A blueprint is a map of a building. It ties the idea of design to the details required to erect a structure. They are most widely used by builders to apply for building permits from the municipality where the construction is taking place. Once the blueprints are filed by the contractor with the building department of said municipality, they are public records and technically attainable by anybody wanting to view them.
However, finding blueprints of a building is not always as easy as one might think. Not all files are digitally saved and some documents may not exist, particularly for older structures. Sometimes, the first may be in a box, in the depths of a storage device or in the basement of a county clerk’s office. Fortunately, in the 21st century, physical blueprints aren’t the norm and drawings with CAD and 3D models and much more likely.
In situations like those, the patterns of the original structure are necessary. But the question of how to find building patterns is always coming up and the answer is not always straightforward. Whether you are a building owner embarking on a build out or an architect looking to replicate the design of a commercial construction, here are four ways to find those blueprints on your hands as quickly as possible.
Find the Contractor who constructed the property
Begin your search with the builder who originally assembled the property. If you do not know who that individual is, the county clerk must have his/her information on file. It’s possible that the county zoning board would also hold the initial building permit, which would have the contractor’s details on it. If you find the contractor but he/she doesn’t have the blueprints, he may be able to direct you to someone who would.
The County Clerk retains the key (or record )
The other choice is to begin at the county clerk’s office. County clerks are the official record keepers of files pertaining to building construction and permits. Each office functions differently, meaning the process to secure the permit or document you need will be different.
Locate the original owners of the property
If the building was bought from the exact people who constructed it, they may have a copy of the blueprints. If not and they procured a construction loan to finance the building, the original lender may have the blueprints on file or be able to direct you to the construction company or contractor.
Consider An Architectural Expert
Another option to discover blueprints of a building is to obtain a reproduction of the blueprints. This would be accomplished through an architect and is probably the most cost prohibitive and time consuming. Ideally, use an architect with previous experience and familiarity either in the creation of the property or type of structure being replicated.
The floor plan and’map’ of a building are crucial in the design and construction process, although not always straightforward to find. There are a number of ways to go about locating the blueprints, but it is somewhat of a guessing game on who’s what. Fortunately, an increasing number of professionals in the industry are embracing technological tools to support online document recovery. Soon , everyone will be able to geo-locate and request access to all blueprints through advanced cloud based tools.