Drafting Standards Abbreviations and Symbols

A designer's drawings are used to communicate specific information to many other individuals, such as owners, architects, engineers, and builders. To do this effectively a number of drafting standards, abbreviations, and symbols have been developed over time that have become uniformly acceptable in the building industry. Although an office may use variations of the standard conventions presented here, most follow some version of these conventions. Many construction terms are abbreviated to save drawing space and eliminate the need for detailed drawings or notes. For example, a W8x31 is a standard steel beam whose exact phys ical and structural properties are detailed out in industrywide steel manuals. Another example is the commonly used term "above finished floor," which is abbreviated as A.F.F. and used in floor plans and electrical plans. The most commonly used abbreviations are discussed in Chapter 5 and shown in the Appendix.

Symbols are used to represent objects that cannot be depicted accurately or would take too much time to draw. For example, the details of a window in plan or a wall electrical outlet are impractical to draw with clarity at such a small scale. These are represented in the plan by an acceptable symbol that is cross-referenced to a legend or note to more clearly define the object (Figure 3-10). Various components such as sinks, doors, windows, and electrical devices are drawn as symbols. These will be discussed in more depth in later chapters.

Sections cut through the building and materials are depicted using common symbols to represent their elements rather than drawing them as they might appear. For example, a section through a piece of plywood is shown schematically instead of drawn realistically to show the intricate layers of cross-grained wood veneers and glue. Symbols for materials are often drawn differently in a plan view and section view. In most cases, an attempt is made to portray as closely as possible what the actual cross-sec-tion would look like (Figure 3-11). Again, typical symbols for architectural materials are discussed more in Chapter 5 and shown in the Appendix.

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