If any house plans were drawn to actual size, they would be virtually impossible to work with. Most architectural blueprints are drawn to one-quarter inch scale, meaning that every foot is drawn as one-quarter of an inch. When you are looking over house plans for your new home, keep that in mind, but also be conscious that some portions of construction may be in different scales.
Most contractors know to look for scale information on the drawings. Sections of house plans may be in a different scale, such as drawings for built-in cabinets or cupboards which may be in one-half inch or even three-quarter inch scale. This allows better detail to be viewed on certain parts of the construction.
Additionally, if changes are needed during construction, the builder knows in what scale they need to be made and can adjust accordingly. While blueprints are typically drawn today by computer on white paper, they are still called blueprints, mostly out of habit and tradition.
Elevation drawings give you an idea of how the house will look on the lot, with views typically showing four sides. Although, it is not unusual to see a top view, how the house would look to a bird, usually the house plans include elevations from the front, back, left and right. These drawings can also be helpful in planning landscaping and floral decoration.
Structural integrity is depicted in the basement plans, showing beam structure and construction as well as load-bearing walls. They will also indicate details about footers, concrete reinforcement methods and other structural details showing the strength of the house.
Plot plans, included in house plans, show the position of the house on the building lot. It will generally show the driveway and sidewalk locations and is a depiction of the overall view of the house and lot location once completed.