Floor Plan: What is it for + basic architectural design model?

When talking about architecture, for those who are not from the area, one of the first images that comes to mind is the floor plan. This is that drawing of a top view of the entire interior of the building, whether it’s a house, apartment, or commercial space.

It is through the floor plan that the rooms are identified, where the doors, windows and the measurements of each internal space are located. It also has the humanized floor plan models, made in software with furniture details, colors and other specifications.

So, whether you are a future architect or just someone interested in the subject, learn a little more about the floor plan now. Know what it is, what it is for, what is contained in this type of technical drawing and what are its complements in a complete project.

What is floor plan?

what is a floor plan

The floor plan is one of the main technical drawings in architecture. It is represented by a horizontal cut, as if the building had been cut in half to remove the “cover” of the roof and be able to observe its interior.

There is also a rule that the plan should be made at a height of 1.5 meters from the floor. This is one of the rules for making the floor plan, as stated in the Regulatory Norms of the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Norms).

In the schematic of the floor plan, the spaces that that building will have are drawn, separated by floors (ground floor, first floor, second floor). Rooms are designed according to use: living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms and others.

The accesses and circulations of each room are also identified on the floor plan, such as doors, windows and corridors. It is also possible to have a clearer notion about the dimension of the construction in relation to the land, and how the accesses from the exterior to the interior will be.

All this design is done using the standard scales so that the divisions of miniature rooms are proportional to their actual size.

Nowadays, not all architects and engineers use the term floor plan. You may hear the same type of drawing referred to as a ground floor plan or a ground floor plan. They are all the same thing.

What needs to be on a floor plan?

For those who are the architect’s clients, the most important thing about the floor plan is to see how the rooms will be divided and their sizes. However, this technical drawing needs to provide more detailed information.

The floor plan is not just made up of lines and drawings. It contains numbers and written identifications. In it, pedestrian and car accesses are indicated, the level of the floors in relation to the terrain, the openings of doors and windows, in addition to the names of each space.

The types of coatings used on floors, walls and ceilings, the areas of the land that are permeable and how the furniture will be distributed can also be identified. The more details the better.

What is an architectural floor plan for?

As you have seen, the floor plan serves to determine the basis of the project. Thus, both the client and other professionals can begin to understand what will be carried out or request changes as needed. Each project has its peculiarities.

It is from the drawing of the floor plan that the architect will draw other plans, sections and elevations. And it is from these drawings that he will make the electrical, hydro-sanitary, structural, and landscaping and interior design. That is, the complete project.

It doesn’t mean that the architect will do all this alone. But, it is from the floor plan made by him that other professionals will create the other plants. One project features engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and other experts.

What is a humanized floor plan?

what is a humanized floor plan

In architecture and interior design, the term “humanized” is very present. It means that when drawings are humanized, they are more realistic. In the case of a humanized floor plan, it means that it is very detailed.

This is that blueprint model where you can see everything: the colors of the floors, walls, lamps, furniture models. Some architects even place plants, people and their pets.

When it comes to the floor plan of houses, you can also have the backyard design with the landscaping. This will depend on whether the landscaping will be done by that professional or another. But in any case, it’s one more way to humanize the project.

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The function of the humanized plant is to delight the customer when the project is presented to him. It is much easier for a lay person to understand everything that will be done in the project when looking at the humanized plant.

Therefore, this is a presentation plan only. When carrying out the project with all the professionals involved, only the set of plans and technical documents is used, with lines, measurements and all technical parameters.

Floor plan + plans of a residential architecture project

basic parts of architectural design

Now that you know more about what a floor plan is and what it is for, take the opportunity to find out what the other plans of a residential project are. Yes, there are several. Each project has a specific demand, but it’s good to know what’s in a basic project.

Floor plan or ground floor plan

This one you already know, but it appears here because it serves as the basis for the design of the other plants.

Underground plant

This is the type of plan that determines everything that will be built below street level. In homes, garages, party areas and studios can be built, for example. In commercial projects, such as shopping malls, this is where parking lots and machinery are usually located.

Mezzanine floor plan

The mezzanine is not a complete floor. They are separated from other plants because they occupy an area less than 1/3 of the total built-up area on the pavement, and these smaller areas are not computable.

Floor plans

These are the same plans as the floor plan, except that they represent the floors that come above the ground floor. All floors are considered until reaching the roof. There’s another plant there.

Cover plant

This is not a floor plan of a residential roof, but an aerial view of the building. It will show the details of the roof, such as the amount of water, slopes, location of drains, gutters, type of coverage and other technical details.

For you to know how to identify in a project which is the ground floor plan and which is the cover, there is a technical standard. The design that has the strongest colors and lines is the one that is highest, close to your eyes. The lighter one is the furthest away from your eyes.

Situation plan

This is a more open visual field plan, also called a deployment. In it, the elements surrounding the building appear, such as the garden, sidewalks and nearby streets.

It is with this plan that other external details are identified, such as pedestrian and vehicle access, terrain levels, vegetation, solar orientation, winds and plot boundaries. This plant also shows where the electrical and hydro-sanitary piping accesses will be.

Although this plant appeared last on this list, it comes first. It is from the implementation that the architect will analyze the position of the building on the lot. It will determine which direction you will be forward, how far you will be from the walls, and so on.

These determinations take into account mandatory factors, such as the setbacks required by law, and also factors for thermal comfort, functionality and durability of the building, such as solar and wind orientation.

Elevations and cuts in an architectural project

It is not possible to talk about a floor plan and architectural design without having a notion of what elevations and sections are. Generally speaking, while the floor plan presents the design horizontally, elevations and sections present it vertically.

Thus, the elevations are the drawings of all external faces, that is, the views, or facades. They show what will be the cladding on the facades, where the doors, windows are, what is closer or farther from the lot.

The cuts are like plants, but vertical. It’s like cutting the house in half, but now from top to bottom, so that you can detail the heights of beams, stairs, windows, doors, ceilings, ceilings and the like.


After all these details made by plans, sections and views, the architect will also draw the perspectives. These are the drawings that show the house or apartment from the inside, as if you were there in person.

Far beyond the floor plan: phases of an architectural project

phases of an architectural project

You can already see that the floor plan is just one of the stages of an architectural project. But, for those interested in the subject, it is also very important to know how a project is conceived.

Unlike what it may seem, the architect does not start his ideas from scratch, just thinking about a beautiful model of the house or doing what the client asked. There are many factors to consider, both required by law and according to the customer’s needs and tastes.

That’s why an architectural project is something so complex and needs to be done with great care and dedication. In addition to strictly following all the parameters of the municipal building legislation, the architect also needs to attend to his client.

In other words, he will start the work by making a meeting with his client to get to know their tastes, needs, ideas, and personality, everything possible. You will also get to know the terrain to better understand all its possibilities and limitations.

Preliminary study

After this first analysis of the client, the land and the legislation, the architect will start to carry out the preliminary study. At this stage, the professional will use creativity to suggest to the client how the building will be in terms of room sectorization and use solutions.

For this, he will already need to make a floor plan, other plans, elevations, sections, perspectives, models, a justification memorial and also a cost analysis. All this needs to be very well analyzed by the client, approving or disapproving ideas, to move forward with the project.

Draft project

After this first phase of approvals, the architect will make the preliminary project that includes the construction elements that are used and each step with more details. It is like a deepening of all the documents already made in the preliminary study.

In addition, the professional will prepare the necessary documentation for approval by public agencies and submit the project to the Council of Architecture and Urbanism (CAU).

Legal Project

Until now, the project can receive the modifications that the client wants, according to what was agreed with the architect. But, once the documentation is approved at the city hall, it can’t move anymore. What they approved of is what must be built.

Executive project

Finally, the architect needs to organize each document, review everything so that there is no miscalculation. The executive project is what goes into the hands of the entire workforce to begin construction.

This project contains the plans, sections, elevations, all the necessary technical specifications and breakdowns for each phase of construction. There is also a list of all materials to be purchased for the work.

As built

To put the project into practice, everything has already been delivered. But, the architect still has one more job. He needs to do the so-called “as built”, which is the building’s user manual.

It is in this manual that he explains everything that exists in that building, where the plumbing, electrical part, beams, pillars and the like pass. This avoids problems when drilling holes in walls, new installations or future renovations.

Now the architect’s work is complete. As you’ve seen, it goes far beyond the floor plan, and it’s quite interesting. So, when building or renovating, count on a good architect, as the success of the work will depend on the capacity of this professional.