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Architecture/prefabricated house


QUESTION: This is a small prefabricated house meant to be economical .
Q0)Can you list the names of drawings needed by U.S development authority to get the project accepted for construction?
It would be better if you could send a sample submission drawing image maybe. Also
Q1)what could be economical wall material for this project ? that can assure easy assemble process for it.
Q2) what could be possible roof materials and type?
Q3) What type of structure will be needed for it ?

Plan Submittal Checklist
Plan Submittal Checkli  
Main Floor Plan
Main Floor Plan  
ANSWER: Mahreen,

First, please tell me why you and other people from Pakistan are now asking for FREE plans?  At the risk of being rude, I must ask you not to ask for free plans.  It is an insult to the profession.  Stock plans that have been developed for use throughout the country are typically sold for between $1,500 and $2,000.  The architect will develop an original custom set of plans after 200 hours of work.  If the architect is lucky, he (or she) might receive $900 when (if) those plans are sold each time by a broker.  The architect assumes some small liability for those plans after they have been adapted to fit the specific site conditions.

If you are willing to pay me $10,000 to develop a set of plans for a small house in accordance with ICC/ANSI 2.0 Manufactured Housing & Safety Standards, then I will be happy to give you the "example" you are looking for.  And that house plan will be suitable for all climates throughout the United States.

As a local building official, I can tell you that other local officials will likely want to see a concrete foundation that will anchor your prefabricated home down to the ground.  For most parts of the United States, every building structure (including homes) must withstand a wind force generated by a 145 kilometer per hour wind speed.  But that is only good for most of the country.  To achieve this standard in areas where the ground freezes, the concrete is typically poured into holes or a continuous trench around the house perimeter at a depth of 1 meter (deeper in the North and shallow in the South).  As you can imagine, there is nothing "prefabricated" about 100 cubic meters of concrete that needs to be placed below the ground level for your little house.

Other criteria to keep in mind is the general requirement to keep rodents out, keep the house relatively air tight when it is windy outside, and water resistant.  One of the biggest concerns is mold resistance.  If your structure is water tight and the materials do not provide a food source for mold, then you are heading the right direction.  For a prefabricated home kit, I would encourage you to look at structural insulated panels (SIP).  These are used to create self-supporting structures for both walls and roof.  The concept is relatively new but it is solid and legitimate.  The walls meet the minimum standard for insulation (R20) and the roof can provide an insulation level of R49.  One other thing that I would encourage you to think about is providing a prefabricated garage to go along with your prefabricated house.  Otherwise, your plan will be culturally irrelevant throughout most of the United States.  The average size of homes around my neighborhood are 180 square meters.  If you can find a market for your 34 square meter house, just keep in mind that somebody is going to ask you for a 34 square meter car garage to go along with it.

That should answer all but one of your questions.  I will attach a check list of drawings that are typically included along with a building permit application.  If I seem like a "bad mood person" because of my response related to your request for a free example, it is because I am getting a lot of requests lately for "FREE" samples and very few people wanting to pay for anything.  That is not good for drafters, architects, and engineers trying to make a living while people are expecting everything fast and free.

Good luck with your efforts and let me know if you have any other questions.

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer
NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I can't tell u about others but i wanted to see one as sample that's all.I accidentally sent u question twice i guess. I needed this info cox someone who claims to be very poor (a Filipino couple) wanted this house approved.I don't know and had no idea about whether a person affording this type of small house can afford to pay for it in U.S or not.But according to ur description it seems that if they can dream for such house in U.S so they can pay for its design as well.
Thankx for all the help. I have no intention to copy paste cox i can develop almost every set of plans for residential projects but that's only for Pakistan.And here is no concept of prefabricated house.I think i will turn the offer down .

If you look at the attachments to my last response, you will see that I sent to you
1) A list of drawings needed to for building permit approval by United States authorities.
2) A sample floor plan that includes the typical information.  And that floor plan was developed for low income families and small houses that will need the very least amount of energy.

Sorry but this website limits my attachments to only two *.jpg images which does not work for attaching 37 pages of information for a house.  You already have a floor plan but if you were wanting the other 36 pages, send me your e-mail address so that I can then attach a larger set of plans.

Thank you and Happy Easter!

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer
NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner


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Richard Burton AIA


A combined total of 25 years experience with construction, architecture, and building code enforcement. Ask me about residential and commercial design. Ask me about design aesthetics, structural methods, and building something that will withstand severe weather conditions. Ask me my opinion about YOUR design ideas and I will tell you the merits of good design and challenge your thinking about practical issues. Ask me how to best find and work with your local architect and approach general contractors to get the most value for the least amount of headaches. You can ask me about improving your energy efficiency and things that are both green and practical. But don't ask me about solar panels and wind turbines unless you are currently paying your utility company 35 cents per Kilowatt. Otherwise the math does not justify the initial cost and return on investment. Ask me any building code question and how to get a building permit from the most difficult enforcement agencies.


Here in the midwest, we design and build "green" in ways that make sense. My construction methods prioritize weather resistance, ease of maintenance and durability. While a graduate student in San Diego, I taught drafting and history of architecture. After working ten years for other architecture firms, I have started my firm Arrow Architecture in 2008. More than half of my work involves commercial office buildings. But my portfolio of work also includes custom homes, residential additions, home remodels, and second story additions.

President-Elect of American Institute of Architects - Lincoln, NE

B.S. Architecture - (Interior Design) University of Nebraska Lincoln 1997 Master of Architecture - (Urban Design and Professional Practice) NewSchool of Architecture - San Diego 2004 Graduated Summa Cum Laude ICC Certified Building Plans Examiner

Awards and Honors
AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

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