How We Design Your Custom Home Plans

The Design Process For House Plans

1. House Design and Permit Drawings

The Design Process breaks down into two seperate elements; 1) House Design and 2) Permit Drawings.

1) HOUSE DESIGN: The first step in the design process is a quote.  I need information to give that to you, and I can get most of that through a phone conversation or a electronic Quote Form, available on this website.  I may have some followup questions once I have that information, and then I will give you a figure.  The quote may be what I will charge you per square foot of the floor plan, or it could be a fixed price.  Sometimes, but rarely, it will be an hourly rate. Determining factors in the cost are, complexity of the house, condition of the building site (sloping or flat), and the degree of sustainability, or other features you may want.

Once we've met and agreed on a price, we will sign a Design Agreement.  50% of the estimated cost will be due at that time. The Design Agreement will specify the scope of work, the number of design phases, a timeframe for beginning and finishing the design, and any engineering that may be required.

When that is accomplished, and after a site visit, we will begin your design, and work towards a Final Design.  When that is complete, I will begin your Permit Drawings.

2) PERMIT DRAWINGS: These or the house plans you will give to your builder, or take to your local jurisdiction to obtain your building permit. The drawings will include floor plans, elevations, sections, and all of the other necessary views and information required.  It will also include a site plan and engineering. 

Engineering is required for all residential construction, and comes in two forms.  One form is called "perscriptive" and can be supplied by the designer.  Not all house plans lend themselves to prescriptive engineering, and in that case an engineer must supply the calculations.  I try to decide this before the quote, but it is not always possible, and sometimes an engineer must become involved during the design process.

Once the drawings are complete, and placed in the city or county's hands, they will checked by a plans examiner, and if they have any further requirements, they will contact me, and I will supply them.

2. 3D in the House Design Process

You may have picked up from viewing the Home Page, that we do our design work in 3D.  That process enables you to make informed choices every step of the way, leading to a final design.  Some designers offer 3D renderings, but not the ability to show you around and through your house plan throughout the design process.  This ability is invaluable, and it removes the apprehension about how your completed project will look and work.  Please view the videos on the Home Page for a better idea.

3. Electronic House Design Sessions

You have the choice of viewing your house plan in our office on a large screen, or you can receive videos and renderings by email and view them on your own computer.  Electronic Design Sessions are a great time and energy saving device. See examples of Renderings and Videos of various house plans on the Home Page.

4. Sustainable Home Design Options

Today it's possible to build a high performance home for a modest increase in construction cost.  After an initial breakeven point, the money you save on heating and cooling each month will begin to pay for your home.  This is especially true when considering the projected rise in energy costs.  Bruce Butler is a Sustainable Homes Professional and can offer you the most current methodologies in healthy, energy efficient, and eco-friendly building design for your house plan.

For further information on the advantages of sustainable design, please visit our Sustainable  Design page to see some of the services we offer.

5. 36 Years of House Design Experience

Bruce Butler was a Design-Build contractor from 1978 to 2000 as JB Hammer Co. Inc. He went into full-time building design in 2000 as JB Hammer Designs, Inc.

For 25 years as a design-builder, he had hands-on experience in every aspect of residential and light commercial construction.  He designed 30% of the projects he completed.  During that time, he maintained a perfect record with the Construction Contractor's Board.

Since 2000, as a fulltime designer, Bruce has produced designs and drawings for hundreds of residential house plans and remodel plans. His background has enabled him to find creative solutions to difficult design situations. He has produced his own catalogue of house plans and sold them online.  He has traveled and studied architecture around the world and has been published on that topic. You can read some of his other published articles on the Sustainable Design page.  For a complete professional history, follow the link to About Us.

6. Custom House Plans Quote Form

I hope to hear from you at this point to discuss your project: 1. Contact me directly for a Design Consultation, or 2. complete a form for a free quote on your home plan - Custom House Plan Quote Form

Direct contact information: Bruce Butler


phone: 503-348-5541


Helpful Links:

Sustainable Home Design

Custom House Plan Quote