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Old 09-17-2009, 10:13 PM
 
101 posts, read 186,285 times
Reputation: 52

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Greetings,

I'm in process of buying an existing house (sellers do not have the plans). Does anyone know how I can get a copy of the building plans? The house was built in 1984 and had additions (permits were pulled) in 2001 and 2003.

I tried to call the Building Permit department today, but I was put on hold for 35 minutes and when I spoke to someone they told me they had to speak to someone else and I was transferred to a voicemail.

Any ideas how I can get a copy of the building plans?

ETA: Also does anyone know the requirments when one is expanding a room. I want to knock down the wall between the kitchen and lsecondary living room. I suspect it is a load bearing wall. I can not find information on whether I would need to submit design details/plans from a structural engineer. Also, would I need to submit detailed construction plans (with elevations) to get a permit or is some general design drawings sufficient.

Thanks.

Last edited by sweetrai; 09-17-2009 at 10:20 PM.. Reason: added additional information
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Slaughter Creek, Travis County
1,184 posts, read 2,502,635 times
Reputation: 925
You can't obtain them. The City of Austin has a 4 year record retention requirement (the State's is only 3) for construction documents. Your records are buried in the Johnny Morris landfill. Sorry to be so blunt but Texas law treats construction documents not involved in public work projects as disposable records.

Does your house have a Certificate of Occupancy? Its not uncommon for houses in Central Texas to not have a Certificate of Occupancy. In fact, its more common than not.
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:56 AM
 
101 posts, read 186,285 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by car957 View Post
You can't obtain them. The City of Austin has a 4 year record retention requirement (the State's is only 3) for construction documents. Your records are buried in the Johnny Morris landfill. Sorry to be so blunt but Texas law treats construction documents not involved in public work projects as disposable records.

Does your house have a Certificate of Occupancy? Its not uncommon for houses in Central Texas to not have a Certificate of Occupancy. In fact, its more common than not.

I'm not sure if it has a certificate of occupancy. I read online that most older houses do not. Is this something I should be concered about? I asked my realtor about if I need to get the Certificate of occupancy and she told me that the lender would get it?? I'm not sure though. How do I check for this certificate?

So if i want to remodel the kitchen, that means I need to pay an architect to do building plans for the whole house?
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:19 AM
 
Location: central Austin
4,696 posts, read 6,950,037 times
Reputation: 1933
Quote:
Originally Posted by car957 View Post
You can't obtain them. The City of Austin has a 4 year record retention requirement (the State's is only 3) for construction documents. Your records are buried in the Johnny Morris landfill. Sorry to be so blunt but Texas law treats construction documents not involved in public work projects as disposable records.

Does your house have a Certificate of Occupancy? Its not uncommon for houses in Central Texas to not have a Certificate of Occupancy. In fact, its more common than not.
I do not think that is true! I have research and gotten blueprints from building permits issued in the 1990s and have been told that they are available even earlier. But this was a commercial not a residential project.

Go in person (armed with plenty of time, lots of patience, and a friendly attitude) down to One Texas Center, to the development office. Sign up, and speak to someone in the research department. (They are only available between 9 and 2 pm)

Do your own research first and search the on-line system for the permit number for the renovations and the original construction, take those permit numbers with you, and see if they can locate the documents. They are kept in a warehouse in Pf-ville, it can take a week or so to locate the storage box. There is a charge for the transportation and to have the documents copied. I had them make the copies and both times, got out for about $80.

Otherwise, find the architect or builder who built and get details from them. It can be done but it takes luck and patience and good research skills.
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Slaughter Creek, Travis County
1,184 posts, read 2,502,635 times
Reputation: 925
Centralaustinite,

Commercial plans are retained by the city for the life of the building and record retention began in the early 80s- they have only begun to retain plans on one- and two-family dwellings since 2001.

Certificate of occupancies issued by the City of Austin since the 1940s are now available on-line.
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,518 posts, read 21,161,315 times
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The requirements are listed here: City of Austin - Building Permit

Chances are slim that you will be able to find the plans for a house built in 1984. Go to the Permit office at One Texas Center and find out from them what drawings they will require. Then contact a residential architect to prepare the drawings for you. They can walk things through the permit office for you but you will be paying them for sitting in a waiting room for long hours. That is something you can do yourself to save money. I expect all you will need is a site plan and a floor plan showing the modifications.

You will probably need a site plan indicating that you are not making any changes to the impervious cover. A copy of your property survey will probably be sufficient, with the impervious cover information filled in on the permit form. You should have the architect verify if structural modifications are needed, removing an interior wall may not require structural modification if it doesn't change how the roof structure is supported. But you need someone who knows what they are looking at to determine that.

The floor plan(s) will have to show modifications to the walls, structure, mechanical, electrical and plumbing. They don't require much in the way of drawings, relying mostly on inspections during the progress of the work. For structural inspections they essentially require that you obtain and provide them with drawings of the modifications stamped by an architect or engineer that says they are taking responsibility for having inspected that construction.

Sadly the permit office doesn't hardly look at drawings that are provided to them with permit applications, especially for residential, they will wait until something is built wrong and then tell you to change it when it is inspected. So its is worth your money to hire an experienced residential architect to try and get it right the first time. An architect can also help you get competitive bids from reputable contractors as well. Bidding with drawings and specifications clearly describing the level of quality you are looking for can give you a much better end result. I can provide a recommendation if you need one.

Last edited by CptnRn; 09-18-2009 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:31 PM
 
Location: central Austin
4,696 posts, read 6,950,037 times
Reputation: 1933
Quote:
Originally Posted by car957 View Post
Centralaustinite,

Commercial plans are retained by the city for the life of the building and record retention began in the early 80s- they have only begun to retain plans on one- and two-family dwellings since 2001.

Certificate of occupancies issued by the City of Austin since the 1940s are now available on-line.
Thanks for info! As I mentioned all the projects I've found plans for were commercial buildings. For buildings of that scale, it can reduce architectural costs to have the old plans available, but it isn't too expensive to have a residential architect do new drawings for a house -- even when old plans are available, most architects would want to do new ones, to reflect what actually got built as opposed to what is on the original plan.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:27 AM
 
1 posts, read 18,400 times
Reputation: 10
my society built on year 1997 in dist thane area now i want to sale my flat i don't have blue print plan copy. Please
guide me what should i have to do now?
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,518 posts, read 21,161,315 times
Reputation: 6509
Quote:
Originally Posted by NITIN PRAJAPATI View Post
my society built on year 1997 in dist thane area now i want to sale my flat i don't have blue print plan copy. Please
guide me what should i have to do now?
I have no idea where "thane area" is. Is it in Austin, Texas? If not, we can't help you here.

If it is in Austin, Texas, go talk to the City, Building Permit Office at 505 Barton Springs Road.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Not Moving
969 posts, read 903,008 times
Reputation: 495
Do you know who the builder is /was? Contact him / her directly. I own a house built in 1988 and know who the builder is.....well-known in the area.....but, have never asked him if he still has them.

Funny, my prior house (different state) was built in 1925 by a notable architect / builder in the area at that time. Lots of history available on it. Old neighbors there think we live in a "new" house here whereas friends here think we live in an "old" house.
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