All plans conform to one of the nationally recognized set of building codes. Plans are never sent out engineered. This will be true for any stock house plan you purchase. The reason is simple: every building lot is unique and has characteristics that must be addressed differently.
Not all areas require that plans be reviewed by an engineer but in coastal areas, flood zones and areas with high winds or earthquakes you will with certainty be required to have a licenced engineer review and adjust your plans prior to submitting your plans for permitting.
We highly recommend that you work with your builder and his/her engineer to navigate this process. They will take into account local building codes, soil conditions, base flood elevation and wind load requirements.
Here’s a little more info about each of the site/location specific areas that typically need to be addressed in coastal areas:
1) Soil Conditions (which will dictate how far pilings must be sunk and what type of bracing may be needed)
2) Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Your property has a BFE certificate that indicates how high off the ground the lowest floor member must be. Your engineer can adjust the height of the ground level to make sure this is met.
3) Wind Load Requirements. The engineer will make notations for hurricane straps, rods and tie downs as well as nailing patterns to meet this requirement
4) VE or AE Zone – related to wind load, but V zone must also address tide and wave action. The engineer will dictate if breakaway walls, hydrostatic vents and bracing are needed for your foundation.
Bottom-line is your builder will help you navigate this process. Spend time choosing an experienced and knowledgeable builder and they will work with their “go to” engineers to prepare your plans and then build your home properly.
We have additional articles that discuss engineering, especially for the coast, in our Blog and FAQs. Click on the links below to learn more:
Coastal Home Plans Blog: Tips for Building on the Coast
Want to take an even deeper dive into coastal construction? Go to the FEMA website and download their comprehensive Coastal Construction Manual (PDF):
FEMA – Coastal Construction Manual