Bought an old house, need to get blueprints so I can find out where
all the water pipes are (slab on grade). Call county building
department (sacramento, ca), number on counties own web site
disconnected. Call county information line and get a number. Call it
and told to call a different agency. Call different agency, given
original number that is disconnected. Tell them number is
disconnected, given number for county information. Tell them I called
them, they gave me a number and people at that number refered me to
your department. They tell me I need to call number that just refered
me. Call that number back and tell them that I am getting the run
around, the lady could care less. She puts me through to some dipwads
voice mail who is out of the office untill the end of next week. I
swear to god you could not make this stuff up! I think you must have
to pass some stupidity test to work for some of these government
If blueprints exist they will be found at any of three places
1. Architect or designer.
2. Builder or contractor.
3. Building permits office (of whatever municipal or county
issues permits for your location.)
None is likely to keep documents unneeded for 10 years, but
we do not know how old your house is. Each can tell you for
how long after completion building documents are kept.
When dealing with any of these, you tend to get better service
at the office in person than by calllng cold by telephone.
Maybe in investing in a metal detector and making your own print is
your only option if no prints are avail......just a
thought.........that is.....if its a possibility that if that will
work at your location/and structure.
The wife wants another bathroom. Since the current setup has the pipes
inside the slab I need to know where exactly. The two options I have
are chopping up my floor with a concrete saw or finding the pipe
outside. In my garage I have 2 inch pipe for the washer to drain out.
This pipe is not in the concrete, however, it is buried in hard pan
and I suspect it goes under the concrete patio at some point on its
way to the 4 inch pipe. Ideally I would build a second bathroom in the
area of the garage and use the 2 inch pipe for the sink, I just need
to find where the 4 inch pipe is to connect the toilet. Being the lazy
person I am I do not want to dig into 40 feet of hardpan and under
another 15 feet of concrete patio until I have a damn good idea of
where the 4 inch pipe is.
Ahh -- knowing the real goal makes things easier.
Plumbers can put radio- or noise-based things down the pipes, then use
a detector to find them from above the ground.
Don't waste your time with the blueprints. There are two major
problems, and many more minor ones that way:
* Most blueprints don't show the _path_ of the pipes, only the start
and end points. It's up to the workman to figure out the path.
Electrical plans show only a dotted-line arc from the switch to the
fixture. Plumbing can be even more free-wheeling, since it might show
only where the final fixture goes, leaving it up to the plumber to get
the pipe there from anywhere he likes.
* Even if the blueprints specify the path, which they might on a
large, complicated building, the workman _always_ runs into a problem
requiring him to deviate from the plan. A well-heeled customer will pay
for "as-built" plans, but those customers are mostly governments and
I was watching TOH and they had a ball on a string that they can flush down
the toilet and it had a transmitter in it. They can follow it with some
contraption and find where the pipe goes. Then they just reel it back in
It would be a very slim chance that they'd have a copy of plans anyway. If
you can find the original builder or architect you may have a slim chance.
I don't know of any towns that save plans for any length of time. Even if
you find the plans pipe locations may have changed when installed anyway.
Plumbers are more interested in getting from A to B and don't care a few
inches either way along the route, nor does the building inspector.
Try a metal detector.
Many years ago I worked in an old university building that had
pipe-in-slab construction. Some major renovations were planned. The
contractor wanted to x-ray the floors to find pipes. The Dean thought
that was too expensive, told the contractor to use the original plans
and blueprints (which were on file). Contractor said "If you say so,
Dean", and started drilling. Immediately hit a pipe that wasn't
supposed to be there.
X-ray company was on site the next day.
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