Construction documents class

This summer I took a 15-week class on construction documents. It is the prerequisite to all the other interior architecture and design classes. I thought we were going to learn how to read construction documents. I didn’t know we would actually be making a full set of construction documents!

Here are the drawings I had to make. The one on the upper left is the size of all the documents: 24×36 inches. The rest have the blank parts cropped out.



Wow, that was a lot of documents. We had to make a dimensioned floor plan with door diagrams, reflecting ceiling plan (shows lighting), power plan (electrical hook-ups), finish plan (floor and wall finishes), furniture plan, exterior elevations, interior elevations, interior section (cutaway) elevations, details for cabinets (called millwork), sections for cabinets, stair plans, stair sections, document referencing, schedules, etc.These were all done with a pencil and straightedge. (Unlike my previous drawing, these required lots of erasing!)

Because it was summer, a week’s worth of material was compressed into three days. Every week (three days) we had multiple assignments, not to mention about 20+ screens of reading to study, a quiz to take, and a discussion post. It was a lot of work but I learned a ton! I have always liked looking at blueprint type of drawings. Now I’ll actually understand what they all mean.

It was a lot of work, though. In addition to doing plans, we also had to make all the accompanying charts and tables. All the lettering had to be drawn by a straightedge. I think that was one of the things that took the longest!



Here’s a closeup of what the lettering looks like. This is the unretouched scan. You can also see the erasing doesn’t come all the way out ‚ and I scrubbed pretty hard!



Since paper texture and ripples are a bit distracting, I just adjust the contrast a bit and now it’s much more readable. The lettering’s not perfect but there was a lot to do so I had to hurry it up. In actual size, these letters are 1/8″ tall.


It was also interesting how as you go along in the class, you really have no idea what you are doing, but then later you realize you should have done things differently. Since it was really a construction documents class and not a design class, we didn’t really learn how to “design” a kitchen, but we had to make one up anyway. Afterwards I was like, “Oops, I shouldn’t have put the sink there,” or, “Bummer, I should’ve made the decorative tile down to the counter instead of drawing all the tiles on the backsplash first. But by then it’s too late and it was hard to erase all the pencil fully because it was so dark. (You know you use computers too much when you draw a mistake and your first thought is to hit the undo button! Too bad there isn’t one in real life!)


I put this picture in a previous post, but here it is again. It shows a close-up of the above drawing, and has a centimeter ruler on the left to show the scale. There was a lot of pencil-sharpening involved! I went through more than 6 inches of lead in making these drawings.



I’m very thankful for the opportunity to take this class. This fall I take my first “real” design class: Design of the Built Environment, Part A.

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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