Q: We have a three-bedroom rambler with a family room and connected garage that was built in 1991. The family room and garage sit on a concrete...

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Q: We have a three-bedroom rambler with a family room and connected garage that was built in 1991. The family room and garage sit on a concrete slab, and the rest of the house is elevated. We were thinking of building an addition over the family room and garage.

Our problem is that the builder has refused to allow us access to the plans for the house, and we are not sure whether we could build up. To whom should we be talking?

A: The building plans are likely at your city’s building department and as easy to get to as a public record. That being said, you do not need them.

The architect, engineer or home designer who determines how the new addition will be laid out and where structural support members will be placed is going to do physical measurements of the existing structure and not be relying on the plans. The structural supports are going to be visible, or made visible, and are either there or will be added as needed.

Don’t worry about the old plans. The new plans are submitted to the building department for the new permit.

You need contractors and design professionals. Some builders design and build as a package; others will submit a bid from plans you provide that have been produced by an architect or home designer. Still other builders will work with the design professional.

You need to find people you feel confident in and comfortable with. Interview several, and find the route you wish to take.

Darrell Hay is a local home inspector and manages several rental properties. Send home maintenance questions to dhay@seattletimes.com. Sorry, no personal replies. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.