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What Are Floor Plans?

Floor plans show the inside of a structure from an overhead point of view.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Floor plans are diagrams that provide a top view of the layout of a structure. The detail included on the typical floor plan includes the location of interior and exterior walls, windows, door frames, and any built in amenities such as shower stalls, closets, and cabinetry. Depending on the intended use of the floor plans, the detail may include a number of other elements, such as electrical outlets and overhead beams.

Floor plans are an important part of building plans in general. Building plans usually include details on all aspects of the structure from both a horizontal and a vertical perspective. Within this setting, floor plans often serve as the blueprints to help keep the building project on course when it comes to laying out the interior of the space. As with any type of architectural plans, most floor plans are created to scale, making it easy for builders to translate the data into the actual construction of the building.

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Just about any type of building project will include the use of floor plans. For home building, the plans serve as the way of arranging the rooms to best advantage within the house, designating where connecting doors and hallways allow easy access from various points around the house. When the house plans call for more than one story, floor plans for each story of the home are created. This makes it possible to coordinate the layout of the second floor with the bottom floor, making sure stairwells match and that the distribution of load bearing walls is completed in a manner that helps tho enhance the overall stability of the structure.

It is not unusual for floor plans to address areas of the home such as a basement or attic area. This makes it possible to begin defining not only the dimensions of the spaces but also their projected uses. Doing so makes it easier to determine where wiring and plumbing should be run within the structure, thus ensuring that there are adequate electrical outlets and switches to accommodate the needs of the future occupants.

With both private and public buildings, it is not unusual for the floor plans to be kept in storage after the building project is completed. The plans can come in handy in later years when renovations or an expansion of the existing edifice is anticipated. Usually the architect who designed the structure will have a copy on file, as will the builder and possibly the property owner. In many municipalities, floor plans and blueprints are kept on file with a city department for all public buildings within the jurisdiction.

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