Technical Drawing: Construction drawings

Technical Drawing: Construction Drawings

 

In Part 5 of the Technical Drawing series we are going to explore construction drawings.

 

Construction Drawings – what are they?

 

Working drawings, construction drawings, detailed design drawings…. they are called many different things, but what are they?

 

Once a design has been approved at early stages, either by the client or by planning authorities, it is time to start developing the information into detailed drawings. These drawings will start to develop the design, look at how the building will go together, how the services will be implemented into the design, finishes, fixtures, fittings, and more. Construction drawings form part of the overall documentation that is used for tender, for the contract between the employer and contractor, and for the construction itself. The construction drawing provides a graphic representation of how the building will be built. They will be as clear as possible, and easy for the construction team to read. It is vital that the drawings do not lead to any misunderstandings which could cause errors or delays.

 

Construction drawings are usually accompanied by a specification document. Specifications detail all the materials, techniques and standards that must be adhered to in order to construct the building.

 

A set of construction drawings can vary widely from project to project. A small residential extension will obviously not need as much information as a new build school for example.

 

The set of construction drawings will often contain information from external sources, such as engineers drawings, M&E (mechanical and electrical) design, interior design, amongst others.

 

Construction drawing floor plan

What is included in a set of architectural construction drawings?

 

A set of construction drawings usually contains the following drawings at scale:
 
 
 
  • Floor/roof plans – a GA (general arrangement) drawing will give an overview of the building plan
  • Elevations – these give information on the external finishes, windows, and so on although most detailed information will be in the plans and sections, the elevations tend to be more of a visual aid.
  • Sections – show the construction of the walls and floors along with heights, levels etc.
  • Details of specific parts of construction – usually connections and junctions and any other areas that will need attention, windows for example or change in materials etc.
  • Window/door schedules – listing the windows and doors, with all associated information (this is sometimes listed as a text document, and sometimes a drawing showing each window style, size, information etc.)

 

 
 
Other drawings include (depending on project):
 
 
 
  • External works and drainage plan
  • Landscaping plans
  • Furniture plan
  • Reflected ceiling plan
  • Foundation plans
  • Demolition plan
  • Finishes plans

What information is in a construction drawing?

 
 
 

 

Construction drawings are used to construct the building, so it is important they contain everything the contractor needs to build.

 

This will include information such as structural layout or grid, dimensions, clear labelling of elements. To give an idea of the general requirements of construction drawings, the list below looks at each type of drawing and what will usually be included. This is not an exhaustive list, so if there is anything you would like to add just drop me an email or please comment below!

 

 
 
 
 

Floor Plan Construction Drawing

 

 
 
  • Names of rooms
  • Scale
  • Dimensions
  • Size and build up of both external and internal walls and partitions (sometime a key/legend is used for this)
  • Location of any structural elements such as beams, columns, lintels, etc
  • Stair information and direction
  • Any references to section lines and detail drawings
  • Material details, specifications or notes
  • Heating and ventilation details (could be a separate drawing)
  • Electrical information (could be a separate drawing)
  • Water and drainage information
  • Fire safety information
  • Building levels (finished floor level, external ground level etc)

 

 

Elevation Construction Drawing

 

  • Scale of drawing
  • Dimensions
  • Finished floor levels and external ground level
  • Claddings, finishes etc
  • Roof shape, slope and materials

 

 

Sectional Construction Drawing

 

  • Scale
  • Dimensions
  • Size and build up of both external and internal walls and partitions (sometime a key/legend is used for this)
  • Location of any structural elements such as beams, columns, lintels, etc
  • Stair information if applicable
  • Any references to detail drawings
  • Material details, specifications or notes
  • Heating and ventilation details if applicable (could be a separate drawing)
  • Electrical information if applicable (could be a separate drawing)
  • Fire safety information
  • Building levels (finished floor level, external ground level etc)
  • Foundation information
 
Elevation Construction drawing
Elevation Construction drawing

Detail Drawings

 

 

Detail drawings usually at a scale of around 1:20, 1:10 depending on the project and information. These will demonstrate junctions, complex parts of the build, typical details and anything else that will assist the contractor in executing the build effectively. They are sometimes referred to as assembly drawings or component drawings depending on the specific drawing subject.

 

The key to drawing details, whether a construction detail or technical drawing of a piece of bespoke furniture, is clarity. You want the drawing to be as clear to the reader as possible. This means line weights that show the hierarchy of the drawing, clear annotations, clear layout of the drawing sheet.

 

Usually junctions are a focus of detail drawings, as we need to understand how two different planes, or construction types will join together. Every aspect of the detail needs to be communicated so that nothing is left to guess work or imagination.

 

detail construction drawing
detail seciton drawing

Schedules

 

Schedules are lists or tables of information that describe exactly what item, product or element is being specified and all of the accompanying details. The schedule will clarify sizes, location, finishes and other information related to the project.

A schedule could be created for:

 
  • doors
  • windows
  • finishes
  • lintels
  • fittings
  • and more
 

The most common schedules are window and door schedules and finishes schedules.

Some examples below:

Window and Door schedules

 

A door schedule will identify each door by a number or other designation that is shown on the floor plan. The schedule will show the quantity required, the dimensions of the door, material, ironmongery, swing direction, and any other relevant information.

Sometimes the door schedule is a simple list or table, or alternatively it includes elevation images of each door type. This type of schedule is easy to generate when working in BIM programs such as Revit or ArchiCAD.

Window schedules are similar, including window number, quantity required, manufacturer, type, sizes, opening, materials and finishes.

Again, the window schedule can just be a list, or include images of each window type in elevation.

 

 

Finishes Schedules

 

 

A finishes schedule is created to show the finish materials to be applied to each wall and floor surface. These are particularly useful on larger projects.

The schedule usually includes room names, surface, type of finish, and any other relevant comments. The finishes could be paint colours, tiles, panels and so on.

The finishes schedule often has corresponding reference labels to the plan for clarity.

My favourite Tools and Resources

I have curated a list of some of the tools and resources I would strongly recommend for anyone studying or working in Architecture.