Blueprints are those rolls of blue paper that construction engineers and architects carry around and pore over at job sites, during technical meetings etc. They are actually white-on-blue reproductions of technical drawings of engineering or architecture designs made using a contact print process on light-sensitive paper, sometimes linen, Mylar or imitation vellum.
Reading blueprints need some degree of getting used to especially for non-engineers or architects. Hundreds of blueprint symbols are used and without any strict international standards, there may be some minor variations to some of them depending on geographical location.
A complete set of blueprints for an entire construction project includes but is not limited to the following types:
- Architectural – indicates the master view and details of floor plans
- Civil – shows topographic views of all exterior surroundings
- Landscaping – shows landscaping views and irrigation. This is sometimes included in the civil drawings.
- Structural – indicates dimensions and sizing of structural design with details for steel, joists, concrete, footings, shafts, beams etc.
- Mechanical – indicates locations, sizes and specs for HVAC ducts, piping and other equipment.
- Plumbing – indicates locations, sizes and specs for all plumbing fixtures, piping and equipment.
- Electrical – indicates locations, circuits and specs for all electrical equipment and fixtures.
Landscaping Orientation Symbols
Plumbing, Piping and Valves Symbols
Welding symbols are used on blueprints and drawings to show where the weld is to be placed and may also show the size, type of weld, number of welds, details about the weld and even details about the joint. Welders that fabricate or work with drawing must be able to interpret the welding symbol to prepare the joint and apply a weld that has the required strength and soundness.
Learn to Read Blueprint Symbols
Use these blueprint symbols to help you learn and understand how to read your home plan blueprint.
Blueprint-symbols for Homebuilders
House plan blueprint-symbols for electrical, plumbing, and architectural plans.
Machine Drawing - (PDF)
In learning to read machine drawings, you must first become familiar with the common terms, symbols, and conventions defined and discussed in the following paragraphs.
Blueprint Symbols Free Glossary - Floor Plan Symbols
A complete glossary of all the basic house plans blueprint symbols. Also free tutorials How to Read Blueprints and Make your Own Blueprint.
Understanding Landscape Symbols - (PDF)
Landscape plans make use of symbols and words to indicate plants, buildings and other items of information in the plans.
Symbols in The News
Interpret this Symbol
Da Vinci Code
Meaning of Names
Symbols in the News
Tree of Life
Nine Pointed Star