How To Buy Car Garage Plans - Phase III: Finding Your Plan(downloadable pdf version) Now that you have all of the legal and technical formalities figured out, you can actually start your online search for the car garage plans you want. There are four general approaches you can take to sort through all of the possible plans you are going to find online. Before you get started, let's get this out of the way: you can do a general search online for 'free garage plans' and you are most likely going to get one of three types of results:
- Sites that offer a very limited number of free plans so they can get you to their site when you search for 'free garage plans'
- Sites that are frustrating and difficult to naviagte, with no apparent free garage plans, but you might click on one of the advertiser's sponsoring the page
- Builders that offer free garage plans...of course they are only free when you have them build the garage for you
- General search for generic terms such as 'garage plans'
- Go directly to sites you are familiar with that offer garage plans
- Specific search for your garage plan requirements such as 'two car garage with apartment maximum 500 sq ft'
- Some combination of approaches 1, 2 and 3
This is the approach most people are going to take. Using one of the search engines such as google.com, yahoo.com or bing.com, you will type in a generic phrase such as 'garage plans' or '2 car garage plans'. Almost every result you get back on the first Search Engine Results Page is going to be a high quality listing with plenty of good information, and they might just have that certain garage plan you are looking for. Some of them do a very good job of making it easy for you to search through their site for car garage plans based on your needs, and some of them are not so good. In almost every case, the search engine listings are going to take you to the home page of the site. And just about every one of the sites is going to present you with some of their more glamorous designs on their home page, which is alright, but you might be trying to match an existing architectural style so that may not be one of your top priorities. If the site does not make it easy to search based on your garage requirements then move on to the next one. There are literally thousands of different garage plans out there, so don't waste your time getting frustrated because the site you are visiting makes it difficult to quickly go through all of the plans that truly meet your needs.
Go directly to sites you are familiar with that offer garage plans
In some cases, you might directly enter the name of a site in your web browser that offers garage plans online because you saw a reference to it somewhere else, or maybe someone that has already used it to find a plan referred you to it. This can be a great way to find a reputable operation with good customer service. The referring person wouldn't have steered you in that direction unless they had a good experience with that company. If you know someone that has built a garage, you might ask them where they went for their plans.
Specific search for your garage plan requirements
This approach will give you some of the most fruitful results in your search for garage plans. You are much more likely to find the exact result you are looking for and narrow down your search much faster. These great search results will come from typing a very specific search phrase into the search engine, such as 'four car garage plans 2 levels with loft' or 'basic one car garage plan maximum 200 sq ft'. This type of approach will narrow down your search quickly to just those garage plans you are looking for and save you a lot of time. The link you get on the Search Engine Results Page will more than likely take you directly to an informational page that has just what you are looking for and save you the trouble of having to search through the entire site. Once again though, if the site doesn't make it easy for you to refine your search once you are there, move on to the next one. On a good garage plans site, you should be able to find everything they offer that meets your specific needs within 2 minutes. On the other hand, if your requirements aren't all that specific and you want to take your time, then browse through all they have to offer to see what strikes your fancy.
Combination approach to search
Last but not least is the combination approach. Building a garage is no small effort, so make sure you take the time to do it right. You are going to be living with that building for quite a while, and it only makes sense to research it thoroughly and pick the right plan. When you first start your search, go ahead and do some generic searching as this will help you get an idea of what types of garage plans are available. Once you have browsed through a few sites, narrow down your searching by typing in some specific phrases. Ask someone at your local building supply store if they know of any good sites offerring garage plans. If you have a builder picked out already they might be able to offer some suggestions also.
The perfect garage always starts with the perfect garage plans!
There are a few things to be aware of once you have found the plans you think you like. Some sites include the material list for your garage with the plans and some sites charge extra, so make sure you check before ordering.
Have a good idea of what document format you want to buy before you get there. Most sites will offer several ways for you to get your garage plans, either paper copies, reproducible drawings or a CAD version. How do you know which one to buy? Well, that depends on your situation. If you don't plan on making any changes to your garage plans, you should probably just buy the paper copies in the quantity you need (see Phase I). That is the most economical approach and will save you the effort of having to find a place to print them if you use other formats. If you think there is any chance that you might want to make modifications to the plans, then you should get either the reproducible drawings or the CAD package. The upside to the reproducible drawings is you don't need any special software to use them and they are very easy to change. You will have to find a local printer to make copies for you once the changes have been incorporated but most reasonably sized copy facilities should be able to accommodate you. If you plan on making extensive changes or you like working with your plan on a computer then you will want to get a CAD package. Check the requirements on the website you are buying the garage plans from to find out what the hardware and software requirements are.
If you buy paper copies, how many should you buy? Well, once again, it depends on many factors. Here are some general rules of thumb, but remember about all the copies you need for obtaining permits and giving to your contractor and subcontractors.
1 Set of Prints - 1 Set of Garage Plan prints is generally used to pre-plan or study your garage.
5 Sets of Prints - 5 Sets of Garage Plan prints is the minimum recommended number for a garage building project (although you might be able to get by with fewer). Make sure you keep one set for yourself and track which subcontractor has each of the other sets if they are sharing. Your general contractor will probably need a dedicated set also. Check with your local government building office to see how many sets they need to issue building permits.
8 Sets of Prints - 8 Sets of Garage Plan prints is the recommended quantity for a quality construction project. You will want to keep one copy for yourself and you should have a set for the local government building office, your mortgage lender (if necessary) and a set for your general building contractor. All of your subcontractors (electrical, plumbing, concrete, carpenter, etc.) should have their own garage plan drawing set also to avoid confusion and delays. Check with your general contractor to see if any additional sets are needed.
Use the chart below to help you keep track of plans you are interested in.
|Site url (www.your-garage-site.com)||Name or plan number