House Blueprints

A set of house blueprints are full of information geared towards completing the construction of a residential building. During the process by which a building designer is creating house plans, they are referred to as "working drawings". This term is used in other related field that include structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing; however, we will only refer to the architectural form of the drawings in this article. Working drawings are works in progress. In other words, it is the developing process of creating graphic images, details, and other supporting material that is necessary to explain how the home is to be built. Upon completion of working drawings, they then become what are known as "construction documents", which are the final graphic instructions with written specifications and supporting documents (structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings) used to build a home.

Some house blueprints and plans are highly detailed while others are moderately defined. In other cases, the documents are a bare minimum. This is all determined by the type of architectural house plans that are required for a client. Are you developing a custom home design or will you use a set of stock house plans? If you opt for a custom home, then your plans will typically have a significant amount of detail; whereas, a stock plan will have far less generally speaking. Homebuilders usually find stock plans sufficient, but if they need a custom home to build spec, the builder may sometimes require a bare bones set of blueprints which lack any significant detailing.

Depending on the size of the home plans, the amount of pages in a set of house blueprints can be quite a few. Try twelve (12) on average, with twenty (20) to thirty (30) sheets or more not being a far stretch of the imagination. Each page is generally specific to one aspect of the building and when combined with the other sheets create a complete picture of the building. Below are the typical sheets found in the architectural blueprint plan set:

1. Cover Sheet
2. Site Plan (developed from topography map furnished by a civil engineer)
3. Foundation Plans
4. Floor Plans
5. Exterior Elevations
6. Roof Plan
7. Building Sections
8. Schedules - Door, Window, Finish
9. Architectural Details
10. Interior Elevations
11. Framing Plans
12. Electrical Plans (show locations of switches, outlets, lights, etc.)

We will go into further detail on each sheet to explain the purpose of the specific sheet and what it includes. We begin here with the cover sheet, which act as a table of contents along with other varible items that may be selected by the building designer. For instance, you may see a architectural rendering of the front elevation or the page may be filled with notes that define the construction parameters. In some cases, the site plan sheet may be eliminated with the site plan being added to the cover. However this is rare and you are more likely to see the table of contents along with a rendered elevation.

The second page in a set of house plan blueprints is the aformentioned house site plan sheet.

A Footnote About Blueprints

House Blueprints are a thing of the past. However, the term is still use in the design field frequently. There was once a time when house plans were produced on erasible bond paper and it was the designers original document. Up until the late 1990's, these plans were reproduced or copied using a blueprint machine. In the earlier times, the paper remained blue while the actual drawing was visible as white lines on the paper. Later in history, the reverse was true. The paper would turn white through the blueprinting process and the actual drawing was in blueline. Because of technology, the use of ammonia driven blueprinting machines are history.

Plans are now reproduce on wide format printers or plotters. Special blueprinting paper is no longer required and therefore, blueprints are not the end result. Your house plans will remain on white paper, but the drawings will be blackline. Although, we (as an industry) no longer provide plans in the form of house blueprints, these blackline drawings are still a complete and legal document in which you can build your home.