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Construction Specifications and Working Drawings - A Complete Guide

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

In the World of Construction, having the right understanding & knowledge about the standard drawings is an advantage. This article will discuss to you all the basics of what should be in the “Complete Plan”?

construction specifications and working drawings

The working drawings and its construction specifications are the principal materials and primary working documents wherein the calculations of the bill of materials are based. Specifications are written documents that describe the materials to be used in a particular project as well as the construction methodology. On the other hand, the working drawing or sometimes called the “Construction Plans” are the graphical or visual representation of the project which helps the reader to understand how the building will be constructed. This document provides information such as dimensions, parts, placements and materials for each project to assure that the construction will be executed properly.

The following are the standard drawings included in the Construction Plans or Working Drawings:


1. Perspective Drawing – a three-dimensional feeling images on a two-dimensional

picture plane showing how the project would appear when finished. As much as possible, this drawing should be attractive as possible by adding details such as landscaping, design of fences, gates etc. Other details can also be incorporated to achieve the realistic effect such as shadows, people, cars and other details.

2. Site Development Plan – shows the outline measurements of the proposed building and its placement on the property designated. On the other note, this document is used by the City to determine if a development proposal has been planned consistently with the regulations and intent of the Zoning Code.

3. Vicinity Map or Location Map - which indicates the region near or about a place and the proximity to prominent and established landmarks where the project will be built.

4. Floor Plans – drawings showing the outline and arrangement of the rooms inside the Building as seen from a horizontal plane and is usually drawn to scale. It also shows the relationships between rooms, spaces, traffic patterns, and other physical features at one level of a structure. The dimensions are usually drawn between the walls to specify room sizes and wall lengths. On the part of an Estimator or Quantity Surveyor, one can estimate the direct count of the items and materials such as Doors, Windows, Plumbing Fixtures & Other items present on the Floor Plan. Other details can also be found on the Floor Plan such as materials for floor finishes, walls or partitions, layout of furnitures, appliances and other fixtures inside each room.

5. Elevations (Front, Rear and Side) – this drawing represents the exterior projection of any part of a structure on a vertical plane. There are four elevation drawings of the exterior sides of the building and these are, FRONT ELEVATION, REAR ELEVATION, RIGHT SIDE ELEVATION and the LEFT SIDE ELEVATION. Buildings with many sides would require more elevations to show details on every sides. You can see the following details on the elevations:

1. Overall design and character of the building

2. Materials and finishes for the exterior features of the building

3. Height of the building and its various levels

4. Approximate or true profile of the building site if not level

5. Types and designs of exterior doors & windows

6. Sections (Longitudinal and Transverse) – interior projection of any part of a structure as projected on an imaginary vertical plane that passes through a given axis of the building.

7. Schedule of Doors and Windows – this is basically the list of all the doors & windows to be used in the project. Some details present in the schedule includes quantity, sizes, materials, color & finishes, types of hardware etc. that was specified by the designer of the project.

8. Reflected Ceiling Plan – this plan shows details such as the locations of light fixtures, details & finishes of ceiling, and other items such as sprinklers, smoke detectors, switches and other items specified by the designer of the building.


1. Foundation Plan – this plan shows the structural supports of the proposed structure at the ground level. It is a top view of the footings or foundation walls, showing their area and their location by distances between center lines and by distances from reference lines or boundary lines.

2. Beam and Column Details – this drawing basically shows the dimension of columns and beams to be used in the project. It also shows the length, diameter and spacing of the reinforcement to be used as well as the thickness of the Concrete Cover.

3. Floor Framing Plan – this plan shows the size, spacing, number, and location of the structural members such as joists, girders and columns to support the floor.

4. Roof Framing Plan – The roof framing plan is used to show the shape of the roof. It is usually similar to the roof plan but additional details is present such as the shape of the structure, outline of the roof and the size & direction of the framing members used to frame the roof.


1. Electrical Layout – or electrical plan shows details about power, lighting and communication. It shows graphically the layout of the various fixtures, equipment & utilities.

2. Load Schedule and Computations – this is basically the estimate of the electrical loads or an estimated electric power consumption of the building.


1. Plumbing Layout / Diagram – this drawing shows the pipe fittings for Fresh Water, Waste, Gas line etc. It also shows the Drainage system, Storm Water line and vent piping.

2. Details of Septic Vault and Catch Basins


1. Details of Closet and Cabinets

2. Stair Details and Sections

3. Interior Designs and other notable features

4. Other Details specified by the Designer

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