What is an Architectural Plan?

An architectural plan is a two-dimensional drawing, which portrays the measurements of each room, the placement of furniture, and the distance between the interior components. Plans illustrate how the rooms should be placed as per feasibility, directions of sun, and ventilation.
An overall floor plan is an illustrative bird-eye view of your home where all the furniture, doors, windows, appliances, and other fixtures are placed in each room to understand the relationship of rooms with each other.
Why is it important to interpret architectural plans while building a home?
A floor plan is an important aspect of the planning and designing phase. It helps you to visualize your ideas in a 2D format.
Mentioned below are the reasons why you should be well acquainted with reading architectural plans while building or renovating a home:
  • It becomes easier for the project stakeholders and the owner to interpret the positioning of the furniture and interior components using the scale and dimensions of each room
  • Better design review meetings with the architect while he/she is preparing a conceptual design of the home and asks for your inputs & suggestions
  • Gives you a unique opportunity to review the design ideas on paper or on a specialized computer program where you can visualize your dream home and suggest changes before construction

Elements of Architectural Floor Plan

Architectural plans may look complex to someone reading them for the first time. There are several symbols and markings on the drawing that are quite important to understand. Mentioned below are 7 necessary symbols that you need to know before you read an architectural plan?
Doors :
The breaks in walls between the rooms indicate the symbol for the door. It has a straight line with a D-shaped curve, which explain the opening of the door and how much space is utilized while opening the door.
Windows :
The windows are the most important and strongest visual symbols in a floor plan. The breaks in between walls depict the windows in each space. The windows may have a different design as per the plan, such as regular sliding, casement, and bay windows.
Stairs :
Stairs are drawn as a series of rectangles depicting each stair (usually with a direction arrow to show the direction of reaching the next floor via the stairs). A diagonal line represents the rise of the stairs above the floor.
Walls :
Walls are the first part of the drawing, depicted in parallel lines, illustrating closed spaces. There are two walls depicted, external and internal. Walls may be solid, filled, or hatched to show a solid line enclosing the entire house and the rooms. There are different types of depiction of walls: brick walls, concrete walls, wood, and metal finished walls.
Legend :
Legend helps one to understand the symbols along with their identification for anyone to read the drawings. Legend is prepared on a table with the symbol and the identification name of the symbol.
Scale :
A scale is a tool for representing large objects at a smaller size in order to allow them to be read with ease on a standard-sized sheet of paper. A Floor plan is always drafted to scale, i.e., the size of the drawing is reduced so that the entire space and area of the drawing can fit on a piece of paper or screen.
North Arrow :
The north tells you the orientation and direction of the house it is situated on. All of the three elements: north arrow, legend, and scale should be mentioned in the drawing in a box or the format of the sheet, and it remains constant in every drawing.
Dimensions :
Property and room dimensions are always mentioned in Length x Width and help you calculate the area of the house and the rooms respectively. The dimensions are represented by a line against the length or breadth of a particular room with ‘digits’ written in meters or feet & inches.
Plumbing & electrical symbols :
Common plumbing symbols are sink, toilet, WC, shower, and bathtub and common electrical symbols are lighting and ceiling fan fixtures, TV, and switch outlets. Symbols such as vents or AC units are often included in the same plan.

How to read elevations?

An elevation demonstrates the design details of the exterior and the interior vertical walls. Each wall depicts the textures, material, and dimensions proposed by the architect.
An exterior elevation provides building form, materials & textures, floor and plate heights, roof style, window openings and treatment, size of doors and windows, floor-to-floor height, positioning of balconies and chimneys, etc.
Prerequisites for interpreting a floor plan for the first time :
  • Visit your site before reviewing architectural plans for better visualization
  • Ask your architect to develop a conceptual sketch before developing a detailed design
  • Understand metric system and conversion before reviewing room spaces
  • Understand basic symbols to spot the elements and components on a floor plan

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