Finding an architect on townhomes built 10 years ago

3 Replies

Hey bigger pockets!!! I am purchasing 3 lots in a townhome subdivision. The original builder lost it all. He built about 50 other townhomes in the development. He went bankrupt out of business before he was able to finish the development. I am now purchasing the remaining townhome lots allowing for a total of 17 units. I want to duplicate the exact townhomes that are currently there. What is my best option to do so? Find the architect or start over with a new one. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!!

@Gino Picciola Go to the archives department in the city/county and request the plans for the project. The architects name and license number should be on the plans. A quick google search with his company name should let you know if he is still in business. If not, then look up his license number and send him a letter in the mail(probably won’t have an email or phone) and ask him if he knows the best way to get the same plans for the past project. He or someone else will need to bring the old plans up to current codes regardless so there will be some cost there. 

The worst case is you can’t find anything and have to hire an architect/engineer from scratch. At least they will have something to go by in the field. :)

Thanks for the reply Kevin. I have already met with the city an they are stating they had very bad records at that time and can not produce any of the documents or even the name of the architect. I was thinking of knocking on doors of the original owners in the development to see if they new or had anything.

Originally posted by @Gino Picciola :

Thanks for the reply Kevin. I have already met with the city an they are stating they had very bad records at that time and can not produce any of the documents or even the name of the architect. I was thinking of knocking on doors of the original owners in the development to see if they new or had anything.

 Hey Gino,

How long ago were the units originally built? Are you sure they don't even have construction permits on file? Each time a permit was filed, they should have recorded it, and the inspectors should have gotten their plans and drawings from the filing. 

Even if you found the original architect, you might not be able to use their plans without securing rights to their intellectual property. You could ask the previous builder - there might be a way for him to transfer his rights to you. If you find the original architect, he might be a sympathetic guy but most aren't so generous. 

It might cost you a little, but you could always have a contractor (with his engineer) or architect draft up new plans measured off of the existing homes. It should be easy for them to do that. This would ensure that everything is up to current code too (depending on the age of the original construction). 

Intellectual property has a little bit of a gray area with architecture. Might be worth consulting an attorney just to be sure before you start building.

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