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Learn to Draw Your Own Plans with Paper and Pencil or
with a CAD (Computer-aided design) program.
Drawing Plans or anything is really rather easy. Mostly it takes a little time and patience.

Things you will need
  1. Need from you
    1. Desire to Draw
    2. Patience
    3. Time
    4. Imagination
  2. Tools or Instruments (for Hand Drawing)
    1. Paper
    2. Pencil (B, H and HB lead)
    3. Good Eraser
    4. Ruler, Architectural and Engineering Scales
    5. Calculator
    6. Table and Comfortable Chair
  3. For CAD Drawings (for Computer Drawing)
    1. Paper
    2. Pencil (B, H and HB lead)
    3. Good Eraser
    4. Ruler, Architectural and Engineering Scales
    5. Calculator
    6. Computer - Monitor with Internet
    7. Printer
    8. Scanner
Where to start
  1. Get some Ideas
    1. Look at Building Magazines
    2. Look at Buildings on the Internet
    3. Look at Buildings in your Neighborhood
We are going to start with a Free Standing Workshop.

The Workshop will be a 24 feet by 32 feet concrete block building. There will be 2 overhead garage doors, 1 pedestrian (people door) and 1 window.

Prepare a rough sketch on a piece of paper. This will be the first layout. In our example, we will also sketch a 3D drawing to get an idea as to how the building will look.

For our layout we used graph paper, with each graph line being 1/8 inch apart, vertically and horizontally. To sketch the floor plan, each 1/8 is equal to 1 foot. This means, that if we want to show a wall that is 24 feet long, we will draw a line that is 24 spaces of 1/8 inch.


This Plan is drawn free hand. It is a sketch of an idea. With a little pratice, you will be able to make a sketch like this, or better. This sketch took about 10 minutes, you may be able to do it more quickly. Practice is all it takes.


This Plan was done both Free Hand and with a Ruler. The quality of this Plan meets the standards required for submittal to most Building Department for a Permit. The worst that can happen is that the Building Department Plans Examiner may ask for some additional information. In any event, if they do it should be minimal.

Note that the building is an 8 inch concrete block building. The concrete block is reinforced with number 5 rebars every 4 feet on center. These cells are indicated on the plan with a large dot shown in the exterior perimeter wall. The actual notation for these grouted cells is shown on the Foundation Plan. It is important to note that you only need to refer to the installation of an item only once on a set of plans. It does not need to be repeated several times on a set of plans. The note refering to the placement of the vertical rebars is best shown on the Foundation Plan, since they must be installed in the footings and then carried up to the Bond or Tie Beam.

The number 5 rebar is a steel rod that is 5/8 inch in diameter bar. For steel rebars (steel reinforcing steel bars) the bar number is the numerator, and the denominator is always 8, thus, a number 3 bar is 3/8, a number 4 is 4/8 (1/2), a number 5 is 5/8... etc.

All walls, windows and door openings are dimensioned and all window and door openings are identified (sizes).

On the Floor Plan, it is required to show all Wall, Windows, Doors, Cabinets, Plumbing Fixtures and Finishes.

Usually, Doors, Windows, and Finishes are shown on a Schedule. More information regarding Schedules can be seen on the Plans available on our Download Section.


This Plan was done both Free Hand and with a Ruler. The quality of this Plan meets the standards required for submittal to most Building Department for a Permit. The worst that can happen is that the Building Department Plans Examiner may ask for some additional information. In any event, if they do it should be minimal.

When preparing the plans for a Residence, Work Shop, Addition or Shed, the Electrical Requirement is minimal. All that needs to be shown is the location of the Receptacles and Lights. You do not need to provide Electrical Circuitry, as would be required in all commercial projects. Electrical Circuitry is to number the Electrical Receptacles and Lights. For the project shown here, all you need to remember is to identify that the Receptacles in Garages, Sheds and Work Shops need to be GFI (ground fault interrupt), which provide a measure of safety in these areas.

Generally, there should be sufficient Electrical service available on the house panel to accept this small amount of additional Electrical requirement.

The Electrical Contractor usually obtains the permit to do the Electrical work, thus the plans will not require any more information than is shown on these plans. Remember, this does not apply to commercial projects.



This Plan was done both Free Hand and with a Ruler. The quality of this Plan meets the standards required for submittal to most Building Department for a Permit. The worst that can happen is that the Building Department Plans Examiner may as for some additional information. In any event, if they do it should be minimal.

Although these plans meet the Building Department requirements, they may not be accepted. In Florida the Structural portions of the Plans are required to be prepared, signed and sealed by either an architect or professional engineer. Usually, all of the non-Structural portion of the plans may be drawn by the Home Owner. There are exceptions, where the Building Departments will not accept any plans, unless they are all prepared by either an architect or professional engineer. The Florida Building Code provides a minimum set of requirements. Local authorities at times are more strigent than the Building Code. The Code allows for more strigent requirements, but in no circumstance shall the requirements be less than those required by the Code.

To see the complete plans required for this project, go to the Sheds & Work Shop Design page of this Web Site.

There you will see the Exterior Elevations, Wall Section and Roof Framing Plan.

We sincerely hope that what we have presented here will help you better understand the requirements for obtaining a permit, or overseeing the plans that are prepared for your project.