How Much Detail Does Your Contractor Need?

When providing your contractor with your plans and ideas just how much information is required before it becomes “too much information”?

Common sense tells us that the more detail we provide then the more we lower the risk of the contractor getting it wrong or rather not as we wanted it.

Where many self builders go wrong – and by self builders I mean managing your own project – is to fill the plans with much of the detail that should be provided in the specifications rather than the blueprints.

For example a door shown on a plan should include exactly where the opening goes, how big it is and which way the door will open. The specification sheet should include the style of door, type of wood, furniture, hinges, length of screws for fixing etc.

Your plans should convey the visual effect of what you want so the trained eye can look them over and see the completed job in his mind.

A good set of plans will include floor plan, elevations and sections if required. All drawings will be to scale and include dimensions. They will also include details of certain parts of the work that can’t be seen fully from the plans. The ‘details’ will usually be a zoom in of a certain area. For instance showing how a lintel is to be fitted over a patio door etc.

A really good set of plans for the larger job will also include a site plan as well as a plan each for the electricians and the plumbers.

If you are a self builder planning to construct your own home then buying a set of ready made plans off the shelf can be a great compromise. You will be sure of getting professional plans to give your builder but at a much lower cost than hiring an architect to design your dream home from scratch.

Many of these house plans come complete with a list of materials required which you can take to your local suppliers for pricing.


You will probably still need the services of a local architect to make any adjustments you want to add. You should also have the foundation plans checked as much will depend on your location. Even so, this will still work out much cheaper than hiring him from the start.

You can also find software designed specifically for designing extensions, garden layouts, remodeling and even new house build. The good (and by good read expensive) ones will render your plans into a 3D drawing so you can see just what the final product will look like.


  1. Joan

    I found the solution for my new home thanks to this post.
    Many thanks.

  2. Adelphia

    Surprising to think of something like that


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