Do I need a proper set of architectural or engineering drawings to get a quote from a home builder?
Yes and No. The answer is not a simple one.
A well established and organized Custom Home Builder will have a proper system that they use to quote new homes. It's usually a computerized system that they can punch numbers into and then adjust at the end with anything that is special or different then the typical build.
This means that if you have created the drawings yourself and have given the builder as much information pertaining to the interior and exterior finishes as you possibly can then the builder should be able to work up a quote for you. The quote wouldn't be set in stone but it would be a very close estimate to what the actual number would be. The reason that the quote wouldn't be a fixed price is because you created the drawings yourself, there could be flaws in the drawings that the municipality might flag when you apply for a permit or the builder might discover when he is actually building the home that would have to be fixed or adjusted at an additional cost. Everything looks a little different once it's in the real world from what has been drawn on a flat piece of paper.
If the home is a complicated home that has special items in it that will require engineering then the builder will have trouble giving you an accurate quote. There are certain things that can add to the cost of a home and one of them is the engineering of the structure or structures around the home.
For example: If your home is going to have retaining walls or a deeper basement and the concrete walls of the home are going to be essentially used to hold back a large amount of ground then the concrete walls require engineering, this engineering could make the concrete walls significantly more expensive because of the thickness and the amount of re-bar that is to be placed in them.
Other parts of the home like the roof; if they are drawn incorrectly might not be structurally sound and will require engineering to prevent failure when they are under a snow load. This type of engineering could change the entire look, feel and cost of a roof for the you. When you start changing roof lines and roof pitches you can start to affect the inside of the home, ceilings can have height changes along with window placements and it can also affect your ability to have cathedral ceilings.
Basically if your planning on building a simple house then you might be able to get away with simple drawings, but if you are planning to build something unique, large or complicated then you are going to have to spend some money on a proper set of plans. These plans won't be a waste of money, they will probably save you more money in the long run by eliminating a lot of the unknown costs that spring up during building then the actual cost of the drawings.
Village Builders Inc.