Blueprint for Trouble
Help Me Hank: Blueprint for Trouble
When Randell Lapierre saw this cute little house in Hudson, he knew it looked just like home.
"It was the first house I ever bought."
Once it was his, he started to wonder if it needed a makeover.
"It was a good investment."
Not just paint it blue, or add a fireplace, but maybe-- big stuff. Break through the attic or put on an addition.
"I'm hoping to make some changes."
But Randell knew you can't just start cutting out walls or chopping out ceilings without knowing the lowdown on the layout, so he headed down to the Hudson Town Hall to get the blueprints of his house they had on file there.
"Iíd known from other people that they were able to obtain blueprints from building inspectors."
Sure enough there they were, revealing all the mysteries of Randell's house--the bearing walls and electrical circuitry and all those intricacies of construction. Randall was so eager to match the plans to the reality, he asked for a copy to take home - but officials told him no.
"Oh, you canít have the copies. Itís copyrighted."
Randell thought itís my house, arenít they my blueprints? They told him, he could come visit them, and even take notes, but the paperwork belongs to the homebuilder.
"My feeling was Iím entitled to them and going down to the office every day and make my own little had copies is a little overkill."
He tried calling the phone number on the blueprints, but that went nowhere.
"Couldn't get a hold of him."
Then he remembered there was someone who would answer the phone.
"So, I contacted Help Me Hank and that got the ball rolling."
We called town hall and said seemed like these should be copyble - they're public documents after all, but town hall said no, not without permission. Sounded easy enough, so we tried to track down the builder, but turned out the phone number now belonged to someone else. Whatís more, the company was long out of business. Question for town hall: how can we get permission to copy blueprints from a company that no longer exists?
Soon after, the copier hummed and the duplicate documents emerged - town officials agreeing since Randell was the homeowner and the builder was AWOL Ė the blueprints were fair game.
And they were a gold mine.
"Thereís a lot more information in there than I thought I was going to get."
And next time you drive by Randellís new home, maybe you'll see the results.
If you're wondering whether you can get your home's blueprints, it depends on where you live and when your house was built. Call your local town hall for more information.