Why Architects Don’t Post House Plans Online

There’s always that one guy out there who spoils it for everyone else. That one slacker on the high school football team, so coach makes everyone run laps.

Or that guy who doesn’t clean up after his Great Dane, so now nobody’s allowed to bring their dog to the park.

In my business, “that guy” is the one who just wants to take a look at the plans for a custom home an Architect has designed. No harm right? Just a peek.

He’s probably just curious, he just wants to see the layout and get an idea of what the floor plan of the house looks like, and it might be a chance for the Architect to gain a new client.

But then again, he might be “that guy” – the one who makes a copy of the plans, or prints them off the Architect’s website, and gives them to his builder to work with.

Which is called stealing. And copyright infringement.

Architects can’t let that happen – our clients pay for one of a kind custom design, not off the shelf house plans. Our clients have paid for the exclusive rights to the design we’ve prepared for them, and we have a responsibility to protect those rights, and their investment.

So while Architects would love to post house plans online for potential clients to see, we won’t – because of “that guy” out there who’s ruined it for everyone else.

post house plans online

In my practice, I also keep custom home designs confidential to protect the privacy of my clients – it’s no one’s business but theirs how their home design is laid out, especially when it includes a safe room or some other personal, private space.

There are however, a couple of exceptions to the rule. The first is remodeling projects – typically, remodeling and addition projects are so specific to the house that they can’t be used for any other project.

The second is showing plans to potential clients in person. If you come to my office to meet with me, I’m thrilled to show off examples of my work, including custom home designs. But you can’t take them with you.

The third is that once a custom home client sells their home, I’m no longer obligated to refrain from showing the plans, although I still own the copyright and will continue to enforce it.

A few years ago, someone asked me online, “How could you show photos of such a ridiculously beautiful home and not show the plans?

Now you know the answer.

Contact me to learn more about the services I offer and how I can help make your new home or remodeling project exciting, valuable and unique.

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Roberta Anderson
Roberta Anderson
4 years ago

Our city, Brecksville has copies of the blueprints of our custom built home and should someone come into the building dept. in city hall, they are allowed to look at the blueprints. Does that seem right?

Mike Hutchinson
Mike Hutchinson
4 years ago

How do you handle upgrades to homes? Say a client wants to use a different architect – or just DIY – an addition and they need the plans for permits or their own DIY design? If they paid for a custom home don’t they own the plans for that home to do with as they wish?

Conda Puckett
Conda Puckett
4 years ago

I’ve always wondered about those situations. I’m so glad to see the explanations.
Thank you.