How to Read construction blueprints?


An architect working on a draft with a pencil and ruler

You don’t need to be an engineer or an architect to decode and understand construction blueprints. Many times, all the lines and symbols on construction plans may seem extremely complicated and hard to decipher. But, the truth is that you need to understand the basics of these drawings before starting the construction of your dream home. Being able to comprehend these two-dimensional plans will not only allow you to learn everything about the project but will also enable you to determine the construction schedule, bill of materials, total cost and more.

What Is A Construction Blueprint?

Construction blueprints are sets of two-dimensional drawings or plans. They comprise all the details and specification about a project. Including the name of its architect, visual representation of the building, dimensions of the structure, construction materials to be used, the layout of electrical wiring, and more. Typically, the size of these plans varies between 18×24 inches and 24×36 inches, depending on the scope of the project. 

These engineering drawings are typically printed on white or blue papers. And homeowners require these to obtain construction permits from concerned development authorities. 

Moreover, each set of blueprints contains multiple sheets. Construction plans, construction drawings, building plans, and floor plans are all types of blueprints. 

Importance in Construction

Blueprints are the core of any construction project. 

These drawings put the engineers, architects, contractors, laborers, homeowners and officials from concerned development authorities all on the same page. They also feature all of the technical and physical specifications of the project in one place, enabling contractors to determine how much time it would take for the time and cost required for the completion of the project. 

In addition to that, development authorities only approve building permits after evaluating these blueprints. You can only begin constructing your house if these construction drawings are in perfect compliance with the local building codes.


There are three types of views in construction drawings:

Plan View: This type of construction blueprint is on a horizontal plane and depicts a bird’s eye view of the structure from above. Each floor in the building also has a separate plan view drawing. 

Elevation View: This drawing is on a vertical plane and depicts how the structure would look from the front, back, right, or left side. These include both interior and exterior elevation view drawings.

Cross-Section View: This construction plan is also on a vertical plane, though it slices through the structure to show its interior. The cross-section view depicts the placement of walls studs, insulation material and sheathing etc.

Also read Comparison between under-construction and existing-projects