A Client may be unaware of the drawings he is entitled to get at different stages of the project. Here, I have summarily described the kind of drawings he can expect from the Architect and the Consultants working on the Project. These drawings provide an accurate, complete and to-scale graphic depiction of the design concept and a major portion of the construction information needed to build the project. They enable the Client, Contractor, Consultants and the workmen at site to understand the project completely.


An Architect presents different drawings at different Stages as given below:

  • Concept Drawings – After the initial discussions with the Client.
  • Preliminary Drawings – Once the Concept Drawings are approved, further drawings (preliminary Drawings) are prepared.
  • Sanction Drawings (to Authorities) – for approval and sanction from Authorities.
  • Tender Drawings – Detailed Drawings for preparation and invitation of Tender.
  • Working Drawings– Detailed drawings that convey the (technical) information necessary for the Construction of the building project.
  • This is a set of drawings prepared by the Architect in accordance with the Client’s brief. They are the first plans presented to a Client.
  • They are basic plans indicating the layout of the building, the approximate sizes of the rooms and the setbacks of the building within the site. These drawings give the Client an idea of the design layout of his building, the circulation spaces, the positioning of the rooms with reference to each other, and the approximate sizes.
  • The Client is free to give suggestions and request for changes. The Architect makes the necessary changes accordingly and the Client gives any further suggestions which will again be incorporated in the drawings.
  • Only after the Client has approved the design, does the Architect move to the next stage of drawings. In case the Client is unable to understand the design from the plans, the Architect may explain it further with sketches or study elevations or he may get a study model or perspective made ( at extra cost) .

  • Once the Concept Drawings are approved, the Architect prepares Preliminary Drawings. These are Plans, Elevations and sometimes Sections with exact room dimensions, wall thickness, setbacks and window positions. 
  • The Client gets an idea of how his building is going to look and he is free to give his suggestions – accordingly they will be incorporated.
  • This set of drawings will also include a Furniture Layout drawing which gives an idea of how the furniture can be placed in each room and the space of the room with relation to the furniture.
  • It may also include an external site drawing to show the number of cars that can be parked and the area available for landscape and play areas etc.
  • The Architect may also commission a perspective or walkthrough ( at extra cost) to give the Client a 3-D view of the building
These include Site Plan, Plans, Elevations and Sections etc, in the required format and to the required scale for getting approval from the Authorities. At the right hand side of the sheet, details such as the Owner’s details, the site details, adjacent properties survey numbers, the Architect’s name, address and Council of Architecture-Registration Number are mentioned.

  • These drawings convey a lot of information about the project to enable the Contractors who are quoting for the Job to understand the project completely.
  • They are detailed drawings with exact dimensions, wall thicknesses, specifications, column beam sizes and positions, schedules of doors & windows, levels and heights in the building. Any unusual building design elements which cannot be fully explained by specifications only, are explained with the help of tender drawings.
  • They are useful for the Consultants who can use them to prepare their final drawings.
  • The Tender Drawings are also useful for preparing the bill of quantities and specifications for the Tender.
Working Drawings are drawings of the whole or part of a structure, made to a scale, and intended to be understood by the Contractor and followed by the workmen at site. These drawings are an extension of the Tender Drawings and convey the bulk of the technical information about the building project and are generally issued to Site for Construction purpose.
A Working Drawing will typically have a title panel at the bottom of the right hand corner of the sheet to aid reference when the sheet is folded. This title panel will generally indicate:
  • Orientation – North is indicated as N.
  • Scale – of the drawing
  • Date – of the completed Drawing
  • Job – Title and Job Number.
  • Drawing Title – Name of the Sheet (plan, elevation…)
  • Client - name and address of Site
  • Architect – name and address
  • Consultants – name and addresses
  • Revision – List and dates
  • Key diagram – in large projects a key diagram with the appropriate part blacked out is shown
Working Drawings will include the following drawings and are always read in conjunction with the Consultants Drawings:
  • Site Plan indicating setbacks and position of building, existing levels and intended new levels.
  • Excavation, Foundation and Centre line Drawings indicating excavation pit sizes, column positions, dimensions, centre line distances, etc.
  • Detailed Floor Plans of all the floors indicating all the dimensions – walls, rooms, columns, lifts and staircases etc. as well as the floor levels.
  • Detailed Elevations indicating the levels of the floors and the heights. Any elevational treatment elements will be explained with additional drawings.
  • Detailed Sections wherever necessary to explain the different levels and heights within the building, and to explain staircases, lift heights.
  • Detailed Staircase drawings and Lift drawings.
  • Door and Window Drawings indicating material used and the section sizes. If there are grills on the windows, the grill design drawings are also included.
  • Any other drawings necessary to explain any design element.
  • Structural Consultant – Centre line Drawings, Excavation Drawings, Foundation detail drawings, Column layout Drawings with steel details, Beam layout Drawings with steel details, Centering Drawings, Lintel Drawings, Slab Drawings with details, Lift wall and room details, Staircase structural details, stc
  • Electrical consultant – Electrical Drawing showing all the light, fan switch points in the building, Wiring and Circuit drawings, panel board, meter board locations and specifications, generator room, UPS room and circuit etc.
  • Plumbing Consultant – Plumbing Drawings showing all the taps, W.C., Wash Basin positions, traps, manholes, Sump, Septic tank locations etc, Pipeline Drawings indicating the sanitary and water lines, the thickness of the pipes, the good brands, pump location and brand, water tanks location and number in case of more than two different sources of water etc.
  • H.V.A.C Consultant  – Air Conditioning Drawings indicating location of Air conditioners etc.
  • Landscape Consultant - All the landscape layout plans, details of landscape elements, water bodies details, plants and tree names etc.
As the name suggests, these are drawings of the completed building exactly as it is built. These drawings are usually required by the Authorities before they issue the occupation certificate. The owner of the building can occupy the building only after getting the occupation.
This post is about the different design drawings prepared by an Architect, from the time he first meets with the client till the completion of the project. For an explanation of the Architectural design drawings and 3-dimensional architectural models, go to:


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