Learning to draw your own house plans is an idea that actually has merit. It can also save you a bunch money and eliminates the middle man. An architect or designer can get expensive. I’ve heard that some of these folks can charge up to ten dollars a square foot for basic drawings that contain nothing more than a floor plan, foundation, exterior elevations, and a few notes. Now that is a bunch of money. If you want to do it for yourself, you will need to know how. I have listed a few things that you will need to know to draw a simple home.
To start with, you need to understand how a Floor Plan is layed out. The floor plan is actually the basis for your entire set of drawings. It is from this plan where we define how large the over all house is, how large our rooms are, note our window and door sizes, and so on, and this is where we begin. You could start with the outside views, but that would limit the interior of the house to what the outside looks like. That is not a good idea! The house needs to be functional first and the we can deal with how the home looks on the outside after we have a layout.
Anyway, the home builder would probably appreciate knowing the dimensional locations of the walls, windows, & doors. They would also need to know what door and window sizes are, not to mention locations of anything else special that is on the plan. That’s where the dimensions and notes come in handy. You will need to know how to create a dimensional string and group your notes where they are not confusing.
When you design the kitchen. you need to understand the mechanics of a well designed and workable cooking area. The kitchen is a place where the homemaker spends a great deal of their time. It needs to be easy to move around in and functional. The most desired layout for a kitchen is one where the least steps are taken to reach each appliance. They call this the working triangle. A comfortable working triangle is limited to 12 to 14 feet all the way around.
When creating an electrical plan, it is very important to you as this part of your drawings gives you the opportunity to customize the home with your electrical power and comfort needs! Sometimes however, it is not always needed. What I mean to say is that any professional electrician who has taken the test for his or her license knows what is required electrical service by code. It is possible that they have already wired quite a few residences and besides any special needs or preferences, can do the job without this particular plan. Always be careful though! Certain municipalities require that the one designing the electrical be a licensed architect or electrical engineer. Make sure that you check with your local building official to see what you are allowed or not allowed to do. It is better to know up front than to have extra headaches down the road.
In standard construction in the south eastern United States, houses are built on Masonry foundations or basements. A foundation is the part of the home that anchors or keeps the house from settling into the ground. You will need to know what the minimum wall thickness is and how to span your joists or trusses for the floor that sits on the basement of foundation.
What about how the exterior is going to look? It is a big deal if you are wanting to get the idea across of how the finished house is going to look when construction is complete. You will need to determine where the grade (ground) level is on the house so that you do not design a window or door where it would be underground. Dirt does not make a pretty view from a window. You will also have to determine the best roof pitch, do we use brick, siding or rock, and things like that.
Then, to keep the contractor from having to guess, if there is anything special you are wanting to place into your house, how will the builder know unless you show them? You can make all the notes you please on your plans and elevations, but the idea of how you want the house constructed may not always be crystal clear. That is why you need to know how to draw special details.
Then there is the job of finishing your drawings properly and not letting mistakes and slip-ups make it to the construction site. You will need to learn the most common mistakes made by drafters who draw house plans so you can look out for them! And then you will need to figure out how to print your drawings and in what format and size.