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Unit: Work documents

Supporting: LMFGN3001B: Read and interpret work documents

Section 1: Working drawings

Architectural conventions

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The easiest way to ensure that everyone who uses a technical drawing will have the same understanding of what it's trying to say is to use a standardised 'language' of symbols and conventions.

Different sectors of the industry use their own specialised symbols for details that relate to their specific line of work, however, there are some general conventions that are common to all drawings.

Although these conventions sometimes vary in style, according to the software used or person producing the drawing, the basic concepts remain the same. Below are some examples of standardised architectural symbols.

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Centre line

Long and short dashes, used to indicate geometric centre.                                                                  

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Visible line

Heavy unbroken line, used to show all visible edges.                                                                  

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Hidden line

Short dashes, used to indicate edges hidden from view.                                                                  

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Dimension lines

Two 'extension lines' specifying the starting and finishing points of a measurement, and a 'dimension line' indicating the distance between them.

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Solid line with zigzag in the middle, used to break the length of a line that is too long to show in full.

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End section

Thin line in a cross to show a piece of timber being viewed in section.                                                                  

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Materials and items

There are many symbols and drawing styles used to designate particular types of building materials and installation items.

Click on the link below to see some common examples.

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Reading two dimensional plans

Although clients are often shown three dimensional drawings of what a finished project will look like, the actual working drawings that specify the dimensions and other installation details will always be two dimensional.

In other words, they will either be in:

  • plan view (from above),

  • elevation (from the side), or

  • section (a cross section).
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Learning activity

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As a tradesperson, you need to be able to 'see' the different 2D views in your head and be able to match them up with the real world 3D installation area.

Here is an exercise that will help you practise this skill.

Below are links to three drawings of a kitchen project generated in a computer aided design (CAD) software program. They show a floor plan, rear elevation and 3D drawing.

Have a close look at each of these views and examine the way particular features appear from the different perspectives.

See if you can do a simple sketch on a piece of blank paper of the floor plan, using only the 3D drawing and rear elevation as a guide. Then compare your drawing with the floor plan.

There is no need to mark in the dimensions, but try to draw to scale as accurately as possible.

Floor plan

3D drawing

Rear elevation

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