What Drawing Plans Are Required for Building Construction?


When you are going to build a building, there is no substitute for careful planning. The best buildings are built twice--once in the plans and then for real. While most approving authorities specify the minimum types of plans they need to approve the building permit, these may not necessarily guarantee the best result, from a quality perspective as well as from a cost perspective. So don't be afraid to use more plans than are required.

Floor Plan

  • The floor plan is the basis for all other plans. It shows the exterior and interior dimensions of the building and the locations of plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, windows and doors. This plan is often prepared based upon site conditions so the resulting building takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the land.

Foundation Plan

  • The foundation plan will have at least a cross section view and an overhead view. The cross section shows and lists the ground conditions, material specifications and the way the materials are assembled to create the foundation. The items included in a foundation plan are the types of soil and aggregate base, the type and depth of footers, the height of the stem wall, the kinds of foundation insulation and the slab specifications, if there is one. This plan also shows the type and placement of concrete reinforcement and the concrete specifications. The locations of utility stub outs and connection points that enter and leave the foundation are shown also.

Roof And Floor Framing Plan

  • These plans show all the structural members that make up the roof and the floors. The roof plan includes rafters, and/or trusses, ridge, out-lookers, gable frame details, framing for dormers and skylights, and details about the overhang, fascia and soffits. These framing plans include any beams and columns that support the roof and any details about structural connections where the roof is penetrated by chimneys, flue pipes and vent pipes.

    The floor framing plan includes all joists, staircase openings, rim and sill lumber, beams and columns that make up the floor assembly. There is a detail done for each floor at each level of the building.

Typical Wall Section

  • This is a cut away view showing all the building components and how they are assembled. It starts with the foundation and extends all the way to the top of the building. This is a "typical" section because it only shows the construction details for the areas that are similar. You create separate drawings for areas that deviate from the typical wall section. If there is a loft in one place in the building there will be framing details that will be different from the typical wall section, so that area will have its own wall section.

Site Plan

  • This plan shows how the building will fit the site. It details where the utilities are, or where they will be brought in. It shows the elevations of the land in increments, the driveways, natural water flows and significant details like rock ledges. This plan also includes the property borders, easements, rights of way and locations of property markers.


  • Elevations show the completed structure on the site in a number of different views. Each of these elevations may have "call-outs" that refer to other drawings that detail specific areas. You need other standard plans also like a plumbing plan, mechanical plan, electrical plan, window schedule and door schedule.

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