Working Drawings For Architecture

By | February 3, 2018

In architectural drafting, the working drawings are all plans, elevations, and details needed by the contractor along with the specifications, so that an estimate can be obtained and then the building can be constructed. These need to show all dimensions and be properly scaled. Any oddities of construction must be made clear on these drawings and they must be so complete in a way that no extra money can be charged to the owner by the contractor who bid the job as is shown in the working drawings and specifications. Below is a general description of what they contain.

First Floor Plan

The plan of the first floor is almost always the first plan to be drawn. With the conventional drawings to follow, it’s a simple matter to draw any plan. Almost all residential drawings are made to the scale of one quarter inch equals one foot. The outside walls are drawn in first, scaling four to six inches for frame buildings, and then the interior partitions and details. It’s then completely dimensioned, even though it scales exactly to size because the dimensions are the most important. You wouldn’t expect the framer to have to use a scale to find where the walls are placed.

Second Floor Plan

The outside walls of this plan and the main partitions are derived from the first floor plan. If possible, we run the second floor partitions over the first, or as near to them as practical to carry weight down to the foundation or basement.

Basement Plan

The plan of the basement is also derived from the first floor plan because its outside dimensions are the same. The main wall is made of masonry block or concrete that’s eight to twelve inches thick. These rest on a twenty four inch wide (minimum) footing, and runs up to and beyond the grade line (ground level). Through the center, to support the long span of the joists, a girder is run. This is then held up by posts resting on a concrete footing. You have to be very careful to dimension the basement plan exactly, because it’s the foundation of the structure and the first part of the building that’s to be built. Some designers will locate the heater, waste pipe, and septic outlet on this plan.


The exterior views called the elevations comes next. The floor plan is placed over the elevation that’s being drawn, and all the points projected up to it. When one elevation is finished, its heights can be projected to the next view in the same manner.

Section or Sections

The section is where a horizontal line is cut through the building as if cut with a knife to show how the building is constructed. A scaled section clears up a lot of questions in the design. It shows all trim, stairs, and construction details in a way that there is very little room for confusion. The section is one of the most important drawings and it shouldn’t be neglected or omitted in any way.

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