Working Drawings for Your Custom Home - Architect's Digital Workshop
Working Drawings, Contract Documents or Construction Documents no matter what your architect calls them they are the technical drawings use by building departments, contractor and vendors to describe, define & create your new or remodeled home.
custom home, remodeled home, working drawings
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Helping Homeowners Design and Build Their Dream Home

20 Jun Working Drawings for Your Custom Home

Working Drawings for Custom HomeWorking Drawings are the technical drawings used by building departments, contractor and vendors to describe, define & create your custom home.  It is called the “Working Drawings Phase”.  When you finish Pre-Design Phase and the Schematic Design Phase of your custom home the next phase is working drawings.  The architect will call you to review the working drawings.  What are working drawings? and what is in a working drawing set?



What’s in your Working Drawings

Lets briefly go through a typical working drawing package I would use for a Custom Home or Remodel Project

General Section

  1. Title Sheet – Is a summary sheet of your project. It will list of all the players for the project (client, architect, consultants & contractor – if selected).   The sheet will also include a drawing list, symbol and abbreviation definition.
  2. General Notes – All the typical notes that describe the project.  Building code references will be made here.  Typical notes in this sections are General Project, Roof & Wall Framing Notes, etc….


  1. Site Plan – Imagine floating above your project at 150 ft, that is the site plan.  The site plan shows your custom home or remodeled project with the property and setback lines.  It will also show any easements, utility location, sidewalks & driveway and other site related items.
  2. Demolition Plan – [Used on remodel projects] This plan view shows what existing construction will be removed during construction.  Demo’d walls and other construction to be removed are shown as dotted or dashed lines.  Existing construction to remain is shown as solid lines.
  3. Floor Plans – A top down view drawing of your project as if the project was sliced 4’ off the floor.  Walls, doors, & windows are shown, noted and dimensioned.  Architect will, on large complication projects, divide this sheet into a dimensioned floor plan and noted floor plans. (2 sheets).  The floor plan tells the contractor the horizontal relationships and locations of walls, doors, window, etc.
  4. Ceiling Plans – A floor plan that looks at the ceiling.  Changes in the ceiling height, lights and other ceiling features are dimensioned and noted.
  5. Exterior Elevation – An exterior view of your custom home project.  This sheet shows the contractor the vertical relationship of windows, roof lines and door & window heights.  Exterior wall surfaces will be shown and noted
  6. Building Sections – This is a vertical slice through your custom home.  A building section will show the interior vertical relationship of various aspect of your project.  The relationship of doors, windows, soffits and other ceiling changes.  There will typically be several building sections.  Where ever there  are major vertical changes or important details in your custom home you will see a building section.
  7. Wall section & Architectural Details – These sheets (usually more than one) will show enlarged views of important parts of the project.  Walls sections show and note the make up of the wall (exterior material, insulation and interior material).  How walls relate and connect with floor and ceiling framing.  The wall section will be at a larger scale than a building section.  Details are large scale drawings of important connections of your custom home.  I will use details to show how important ceiling and wall finish material go together.  The number of detail will depend on the complexity of your project.


  1. Structural drawings – Technical drawings that describe the structural aspects of the project.   These sheets done by a structural engineer will include Foundation Plan, Ceiling Framing Plan (if needed), Roof Framing Plans and Structural Details.  While architectural details will have some structural elements in them they focus on relationships of how the structural elements support & shape finishes.  Structural detail are solely focused on the structural elements of the your custom home.  How it will be supported and braced.
  2. Electrical Plans – This is the lighting and electrical outlet plan.  On most project this is a layout plan only.  The design is done by the contractor.  I show the location and type of lighting for the each room and where outlets are to be located.  If It is a large & complicated custom home or remodel, I will hire an electrical engineer to design the electrical system.

This is a quick summary of what is in a set of working drawings.  There is a lot more to each sheet – that I will explore in future posts but this should help you understand the basics when you sit down with your architect to review the working drawings for your custom home or remodel.

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