What Are Construction Drawings?

In short, Construction Drawings are essentially a complete set of instructions used during the construction of any new building or substantial renovation. These instructions are commonly found on 24"x36" or 30"x42" paper, and in modern times, created on a computer using specialized Architectural design software. Referred to by many different names such as; Blueprints, Plans, House Plans, Etc., Construction Drawings are used to communicate vast amounts of information to home owners, permitting departments, and contractors. The information found in a set of Construction Drawings should always lead to a good understanding of how a home will be arranged, what the home will look like when construction is complete, and most importantly, how to actually build it!


What's Included in a Construction Drawing?


In a Construction Drawing, or set of Construction Drawings, you should expect to find most of the details you need to build any given home. These details are typically divided and organized throughout multiple sheets, each of which are particular to one or two building trades. These sheets are commonly identified with a Sheet Number and Sheet Title found in the title block, or somewhere on the perimeter of the sheet. As an example, you may open a set of Construction Drawings to sheet "E1.0 / Electrical" which you can fully expect to find information particular to, you guessed it, the Electrical systems! As far as what sheets and how many you might find in a set of Construction Drawings, this will vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of the home. However, so that you're not left entirely in the dark, we've included a simple Sheet Index below from a 2,600 Sq. Ft. home in California.


Sheet Index

G0.1 - General Information

A1.1 - Plot Plan

A2.1 - Floor Plan

A3.1 - Exterior Elevations

A3.2 - Exterior Elevations

A4.1 - Interior Elevations

A5.1 - Building Cross Section

A6.1 - Architectural Details

E1.1 - Electrical Plan

P1.1 - Plumbing Plan

S1.1 - Foundation Plan

S2.1 - Shear Wall Plan

S3.1 - Roof Structure Plan

S4.1 - Structural Details

S4.2 - Structural Details

(Learn More About These Common Sheets Here)


Now, it's important to note that I didn't state that ALL details for construction are included in these Construction Drawings. In addition to these "Plans" or "Blueprints", often times permitting departments will require more intricate details of the home to be provided in the form of "Supporting Documents". A few examples of these documents are; Energy Evaluation Reports, Structural Calculations, Concrete Mix Designs, Site Survey Details, etc. These Supporting Documents function as one with the Construction Drawings and are intended to provide further documentation of both code compliance and construction feasibility. As every property comes with their own unique complexities, it's always best to verify with your local permitting department as to which Supporting Documents will be required to accompany your Construction Drawings.


Common Sheets & Details Within



G0.1 - General Information

- Project Title

- Project Location

- Vicinity Map

- Construction Type

- Occupancy Type

- Applicable Codes

- Design Criteria

- Typical Notes & Disclaimers



A1.1 - Plot Plan

- Property Specific Information

- Proposed Location of Home

- Building Setbacks

- Easements

- Property Constraints (Hills, Cliffs, Retaining Walls)

- Site Utilities

- Driveways

- Landscaping

- Hardscaping



A2.1 - Floor Plan

- Dimensions

- Walls

- Doors

- Windows

- Room Descriptions

- Ceiling Heights

- Appliances

- Plumbing Fixtures

- Fireplaces



A3.1 - Exterior Elevations

- Exterior Finish Materials

- Door & Window Heights

- Roof Pitches

- Floor Heights

- Plate Heights

- Roof Peak Heights



A4.1 - Interior Elevations

- Interior Finish Materials

- Cabinetry

- Appliances

- Shelving

- Lighting

- Ceiling Projections



A5.1 - Building Cross Section

- Cut Throughout Building

- Roof Assembly

- Roof Structure

- Insulation Values

- Wall Assembly

- Room Descriptions

- Foundation Assembly

- Footings



A6.1 - Architectural Details

- Door Thresholds

- Head Conditions

- Sill Conditions

- Flashing Details

- Roof Assembly

- Eave Assembly

- Exterior Finish Assembly

- Other Unique Terminations/Conditions



E1.1 - Electrical Plan

- Electrical Panels

- Outlets / Receptacles

- Lighting & Switches

- Fans & Switches

- Conduit

- Life Safety

- Data / Internet Drops

- Security & Cameras

- Cable



P1.1 - Plumbing Plan

- Incoming Water

- Incoming Gas

- Hot & Cold Water Routes

- Gas Routes

- Plumbing Fixtures, Appliance, & Stubs

- Gas Fixtures, Appliances, & Stubs



S1.1 - Foundation Plan

- Foundation of Type

- Dimensions

- Rebar / Reinforcement Requirements

- Footing Sizes & Locations

- Anchors, Post Bases, and Hold Downs

- Vapor Barrier

- Floor Framing



S2.1 - Shear Wall Plan

- Shear Wall Locations

- Shear Wall Schedule

- Shear Wall Assembly



S3.1 - Roof Structure Plan

- Manufactured Roof Trusses

- Headers & Beams

- Rafters

- Ridge Beams

- Post Caps

- Straps & Clips



S4.1 - Structural Details

- Footing Assemblies

- Shear Wall Assemblies

- Framing Conditions

- Connector Conditions

- Strapping & Anchorage Details



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