PRO Builder House Plans

Understanding Blueprints

House plans, also known as blueprints, are scaled drawings of the plans of a home or structure, a set of two-dimensional instructions that includes all of the details needed to build. Before you break ground, your house plans can be used to get precise estimates of the total cost to build.

Each set of blueprints should include floor plans; plans for the foundation and information on footings and framing; front, side and rear elevations; the roof plan; a kitchen cabinet layout; and other construction details. The most common size of printed blueprints for construction is 24" x 36", but PDF packages are the more popular option nowadays. These electronic files can easily be shared with lenders, subcontractors and others, and you can store them on a computer and print them from your home computer or at a local copy shop.

We offer a wide selection of comprehensive and detailed house plans in an assortment of house styles to fit any client's lifestyle.

How to Read Blueprints


Blueprints are typically drawn to a 1/4" scale of the actual size of the home, allowing you to scale the drawing of the home and come up with the correct measurements when building. As a general rule, 1/4" scale means that every 1/4" on the plan will account for 1' of actual length. Some parts, like framing layouts or built-in details, may be drawn at a scale of 1/8" or even 3/4".

Look at the key provided on the house plan to determine the scale of the home. Since the blueprints are drawn to scale, you can change the drawing to determine the right measurements to make adjustments, should the plan need to be modified. The scale of each drawing is usually next to the title, but there are times when it is called out beneath the drawing or some other place on the page.


Blueprints also generally include four elevation drawings of the home: the front, rear, left and right side. These drawings are drawn to scale and included so measurements can be taken for any necessary aspect. Elevation blueprints include ridge heights, exterior finishes, roof pitches and other design aspects to give a general idea what the finished home will look like down to its architectural styling.

Basement Floor Plan:

Basement floor plans (if provided) show how the foundation should be built for structural integrity. These plans detail the location of footings, load bearing walls, steel rebar concrete reinforcements, and other structural elements the home requires to support the walls and roof.

Electrical Layouts:

Electrical diagrams are often included on a separate drawing, allowing the electrician subcontractor to wire a home without reading through the entire floor plan. Electrical diagrams usually include legend or key on the page that explains what each symbol represents to easily determine the location of electrical outlets, light fixtures, fans, etc. Most electrical plans on house plans are generalized; the electrician will customize the installation to suit the specific needs of each house.

Framing Drawings:

Framing drawings (if provided) are drawn to scale. Framing plans include the basic skeletal structure of the home including the locations of floor joists, walls, and roof trusses. The locations of studs are not generally included, due to a recognized universal building code. However, in some cases there are instructions for particular wall construction methods.

Plumbing and Mechanical Systems:

Stock house plan blueprints are sold throughout the 50 states and around the world, so regional preferences and climatic variances dictate different mechanical systems and, as such, this information must be obtained locally. Typically, only plumbing fixture locations are provided, but this information is enough for you to install the plumbing system. However, you may want to have the heating subcontractor provide a duct and register layout for your review prior to construction. Your local utility company also may offer assistance when it comes to sizing the system you need.

Cross Sections and Details:

Overhead or floor plan views of the structure show dimensions, but they do not provide enough information to build successfully. In most cases, a cross section of the home is included in the plans. This view shows the completed home sliced in half vertically and provides a better understanding of the relativity of floor heights and rafter lengths among other structural elements of the home.

Plot Plan:

Plot plans are comprehensive drawings of the site location or lot on which a new home is to be built. They are drawn to determine the placement of the home based on property boundaries and topography. Plot dimensions are normally recorded by a surveyor and are used to determine the exact location and positioning of the home on the specific lot. Plot plans also typically include the location of utility services, set back requirements, easements and the locations of any driveways and walkways. In some cases, a topographical map may be included to supply critical data on the slope and terrain of the lot to ensure the home can be built safely.

Since plot plans are prepared based on the exact property where a house will be built, they are not included in the purchase of stock floor plans. However, plot plans can be drawn by a local professional draftsman, architect or engineer once a lot is chosen.

To find a house plan that fits your needs, look through our House Plan Styles and Collections to get started!

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