House plansIf you are not an architect or a builder, trying to read house plans can feel like trying to solve one of Einstein’s equations. As it turns out, once you get an idea of what it is you are actually looking at, the shapes and symbols on the paper will begin to resemble what they are supposed to represent: a house. It’s important to get at least a basic sense of what it is your are looking at when it comes time to finalize plans so that you can make sure you and your builder are on the same page and there are no surprises when things are (sometimes literally) set in stone. The following will give you a framework to follow in order to understand what those house plans are telling you.


Eight Sections

The typical house plan will include eight different sections:

·       Cover sheet: Sketch of the finished exterior.

·       Structural plan: Shows the important connections.

·       Interior elevations: Includes vertical wall plans with built in shelving and closets.

·       Foundation plan: The outline of the base of the house.

·       Floor plans: There will be one page per floor and it will show walls, doors, and windows, as well as electrical outlets.

·       Exterior elevations: A view of each side of the house, showing the height and materials to be used.

·       Roof plan: Shows the slants and peaks of the roof.

·       Wall details: Outlines insulation materials as well as what will be used for flooring and roofing.

Drawn to Scale

Everything in the house plan is drawn to scale. This is a very important detail to remember when looking it over. If a room looks out of proportion relative to what you were expecting, that is the same proportions that you will be left with when the house is built. Using what is considered an optimal set of house plans will give you the peace of mind to know that the layout of the house has been carefully and professionally crafted.

Standardized Symbols

The symbols you see are standardized. When reviewing your housing plans you will notice a number of symbols located across the pages. The nice thing about these symbols is that they are not unique to your housing plan and therefore do not require an explanation from the creator of the plans. The internet is full of guides that can be found with a simple search which will show you what each symbol represents.

Using these helpful tips, you should feel confident looking at your housing plans and making sense of them. You will realize that they’re not codes constructed by aliens after all.