Understanding Blue Prints
Blue prints are much more
detailed drawings than simple floor plans. Blueprints are exact
detailed scaled drawings of plans of a home, or structure, which
include many more details than a basic floor plan.
Your blue print plans and
specifications are the documents used by your contractor/builder
and subcontractors to instruct them on how you build your new
home. Each set of blue prints should include the following:
floor plans; plans for the foundation and information on
footings and framing; front, side and rear elevations; a roof
plan; electrical layout and Kitchen cabinet layout; and
Each set of blue prints
includes detailed documentation which fully describe the quality
and specifications of the materials needed to complete the
building of your home. You can use your detailed blue prints to
get precise estimates of the total cost to build your home.
Blueprints 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 blueprints for the construction of a new home
are 18 x 24 or 24 x 36.
How to read blueprints
Blue print floor plans are
typically drawn to a 1/4 scale of the actual size of the home.
This way the builder will be able to scale the drawing of the
home and come up with the correct measurements. As a general
rule 1/4" scale means that for every 1/4" on the plan will
account for 1 of actual length. Some details like framing
layouts or built-in details 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 3/4".
Your builder will know to
look at the key provided on the blue prints to determine the
scale if any portion of the house 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.
Blue prints also generally
include four elevation drawings of a home: the front, the rear
and each side. The elevations are drawn to scale and show what
your home will look like upon completion. Elevation blue prints
also include ridge heights, exterior finishes, roof pitches and
other design aspects to give a general idea of the finished
home. These exterior specifications can also provide details
about the homes exterior architectural styling.
Basement floor plan:
Basement floor plans show
how foundations and the 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
By keeping the electrical
layout on its own drawing the electrician can begin wiring the
home without reading through the entire building floor plan.
Electrical diagrams usually include 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, fixtures, light fixtures etc. Electrical diagrams
may also include legends for heating systems, door swings and
sizes, furniture placement, and may specify certain finishes.
Like every other drawings,
the framing drawings are also drawn to scale. Framing plans
include the basic skeletal structure of the home. Floor joist
locations, walls, and roof trusses are the overall detail of
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
Plumbing and mechanical
preferences and climatic variances dictate the mechanical
systems and, as such, this information must be obtained locally.
Typically only plumbing fixture locations are provided, but this
information is ample for the contractor to install a plumbing
system. Make sure that any exterior units such as air
conditioners fall within the building envelop or set backs where
Cross sections and
Overhead views or floor
plan views of the structure provide detailed information about
wall lengths and room dimensions but do not 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 of a home is a drawing of the
completed home as if it were sliced in half. This part of a home
plan provides the builder with an even better understanding of
the relativity of floor heights and rafter lengths, among other
structural elements of the home.
A plot plan is a
comprehensive drawing 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 chosen building 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 chosen lot. Plot plans will
typically include the location of utility services, set back
requirements, building envelope if one exists and easements;
and the location 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, terrain and plant
location of the lot he or she is designing a home for.