The question arises from time to time regarding why there are different square footages listed on different versions of the same plans. These plans are created for specific purposes and in some cases the square footage measurements include items not included on other versions. With some customers assuming their own construction lending, this may be noticed when dealing with financial institutions, vendors and suppliers. In many cases the builder will be the one to assure the footages being quoted are accurate which is important with making sure your project stays within budget.

Many financial institutions, including banks, mortgage companies and finance brokers use the overall exterior wall footage when measuring and calculating square footage for appraisals, comps, etc. The reason for this is simple, they are typically lending money for the entire structure, so the building envelope is relevant to the loan involved. This square footage is calculated by using measurements that extend to the outside of the finished wall (brick, siding, stone, etc.). The appraiser will typically use this method to determine the heated footage, the unheated footage, the porch footage, and any other type of footage that could affect the loan amount, like future areas.

Sub-Contractors typically use a different measurement when estimating the labor that is required to construct certain components of the home, like framing, electrical, trim labor and paint. In these cases they will typically consider the interior wall footages (not including the exterior wall veneer). The reason for this has to do with the actual application of the product to be installed. For example the framer does not have to install a product to the outside of the brick veneer, but only to the outside of the wall sheathing. The vendor is not interested in the measurements to the outside of the walls.  Another example would include the trim carpenter. These subs will likely measure from the interior walls as well, for the same reasoning as the framer.

As you pass around the plans to the different people involved within the construction process, do not be dismayed when you see these possible footage differences. Dealing with reputable builders, vendors and financial institutions is an important factor with making sure you are dealing with people you can trust. The construction process can be a stressful time, but in the end you aren’t just building a home, you are building relationships and knowing the people you are working with may help ease your mind when it comes to assuring your investment will be within your budget and built the way you have envisioned. If you are unsure of any stage of construction ask your building consultant to assist you.  This is your home, and a good quality builder will take the time to educate you, as little or often as you prefer, throughout the process.

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