OT: "Borrowing" someone elses floorplans

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Thanks to all for the response. The house is my sisters and she would not care if a copy of her house existed several miles away. There is actually more than one copy in her own neighborhood - nature of tract housing I guess.
To address the issue of just finding a similarly laid out plan and buy the blueprints, I probably could eventually. I've just been looking for a couple of weeks and every plan I see seems to be almost-but-not-quite as good as her plan.
Another reason I liked the idea of building from the original blueprints is that I'll be building it myself (with a little help from my friends as they say) and as a novice builder, I like the idea of being able to have a completed "model" of the house for reference.
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Cripes! You are contemplating hiring your own personal architect to draw you up custom blueprints so you can build your own custom home yourself, but you want the end result to be a carbon copy of a tract house with dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of copies within just a few miles of your house.
What's wrong with you?
Build something unique, something you like, something with character. If your dream house reall is a tract house, just buy one from the developper -- you can't possibly beat the price, and its your dream house afterall so that is the best of both for you.
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On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 04:18:26 GMT, "ameijers"

The real issue comes up when you submit the plans to plan review at your building department. They are looking for the engineering stamps. I doubt you will save a dime if your new architect does the engineering he deems necessary to put his stamp on someone else's plan. You are really paying for that stamp. There is nothing magic about the floor plan itself, it is the engineering on the plan you pay for.
BTW if you are buildiong in a place that doesn't have plan review, permits etc, I doubt anyone would ever know you had McMansion Inc's plan. Just be sure you have the redlined version with all the errors fixed ;-)
Tract house builders don't always have plans that are right.
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Underway writes:

Architectural designs can't be copyrighted.
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On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 22:33:49 -0600, Richard J Kinch
The document they are printed on is though.
I got into this when I builkt my pool. I had all of the standard engineering documents from a commercial pool company but since their name was not on the permit I could not submit their copyrighted plan. They would let me hand copy the plan and submit that as a homeowner drawn plan if I paid a few extra bucks for engineering review . I just had to be sure to faithfully cite all the ASTM references, building code sections and such in my note panels. You also have to be sure you get all the details of the engineered parts of the drawing. They don't give a rats ass about cosmetic details. They only care that the code issues are dealt with. In a McMansion mastered house plan, the interior details and actual floor llan may not even look like the house you build. "Plan review" is only looking at the structural, mechanical and electrical engineering. They may have some <permit> money issues with details (extra money per outlet or something) but one mastered plan will cover a lot of houses with a lot of options.
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On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 22:33:49 -0600, Richard J Kinch

But the plans are. So you could sketch the layout, photograph the details tha appeal to you, and take the result to an architect and say "I want something like this:", and probably be ok.
But if you copy the actual blueprints, that's likely illegal.
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Most Architect do this anyway. They go through so many sources and copy and assemble ideas that they like, nothing illegal about it.
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Now if you snagged an unauthorized electronic CAD copy of a blueprint and distributed it, that would piss someone off and you could be sued for stealing IP.
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architect One who designs and supervises the construction of buildings or other large structures. http://www.answers.com/architect&rg
the same guy who designs your house saves you money with his expertise in its construction.
or build for your sister a new house from a blueprint she now wants and just buy her old house.
or design and build a more interesting energy efficient home with a solar moon deck or whatever you like.
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You cannot claim to have a different plan by moving a light 1 inch. Read the plan that you want to copy, it doesn't have lights indicated by measurements, unless it has a special fit with other items such as cabinets. Most electrical items are just approximate locations where the electrician will install it in the general area depending on where the framing supports ended up.

a
say
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Underway wrote:

OK, I'm not going to contribute to the ongoing flamewar. I do, however, have a suggestion:
You've already got an architect on the payroll--why not hire a designer? It's not like you're going to save *that* much money if you're going to build a new house. If you have to, forego something you can add later--crown molding, fancy lighting or bathroom fixtures, etc. Spend the money on things you can't add later like design.
My wife and I had a general design in mind (what rooms adjacent to each other and on what floors), but we found it worthwhile to have someone with the experience and background to work out the gory details. Our builder charged us $1,600 to custom-design a ~2,000SF Cape Cod, and it was worth every penny.
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Thanks for your response TM, that makes sense. I was recently thinking along those lines. Get the house designed and built with the sf and layout that I want, and live without a few finishing items for the time being.
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It makes sense if you are going to complete them. Friends of our built their house about 18 years ago. Some closets still don't have doors. other rooms still missing trim. I guess the viability of it has much to do with your personality or the nagging ability of your wife.
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Here's something interesting I ran accross today. This is from the website of a house designer:
http://www.mountainhomeshow.com/houseplans/plansprocedure.htm A Word About Copyright
Occassionally I receive a request to copy ideas from a plan that someone else designed. This would be very dangerous for you and me. Recent laws allow a designer to win lawsuits for theft of intellectual property. They may sue for all of the profit on the project(s) and damages.
Changing a certain percentage of the plan is no longer a protection. They can sue for copying one single idea from their plan. This also includes unauthorized use of plans. The law states that the purchase of a set of plans is for a one time use. Both the right to use them again and the design ideas in the plans remain the intellectual property of the designer. This would also apply to someone trying to build using preliminary plans, without paying for the complete plans, and without having the permission of the designer.
On very rare occasions a dishonest client has attempted to avoid final payment and use the preliminary plans for construction. This is a very dangerous idea, as a law suit would cost far more than the plans. I encourage good, honest design practices. By far the majority of my clients want this. To get the best home for the least cost, I design for your unique needs, your property, and your budget. A good designer does not need to copy others' ideas to achieve this. A wise client would not want to cut the cost of plans by copying ideas from a plan that would risk a law suit, cost far more to build, and be less satisfactory.
Richard C. MacCrea Home Planner
Blairsville, Georgia
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