What Remodeling Plans Are, and How They Can Help You

If you’re thinking about, or planning to remodel your home, this article will help you. You’ll understand how detailed remodeling plans can help you achieve the best results and reduce chances for costly mistakes. You’ve heard the quote, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” So true, especially regarding home remodeling plans. This information applies to every type of home improvement project:

  • Turn-key: all labor provided by a contractor.
  • Partial D-I-Y: specific labor provided by trade specialists, as needed.
  • Full D-I-Y: all labor provided by homeowners.


  • Translation of everything you want, spoken in contractors’ terms.
  • Dimensioned schematic drawings drafted to scale, usually 1/4” per foot, or 1/2” per foot.  Larger scale allows details to be shown more clearly.
  • Visual “GPS” that gives accurate directions, so everyone gets to the desired destination.
  • Scale and dimensions accurate to 1/8 inch.

Professional plans include:   Dimensioned as-built floor plan of the area to be remodeled.   Dimensioned proposed floor plans.   Dimensioned elevations (exterior and interior) of the project that show doors, windows appliances, plumbing fixtures, and cabinetry.   Lighting and electrical schematic Specifications for all products included in the project. Special details (usually drawn in larger scale).


Do-It-Yourself Projects:  If your remodeling project will require permits, you’ll need plans — whether you draw them yourself or hire someone to draft them for you. Preparing detailed plans enables you to think about details that are important to you. For example, if you want  decorative tile in your new shower, preparing a schematic elevation of each wall will help you decide where the accent tile(s) will be in relationship to the field tile, the plumbing, grab bars, and shampoo niches, before you start to work.  The elevation drawings will also help you figure quantities of tile you’ll need, so you don’t over- or under-order. During construction, you’lll have a guideline to keep you on track, and remind you about decisions you’ve made. You can still change your mind, and change directions. Having plans and elevations for reference will help you think about reasons  for original decisions and how changes will impact the results — and your investment.

Turn-Key Projects: Scaled and dimensioned plans help you visualize the results, and give you opportunities to talk with the design professional about what you want. They help your contractor prepare estimates and get the required permits. Most importantly, detailed plans tell everyone what you want, if they read and understand the plans. Here’s an example that happened recently:

During the redesign of a kitchen, we incorporated a peninsula that has a 5’-4 5/8” radius wall, with an overall dimension of 15’-10”.  On the elevations, we confirmed that 6” wide field tile with 1/8” grout joints would fit the radius. 2” diagonal glass accent tiles were selected by the Homeowners, and were inserted at every other grout joint. The contractor confirmed dimensions of the new wall after it was framed, and I prepared a full-size drawing of the entire backsplash, showing the grout joints and decorative tiles. Two layouts were plotted, showing alternative locations for the decorative inserts, to help the Homeowners make an informed decision.

The paper template was carefully stapled to the wall; it fit exactly as it was supposed to. The electrician was able to figure out exactly where to place junction boxes for outlets, and the tile setter will be able to work from the template, to achieve what the Homeowners want. One jobsite meeting, and everything was accomplished!

It does take time to think and talk about all of the project details, to make decisions about products so all of your decisions can be included in the plans. It’s time well invested. 31 years of experience confirms that the time spent up front to prepare detailed plans:

  • Shows details that affect  the look and feel of your home.
  • Guarantees accurate estimates.
  • Shortens plan-review and permit process.
  • Reduces time wasted by delays during construction. (Changing lines on a plan is much quicker and cheaper than changing framing and finishing.)
  • Limits hassles and confusion.
  • Eliminates expensive mistakes: ◊  Product misorders. ◊  Unwanted results and expensive re-dos.
  • Increases the possibility that you’ll get what you want!

This video was taken during the jobsite meeting with the Project Manager and the Project Electrician.

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, NCIDQ, C.A.P.S. specializes in drafting Detailed Plans. To talk about your specific needs, call Diane at 503-632-8801, or send her an email. Guaranteed, no high-pressure sales tactics, ever!

© Copyright 2015 D. P. Design “See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”