Construction Documents are much more detailed
drawings than simple Floor Plans.
Blueprints are exact, detailed, scaled drawings of plans of a home, building, or
structure which include many more details than a basic floor plan.
Your plans and specifications are the documents used by your builder
and contractors to instruct them on how to build your new home. Each set of
blue prints should include floor plans; plans for the foundation and
information on footings and framing; front, side and rear elevations; roof
plan; electrical layout and construction details.
Each set of prints includes detailed documentation which fully describes the
quality and specifications of the materials needed to complete the building of
your home. You can use your detailed prints to get precise estimates of
the total cost to build your home.
Construction Documents are used to provide the builder
with a complete set of two-dimensional instructions on exactly how to construct
the home. The most common sizes of prints for the construction of a new
home are 30" x 42" or 24" x 36".
Before the advent of computers, house plans were drawn
by hand on vellum (a semi-transparent film which was specially
processed and treated with ammonia), however, with the advances in computer
software, the process of designing a floor plan has greatly improved and floor
plans have now become easier to create and duplicate. Now complete floor plans
can be stored and printed just as easily as printing this document from your
We offer a wide selection of comprehensive and detailed prints in a
large assortment of styles, home plans and designs to fit any
How to read the prints
Floor plans are typically drawn to a ¼" scale of the actual size of
the home. This way the builder will be able to scale the drawing of the home
and determine the correct measurement. As a general accepted rule, a ¼" scale
means that every ¼" on the plan will account for 1' of actual length. Some
details, like framing layouts or built-in details, may be drawn at a scale of
1/8" or even ¾". Any builder should know to look at the key provided on the house
plan to determine the scale of the home. Since the plans are drawn to
scale if any portion needs to be changed or the contractor can scale the
drawing to determine the right measurements to make the adjustments. The scale
of each drawing is usually next to the title, however there are times when it
is called out beneath the drawing or some other place on the page.
House plans generally include four exterior elevation drawings of a home, the
front, the rear and each side. The purpose of these drawings are
measurements can be taken for any necessary aspect, are drawn to scale and
also indicate, what the home will look like upon completion. Elevations also include ridge heights, exterior finishes, roof pitches and other
design aspects to give a general idea of the finished home. These
specifications can also provide details about the home's exterior architectural
Basement Floor Plan:
Basement floor plans (if provided) show how the foundation and structural
integrity should be built. These plans give further details about the location
of footings, load bearing walls, steel rebar concrete reinforcements, and other
structural elements the home requires to support the walls and roof.
Electrical diagrams (if provided) can often be difficult to read. This is why the electrical layout of a home is often on a separate
drawing. By keeping the electrical layout on it's own drawing, the electrician
can begin wiring the home without reading through the entire building floor
plan. Electrical diagrams usually includes a legend or key on the page which
explains what each symbol represents. From this diagram, the electrician can
determine the location of electrical outlets, fans, light fixtures,
etc. Electrical diagrams may also include legends for heating systems, door
swings and sizes, or even to specify certain finishes.
Like every other drawing, the framing plans (if provided) are also drawn to
scale. Framing plans include the basic skeletal structure of the home. Floor
joist locations, walls, and roof trusses are the details highlighted in these plans.
Generally, locations of each stud are not included, due to a recognized
universal building code. However, in some cases there are instructions for
particular wall construction methods.
Plumbing and mechanical systems:
Since stock house plans are sold throughout the 50 states, regional
preferences and climatic variances dictate different mechanical systems and, as
such, this information must be obtained locally. Typically only plumbing
fixture locations are provided. This is enough information for the
contractor to install a plumbing system. However you may want to have the
heating subcontractor provide a duct and register layout for your review prior
to construction. Your local utility company also may offer various services to
you in sizing a system for your new home.
Cross sections and details:
Overhead views or floor plan views of the structure provide detailed
information about wall lengths and room dimensions to do not fully provide
enough information for successful construction of the home. Therefore in most
cases, a cross section of the home is included in a set of home plans. A cross
section is a drawing of the completed home as if it were sliced in
half. This part of a plan provides the builder with a better
understanding of the relativity of floor heights, rafter lengths and other
structural elements of the home.
Plot plans are comprehensive drawings of the site location or lot on which a
new home is to be built. Plot Plans are drawn to determine the placement of the
home on the lot in reference to the property boundaries,
topography and house layout. Plot dimensions are normally recorded by a
surveyor, and are used to determine the exact location and positioning of the
selected home in relationship to the lot.
Plot plans will typically include the location of utility services, set back
requirements, easements, and locations of drive ways and walk ways. In some cases, a
topographical map may be included that will supply the architect or builder
with critical data on the slope and terrain of the lot for which a home is being designed. Since plot plans are prepared based on the exact size and dimensions
of the house to be built and how it will fit into a selected lot location, they
are not normally included in the purchase of stock floor plans, however, plot
plans can be drawn by a local, professional draftsman, architect or engineer
once a lot is chosen.
So, now that you know how to read a set of plans you need to understand the
differences between the styles!
See our information on how to choose
the right house plan and architectural floor plan styles.