Just like the noted architect, Jean Nouvel said, “Space is not automatically doing architecture.” There’s plenty of room to create a masterpiece within space, but there’s also room to create a disaster. In this article, we will discuss floor planning, explore different types of house plans, and address key considerations and terminology that prospective homeowners should know to make their design dreams a reality.
3 Types of House Plans
1. Floorplan sketches
2. Construction blueprints
3. Site plans
While each house plan is a bit different, if you can read one type of house plan, you can read them all. The floorplan sketch is a simple type of house plan that shows the basic layout and dimension of a home. Sometimes floorplan sketches are given an extra bit of detail by adding diagrams of beds, tables, and other furniture. It’s important to note that a floorplan sketch isn’t always drawn to scale.
A construction blueprint, however, is very detailed; it includes all the elements of the construction. Because this is the plan that a builder will use to complete a project, it’s important that the drawings in this plan are correct. Usually, construction plans are drawn to a 1:100 scale, with one centimeter on the plan representing one meter.
The final main type of house plan is the site plan or survey. The site plan shows the position of the structure on the lot in relation to the lot’s boundaries. This plan also needs to be accurate, since different jurisdictions each have different specifications on how close a house can be built to lot boundaries.
Understanding Your House Plan
Now that we’ve covered the types of plans that are commonly used, it’s important to know what your home plans will include. Included with your house plans you’ll find details on the exterior elevations, the floor plans, foundation and/or basement plans, building sections and details, roof plans, cabinet layouts, electrical locations, and general notes.
Exterior elevation drawings detail the exterior of a home. This provides information regarding where the windows, doors, and exterior trim can be found, as well as illustrations on the wall heights, roof pitches, and ridge heights. Floor plans, usually given with one sheet for each floor, in many cases, are the most important drawings in terms of your home plans. You’ll find that they include the most critical dimensions and specs needed to build the home. They include structural details like floor joists, but they also may include details regarding electrical elements like lights and plugs.
Foundation and basement plans will illustrate the foundation of the home, including structural beams, footings, and other structural elements. If the home has a basement, the basement plans will also show the stairs, bearing walls, and basement windows.
Building sections and details show how the different levels and areas of the plan work in conjunction with each other—while the roof plan provides a bird’s eye view of the home. This drawing shows the ridges, hips and valleys, and may also show each rafter or truss. Finally, the general notes are a separate sheet that’s included with the house plans.
This document contains standard notes and details that are required to be listed in order to be in compliance with building codes. While stock house plans are designed to meet current UDC building codes for Wisconsin, it’s important to know how local codes may impact house plans. If there’s a variation between the standard codes and the codes in your locality, minor adjustments can be necessary.
Understanding Your Floor Plan
As mentioned earlier, floor plans are the most critical element of your house plans. Drawn to scale and shown from above, floor plans illustrate how rooms, spaces, and physical features work in relation to each other within the home. They’re the key documents that show how people will move through the space and interact with their home. Floor plans show the extent to which a space will work for its intended purpose.
If you’re attempting to read a floor plan, here are some key elements to know:
- Measurements: The floor plan will have four sets of parallel lines on the sides of the drawings. These lines represent the entire measurements of the house (even including the width of the walls). The top lines refer to the largest dimension in the home, such as the exterior walls.
- Roof Overhang and Angle: Dotted lines on the outside of the house refer to the width of the roof overhang; dotted lines across the whole floor plan represent the different roof angles.
- Windows: Expressed as a four-digit number, the first two numbers refer to the height of a window, and the second set refers to its width.
There may be some abbreviations on the floor plan that are foreign to you. For instance, if you see “Obsc” near the bathroom and toilet windows, that signals to the builder to obscure the glass. The abbreviation “DP” shows where the downpipe is located, and “MB” refers to where the meter box is located. While most of these abbreviations are self-explanatory, if there’s any ambiguity, the information is spelled out in full in the plan.
With time and practice, it can become an easy to decode house plans. Instead of surprises that can come from misunderstanding plans, with this type of understanding, homebuilders can experience the true joy of seeing their home design come to life. Connect with Belman Homes to simplify your home building experience.