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Plans FAQs

Is my credit card information secure?

Absolutely. Every order we receive is processed through our secure servers. Our merchant service providers are PCI/CISP certified (the highest level of internet security available) thus ensuring the safety of all of your personal data. So, you can buy with confidence that your transaction is backed with the highest level of protection available.

How long will I have to wait before I get my plans?

Typically we fulfill orders within 3 business days of receipt. Orders are shipped via United States Postal Service (USPS) Priority Mail when shipped domestically within the United States and USPS First Class mail when sent internationally. Domestic Priority takes 3-5 business days to arrive at the destination once shipped. International First Class mail delivery time depends largely on the final country of destination. Typically orders to Europe arrive within 5-7 business of shipping, Australia and New Zealand take 7-10 business days, South America takes 10-15 business days, and Africa takes 14-30 business days. Again, these are typical averages and actual delivery could be either faster or slower than what we have experienced in the past. If you require expedited shipping services, please contact us at info@StrawBale.com as we can almost always accommodate your shipping needs.

What is your refund/exchange policy?

Because the black line prints, and vellum sets are custom printed specifically for your order, we are not able to provide refunds or exchanges.

Should I purchase black line copies or a vellum copy?

If you are planning to make relatively simple modifications to the plans and your building department is willing to accept plans with hand written changes on them, then black line copies are acceptable. You will receive a Copyright License along with the plans which gives you the legal right to build the house (one time only) and modify the plan if so desired.

If you plan to make more complicated changes to the plans or if your building department will now allow you to use plans with written changes on them, you will be better off purchasing a vellum copy, which your designer or architect will be able to work directly on to make changes. The vellum copy acts as a “master set” on which you can make changes and then print up as many copies as you need. This is an easy way to ensure that everyone involved in the project from the bank to the builder is working on the same set of plans.

Can I purchase an electronic copy of the plans?

Sorry, but we do not offer electronic versions of our plans at this time.

Is a materials list included?

Unfortunately we do not include materials lists with our plans as part of the standard set. If an architect or designer has a materials list available, it will be clearly noted on the plans page as a rare and important bonus feature.

How many sets of plans should I buy?

The goal here is to keep things simple. We offer two choices: 1) a set of black line drawings and 2) a vellum set. Here’s why. Chances are that you will make some changes to the plans before you build. In fact, many jurisdictions will require you to make changes to meet their individual code requirements. That said, there is no point in buying 4 sets or 8 sets of plans only to change all of them. In fact, that’s a waste of paper.

Many plan sites offer what they call a Study Set. This is a set that is stamped “not for construction” and is used primarily to get a close look at the plans without actually buying a set you can build from. The problem is, that set usually costs nearly as much as an official set. That doesn’t make sense to us either. That’s why we offer all of our plans as construction sets with a formal Copyright License that gives you the legal right to modify the plans (if so desired) and construct the house (one time only) whether you purchase vellum or black line copies.

Black Line Copies

Our black line copies are marked “Do Not Copy” which helps to protect the authors from unlicensed use of the plans. You are allowed to make changes to the plans and then have them reproduced per the included copyright license; however, the original plans, as drawn, may not be copied. If you want additional copies of the plans, as originally drawn, please contact us directly and we will arrange it. The cost of additional copies is a fraction of the initial purchase cost.

Vellum Copy

Vellum is erasable, so if you, like the vast majority of our customers plan to make changes to the plans, and you need more than one copy to work with, then this is a great option for you. After the changes have been made to the vellum “master” copy, you can print as many copies as you need onto regular bond paper.

Remember that once you have finalized the plans, be sure to print on green colored paper so you can ensure that nobody on the job site is using an old set of drawings to work from. Remember: “If it’s white, get it off the site. If it’s green, it’s a go!”

Vellum copies come with a formal Copyright License that gives you the legal right to modify the plans (if so desired) and construct the house (one time only). Vellum copies also come with one black line copy of the plans. This allows you to make changes to the black line copy and get your ducks in a row before you start erasing the vellum master set.

What are the advantages of straw bale design and construction?

There are many advantages to building with straw bales. A straw bale house is at least three times more energy efficient than a typical conventional house, is extremely sound proof, has a fire resistance of three times that of conventional homes, is made from a natural, “waste” material, does not off gas like conventional homes, has soft and subtle lines which translate into a calm and beautiful home. This last point is hard to describe, but if you have ever visited a well built straw bale home, you know what we mean! There is nothing quite like it in the world.

Can the plans be modified?

Yes. In fact, we expect you to modify the plans to fit your individual needs and desires as we don’t think that any one set of plans is perfect for everyone. In most cases, our customers use their local resources, their builder or a local designer, to make the changes to the plans; however, it is often possible to work directly with the original architect or designer to make the necessary changes. A fee of some kind will be in place for such modifications and that fee is set by the architect or designer. We are happy to put you in direct contact with the architect and designer if they are willing to accept the job.

In order to work with the original architect or designer, you will first need to purchase the plans in vellum format. We will then put you in direct contact with the architect or designer. At that point, we will no longer be involved with your discussions as they relate to the changes to the plans. Should you decide not to work with the original architect or designer, you are welcome to work with anyone of your choosing to modify the plans in line with the copyright requirements stated on this site.

Can I purchase a home that has a different foundation type than the one I need?

Yes. Most of the homes on the site can be easily modified to change the foundation type. Some structural review will be necessary to ensure that the change does not negatively impact the construction of the house; however, such review is relatively simple to complete and can be done by your builder or designer (if you are using one for modifications), or by working directly with the original architect/designer.

The same is true for lot type. Just because a home was originally built on a steep slope does not mean it can’t be modified to fit your flat lot, and vice-verse. There will, of course, be a cost to make such changes, but it can be done. Although some designs are limited by lot dimensions and slope, it is still worth investigating designs that catch your eye.

We believe that proper placement of the home on the land is very important. Everything from solar gain and prevailing wind direction to the amount of site excavation and tree removal plays a large part in the success of your construction project. Keep in mind that making sure that the plan you like will work on your property is something you want to do early on in the process.

Will the plans you sell work if I don’t live in the United States?

There will definitely be changes required for these plans to work outside of the United States; however, the changes are relatively minor. The biggest issue is that the unit of measurement is feet and inches for the majority of the plans on this site (not all, but the majority). You’ll need to change the measurements so that the unit of measurement common to your country is used. Adjusting the measurements in the field is NOT recommended.

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