Finding the floor plan or blueprint of a house may not be an easy task, especially for those of us outside the construction industry. It is possible that we don’t even understand how vital a floor plan is to our homes.
Floor plans are meant to show where all the building components of our homes are located. These building components include existing walls, wiring, piping, and other such systems. Various situations can arise, which will require us to get the original floor plans of our house. Remodeling is one of such cases.
Remodelling Without Floor Plans?
Like you probably already know, no remodeling project can be successful without first ascertaining the exact floor plans of the building involved. Besides this, a knowledge of the blueprint of a house helps to ensure safety while remodeling or redesigning.
However, to have an accurate and complete floor plans of a building, there are various things that you can do. Thankfully, all these steps have been listed and explained for you here.
9 Ways to Find the Floor Plans of a House
Now that you have a reason to recover the original blueprint of your building and are ready to do so, the following are some steps to locating the original floor plans of your home:
- Contact your Local Permit Agency, Records Office or Homeowners Association
Contacting your local permit agency or records office is the first thing you can do to discover the original floor plan of your house. Builders usually require permission from these agencies before going ahead to build their homes. Usually, they would first submit a copy of the building’s blueprint. The permitting agency will store the floor plans and other vital records for future reference.
Therefore, you are very likely to find the floor plan of your home with them, even if the house has lasted for many years. Get in touch with the agency before you go there and ask about what you will need to present to receive a copy of your floor plan. Once you provide the required documents and information, you’ll get a copy of your blueprint, and elevation levels.
- Visit the Local Planning or Zoning Office
Another option is to visit your local planning or zoning office. Apart from getting a copy of your property’s plan, you will also get to see your entire property, including the footprint of the building. However, you also need to contact the office ahead to ask whether you’ll be needing any documentation to access these records.
If it happens that you are not the owner of the house involved, you’ll probably be required to produce a signed affidavit from the real owner of the property. Also, if it’s a house you’re looking to buy, you can contact your real estate agent first for guidance.
- Call Your Builder or Architect
Usually, there’s a significant probability that the original architect of your house has a copy of the floor plan. In most cases, large contractors will store copies of the blueprints of the projects they undertake. Therefore getting the blueprint from them may not be too hard.
The only downside, however, is that sometimes locating the architects or builders that were in charge of your building can be hard. This is especially so if your house has lasted for decades. Nevertheless, contacting your architect if he or she is still in touch is a good option. Also, you can take a look at your mortgage paperwork to find out other people that are likely to have a copy of the floor plan.
- Check with Your Real Estate Agent
It may be the case that your architect can’t be located or even when you do locate him; it turns out he doesn’t have the blueprint. If this is so, you may want to check with your real estate agent. He may have copies of the blueprint, especially if your building is new construction.
Even if he doesn’t have them, there’s a high chance that he can track down the designs for you and is willing to help you out.
- Ask Your Neighbors
You may also want to consider asking your neighbors. This is because a good number of neighborhoods have the same contractor overseeing each house and buildings in them. Therefore, if your area is one of such, one of your neighbors may have an idea about the best place to find your home’s floor plan.
Apart from this, there is also a tendency that your neighbor’s house looks very similar to your own. As such, you can easily copy their blueprint if all other options fail.
- Browse through historical plan books and newspapers
Browsing through historical plan books is especially useful if your house was constructed in the early 20th century or thereabout. Most of the homes built at that time began from kits or floor plans that were purchased from sears or stock plan books.
Also, during the late 20th century, a lot of the floor plans and home designs of that period were advertised in home magazines and newspapers. Because of this, you will find many of these house plans on the internet or in library archives. From the ’70s through to the mid-’90s, this type of advertising was quite popular.
- Hire an Expert
It is in such situations as this that the help of an expert or professional is needed. In this case, an architect or structural engineer will be the best person to consult. They can easily make use of their professional knowledge, measuring and other information to reproduce the house plans of your home. However, hiring an expert in the housing industry will probably cost you extra money. So you have to be ready for that.
- Check Fire insurance Maps
For the sake of ease, you should focus on the fire insurance maps of the community that you’re in. Typically, you’ll find them somewhere around your town hall or local city. A majority of these maps can date as far back as the 1800s.
They give adequate information about the materials used for the construction of buildings and even provide a three-dimensional image of the neighborhood in which the building is situated. So, using this information, one can quickly determine the frame of the structure as well as the original locations of old windows and doors.
- Just Look Around!
When all else fails, this is your last resort. Especially with very old houses, many house owners find the old house plans of their house somewhere in the attic or basement. So if yours is a very old home, it’s always a great idea to scour your basement and attic for your original floor plan. The blueprint may be lying just anywhere, so, you could look everywhere. If you have the time, you can dedicate a day to doing this. All the stress you’ll go through will be worth it in the end when you finally find the house plans.
Now, you know how important a building’s blueprint is to the house. As such, it is crucial that you lay hold on it before proceeding to get any remodeling or changes done. You will be saving yourself lots of harm and headaches in the future by doing this.