A Beginner’s Guide to Structural Drawings- Types & Elements
If you are new to the construction of houses or buildings then you might have heard about house design plans but not structural drawings. Because the house design is common and anyone can understand it easily. But not the same with structural drawings. So let’s discuss what is structural drawings, their types, and what elements are included in structural drawings.
What is a Structural Drawing?
A structural drawing is a type of technical drawing that shows the structure of a building or object. It provides details about the dimensions, materials, and assembly of the structural components.
Some key things structural drawings show:
- The layout and sizes of foundations, walls, floors, roofs, columns, beams, and other structural elements.
- The positions and sizes of doors, windows, stairs, and other openings.
- Details about how structural components connect to or support each other.
- Specifications for materials, like concrete strength or steel grades.
- Any required reinforcements, such as rebar in concrete.
- Load information like dead loads, live loads, wind loads, etc.
- Dimensions needed to fabricate or erect structural components.
- References to relevant design codes and standards.
A structure drawing is an important part of the construction document.
Types of Structural Drawings
There are several types of structural drawings are used in the construction industry. Here are the 7 most common types.
The first but the most important type of structural drawing is the foundation plan. The foundation plans show the layout, dimensions, depths, and details of foundations, footings, piles, etc. They include notes on required concrete strength, rebar, etc. The objective of the foundation plans is to ensure foundations are properly constructed to support the structure.
The second type of structural drawing is the floor plans. It provides the layout and dimensions of structural floors. The floor plans show the locations of beams, columns, walls, openings, etc. The objective of the floor plans is to erect and coordinate structural floors. From my personal experience, I can say that these structure drawings are very important for the construction. Our structure engineer in Lucknow was following these drawings while building our commercial project.
Roof Framing Plans:
The next type of structural drawing is a roof framing plan. The roof framing plans show the structure of the roof system sizes, spacing, and connections of rafters, joists, beams, trusses, etc. It also shows details like roof slope, overhangs, and openings. The objective of the roof framing plans is to guide roof assembly.
Another important type of structural drawing is the section drawing. The section drawings are the cutaway view showing the heights of structural components, materials, assembly details, etc. The sections communicate 3D complexity in 2D drawings.
Elevations are another important type of structural drawing. It gives a view of exterior (or interior) structural faces indicating heights, materials, openings, etc. The elevation drawings are a way to visualize and construct facades.
Last but not the least is the detailed drawings. They are important types of structural drawings. The detailed drawings give you a magnified partial view illustrating connections, reinforcements, fabrication, installation, etc. The objective of a detailed drawing is to provide clear instructions for construction.
Schedule is a very important element in construction. The schedule has tables summarizing components like beams, columns, rebar, etc. with dimensions, materials, spacing, quantities, etc. These schedules help coordinate and estimate the entire construction project.
Apart from these 7 popular and common types of structural drawings, there are some other drawings. Structural framing plans, truss drawings, precast concrete plans, and other drawings may be included for more complex structures.
What is the role of a structure engineer?
The role of a structure engineer is to analyze, design, and specify structural systems. Here are some of its roles in detail.
- The structure engineer designs and engineers the structural system for buildings and infrastructure. He/she creates a detail of the structural drawings.
- He analyzes and designs foundations, floors, roofs, columns, beams, trusses, retaining walls, etc. A structure engineer calculates stresses and load paths.
- A structure engineer specifies the sizes, dimensions, materials, and assembly details of structural members.
- The structure engineer consults with architects regarding integrating the structural system into the overall building design.
- He/she works with other engineers to coordinate architectural, MEP, and other systems.
- A structure engineer conducts site inspections to review and certify structural works comply with designs.
- He/she provides structural engineering backup services to consultants. In some cases, they provide a peer review of the designs as a structure engineer consultant.
What is the role of a structure consultant?
A structure consultant focuses more on advising, reviewing, and evaluating structures for construction. Here are some of the important roles of structure consultants,
- A structure consultant Provides structural engineering advice on building and construction projects. They may be brought in by architects, developers, or contractors to assess structural requirements and recommend solutions.
- They perform structural analysis and calculations to determine member sizes, specifications, load capacities, etc.
- A structure consultant reviews and endorses structural designs and drawings produced by structural engineers.
- The structure consultant specifies systems, materials, and construction methods to use. In time he also recommends solutions for complex structural issues.
- A structure consultant conducts site inspections and investigations. He also assesses formwork and completed structural works.
- He prepares reports evaluating existing structures and recommends strengthening solutions if needed.
- A structure consultant provides expert advice to architects, builders, and construction crews regarding structure.
- The consultant ensures compliance with structural codes, regulations, and standards.
What Is Included In The Structural Drawings
Structural drawings contain the necessary information about construction in detail. These drawings provide all the accurate information to construct the structural system of a building. The structural drawings have this information,
- It has foundation Plans that show locations, sizes, depths, and details of all foundation elements like footings, piles, and grade beams. It includes notes on required concrete strength, reinforcing steel, pile capacities, etc.
- The next thing is the floor and Roof Framing Plans. It provides layouts showing the size, spacing, and configuration of the structural framing at each level. It also indicates the dimensions, locations, and details of beams, girders, columns, shear walls, openings, etc.
- The elevations and Sections visually communicate the height and position of all structural components. They show the relationship and alignment of floors, roofs, walls, columns, etc. throughout the building.
- The schedules summarize quantities, sizes, materials, etc. for structural members like columns, beams, and rebar. They help coordinate the fabrication and delivery of components.
- Detailed but partial view of structural connections, splices, anchorages, reinforcements, and critical fabrication/construction details.
- A List of notes, specifications, reminders, and references for the contractor. It includes info on design loads, materials grades, codes, quality control, etc.
- Technical specifications for materials, fabrication, quality control, allowable tolerances, etc. for the structural work.
- All dimensions, instructions, and details aim to provide complete guidance for accurate and safe construction of the structural system per the design.
Structural drawings are an essential part of the construction documents for a building project. They provide contractors and builders with the necessary information to accurately construct the structural system. Structural engineers prepare these highly detailed technical drawings according to relevant codes and standards.