16" center. Most plans are also available with 2x6 exterior walls. Please note: when converting to 2x6 framing, plans will typically retain the same exterior dimensions as 2 x 4 framing. This means that you will lose 2 inches of interior space in the rooms with exterior walls. For questions or concerns regarding a specific plan please call technical support at 864-288-7580 before ordering. Top
Q Why aren't HVAC, plumbing and electrical details included in the plans?
A Because local HVAC codes, climatic requirements and commonly used systems vary dramatically throughout the country, we do not include these details on our plans. Likewise, we do not know which direction the water flow will enter your house or where the electrical feed will enter. Your local HVAC contractor, plumber and electrician can determine the best layout for your new home. Top
Q The framing design is based on what loading conditions?
A The framing design is based on the following loading conditions:

Roof and Floor Dead Loads- 15 P.S.F. (25 P.S.F. Roof Dead Load on tile and flat roofs)
Roof Live Loads- 20 P.S.F. (30 P.S.F. on some plans)
Floor Live Loads- 40 P.S.F.
Maximum Wind Speed- 80 M.P.H. (90 M.P.H. 3 second gust on Plan 1013 and up; 110 M.P.H. on some coastal designs)
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Q Do you think I could build this house myself without hiring a licensed builder?
A We recommend hiring a licensed builder to construct your home. Most states require a licensed builder for any residential or commercial project over a specific value. Check out www.contractors-license.org to find out the license requirements for your state or to find out if a builder is licensed in your state. To find your local Homebuilders Association and other helpful resources, visit www.nahb.org. To find out if there have been any complaints registered against your builder, call your local Better Business Bureau or visit www.bbb.org. Lastly, make sure you always ask for and check his/her references, along with seeing examples of his/her work. Top
Q Can you recommend a builder in my area?
A We do not recommend or endorse builders in any area. However, we offer a useful tool for locating builders in your area who have informed us that they have built a Donald A. Gardner plan. Please consult our Plan Map to find out if there are builders listed in your area. Top
Q Do you know if this house has been built in my area?
A We respect our customers’ privacy. Therefore, we do not release information on where homes have been built by our customers. Top
Q What if the plan does not come with the foundation I need?
A Most of our plans are designed with a crawl space foundation. However, standard basement and slab foundations are also available for most plans. Please call 1-800-388-7580 for more information on the foundation and plan you are interested in. Please note: Standard basement foundations are in-ground and unfinished. Walkout basement foundations are treated as a modification and priced per plan. Please see our Modifications page for more information. Top
Q How often do you release new plans?
A We are continuously generating new plans in order to meet the demands of our customers. As these new plans are created, they are posted to this website. Consult the New Plans page to explore our ever-growing collection of nationally recognized home plans.

View Donald A. Gardner New House Plans.
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Q Can I see photos of the home I am interested in?
A We are constantly updating our website with new photography. While we do have photography for many Donald A. Gardner house plans, we do not have photos available for every plan. To find out if photography is available to view, go to House Plan Details for the home plan you are interested in, and scroll down to "Alternate Views." If there is photography available for that floor plan, it will be posted here.

Tour Donald A. Gardner House Plan Photo Gallery
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Q How do I estimate building costs?
A Click for answer Top
Q How do I read my House Plan Blueprints?
A Click here for answer. Top
Q What are the ceiling heights in your house plans?
A The ceiling heights for each house plan are available on the House Plan Details page for each plan. You can find the ceiling type (tray, cathedral, etc.) and height in the center column under the heading “Room Information.” Top
Q Are side elevations available without a house plan purchase?
A Yes! Up to three sets of side elevations are available for PDF download for free by simply signing up for a myDAG account. You can sign-up by clicking on the myDAG link found at the top of our home page. Once in your account, click on Plan Preview-PDF Top
Q Can I purchase a materials list without purchasing the house plans?
A Yes! Materials lists are available for most of our home plans and can help you estimate the cost of building the plan by providing details on the materials required to construct the home as the plans have laid out. Our Materials List is a quantitative take-off estimate of the materials required to build the home. This list does not include finished materials (i.e. paint, carpet, etc.), electrical, mechanical or plumbing materials, as these items are customer specific. Top
Q Are your house plans available with ICF construction?
A Because Donald A. Gardner house plans are sold throughout the world, the plans have been designed with the most common construction practices in mind. However, our plans can be converted to ICF construction by a qualified ICF expert. Top
Q Do you have “green” house plans available?
A Because a set of house plans can be built an infinite number of ways, for example, value-engineered for cost-efficiency or “green” for energy efficiency, any of our house plans can be built “green”. Many people consider a home plan to be “green” if it has a small footprint on the land, however, others depend on guidelines from various sources to define what is “green.” The materials that you use and placement on the lot determines how “green” a home can be. For more information about green building, visit our ‘Thinking of Going Green?’ page or check out our blog for articles about green building. Top
Q What are the dimensions of each room in your floor plans?
A Dimensions of the rooms in our house plans are typically underneath the name of the room in the floor plan. (In order to provide a clearer view of the floor plan, dimensions for closets and most bathrooms are not included.) These are not exact and are an estimate of the measurements of the space. For detailed room dimensions, we suggest ordering a study set of the house plan you are interested in. This set is not to be used for construction, however, it can provide the information to meet your needs. You may also contact our Customer Sales & Support department for the measurements of each room. Top
Q Do you offer custom house plan design services?
A We do not offer custom design services, however, if you have found a house plan that is almost the perfect plan, our in-house modification services department will be happy to assist you in making the changes to make it the perfect house plan. Top
Q Are your house plans trussed?
A Because Donald A. Gardner house plans are sold throughout the world, the plans have been designed with the most common construction practices in mind. However, our house plans can be converted to truss construction by a qualified truss expert. Top
Q Can I get the colors used in the photos of a particular home?
A When available, we will provide paint colors from the photographs of a house plan, however, please be aware that for the majority of the photographs that we feature, we do not have this information. If you are interested in the paint colors used on a home in one of our photos, please contact us at info@dongardner.com for more information. Top
Q Where are the water heater and furnace shown on the house plans?
A Because local codes, climatic requirements and commonly used systems vary dramatically throughout the country, we do not include these details on our plans. Your local contractor, plumber and electrician can determine the best layout for your new home. Top
Q Do you have any multi-family home plans?
A We market and sell a small selection of multi-family home plans. These plans can be found here. Top
Q Are there any model homes that I can walk through?
A We respect our customers’ privacy. Therefore, we do not release information on where homes have been built by our customers. Due to the high volume of Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. house plans that are sold, we are unable to track each home plan that is built. If you would like to contact a builder who has built a particular plan, visit the House Plan Details page and scroll down to “Find A Builder.” Top
Q I need help finding a home plan with the following criteria…
A We understand that searching our portfolio of hundreds of house plans can be a bit overwhelming. We offer an Advanced House Plan search that allows you to enter specific information about the house plan you are looking for and the search will return a selection of house plans based on your needs. You may specify the number of bedrooms you are looking for, foundation style, or even master bedroom dimensions! If you still need assistance choosing a house plan that suits your needs, we offer free plan selection assistance. Let the professionals who know our portfolio best provide you with a selection of home plans to choose from! For more information about free plan selection assistance, contact our Customer Sales & Support department at info@dongardner.com or call 1.800.388.7580. Top
Q Do you offer basement versions, 2x6 options, or full reverse for your house plans?
A We offer various modification options for our plans.

Each plan comes with a standard foundation, but you may purchase alternate foundations such as basements or slabs. Most of our plans are designed with a crawl space foundation. However, basement and slab foundations are also available for most plans.

We design most of our plans with 2x4s on a 16" center, however, most plans are also available with 2x6 exterior walls.

Reversing a house plan to meet your needs is also a popular modification. Most plans are available in “full reverse” (mirror images with right-reading text).

*Standard Basement Foundations are in-ground and unfinished. Walkout basement foundations are a modification and priced per plan.

For more information about our modification services, click here.

Please note: when converting to 2x6 framing, plans will typically retain the same exterior dimensions as 2 x 4 framing. This means that you will lose 2 inches of interior space in the rooms with exterior walls. For questions or concerns regarding a specific plan please call technical support at 864-288-7580 before ordering.
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Q Are your home plans stamped or sealed?
A Donald A. Gardner home plans are not stamped or sealed. At the time of creation, our house plans are designed to conform to the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code or the International Residential Code. National and local building codes vary with location and change from time to time. Consequently, it may be necessary for you to meet with a local builder, architect or other construction professional to review your local building codes and make any changes to the house plan these codes may require. If you are building in North Carolina or South Carolina, we offer additional sets of home plans (must purchase at least a five set package) with an engineering stamp on the structural pages. Please contact our Customer Sales & Support team at 800.388.7580 or info@dongardner.com for more details. Top
Q Do you offer any pool house plans or cabana house plans?
A At this time, we do not offer pool house or cabana house plans, however, we are always adding to our portfolio of house plans and we may add them in the future. For notifications or updates on the Donald A. Gardner portfolio, sign up for eDAG, our monthly newsletter or the Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. Plan of the Week! Top
Q Have the floor plans of photographed homes been modified?
A Some of the home plans on our website that have been photographed have been modified from the original plans. These modifications are typically made to reflect homeowner preferences or lot requirements. Please refer to rendering and floor plan images for the most accurate house plan depiction. Top
Q Are your house plans available with SIP (structural insulated panels) construction?
A Because Donald A. Gardner house plans are sold throughout the world, the plans have been designed with the most common construction practices in mind. Our home plans can be converted to SIP (structural insulated panels) construction by a qualified SIP expert. Top
Q I have not received my order yet. Can you tell me why?
A Each house plan package is printed when your order is processed, and is shipped to you based on the shipping option you chose when you purchased your plan. If your order has not arrived as scheduled, please contact our Customer Sales & Support department at 800.388.7580 or email us at info@dongardner.com.

PDF plan packages will be emailed the same day the order is received as long as the order is placed by 10:00 am Eastern Standard time, Monday – Friday. Orders placed after 10:00 am Eastern Standard time will be emailed the next business day.

If you have requested an alternate foundation or wall construction, full reverse option or other modifications to your plan, consult a Customer Sales & Support representative for more information about the status of your order.
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Q Please define the following architectural terms…
A For more a glossary of the architectural terms used on our website and in the pre-designed house plan industry, click here. Top
Q Do your plans meet codes in my area?
A At the time of creation, our house plans are designed to conform to the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code or the International Residential Code, but do not meet local climatic and geographical design criteria. National and local building codes vary with location and change from time to time. Consequently, it may be necessary for you to meet with a local builder, architect or other construction professional to review your local building codes and make any changes to the house plan these codes may require. Top
Q Do you have any builders in my area?
A If you are building a Donald A. Gardner house plan and would like to find a builder who has experience building Donald A. Gardner house plans, check out “Find A Builder”. Search your state to find a builder in your area. The companies listed in "Find a Builder" have voluntarily posted their contact information and are not endorsed by Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. In the interest of protecting the privacy of our customers, Donald A. Gardner Architects cannot provide contact information for builders not listed here. Top
Q Do you offer marketing materials?
A Yes! If you have purchased a Donald A. Gardner house plan and would like materials to market your project, we can help! We offer a variety of marketing pieces including digital renderings (FREE with your plan purchase), job site signs, plan pages and pre-sell packages. For more information about Donald A. Gardner marketing products, click here. Top
Q Can I come into your office and view plans?
A Yes! You may visit our office to view plans and speak with a Customer Sales & Support consultant without an appointment (M-F, 8AM-4:00PM, EST). If you have questions regarding a particular plan, you may schedule an appointment to speak with a designer about the plans. There is no charge for the first 30 minutes of your consultation. For each 30 minutes thereafter, there is a $50 fee, payable by credit card. If you would like to speak with someone regarding modifications to your plan, please submit a Modification Estimate Request. Once the request has been reviewed by a member of our Modification Services department and an initial estimate is completed, you may schedule an appointment to discuss your modification needs. Click here for our location, hours, and directions. Top
Q What is the overall height of this plan?
A The height of each plan varies. Please contact our Customer Sales & Support department for information about a specific plan. (The dimension provided is from the first floor subfloor to the highest peak of the roof.) Top
Q How do you determine square footage?
A The square footage that is indicated on the House Plan Detail page is measured from outside face of stud (or brick) to outside face of stud (or brick). The room dimensions included in the floor plan are interior dimensions. Top
Q What are AutoCAD Drawings on CDROM?
A AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design) Drawings on CDROM are electronic files on CDROM that make up a complete set of construction drawings for the home design of your choice. This electronic version of your plan set can be modified by a CAD professional with AutoCAD compatible software. We recommend you consult the professional making changes and ensure that you have CAD compatible software before purchasing. For more information about what is included in our house plans sets, visit our Resource Center. Top
Q Are Don Gardner house plans printed on recycled paper?
A Yes! Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. house plans are printed on the highest quality bond paper made from post-consumer waste. The 20lb. paper also requires 60% less energy to create than unrecycled paper. Top
Q How come you don’t offer “green” home plans?
A More and more plan buyers are choosing to build green, and as a company Donald Gardner Architects is fully in support of building homes to be as energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible. In fact, we have a whole section of our website dedicated to green building practices; you can visit it here.

The answer to this question is a bit of a conundrum, because while we don’t offer an official “green” design option, ALL of our plans can be green depending on how you build them. We encourage you to work with your builder to investigate the various programs with third-party green certification, such as Energy Star, Earth Craft House, the National Association of Home Builder’s Green Certification Program, LEED, and others.

There are several reasons we cannot offer green certified plans. They are:

- Our plans are generic and able to be constructed anywhere in the country. The variety of climates across the continent make it impossible to create one energy-efficient standard that can work everywhere
- If a home buyer wants to meet the requirements of Energy Star or similar programs, it is up to the builder to follow the guidelines set forth by that program to get the home in compliance. Specifying it on the plan does not guarantee builder compliance
- There are many variables within these different programs that can be combined to meet requirements – many affecting final costs. We do not want to list specifics that may limit our customers’ choices; instead we recommend working with your builder to select items that satisfy the program yet are still within your budget
- Information on the various programs is available from each program; clients can easily find the requirements online
- All of these programs are constantly evolving and improving. Therefore, what meets requirements this year may change by next year. We do not want to lock in to “old methods” by specifying on the plans themselves

You can visit links to various green building programs and choose one that is right for you by following this link.
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Q Are your plans structurally designed?
A Yes. We hire a Structural Engineer to design the house structure to meet or exceed the Design loads indicated on the drawings. Top




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Thank you for allowing us to be part of your house plan purchasing experience. We appreciate your business and want to take this opportunity to explain important information about our copyright. By providing you with these facts, we hope to clarify any confusion and exclude you from legal concerns. House Plans are COPYRIGHTED! Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. and/or Donald A. Gardner, Inc. designed -- and hold the copyrights to -- the pre-designed Floor Plans on this web site. With bond (paper) set purchases, the purchaser is granted a one-time license to build the home. Just like books, movies, and songs, federal copyright laws protect the intellectual property of architects and home designers by giving copyright protection to house plans and home designs. The copyright laws prevent anyone from reproducing or reusing the house plans or home designs without written permission from the copyright owner. Who is responsible for copyright infringement? Any party who participates in the violation may be responsible whether you were aware of the house plan copyright or not. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Refuse to be part of any illicit copying or use of house plans, floor plans, home designs, derivative works, blueprints, or home design features by being certain of the original design source.