The initial concept of any house design is first developed as a basic single line floor plan. It is from that drawing that the design further evolves into detailed drawings, sections, space visualizations, and 3D renders.
One can say that floor plans are the base on which the entire building rises on. So unlike most of the other design diagrams, as a homeowner, you are going to see a lot of house plans. It is for the very same reasons that you should be able to understand the basis of the plan, how to read it and grasp its essence.
What are the Floor plans?
A floor plan represents how the inside of the house would look from the top view. It is a cross-section, cut horizontally 3 or 4 meters above the floor level, showing the basic layout, and openings of the house.
Each floor of the house will have its own floor plan. There would also be detailed plans for interiors, flooring layouts, and other required specifications.
What is Represented on a Floor Plan?
In a simple house plan of a single floor, there are walls, windows, doors, and the furniture layout drafted in detail. It will also show in hidden dashed lines, any roof patterns of sloped roofs or any part that is above the 4 feet section line level. To an inexperienced eye, it might still look like a lot is going on on the paper. Floor plans are always drafted to scale, so every element will be to scale.
Here are a few points explaining the most important features you see on a floor plan and how to decipher it.
- Walls – The most critical part of both the house and the floor plan, the wall are depicted by double lines. The outer walls are thicker, and the inner walls are thinner depending on the material.
- Doors – Doors depicted in the floor plans not only show its position but also in which direction the door swing is. There are different representations for different types of doors like the swing door, sliding door, etc.
- Windows- Similar to doors, windows are also shown in the floor plans. However, there are many types of windows, and each cannot be presented uniquely in the plans. So there would be a common block for windows with a callout for detailed diagrams. The joinery drawings will further show in detail the specifications of doors and windows.
- Floors- Floors are depicted with the general pattern in the floor plans. There would be another flooring pattern floor for each room, showing how the tiles should be laid out and in what designs.
- Stairs- Stairs that are seen within the height from the floor level where the section is cut are shown in solid lines. The steps above are represented with dotted lines. An arrow will point in which direction, the stairs are leading and the turn direction, whether clockwise or anticlockwise. The stair is another feature that requires further callout to detail its rise and tread dimensions, specifications, the design of handrails and balustrades.
- Furniture and Fittings- Standard furniture layouts are also shown in floor plans to get a feel of the space. For rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, a plan will also show where the fixtures are placed like the sinks, stove, etc.
Every aspect shown in the floor plan will have another detailed drawing that is on a bigger scale for the builder’s benefits. There are many details and representations that the craftsmen understand like what thick lines and thin lines represent, what a dotted line means and such minute details that in construction could make a big difference.
Symbols and Figures on Floor Plan
Every floor plan uses a set of universal symbols that are understood by the building team all over the world. Every single line on the floor plan means something; there would be no unnecessary dots or arrows without it having a further meaning or direction. That is why it is highly imperative to ensure that the floor plans are done without any error.
The builders are supposed to follow the floor plans to the T. If the builder is not experienced, they might not be able to pick up minor errors and come to a judgment on their own. So if the plan has any mistakes, it could lead to severe damages in construction.
The floor plans are supposed to comply with the set of standards laid out in the Australian Standard AS 1100 in its part 301 of Architectural drawing. Every drawing will follow the same rules so every member of the team can read the plans.
Apart from the floor plan itself, an architectural drawing will have a few more components as listed below.
The Title Block
Title block usually shows the project and the plan in a glimpse. It will include details of the client, the location of the project, the architect’s name, the name of the draughtsman, the title of the drawing, the date it was drawn and the dates of the revisions made.
The title block will also show the floor area, the footprint and the carpet area of the building. It is also essential to note in which unit the measurements have been calculated, as, on the plan, only the digits would be marked.
Scale and Orientation
Every floor plan will have a north point marked for the reader to understand the orientation of the site and the orientation of the building on the site. It is a common practice to have all the set of drawings to be oriented the same to avoid any confusion. There would also be a written ratio of the scale and a visual indication of it.
Many floor plans will require additional drawings to detail out specific sections of the house. Not every construction detail could be represented by floor plan alone. That is where the diagrams like sections and elevations become useful.
So the plans will also have cross reference symbols to show which drawing to refer for details of the particular part.
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