Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona Custom Home Designs


  1. How can we learn more about Arizona House Plans by Palmer Design?
  2. What should I bring or how should I prepare for my initial consultation?
  3. What is included in your floor plans?
  4. How do you charge for a custom home design?
  5. How long does it take to design a custom home?
  6. What are building codes and what do I need to know about them?
  7. What zoning and other land use regulations do I need to conform to?
  8. Are your floor plans structural engineered?
  9. What is and how do you calculate livable square footage?
  10. What is a Building Designer?
  11. How quickly can I get a set of plans for my bank?


How can we learn more about Arizona House Plans by Palmer Design? <top>

All prospective clients are encouraged to set up a free consultation. We would be more then happy to answer any questions you have and to provide you with further information about Arizona House Plans by Palmer Design. We can show you past home design projects and talk to you about what to expect during the design and building process.  We are confident that you will feel comfortable with our services after meeting with us.



What should I bring or how should I prepare for my initial consultation? <top>

Please come prepared to discuss your budget goals, needs and site requirements. Gather design ideas from our website, home design magazines and other sources (if you haven't already). Have a written list of rooms, function of each space and what it should be near. All of these will be essential in determining what kind of project is structurally and financially feasible.  We will be able to determine your style preferences from this visit.



What is included in your plans? <top>

Visit our sample floor plans page to see what is included in our floor plans.



How do you charge for a custom design? <top>

We base pricing on the square footage of a project and the level of detail required for your plans. After calculating the time we’ll spend on your home, we can provide you with a proposal.  The price typically works out to about 2% of the total investment of your house.  Non-livable square footage is un-conditioned spaces such as: garages, porches, patios, decks, etc.  Click here for a more detailed pricing structure.



How long does it take to design a custom home? <top>

This can vary by customer, complexity of home, municipality and current market demand.

Stock plans: with no changes, these typically take 2-3 weeks depending on the municipality.  Add another 2-3 weeks if Structural, Civil or other engineering is required on your lot or in your specific municipality.

Custom Homes & Stock Plan changes: Those who know what they want, can expect there completed set of plans in 60-90 days.  Those who want to take there time and really nail down the details, tend to take a little longer, such as 4-6 months.

All of our floor plans & home designs are created with the highest standard of quality.  Each set of plans goes through a comprehensive check process to ensure accuracy.



What are building codes and what do I need to know about them? <top>

Building codes are the written documents that establish minimum standards that must be conformed to in residential or commercial construction. We will check with the local building inspector to see which codes have been adopted by the municipality in which you plan to build. Most localities accept the International Residential Code "IRC" for one and two family dwellings. A new version is released every 3 years. 2018, 2021, etc. Each municipality decides when to update to the latest version. They will most likely be on different codes.



What zoning and other land use regulations do I need to conform to? <top>

Once you have located a potential building site, check with your local zoning department to see what the requirements are concerning setbacks, density, house size and other items. If your lot is in a platted subdivision, carefully check the covenants for similar restrictions.  Visit our Arizona House Plans municipality links to get you pointed in the right direction.



Are your plans structural engineered? <top>

Most municipalities require structural engineering and therefore we provide that service in house. There are times that a smaller and simpler home can be designed wihout it. However, we strongly recommend structural engineering on every home. This means that your plans have been thoroughly designed and reviewed by a structural engineer, including: foundation, framing, beams, posts, connections and lateral wind loads.



What is and how do you calculate 'livable' square footage? <top>

Floor plan 'livable' square footage is figured on air conditioned floor space (heated or cooled). This air conditioned square footage or 'livable' square footage is typically our plan number.  Non-livable square footage is the un-conditioned space such as: garages, porches, patios, decks, etc.  Unfinished basements are considered 'livable' square footage.



What is a Building Designer? <top>

A building designer is first and foremost a professional familiar with all facets of the building trade, whose plans and designs represent the particular needs, style and budget of the client. Our approach to any problem is based on practical, functional and economical solutions that will best fulfill the client’s requirements, while translating these factors into a concept that is both aesthetic and utilitarian.


How quickly can I get a set of floor plans for my bank? <top>

This is a very common question that we get.  Banks do not typically need a full working set of floor plan drawings to conduct there appraisal for the construction loan.  Therefore, once we have completed the floor plan and elevations, we can provide you a set of plans to give to your bank.  See our home design process for more information.