Frequently Asked Questions
by Jay Behm -
1. Are your garage plans sufficient for getting building permit?
Yes, for most locations. Behm Design plans are compliant with the IRC (International Residential Code) for the PARAMETERS we've established as basis for the garage designs. See EXAMPLES of garage plans
2. Do the garage plans come with a professional stamp or seal?
No. It is rarely required. The plans are compliant with the IRC code as "conventional light frame construction" which is the "prescriptive approach" for compliance. The code provides all the required information to design the structure per code for the components of the building. As long as the design fits within the code's established limits for dimensions, structure, etc. the elements of the building are already established as compliant, having been tested, engineer-proven and documented by the code organization. So if it says an floor joist of a certain size can span "x" number of feet, carrying a certain live and dead load, spaced at a certain interval it has already been proven to be safe for the application. All parts of the building can be fully compliant with the exception of TRUSSES, if used (trusses get engineered for the application automatically when ordered by your materials supplier).....So, if correctly designed, there is no code requirement for using the "engineered approach" wherein the structure is fully analyzed for structural capacity to support all applied loads ("engineered approach" is generally used for buildings which are too large or complex to fit into the limits for "conventional light frame construction"). There are exceptions. If you are building in a location that has more severe parameters for earthquake, snow loads, wind, etc. which are beyond the "prescriptive" limits, then engineering is often required. Also, there are some areas of coastal and mountainous regions which have imposed engineering requirements.
3. I want to use a Behm Design garage plan but need that engineering, is that possible?
Yes. All you need to do is find a "consulting engineer" in your local Yellow Pages. Those engineers who work on small scale projects and contractors' projects can usually take the stock plans, do the required engineering and mark-up and add to the planset documents and then stamp as required.. Fees can be as little as a couple hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars (CA is often the most costly area for engineering) so it's best to speak engineers before selecting one if possible. Many Behm Design plans have been built in CA, FL,NY, NJ and WA with additional, local engineering as required.
4. Another plans company said that all plans need to be taken to an engineer, no matter where it is to be used. Is that true?
No. There are other designers and plan companies who don't know how to use "prescriptive" code compliance and provide very generic designs with all sorts of details included (which often aren't relevant to the specific design) Then you would need to have it sorted out and modified by a local architect or engineer which adds lots of $$$$ to the project. Behm Design plans do not require such additional work unless building in the more extreme parameters areas.
5. Are Behm Design plans guaranteed?
Yes. Plans (paper documents) may be returned for full refund or exchanged for a different plan within 12 months of purchase date, with no questions asked. (prorated for return of less than the original 4 planset package).
6. Can you modify or customize the garage plans for my project?
No. In order to maintain quality and reasonable pricing the plans are strictly stock. However, many of the plans include variables and options which cover the majority of customer preferences, such as door locations, garage door size, roof slope, wall height and one of the two building dimensions. In the plans there are fill-in-the-blanks, and check boxes to indicate preferred item. Other items such as siding, roofing, trim, accessories can usually just be noted where relevant appear in the drawings. ....So many of the plans have built-in flexibility and many of our customers have used that method to customize their project. It is advisable to ask your local inspector or permit dept. to make sure they allow. It is usually not a problem.
7. Do the plans include a foundation plan?
Yes. While many other garage plans companies leave it out (again, left for other engineers($$$$) to provide) Behm Design plans provide a design specific foundation plan with details and options. Bearing point loads and continuous footings are sized and dimensioned, indicating rough openings for doors and locations of anchor bolts and hold-down anchors if used. We use the "prescriptive" design details from the IRC code and they are usable in most locations. The main variable in foundations is the footing depth below grade dimension. Our details show a common dimension but include a fill-in-the-blank to note the locally required depth dimension. Your local inspector or building dept. will know that number. You can see examples of our foundation plans in PLANSETS .
8. I want to build my garage with roof trusses. Do your plans show me how to build them myself, on-site?
No. Almost all places and the IRC code require that trusses be built by a state-approved, licensed truss fabricator. Behm Design plans which use trusses instead of rafters show the required profile (slope, span, etc.) and a roof framing plan which show truss layout with other framing components. You can see examples of our roof framing plans in PLANSETS. The truss fabricators provide the specifications and engineering data for your truss package. This information is typically delivered with the trusses. If local permitting requires review of that information in advance they can usually provide it if you pay a deposit.
9. Are Behm Design Plans sold through broker plan companies?
No. Behm plans are sold only through Behm Design (although they can be special ordered through many 84 Lumber locations).
10. Canada has a different building code. Are your plans usable in Canada?
Yes, usually. The IRC code used in most of the US is similar enough to Canadian code to use in most provinces See BUILDING IN CANADA
11. Your Planset packages include (4) copies of the plans. Could I buy just one set to save cost?
No, just the 4-set package (based on many years of selling plans).In most projects it is required to submit (2) plansets to the building dept. for permit application. (1) copy would then be for the builder or materials supplier and (1) copy can be kept for your own use. Occasionally more sets are required and they can be purchased individually, in addition to the (4) set package. Behm Design garage plans are now available as instant PDF downloadsand, with those files, you can print out as many as you prefer. (PDF download plans are reduced in price due to reduced production costs)
12. Are the plan dimensions shown for footprint or do they include the roof overhang?
They are footprint dimensions (also face of concrete) There are exceptions but most places want site plan setbacks noted using the footprint dimensions. Also, those dashed lines on many of the plans just indicate the relative roof overhang above.
13. How can I be sure buying your plans or others' plans won't be a waste of my money?
Behm Design plans are GUARANTEED for refund or plan exchange within 12 months. (Many other plans companies do not offer guarantees) Also, customer testimonials and photo images show customer satisfaction with Behm Design plans (see GALLERY page) ...and Behm Design has been selling stock plans for garages since 1986
14. If I have a question, is it okay to call you?
Yes. If it is after hours or I'm not at the phone when you call, just leave your name and number and I will call back soon. Jay Behm 1-800-210-6776
15. How much will my new garage cost?
I'm sorry I cannot answer that, as I don't offer cost estimating. There are lots of variables just due to building site and who builds it... However, I do offer to email you a FREE MATERIALS LIST before you buy plans. That way you can compare costs of one to several designs or between materials suppliers. At least, those are real and accurate numbers. Just call or send an email to request list(s). The list(s) will be sent as attachments in Excel format. Materials lists are free, with no obligations.