A Guide To The Types Of Architectural Plan

Guide To The Types Of Architectural Plan

When designing a building or conveying a design to stakeholders, construction managers, or authorities, architects must create a series of plans. There are seven main kinds of architectural plans that are considered essential during all projects. Architectural plans must follow standard formatting conventions so that they can be understood easily. This article is a very brief introductory guide to the kinds of architectural plans that must be mastered by budding students of the built environment. 

Floor Plan

The floor plan is probably the kind of architectural planning document that most non-architects are most familiar with. This is because of the widespread use of the format by real estate agents – who utilize floor plans when showing potential buyers the layout of a home. 

Architects use floor plans to convey the horizontal dimensions of the building, room, or floor they are designing. Appearing similar to a circuit diagram at first glance, a floor plan is a two-dimensional bird’s eye view cut out of the planned building. 

Much like circuit diagrams, floor plans use symbols to represent different features. These symbols can represent doors, windows, electrical wiring, and a whole host of other fittings. These symbols are standardized across the industry in order to make floor plans easy to understand. 

Before the invention of Computer Aided Design software like Cedreo Floor Plan Creator architects and draftspeople would create floorplans – often known as blueprints – by hand using paper, rulers, and compasses. People have been drafting floor plans for at least 2000 years in much the same way. Computer-Aided Design software has changed the game: making the creation of floor plans far simpler, more accurate, and more efficient. 

Site Plan

While floor plans are often limited to a single area of a building, a site plan is intended to show the dimensions of an entire site – as you might expect. This is not always limited to a single building. All buildings on a site and all associated landscape features must be recorded in a mathematical fashion. It is possible to create three-dimensional floor plans. Some specialist software is able to automatically convert sets of dimensions into three-dimensional, explorable renderings. The majority of the site plans completed by architects are two-dimensional – only showing the horizontal dimensions of the site that will be worked upon.

Site plans are especially important for passing on information to construction and engineering staff. These groups are responsible for the safe and adequate completion and realization of a design. They need a site overview to keep to plan without having to constantly refer to different small-scale diagrams. 

Generally speaking, two kinds of site plan are provided by an architect. An existing site plan is provided to show the state of the site before work begins. A proposed site plan is provided to show the intended progress of the project. This shows how the site will have changed if all work has been completed. The orientation of the site – usually indicated by a marker for geographic North – is included in the site plan. 

All site plans contain what is known as a title block. The title block contains the name of the architect, the name of the project, the revision number, and the appropriate signatures. Construction managers and engineers will check the title block before referring to a site plan in order to confirm that it is the latest revision. 

Reflective Ceiling Plan

Think of a reflective ceiling plan as being the polar opposite of a floor plan. Imagine, if you will, lying on the floor of a building and looking directly up. Roughly speaking, this is how a reflective ceiling plan appears. Much like a floor plan, a ceiling plan contains symbols that clearly indicate fittings and features. Some ceilings are immensely complex. Vaulted ceilings, for instance, are complicated and mathematically constructed. Most ceilings contain light fittings that must be carefully planned out. Some plans contain indications of wiring positions, although most do not occur due to the extra visual complication that this addition usually entails. The ceiling is one of the most important functional pieces of a building due to the amount of features that it supports. 

Exterior Elevations 

Exterior elevation plans show the outside of a building, illustrated alongside the dimensions of all exterior features. All sides of a building’s exterior a shown as different illustrations on a single planning document on 2D exterior elevation plans. This kind of architectural plan is especially well suited to being rendered in three dimensions. A 3D exterior elevation plan can crucially show how each aspect of an exterior is aesthetically connected. 

Interior Elevations 

Interior elevation plans are extremely similar to exterior elevation plans, but – you guessed it – they show the internal vertical surfaces as opposed to the external. Interior elevation plans are vitally important to electricians, plumbers, and interior designers as they plan for the fitting out of a property. 

Millwork Plan

Millwork plans are used when extremely small construction details need to be conveyed by the architect or designer. They let a tradesperson know exactly how they need to put together a single part of a property. A designer may include a millwork design in their documents if they wish to specify the construction quality of the furniture in a building or any decorative elements that need to be included. Millwork plans are only used when an architect has to specify the exact methods of construction and precise materials that need to be used. Periodically, an architect may develop a completely novel form of construction technique. In cases like this, it is important that they include a millwork plan so that construction workers and engineers can put their new innovative techniques into practice. 

Landscape Plan 

A landscape plan details everything that is exterior to the main built environment of the design. Landscape plans can include everything from sidewalk diagrams to earthworks. A landscape designed alongside a building is far more likely to compliment its form than an indeterminate landscape in most cases.

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