Interaction Of The Universe To The Individual



House-blueprints are usually needed so the inspector can get the same idea as the builder about a house design structure. Many inspectors will demand professionally-made blueprints with the engineer's seal on it. Small house plans are naturally cheaper to create with blueprint software than luxury home plans. If your inspector doesn't demand professionally made house-blueprints, then you can save a lot by doing them yourself.

Blueprints used to be blue and they was printed on a special paper that let the light show through so all the lines and symbols had better clarity. Many different kinds of paper is used in the modern day and so are many kinds of printers.

With that in mind, inspectors are less concerned about the type of paper and ink. They just really need to see the diagrams and understand all the house construction details.

If you're like me, you'd rather do it all yourself on a big table with a yardstick. Buy lot's of papers to allow for mistakes though.

Now, to start out, most house floor plans are 1/4-inch = 1 foot in scale. That means that every one-quarter of an inch on the plans represents one whole foot of the real house. One full inch on the floor plans would equal four whole feet of the real house. This is how we are all able to get our brains wrapped around something that hasn't happened yet. It's our house design plan.

If it helps, you can draw in your own grid so you can keep everything to scale. Try to keep the grid squares almost transparent so you can see your diagrams and symbols. You can also make your own grid in Excel. That's easy too.

Now, Draw your outside walls first, then draw the inside walls after that. You should be able to keep everything even with the grid paper. You might just want to start out with an 8.5 X 11-inch sheet of science paper and then take it to a print shop and have them kick out several 18 X 24-inch copies of your floor plans. That also works really well. From that point, you can write in the Architectural, Electrical, and Plumbing Symbols.

One thing to remember is to write down the scale size right below the diagrams so everybody understands the perspective. This is necessary because not all plans are the same scale. Now, I will give you the symbols that are mostly used in modern house-blueprints so you can put them into your plans. That will give them a professional touch and it's really quite important that the right symbols are used or it gets confusing.



You can see some actual Home-blue-print

This is an actual architectural engineer's copy of a home-blue-print. It's kind of fuzzy because the plans are 24-inches by 48-inches. You can design your own house using architectural design software.

Let's start off with the front view of the home plan. Engineers will often use this as a cover sheet so that the owner and builder can get the exact first impression of how the plan is designed.

We have basically covered how to read blue print plans, but there are still a few things you just have to learn firsthand.

The main floor plan is an architectural blue print of a top view that looks down on the home-blue-print. You can see entryways, doors and walls.

The home plans should include the crawlspace or basement plans. Most basement plans don't need to be very detailed because basements don't have to be finished for the home to be considered finished.

Electric plans show where all the electrical components will be wired.

The foundation plans include the details like footer measurements, frost levels, and slope or grade levels when necessary.

These plans usually have the floor joist placement and roof truss placement. The spacing measurements, nailing schedule, and beam schedule is usually included in this part of the plans.

The details section is where the architect draws special details that might need special attention. Inspectors like to have vivid details.




All blueprint-symbols 
for homebuilders

House plan blueprint-symbols are necessary in any home design or home plan because it helps the architect communicate his home ideas with the electrician, the plumbers, the carpenters and all other contractors.

I must suppose with all the regulation from inspectors and lawmakers, these symbols are increasingly important in building construction.

There was a time when architects had to be on the building site to help decipher blueprint symbols, but that has changed. Now, general contractors are much smarter and they have to know how to read blueprints.

There are basically, the electrical, architectural, and plumbing symbols. These three areas if you only want to know the very basics.




The electric-symbols 
for your new home construction

House architects use electric-symbols and wiring diagrams in home design and blueprint when they plan a house for a homeowner.

The plumbing-symbols are used by architects and plumbers. They give construction companies a common idea how the plumbing layout works.



Architect-symbols on Blueprints

The architect-symbols actually include electrical, plumbing, and wall framing, but for simplicity sake, we'll say that the architectural designs are for the things like doors, kitchen cabinets, walls, stairs, and appliance measurements.

For those who need a little bit more information about blueprints and blueprint symbols, I've created some extra pages below.

for switches

A big part of electrical-schematic-symbols is the section on the electrical switch. The charts below cover many different kinds of switches and combination switches. Don't forget your decorative switch plates for the finish work. They come in just as many varieties.

You will find in the symbol charts below, certain symbols that pertain to commercial and industrial wiring. You probably won't need many of these in your house blueprints, but I wanted to be thorough.

It's important that architects make very descriptive plans about their construction projects. Contractors need specific details when they plan out electrical routes and cable runs.

That's why there are so many different electrical symbols. A contractor can look at the blueprints and know exactly what type of electrical device to install and what wiring methods to use.



A chart of modern electrical-symbols

Here's some modern electrical-symbols used frequently by any electrical contractor or do-it-yourself-er. These include some of the more involved applications that aren't used in normal residential wiring.

Low-voltage and data port network outlets like phone jacks and TV cable jacks are different and so they go in a category called "communications". You can find the low-voltage symbols here.

Architects like to put all the blueprint symbols in to make the plans more descriptive. The charts below will help you decipher the outlets as they can be quite difficult to understand sometimes.

If you are planning your own home blueprint, you can use these symbols to indicate what goes where.

***Electrical symbols for outlets***



Fixture electrical-codes for blueprints

Part of electrical-codes is following electrical blueprints when installing electrical fixtures. Each type of fixture has a specific electric symbol.

Fixtures like, fluorescent lights, track lights, fans, emergency exit lights all need to have a separate symbol so the contractors know what fixture to install.

The two types of lighting are fluorescent and incandescent. There will eventually be LED lighting on low-voltage systems, but probably not for awhile.

The different types of mounts are wall mounts, ceiling mounts, and floor mounts.

It's these different types of lights and mounts that make so many variations and cause us all to use more specialized electric symbols.

Simple residential plans can follow a fairly simple bunch of symbols on the blueprints. More complex dwellings with security systems, low voltage safety lighting and things like that are more like commercial projects.

The more complex that electrical needs are will determine the complexity of the electrical symbols that describe each fixture.



Symbols an electrical-consultant 
will use for Communications

All electrical-consultants will use blueprint symbols to describe to the client how the layout will go. I have received many requests for advanced electrical symbols from home builders who are doing their own electrical runs.

The advanced electrical symbols below have the basic residential symbols, but they also have additions for commercial and industrial applications. Electrical consultants know the importance of planning your wiring needs and placement of desired switches and outlets. In planning your own advanced electrical blueprint, you can determine where your surround sound system wire boxes will be along with your data ports, doorbell chime, phones, television/cable, etc.



Reading blueprint-plumbing-symbols

These are some of the more advanced blueprint-plumbing-symbols that plumbing contractors use for commercial and industrial applications. If you're using blueprint software, you'll find the same symbols.

We'll start off with the simple plumbing fixture descriptions that help us see how things fit into our home. After the fixtures like sinks and baths, we will need to know what kind of plumbing lines to install.

Even though many of these plumbing symbols are used for commercial and industrial buildings, they are becoming more popular in residential dwellings because of all the modern systems.

The complexity of house plans has made it necessary to have very involved blueprints. Even common plumbers need to know how to read plumbing blueprints.

Local building codes will determine what kinds of rules you'll have to follow and which blueprint symbols will need to be listed on the plans.



Architect-symbols on Blueprints

The architect-symbols actually include electrical, plumbing, and wall framing, but for simplicity sake, we'll say that the architectural designs are for the things like doors, kitchen cabinets, walls, stairs, and appliance measurements.

I like to use grid paper to keep all the dimensions and measurements to scale. Architects draw up plans that make all the components of a house fit together.

Still, most plans require a small amount of alteration because things seldom turn out the way they're supposed to.

Important things like stairs, load-bearing walls, fireplaces, bathrooms and kitchens need to be planned out really well because they are difficult to alter.

With the information you have, you can now create your own house-blueprints using the symbols above. The building inspector just needs to get a clear idea of what is going on in your mind. That's why he or she will need certain types of blueprints from different angles. A home blue print is what an inspector relies on for consistency.

Don't get discouraged, this looks harder than it really is. Here they are, and I will explain each kind:

Plans the inspector will need

  • Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plan
  • Elevations
  • Details
  • Sections
  • Interior Elevations

Foundation Plan -This plan shows how the foundation should be built according to the information from the soil sample. It shows how deep into the ground the footings will go and it gives the dimensions of the footings. It also shows the dimensions of the foundation wall and any columns or blocks used in the foundation. It also shows the size of floor joists and how they are spaced. Finally, it needs to show the vent locations in the foundation walls. See below.



A foundation-plan and footings

Here's a foundation-plan example for a small home plan. The floor needs a girder in the middle to help with the span of the floor joists.

The girder plan is in the middle of the illustration to show how it is built. Girders are boards nailed together resting upon concrete piers that run the length of the foundation construction.

Floor joists are attached to the girder crosswise to make the floor more secure.

This illustration shows how the foundation footings are made. The cement forms can be made from boards or plywood. The rebar is then placed into the forms before the cement is poured.

The footing and foundation are usually two separate pours so that the footing can dry completely. If done correctly, you can avoid future foundation repair.

Floor Plan -This is what most people are familiar with when they are designing a home. It is sometimes called a home blue print. It is the layout of the exterior and interior walls.

The floor plan house-blueprints also needs to include the dimensions for walls, rooms, wall thickness, windows and doors, kitchen and bath layouts, electrical and plumbing layouts, stairs, ceilings, and flooring.See below.

Elevations-This part of the plans help the inspectors understand the height of the outside of the house. It also shows the shape and size of windows, doors, trim, roof material and slope, and anything else that can help describe the outside building designs of the house.

Details -this is a plan for some of the smaller things that have special instructions to build. This is more for the carpenters so they can get a good idea of what the architect has designed, but inspectors also like to know what's going on. Some of the details might include how a fireplace should look, stairs and handrails, molding and trim or just anything that is different from normal houses. The details sheet is part of the house-blueprints and is as many pages as needed. See below.




This part of the house-blueprints just show how the parts of a building fit together. Most of it is common sense, but sometimes walls, stairs, and things like fireplaces need a little extra explaining to get the clear picture. Like detail plans, the sections plans are more for the builder than the inspector, but they like to be kept in the loop. House-blueprints need to fit together seamlessly. See below.



Interior elevations

This is a plan of the important interior items that need special consideration. The usual items are kitchens, bathrooms and fireplaces. Most house-blueprints will include specialty interior items like these. See below.

Whew, that seems like a lot of stuff!

Most of it is redundant, but it's always good to be over prepared. I hope this isn't too discouraging to first time home builders. I know it can be in the beginning. The best thing to do is go get some really big paper and get started. You'll find that it's the excitement of starting your plans that motivates you.

So go ahead, get some paper, tape it down to the kitchen table and start to draw your plans with a yardstick. It will flow from there.




Here's a free-blue-print sample of a home architecture. This is what an engineer's copy of the plans looks like. The house plans are very involved with several different views and layouts.



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