Types of Drawings Used in Construction

Construction drawings are graphical representations that communicate how to construct, remodel and install a project. The drawings also convey information on the room designations, doors, windows, and fixture locations, dimensions, materials, and other details.
Development of construction drawings consumes time and in some construction firms, it costs 50% of the project fee. This varies based on the complexity of the project.

Drawings in construction are not only necessary for commencing a project, but also for future renovations and inspections. For example, 3D or 2D fabrication drawings of complicated piping arrangement is necessary to conduct pipe stress analysis. Many legitimate pipe stress analysis services demand these drawings to determine the reference points to conduct pipe stress analysis. 

Based on the complexity of the project, many detailed drawings can be developed for further understanding. This article outlines the major categories of drawings that are used in the construction industry. 

Types of Drawings used in Construction

When drawings used in construction are put together and enlisted, they make a very large number. But we can study this topic by categorizing it under main headings to make a good understanding and confusion. The drawings used in construction can be categorized into:
  1. Civil Drawings
  2. Architectural Drawings
  3. Structural Drawings
  4. Electrical Drawings
  5. Plumbing Drawings
  6. Finishing Drawings
The types of drawings that come under each are categorized and tabulated below







Site Plan

Sketches/Concept Drawings

Design Drawing

Electrical Power Floor Plan

Plumbing Floor Plans

Elevation Designs

Site Details

Location drawings/general arrangement drawings

Engineering Drawing

Electrical Lighting Floor Plan

Plumbing Details

Painting designs

Paving and Grading Plan

Floor plans

Component Drawing

Electrical Details and Schedules


False Ceiling Designs

Storm Sewer Plan



Production Drawing

Wiring Diagram


Floor Patterns

Erosion Control Notes

Section drawings

Scale Drawing

Connection Diagrams


Plastering Details


Construction drawings/working drawings

Assembly Drawings




               Table.1: Major Classification of Drawings used in the Construction Industry

Also Read:  What are As-Built Drawings and Why are they Important?

1. Civil Drawings in Building Construction

As enlisted in the table-1 above, civil drawings include all the basic drawing details that provide an overall picture of the whole project. These drawings do not provide the specific details of every component of the building. The civil drawings have:
  • Site Plan
  • Site Details
  • Paving and Grading Plan
  • Storm Sewer Plan
  • Erosion Control Plans
Depending on how big or small the project is, the list of drawings can reduce. Here, we have collected all possible drawings that can come under this category.

2. Architectural Drawings in Building Construction

An architectural drawing is also called an architect's drawing. It is a technical drawing of the building or structure that is developed and used by architects or civil engineers. The main purposes of an architectural drawing are:
  1. To Develop a Design Idea
  2. To Convert Design into a Proposal
  3. To communicate Ideas and Concepts
  4. To impress and convince the Client
  5. To assist the Building Contractor
  6. To keep it as a Record of the Document
  7. To make the Record of an Old Building
The main types coming under architectural drawings are:
  • Sketches or Concept Drawings
  • Location Drawings or General Arrangement Drawings
  • Floor Plans
  • Elevation
  • Section Drawings
  • Construction Drawings or Working Drawings

3. Structural Drawings in Building Construction

Structural drawing is a type of engineering drawing that includes all sets of plans that are used to build the structure. These drawings are developed by registered civil or structural engineers. They also take assistance from the architects.
The structural drawings communicate the complete in-depth design of all the elements of the structure. This is submitted to the government authority for review. These documents are included with the contract documents while bidding contractors.
Structural drawing includes:
  • Design Drawings
  • Engineering Drawing
  • Component Drawing
  • Production Drawing
  • Scale Drawing
  • Assembly Drawings

4. Electrical Drawings

Electrical drawings are also called wiring diagrams. It is a technical drawing type that communicates the electrical systems or circuits. The drawings explain the design to the electricians or other workers who deal with the installation and repair of electrical systems.
The electrical drawings include:
  • Site plan with building location and external wiring
  • Floor plan showing the position of electrical systems
  • Wiring diagrams that show physical connections and the layout of the electrical system
  • Schedules 
  • Miscellaneous Information

5. Plumbing Drawings

Plumbing drawing in building construction is a set of drawings that show the layout of systems of pipes and piping arrangements that serve the process of carrying fresh water into the building and disposing of the wastewater from the building safely. The drawings that are included in plumbing drawings are:
  • Plumbing Floor Plans
  • Water Supply System Drawings
  • Irrigation System Drawings
  • Storm-water System Drawings
  • Drainage System Drawings

6. Finishing Drawings

The finishing drawings are all the drawings that show the final details of appearance, paintings, and exterior details of how the final structure will look.

The figure below shows the Index of construction drawings that shows the details of all the drawings mentioned in the drawing sheet.

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