basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

Intro – why this knowledge is important to everyone

Understanding basics of architectural drawings or construction ones may be real challenge for the average person. I remember how confused I felt when I saw for the first time plan drawing. I could think out some things but the vast majority of lines and symbols where a total puzzle to me. When you plan to renovate your apartment, or building the home of your dreams ability of reading any architectural or construction drawing becomes crucial. And let’s be honest, everyone will be going through this stuff in life. Having well trained working team and solid project is for sure the most important thing. However we ought to have this minimum knowledge of how things work.

Design Decoded – blog series

In this series I’ll walk you through subtlety basics of drawings. Architectural along with construction ones. It’ll help you with understanding elementary rules of structures. I’ve got master and engineering degree in Civil Engineering. I was working for few years on projects for several European countries. Thanks to my education and experience I can share with you those useful information. So, shall we begin?

Types of drawings

basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

Quantity and complexity of drawings always depend on project’s character. If we are building a house we’ll receive set of different drawings than when we’ll order an interior design project. Rule is simple: We, as the ordering party need to be provided with complete set of drawings that will allow us to make specific project. Nothing more yet nothing less. List below is applying to the most popular types of drawings.

We can distinguish following kinds of drawings:

  • Plan views – basic views from the top on a horizontal plane.
  • Sections – literally “slices” through building, rooms and component.
  • Elevations – views of each and every exterior wall of the building.
  • Schedules – drawings containing specific information about components in buildings.

NOTICE: It is extremely important to remember that the same element on individual drawings must have the same attributes.
Example: On plan drawing it’s specified that window W3 opening has 1m height and on the section sketch it must have also 1m height.

This rule needs to be remembered to catch overlooked mistakes. Did you ever found one like that? I’d like to read your story!

In this post I will describe various plan views. Sections, elevations and schedules I’ll discuss in the next posts of this series Design Decoded and basics of architectural drawings.

basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

1. Site plan

This drawing defines the specific location of the building’s footprint on site. While there is more than one building it also shows their arrangement.
Depending on complexity of the project, site plan describes:

  • parking, sidewalks,
  • roads (inner site roads along with main road),
  • landscape plan,
  • existing site conditions
  • proposals of water drainage,
  • water retention,
  • sanitary lines,
  • electrical lines,
  • gas etc.

Important dimensions ought to be included. Site plans are used mainly in case of building a construction.

basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

2. Floor plan

This drawing defines:

  • distances between components and their attributes;
  • interior walls, hallways, restrooms;
  • interior features such as sinks, electric devices, or furniture;
  • carpentry such as doors and windows,
  • appliances such as heaters,
  • purpose of each room and their area.

Floor plans are basics of architectural drawings. Typically projected at the height of 1m above the floor.

basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

3. Civil drawings

There is a wide range of specific engineering drawings. For example:

  • structural ceiling plans,
  • roof plans, slab plans,
  • foundation plan, reinforcement,
  • floor construction,
  • other civil drawings.

Civil drawings set a clear picture of all things construction-wise. Furthermore on this type of drawing it is rarely to be seen appliances, house devices and furniture. Strict rules of keeping minimum elements on drawing in this case are precisely kept.

basics of architectural drawings plan view drawing construction architecture

4. Plumbing, electrical and mechanical plans.

Those specialistic drawings work as a reference to the floor plan accordingly to the construction.

  • Plumbing plan is showing the location of fixtures, pipes, and valves.
  • Electrical plan is showing information about power and lightning and their comunication. It describes also exact position of sockets, switches, etc.
  • Mechanical plan is showing information about heating system, ventilating and if it’s needed air conditioning.

I hope you managed to stay to the end. As you may noticed this knowledge is very important but I’ve kept it as simple as possible. Next part will be continuation of basics of architectural drawings. Stay tuned! Most of all don’t forget to write your observation from construction or renovation site. Like a “report from battlefield”, because it often is one!