What Are Architectural Drawings?

A well thought out plan avoids schedule hangups, budget problems, and safety concerns, meaning the design stage of construction work is one of the most important parts of the project.  Experienced home builders are experts at early stage communication and planning, offering in-depth 3D models and detailed architectural drawings to guide their team and inform their clients. But what are architectural drawings, and how are you supposed to understand them? The answer to that question is simpler then it seems, and begins with distinguishing the purpose of the most common types.

architectural drawing


floor planning

The Site Plan & The Floor Plan

These plans are basic and vital and are both drawn from the top down. The Site Plan details the plot that the building will be constructed on. It provides critical information about topography, orientation, utilities and other features whether natural or human-made. This is distinguished from the Floor Plan, which actually takes a look at the inside of the planned building. This architectural drawing will detail the position and orientation of rooms, walls, columns & pillars, stairways, and doors. There will be one for each floor of the building, and everything from the paths of opening doors to the thickness of exterior and interior walls will be planned at this stage.


Building Sections & Building Elevations

These architectural drawings examine the build vertically and are just as crucial in planning the project. The Building Sections drawing is a cross-section of the inside of the structure, showing the relative position of some of the staircases, doors, walls, floors, and ceilings from the side. The Building Elevations drawing examines the exterior surfaces from the North, South, East, and West. Both plans show a clear view of the height of the build and relative floor sizes and have detailed information on measurements and material plans.

floor plan

architectural design

Different Drawings for Different Stages

Architectural drawing creation is not limited to the planning phase of the project; in fact, your home builder will be continually creating more drawings throughout the process. Here are some examples and their distinct purposes:

  • As-Built Drawings: At each stage of construction an as-built drawing is created. Not only does it detail the progress and changes to the structure made during that stage, but it also details any differences between the build and the original plan. This allows your builders to keep careful tabs on progress in order to anticipate any discrepancies and keep the work moving on-time and on-budget.
  • Measured Drawings: At the end of the project Measured Drawings will be created. These will detail the final result with careful measurements, contrasting them to the original design.