How-To Read a Floor Concept Plan

Drafting a floor concept plan is one of the primary steps to beginning any construction process, whether it is residential or commercial. There are several working parts, each significant in its own way, and are standard across the industry for all plans.

There are several types of drawings, or plans, because every element of a project site cannot be addressed on a single sheet of paper. Therefore, there are civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing, piping, hydraulic, and electrical plans that encompass a single structure’s requirements before construction can take place. We are going to focus on architectural plans.

“Blueprints are like a road map…you set a course but adjust according to unprecedented changes along the way” commented Kevin Smith, Vice President, Commercial Business Unit Leader.

A floor concept plan is made-up of a combination of lines, each meaning something different:

Next, there is specific information that should almost always be included. A concept floor plan should depict the exterior and interior walls, the size and location of windows and doors, built-ins and permanent fixtures, stairs, room names, location and size dimensions, the drawing scale, material symbols, and walks/patios/decks if applicable.

Further, there are abbreviations used when executing a floor plan just like there is construction jargon used on and off the field. However, it is important to keep in mind that some abbreviations vary across units, such as what is used for commercial versus heavy civil projects.

Basic Definitions

Title Blocks: important to the overall drawing; contain information not given directly on the drawing with dimensions or notes; beginning point of a drawing’s information (think, title of the project, name and address of the client, name and address of the architectural company, date of completion of the drawing package, scale of the drawing, drawing number, and the architect’s professional stamp)

Revision Block: notes any changes made to a drawing

North Arrow: indicates the north direction and therefore the orientation of the building in relation to the sun

Symbols: represent plumbing, electrical, fixtures, doors, windows, and other objects in a house or building

Material Symbols (or Material Hath Patters): used to denote each material (think, frame, brick, concrete, stone, wood, tile, glass, steel, aluminum, marble, and insulation)

Scale: a relationship of the size or distance of the item on a drawing to the real item

Dimensions: show the size and location of the features on a floor plan; continuous lines with the dimension figure placed above the line; recorded in feet and inches

Dimensioning System: fractional inch, decimal inch, and the SI metric

Perspective: a method of drawing things as the eye sees them (think, vanishing point)

Drawing Legend(s): boxes drawn to illustrate some of the common or uncommon symbols used

Single Line Drawings (or Schematics): represents all electrical lines, plumbing, air lines, hydraulic lines, and piping, regardless of size, as a single line

Isometric Drawings: designed to show a three-dimensional view of an object

Orthographic Drawings: shows the drawn object from different views (think, left side, top view, front, bottom, right side, rear, and projection view)