Existing Plans

Old 08-14-05, 05:54 AM
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Existing Plans

I am working on buying a house and am considering doing some remodeling. This is my first house and I have never done any of this paperwork trail thing! My father is a general contractor, so I had the pleasure of helping him for years, it's not the work I'm worried about. I want to get the right permits and do it the right way, so when I sell this in how many ever years, I can list it correctly and with the right stuff. So, how do I go about finding the existing house plans? And who do I contact for permits and this kind of stuff? Any swift kick in the right direction would be appreciated!
Old 08-14-05, 08:56 AM
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Location: santa Rosa, California
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Before you start anything you will need to call the city you live in or near and find out who has jurisdiction. Once you do that ask to speak to their planner. Tell him your address and find out what setbacks and zoning requirements there are and make sure your proposed project meets those requirements.

If there are any existing plans they would be at the city or county building departments whichever has jurisdiction. Depending on the age of the home they may or may not have them. If the city/county does have them normally you must obtain permission from the architect or designer of record to have the right to obtain copies. As a building designer for the past 22 plus years I rarely even bither with the plans on file. 9 times out of 10 they are no longer valid or were altered form the initial plans right from the get go. Every job I measure up all rooms, doors, windows etc... I look under the house and get joist sizing and spacing. I check out the foundation type and check footing dimensions. I crawl the attic and get joists and rafters sizing and spacing and direction. I measure overhangs, roof pitches etc... I take photos of all exterior shots and any interior shots I may need.

From there I draw exactly what is in the house and where. I site the house on the site plan (I pull the ap map form the county). I now have my starting point. All plans are drawn as the house is. I now start on the floor plan and show my changes as I want them in the fiinished project. I go though the frmaing plans and figure out my attachments and alterations. I show the elevations that have been altered etc...

Now you can go back to the original floorplan and change it to a demolition plan by showing what items exsiting are to be altered or removed.

You now have the following sheets you have created:

Sheet A1 site plan with general notes and scope of work. I write a paragraph discussing what items I am altering, changing, deleting and addiing.

Sheet A2 I show the elevations that are effected by my addition and I show my completed roof plan of the entire house. I show this complete because gutters, roofing etc.. will all be changed.

Sheet A3 Existing floor plan/Demo plan.

Sheet A4 New floor plan/Electrical Plan if it is not to busy I will include both on this sheet. I also show my mechanical if room.

Sheet A5 Partial foundation and partial roof only in those areas I am affecting with new framing. If interior remodel only I do not usually have to show these items as they may be unaffected.

Sheet A6 No matter what If I am affecting change I will show (2) cross sections (1) each way of the house. It gives the builder/building department and myself a clear picture of my project and how the house was put together. If not to complicated I may show only one section.

Sheet A7 Energy calulations if necessary s in MNCheck minnesota, Title 24 in Calif. etc...

S1 structural standards and notes. I layout the code items and standards. Nailing schedules, shear schedules, notching, splicing etc...

S2 details such as over hangs, barge rafter outriggers, foundation stemwall, ties etc..

From this you can go to the city or county and apply for any permit you may need. If you are within city limits the city should have a building department of there own, if you are outside city limits you would then go to the county. You can call the city you live closest too and give them your address. They can then tell you if they have jurisdiction. If you supply the right information you will always get a permit as long as the project is built within setbacks and meets zoning requirements.

I hope I did not give you too much info or overwhelm you. Good luck.

Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
Old 08-16-05, 12:07 PM
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if you are just in planning mode, simply measure the rooms and draw it up. you'll be pretty close. If you are planning on adding on, eventually you'll need a survey. good luck!

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