How to Read Construction Drawings and Floor Plans Video
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Video:How to Read Construction Drawings and Floor Plans

with Brian Smith

Construction drawings and floor plans can look like hieroglyphics without a basic understanding of the symbols used. Watch this how-to video from to be able to understand construction drawings and floor plans.See Transcript

Transcript:How to Read Construction Drawings and Floor Plans

Staring at a set of drawings but not sure what you are looking at? I'm Brian Smith from here to help you better understand a set of construction documents.

Construction Drawings are Broken Down Into:

  1. Title Sheet
  2. Elevations
  3. Floor plans
  4. Sections and Details
  5. Depending on the set, there could also be civil, structural, framing, mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings.

Each type of drawing has its specific purpose and usually it's own set of symbols so lets look at some drawings online I found at We'll begin with the title sheet. The title sheet normally names the project, shows who is responsible for the drawings and may give a basic explanation of what the drawings the set contains.

There might be a legend or symbol key or even artist interpretations of the project.

Know Basic Symbols in Construction Drawings

Without learning the whole industry standard Graphics Standards, here are some basic drawing types and symbols you may encounter.Elevation drawings can give you a better idea of what the outside of the structure will look like, perhaps what kind of finishes will be used and details that you cannot see when looking at just the plan views.

Common Floor Plan Symbols Include:

Doors. This represents a door showing where the door panel is and how the door swings... In or out. You may also see double doors, sliding doors, or pocket doors that slide inside the walls.

You’ll also see where the windows are located and how big they are.- in the kitchen, you'll find sinks, cabinets and other fixtures that are usually labeled.- in the bathroom, you'll see the where the sink, water closet, tubs and/or shower will be located.

In the bedrooms, you'll see where you could place your bed and where the closets are.

Within the floor plan, you’ll also see where stairs are located and most plans have dimensions to give you an idea of how big spaces are. Indicated by this section marker that tells you what sheet the section is located on, you can see what it would look if you sliced through the house in this section view. Now you can see how high the ceilings are and how big the doors are.

Electrical Drawing Symbols Include:

In this electrical drawing, you can see where all the light switches, power outlets, lights and ceiling fans are located. Just find the symbol in the Legend to get the specifics about the device. Each set of drawings will be a little different but most drawings have a legend to show you what each of the symbols mean.

So there’s a quick overview of what you might find in a set of drawings. For more information, check us out on the web at

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