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What types of construction drawings do I need for my building project?

Last updated Wednesday 08 August 2018

Whether you’re planning a house extension, loft conversion or new build, you always need to begin with a set of architectural floor plans.

A good set of drawings can help you visualise your project long before you decide if you want to go ahead with actually building it or not. In fact, a simple concept package (expect to pay as little as £250 with us!), is worth investing in even before you buy a new property, as it can help you understand what might be possible for your investment in the future.

If you know you want to build within the next three years, you’ll need a set of planning designs to apply for either planning permission or a lawful development certificate. If you’re not sure which you need for your specific project, you can book in a free consultation call with our friendly experts, who will check for you for free!

For most projects, you’ll need the following types of construction drawings to apply for planning permission or a lawful development certificate:

Existing floor plans

These are accurate drawings of what the building looks like as it stands today. Your architect may want to appoint someone to conduct a measured survey of your property, but it is sometimes possible to put these plans together from existing drawings.

Design floor plans

This is your plan for your proposed design, taking into account your personal taste, future needs, and the planning regulations in your local area. Certain types of house extensions fall under permitted development rights, but even so, you’ll want to apply for a lawful development certificate so you have proof that this was the case when you come to sell.


These are vertical plans showing the layout of your exterior or interior walls, including windows and/or kitchen cabinets.

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Once you've secured planning permission, the most important type of construction plans are building regulation drawings. You can commission these from your architect. They provide a more in-depth plan for where each specific element should be placed, and what materials should be used. Your construction crew can use this as their primary guide as they create their own unique drawings, which might include:

Structural drawings

Before you build, you’ll want a structural engineer to take a look at your existing property and proposed plans. This will inform your structural drawings, which include details on building materials and size/placement of any reinforcements.

Electrical drawings

These show all of your wiring, including the placement of plug sockets and any inbuilt lights. Make sure you agree all of this with your electrician early in the project, as even though they're a small detail, it can be complicated (and expensive) to change these if you get them wrong.

Plumbing and sanitary drawingss

These provide the layout for all your pipes, sanitation and bathroom fixtures, and should take into account any findings in a CCTV survey (done before your project starts).

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Finally, at any stage of your planning (though the earlier the better!) you may want to consider investing in a set of 3D renders.

These aren’t construction drawings as such, but are particularly useful if you’re creating plans to help sell your home, as they can really bring the finished product to life.

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