What to do with old floor plans?

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My Dad, a residential designer and draftsman, died recently. He had a one-man design and drafting firm for more than thirty years, and his archive of old blueprints is large.
What should I do with all these old plans?
I could contact all the owners and ask if they want them, but that kind of effort isn't my first choice--my parents' home is a seven-hour drive from mine. I could trash them, but that's just *wrong*. I could donate them somewhere, but who would want them?
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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Unless there is a "notable" design in there, the current house owners are the only ones that would really be interested. Displaying/storage and inventorying the drawings all have costs, whether it's monetary costs or not. Not many would take on the chore unless there was a readily visible upside to the situation.
I'd certainly like to have the original drawings to any house I worked on - they'd be most handy. Contacting the current owners would cost you in time and effort as well. The costs in simply mailing the drawings, gratis, would be substantial. If you wanted to invest even more time, you could try selling them for a flat fee to cover postage and handling. Fifteen or twenty bucks...? It's worth it to anyone that works on the house, but I have no idea how many takers you'd have.
Short of going to all of that trouble...recycle the paper.
R
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On Fri, 13 Feb 2009 18:23:04 -0800 (PST), RicodJour

    I think I would send a post card out to the current residents of the homes offering to send them the drawing for a price you would find it profitable to send it to them and make the offer for a limited time.
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I exepct your Dad must have charged money for the designs. I think it's appropriate that his son would offer them the prints for some small sum of money, twenty to fifty bucks sounds in the right range.
--
Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you have a good list of addresses, and the majority of them are local, I'd spend a day driving around and just deliver them. (You'll be there anyway for the estate work, right? Add a day into your plans.) Gas is pretty cheap right now, and with hand delivery, you don't need mailing tubes, just the long skinny poly bags, available at any drafting supply house. Don't hang around for a conversation or to reassure the people that you aren't selling anything- just stick them in the door, ring the bell, and run. Print up a stack of explanations, and include them with the plans, maybe.
My father, also a long-time designer kept a set of every plan he did. When he culled his archives for a cross-country move, he kept one or two of the dipped-in-brick cookie cutters that were the bread and butter for his company, and slimmed down the sets for the high-end customs to one full set of clean tracings for each house. It was still like 30 stacking file drawers worth. Flat storage would have be a lot smaller, but getting all those old sheets to uncurl was too much to consider. He always gave each customer a full set of the as-built plans with instructions to squirrel it away for future work, but who knows how many paid attention, or passed to on to the next owners? He gave up being a GC, but kept on with the design work, and again has a huge collection of prints. Not sure what I am gonna do with them once the time comes. He never got comfortable with designing on a screen, so a lot of these sheets are paper only. Maybe get them scanned someplace or something.
I know, most home owners would be clueless how to read a set of prints or understand how useful they are for repair and remodeling projects. All you can do is all you can do.
Closing thought- you may want to post the same query over on alt.architecture. Not all of them are snobs about designers without a stamp, and they doubtless run into the same situation a lot with one-man shops or bigger shops that go belly-up.
-- aem sends...
-- aem sends...
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That's something I never considered. Thanks.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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It's hard to throw out all that paper that represents a life's work. On the other hand, it has little value. Few folks stay in the same house for more than a few years. Codes and life styles have changed. Paper isn't the easiest thing to move around.
I think the best one could do is sell the library to another house designer. Alternatively, if you want to take the time and money, the drawings could be scanned and sold. T
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Maybe your local library , town archive or Historical Society??? I wouldn't throw them out either...Let us know how you make out....
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I'd give $200 for the plans to this place.
If they're plans for 1200sf tract homes, maybe not so marketable.
Still, I wouldn't trash the evidence of my dad's life work, they'd be worth keeping to me. -----
- gpsman
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On 2/13/2009 6:03 PM SteveBell spake thus:

How about contacting them and offering to mail them? It would take a little time and cost a little in postage (mailing tubes, etc.), but probably few of the customers would want their plans. It would be a nice courtesy.
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Sorry to hear about your dad Steve.
If you do decide to contact the owners, just tell them you ask only for the cost to get them to them - any packing, cartons, tubes, postage, etc. and mention you are not adding in anything for your time (if that's what you choose).
If they are not willing to cover costs then they really don't want them. For those who accept it, for your effort you get the satisfaction of knowing your dads work remains and has value to someone.
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Hi Steve, Been there, done that. After the Oakland, CA fire (early '90's) I accumulated about 150 sets of architectural drawings for some rather expensive homes. These new homes were being appraised and sold in the $ 6 to 8 hundred thousand range. I was doing Civil Engineering and Land Surveying and architects were supplying me with full drawing sets so we could do grading plans and building layouts.
Anyway, in early 2001 I mailed every single home owner notifying them that I have plans for their residence and I would deliver them if they signed an enclosed 'hold harmless' agreement. For my efforts I got several blasts from ***hole attorneys telling me that if I don't give them the drawings without the 'hold harmless' they will sue me. Naturally, some of the drawings got 'misplaced' and never delivered.
All-in-all, it was not worth the effort. I thought I was doing a good deed but learned otherwise.
Ivan Vegvary
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I would pay a few hundred for plans for our house, contacting present owners could be profitable for you.
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SteveBell wrote:

A school (his alma mater) or professional organization might be interested. Or an historical society in the area where he worked. An art museum. If he did design work for an organization, such as municipal, educational or notable commercial facilities, they might be interested in preserving the work or helping to find interested parties. A small ad in the local paper, to homeowners, could bring purchasers if you charge for shipping.
What kind of volume is involved for storage? Could a professional friend take on the job of scanning them so at least digital copies are preserved? My city has digital versions of all the building plans, at least as old as our condo (40 years).
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After 15 years I still have the original 10 copies of the prints for my home. Someday a new owner might appreciate them.
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Try the libraries of any schools of architecture that catch your eye. You can probably inquire by email . Some may welcome donation of hand-drawn plans etc.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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SteveBell wrote:

Clever and novel wallpaper for a den?
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HeyBub wrote:

Sounds like the decision my moniker might make. Not the right one I think.
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Did he belong to any professional organizations? they may have some ideas
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Open the phone book in his city of resdence, and look for architects and designers. Maybe one of them. Or, call everyone in the personal phone directory he left behind. Perhaps one of his colleagues.
--
Christopher A. Young
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