Understanding Your Home’s Architectural Design Plans

Designing a home is an interesting and exciting process, where an impressive pile of rolls of paper (or digital documents) transform into the house you’ve always wanted. Here is a quick guide from an architect in NJ on reading your home’s architectural design plans.

The first thing to note is the different types of information contained in your house plans. While your home will be unique, architects use standard architectural design symbols on plans to indicate critical information for the planning office and builder, from the location of electrical outlets and light fittings to window and door types. Because these symbols are standard, they’re easy to learn and communicate between the different parties who are working on your project.

The second thing to note is that your plans are drawn to scale. This means that if you multiply the lengths of the lines on your plans by the ratio on the plans (this is usually a ¼ inch = 1 foot ratio), you get the length as it will be in real life.

Usually there is one sheet per floor of your home, so you can see it in its entirety. These are a road map to building your home, containing structural details like floor joists and so on as well as aesthetic details like the type of windows in each room, which direction each door opens, and even an aerial view of how appliances will be fitted into the space. This will also include the foundation and basement view and building specs.

Your roof will have a separate sheet to itself, as this is critical for the correct engineering and building of the structure. This is a bird’s eye view of the roof that includes ridges, hips, valleys, rafters, trusses, elevations and the location of chimneys.

Plans can be more difficult to interpret by home owners when they are in a bird’s eye view, as this doesn’t really give you a clear idea of how your home will look as a structure (although it’s very useful for planning out furniture and appliances). For a better idea of the house itself, your architect also includes exterior elevations. This is usually one sheet per side of your home, drawn as if you were standing outside the house, looking directly at each side. This will show a lot of detail like windows, doors, exterior trim, wall heights, roof pitches and ridge heights.

Your architect will also include general notes into your plans with all the details needed to comply with the necessary building codes.

Put Your Dream Home in Reliable, Experienced Hands – Expert Architectural Design in NJ

The firm of Seth A. Leeb is a full-service residential and commercial architectural firm, and we have considerable experience working on large and small residential projects, including remodeling, extensions and new builds. We consider designing and building your project as a privilege, and we’ll work with you to make the process as smooth and rewarding as possible. For more information on our services as custom home architects and to speak to a residential architect in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website.

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