Working With Construction Plans
Paper construction plans are large and consist of several pages. To start working with these documents, youll first need to clear a workspace where you can fully unfold the plans. Also, remember that paper plans tear and fade easily, and they deteriorate if they get wet. Theyre very expensive to produce and cost hundreds of dollars to replace, so make sure youre using them and storing them carefully.
You can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer size and amount of detail on the plans, so the first step in working with them is to relax. Unlike books, plans do not have a single starting place. Focus your attention on one corner, and then work your way across. Good plans show a lot of detail and are highly accurate.
Next, figure out what kind of plan youre looking at: Is the perspective birds eye or side on? Is this a full view or a section? If its a section, which area does it pertain to?
Next, check the scale. The scale is the ratio between a construction components dimensions on the drawing and its actual dimensions. Architects use scales with fractions, such as 1/8 inch equals 1 foot, while engineers use whole-integer scales, such as 1 inch equals 100 feet. You use architectural scales in plans for buildings, and engineering scales in plans for other construction projects, such as roads or dams. This guide from the U.S. Fire Administration is a good primer on how to select the correct scale and accurately interpret the dimensions.
How To Read House Blueprints
Here are some general tips to remember when reading your new home blueprints:
- They are drawn to scale
- Pages are typically in the order of when theyll be constructed
- The foundation plan shows specifications of the design you selected
- Floor plans will show details and room dimensions for each floor being built
- Exterior elevations are drawn to scale so necessary measurements can be taken
- Kitchen and bath elevations will help with cabinetry manufacturers
- Miscellaneous details will be included and are plan specific
- Electrical layouts will typically be on their own page
- Framing drawings will outline items like floor joists and trusses
- Locations on plumbing and mechanical systems are usually noted
- Cross sections and details will better explain exactly how the home is being built
We explain each of these in more detail below.
How Do You Read A Roof Blueprint
Are Blueprints Still Being Used? Blueprints are still being used to this day. However, they are no longer blue and arent called blueprints. They are now referred to as drawings or plans.
Determine the square footage of one floor of your home. Multiply this number by your most recent result to get the estimated square footage of your roof. Follow Us!
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How To Measure Residential Roof Plans
The first thing to check is what scale the roof is drawn in. The roof below is drawn in 1/8 scale This means that, if using a regular tape measure that 1 inch would equal 8 feet. In this drawing a 1/8 scale ruler is being used. The next thing to determine is the roof pitch see The easiest and most accurate method to measuring a roof plan is to square everything off.
This means that you want to divide the roof into sections. Notice the bold dotted line this dotted line separates the main roof from the gable pop-out on the front of house. With this method only 2 calculations are needed. Measure all the hips, rakes, and valleys.
Add for pitch. Measure all the eaves and top ridge. Just add for roof pitch and you have a complete takeoff Determine how much add for roof pitch
Architectural Vs Structural Pages
Most plans are broken out in several different ways. One of the most important to carpenters is the distinction between architectural and structural details. Architectural details show things like room dimensions, fixture locations, window and door locations, and finish materials. Carpenters use the dimensions on the architectural sheets to lay out and to verify, for example, that a floor joist is not located where a toilet drain has to go. The architectural pages of a plan are usually designated by the letter A followed by a page number.
Structural pages show locations and sizes of important details such as , foundation walls, posts, and beams, and these pages are marked with an S and a page number. Large projects may have pages for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical contractors as well.
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Why Are They Called Blueprints
Lets get this one out of the way. Blueprints are no longer blue!
Construction drawings have been used for centuries, albeit much less advanced in the past. In the 1800s, a method called blueprinting was developed for creating copies of documents. One must first create a drawing on translucent paper. Separately, a chemical compound of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate is mixed and layered over a blank piece of paper.
The original translucent drawing is placed on top of the chemically-coated blank sheet, and a reaction occurs when exposed to bright light. All blank areas of the original drawing become blue on the new copy, while lines from the original remain whatever color the blank sheet is. This blue is known as Prussian Blue.
While drawings are all computerized now, the name blueprint has stuck, and now means any type of construction or detail drawing.
Technology Eases Construction Planning
Earlier we talked about the difficulty of working with blueprints. Construction has lagged behind other major industries in digital adoption, and planning technology solves many of the problems and constraints of conventional paper construction plans. Construction planning technology covers a number of software solutions, from scheduling apps to SaaS suites. The design modules reduce the time and money costs of manually updating construction plans and reworking design elements.
The most helpful features include the following abilities:
- View, edit, and share drawings
- Access plans and documents in the field from mobile devices
- Zoom in with high-resolution plans to capture detail
- Ensure sheet version control
- Annotate with markups and as-built notes
- Take photos and share and archive them
- Automate quantity takeoff
These capabilities unlock some strong advantages for builders and project managers. With these tools, collaboration flows more easily, everyone always has the current set of plans, accuracy rises, and all participants share the same information. Scheduling engines give contractors a competitive advantage by increasing productivity. Quality also rises since project teams can update and share blueprints, punch lists, specifications, and RFIs instantaneously.
These capabilities increase efficiency. One construction software company surveyed its customers, who said that on average they saved $15,000 in labor per year per employee by using a construction solution.
Heres What You Can Do With The Right Software
New home construction, the development of new subdivisions and planned communities marches on unabated through ups and downs in the economy. Roof measurement technology providers like iRoofing.org continually receive inquiries about whether its possible to use a roofing app to assist in completing roof measurement specifications and estimates from blueprints. Its easier than ever before to measure every aspect of a roof from an architects blueprints.
See the video to know how a modern technology platform makes it easy to measure and estimate a new roofing project from blueprints.
Who Uses Roof Plans
Designers, home builders, remodelers, and architects use roof plans to ensure any roof they design is structurally sound. Roofing contractors and framers use roof plans to make sure they build a roof to the exact specifications. They also use roof plans whenever redesigning an existing roof.
Depending on building codes, local ordinances, and homeownersâ association rules, builders may need to submit roof plans for approval before beginning roof construction.
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Understanding Blueprint Symbols And Abbreviations
One of the hardest things that anyone reading blueprints will encounter is all the abbreviations that are on them. There are hundreds of different abbreviations and symbols that are used, and they are not always universally used either.
One architect or engineer may use one symbol for an object on one plan, while the same architect or engineer will use a different one for the same object on a different plan. Of course, there are also symbols for the materials that are being used throughout the building, as well as the utilities.
Thankfully, there is often a key to abbreviations and symbols that are used. This ensures that everyone knows what is being referred to on each one of the drawings.
How Do You Read Roof Pitch On Blueprints
Once you have your roofs pitch, divide the number by 12A General Approach To Reading Blueprints
How Many Roofing Shingles Do I Need?
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Why Are Blueprints Important
Blueprints or drawings or prints do not usually get the acknowledgment they deserve no matter how crucial they are in project documentation. Your blueprints and drawings are based off and created from your project specifications. These specifications describe project objectives, functionality, and how project requirements will be achieved, and your blueprints or drawings communicate all the technical details found in them.
- Drawings thereby allow you to measure your compliance against the specifications.
- They allow you to guide needed installations by referencing as-built drawing sets and enable you to track any kind of modification or addition with what you are installing.
- Blueprints and drawings are also great resources for maintenance and troubleshooting.
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How To Read Blueprint Symbols
We use hundreds of symbols in construction drawings, but not all are universal. There are symbols for materials, building components, and utilities in a project. Each project comes with a list of characters and abbreviations to avoid confusion. The unique abbreviations and symbols ensure that everyone is on the same page. Blueprints are sometimes challenging to read, but having a centralized system helps the involved parties spot errors before they occur.
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Project Use Of A Roof Plan
Your roof plan is mainly going to be used during the current project on your roof replacement job in Jacksonville, FL. You may be kept up to date with any changes or concerns as things process. If you arent sure how to read the roof plan or have questions about some part of it, feel free to ask questions. Your roofing contractor can help you and explain what you dont understand. If you are looking to have roofing work done in Jacksonville, consider contacting Prime Roofing. We would be happy to plan out a project with you. Contact us through our website or call .
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Construction Plans For Different Building Parts
Lets delve into each plan type in detail. For a look at the construction plans for a typical residential project, check out what the firm Donald A. Gardner Architects provides in one of its house plan sets.
Foundation plans are a type of structural engineering plan. They can also refer to subfloor plans or, in some cases, basement floor plans. They show the sizes, shapes, thicknesses, configurations, and elevations of foundation walls and footings, including interior load-bearing walls and exterior post footings. Foundation plans will also show the positioning of reinforcing bars and the connections and attachments via anchor bolts or weld plates between the foundations structural members. These plans delineate excavated and unexcavated areas of the foundation.
A footing schedule accompanies the foundation plan. It lists and describes all the footings upon which the structure will rest. Typically, there will be extensive notes that explain how you reinforce structural members and define the concrete break strength requirements. The notes will also describe how you test the strength of the structure.
Framing plans are another type of structural engineering plan. They detail the structural members that constitute the buildings framework: the size and positions of beams that appear in plans, and the joist and rafter space, layout, and size. Framing plans help builders lay out roof, floor, and ceiling structures.
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Construction Drawings Help Planners Make Key Building Decisions
Blueprints also shape other important decisions, such as the choice of technology and construction methods for a project. Builders assess the scale not only of the project as a whole, but also of specific components of the project, such as building materials and their position within the structure. This process allows contractors and construction planners to figure out what kind of equipment and construction techniques theyll use.
For example, a construction planner might ask whether a project requires a cement mixer truck or simply a wheel-based cement mixer. And, once the crew mixes the cement, do they need to pump the mixture to the higher levels of the structure, or can they transfer it by pulley or even manually?
Blueprints also make it easy to check if the structure conforms with building rules and codes and if its ready for building departments to issue permits for new and renovated structures. Most jurisdictions have building departments or councils that must issue permits for new construction or renovation projects before the construction work can begin.
How To Find Blueprints For A House
Learn how to read a blueprint to know the floor plans, schedules, materials and placement of all features of a home. Blueprints are part of the permit approval process in most municipalities and are crucial for building, renovation and repair jobs.
When remodeling or renovating a residence, you may need to find original blueprints as a reference. Follow these steps to locate the blueprints for a clients home.
Begin by checking the local municipality website for instructions to access blueprints. The blueprints themselves are not likely to be available online, but the website may explain how to get them. If the website lacks this information, call the city or county clerk phone number.
Some local governments only keep building plans for a limited time, such as 90 days after the completion of a project. If the blueprints themselves are not available through the local municipality, try to find the original builder or architect.
- Check with the city clerk or zoning office for property records that may identify the original builder or architect.
- Check if the local courthouse has an online platform for home sales, which may include builder information.
- When a client purchases a home, they receive a title report that identifies easements and encumbrances in the parcel of land. This may also include the original building company.
- Check with the clients real estate agent or mortgage company.
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The Role Of Blueprint Sections
The sections of blueprints are where contractors will see the cross sections of the building. They show the studs, insulation, sheathing, and how the wall will connect to the floor or the foundation.
The dimensions of the cabinets, countertops, and more can also be found within the sections and they are important to take note of. Every section is cross-referenced on the plan views so that the person reading the blueprints will know where each one came from.
Schedules are also included within blueprints and each one has more specific information than what can be found on the plan. For example, the floor plan may have a door number or mark on it, but contractors can find the corresponding information that they need for it under the attached door schedule.