Join Jim Rogers for an in-depth discussion in this video What you should know, part of Construction Management: Reading Drawings & Specifications.
- Before we get started, let's review a couple key items to make sure that we're all on the same page. First, let me say right up front that I realize that construction drawings come in all shapes and sizes. And I actually mean that both literally and figuratively. Different designers are going to have different styles, and this does vary wildly from one designer to another. Once you spend a while looking at construction drawings from many different construction projects, you might begin to pick up on the styles of different designers.
Some include lots of information on a page. Some make you hunt for the information that you are trying to find. And sometimes the information you need's called out on plan view. And other times you have to flip through and consult a detail or find a note. Now, what this means, is that it's very difficult, in some cases, to tell you that a particular piece of information can always be found in one specific place on a set of drawings. Yes, there are some standards out there that attempt to give designer's instructions on how to present and how to organize this information, but this is construction, and every project is unique in some way, and there are many different people who have a hand in creating your drawings.
So, when I teach people how to read construction plans, my emphasis is really on getting you to understand how things are organized, what types of information is shown in the different views, and how to interpret information and piece it all together as you move from page to page. Over on the literal side, yes, construction plans come in all sizes, ranging from the big roll of plans that you might see in a construction trailer, all the way down to smaller notebook size drawings that you might put into a binder.
You might see a set of drawings for a new high rise office building that take up hundreds of sheets of very large size paper, or a street improvement project that's printed on paper half that size. And there's really no rule or standard here, either. It's just sort of up to the design team that creates the drawings. And, then, of course, while we're talking about formats, it's important to mention digital drawings. These days, the trend in construction is to use these same drawings in digital format.
And the reason for this, as you can probably see, is simple. I can carry this whole set of drawings around right here on my tablet that I probably have with me at all times anyway. And not just this one set, but every set of drawings for every construction project my company is working on. So instead of having a truck full of these drawings, I can just have this. Now, as we go through this course, I'm primarily going to use the digital version of these drawings for most of my discussion.
For one thing, that is really the direction the industry's going, but for another, it does just make it easier to show you on the screen. What you need to know is digital drawings are identical to the paper drawings. Just like the information presented doesn't really change when the designer chooses one paper size over another. The information doesn't change when you go from paper to digital. It's exactly the same. So let's go ahead and continue, and you'll start to see what I mean.
In this course, learn how to read construction drawings. Jim Rogers helps you acquire this important skillset by taking you through the different components that make up construction plans, and helping you understand the language of construction drawings. He covers types of views, highlights different kinds of construction drawings—including architectural drawings, electrical drawings, and plumbing drawings—explains how to read general notes, and more.
- Deciphering the language of construction drawings
- Understanding line types
- Reviewing plan views, elevation views, section views, and isometric views
- Reviewing architectural drawings, structural drawings, and mechanical drawings
- Drilling down to the details
- Reviewing reference points on drawings
- Understanding schedules
- The future of construction drawings