government records
June 27, 2008 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Are records kept by government about the architectural blue prints of every building built?

In movies like Sneakers you always see people getting these blueprints, are these records really kept? Seems interesting, and I'm wondering why its done.
posted by amsterdam63 to Law & Government (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As far as I know, yes. One of my dad's "hobbies" is going to the courthouse to review the plans of the proposed additions our neighbors put onto their homes so that he can better calculate the market value of his own house. If they're available for Joe Schmo's garage-to-den conversion, I have to assume they're available for other building projects, too.
posted by phunniemee at 11:56 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

And I would further assume that it's for property value/tax assessment purposes.
posted by phunniemee at 11:57 AM on June 27, 2008

...and for zoning purposes, and planning for electrical, gas, water, etc. infrastructure improvements.

I'm done now. =)
posted by phunniemee at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2008

a lot of big commercial buildings will have the "as built" drawings available for fire safety folks in the event of a major disaster.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:27 PM on June 27, 2008

Yes, but I believe only by the state or municipal government. In movies there's usually a federal database which has everything in a high-resolution format. I doubt that exists. You cuoldnt just download a 500 TB file with everything, you'd need to hoof it to the local county seat or city court building.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:06 PM on June 27, 2008

Our city keeps copies of all buildings built going back for quite a few years. Many of the older ones are microfilmed. I tend to doubt that few municipalities would scan them because of the cost involved.
posted by JJ86 at 1:34 PM on June 27, 2008

This depends entirely where you are. I'm in Vermont, where in most towns, there is no zoning, no building inspector, and no building permit needed for anything you want to do. You just need a driveway permit and a septic permit. The State of Vermon regulates larger commercial projects, but for residential construction, there are no blueprints on file here.

Elsewhere, when building permits are required, the building inspector's job is to make sure that all framing, wiring, plumbing, etc. is according to code. So they need blueprints and file them. This makes them government records, which in most cases are kept a Long Time, If Not Forever.
posted by beagle at 1:40 PM on June 27, 2008

In North Carolina residential records are kept, with varying degrees of efficiency, on a county level. In my county there's an electronic system with ASCII floor plan drawings of most residential homes.
posted by odinsdream at 12:11 PM on February 5, 2009

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