Blueprints are those rolls of blue paper that construction engineers and architects carry around and pore over at job sites, during technical meetings etc. They are actually white-on-blue reproductions of technical drawings of engineering or architecture designs made using a contact print process on light-sensitive paper, sometimes linen, Mylar or imitation vellum.
Reading blueprints need some degree of getting used to especially for non-engineers or architects. Hundreds of blueprint symbols are used and without any strict international standards, there may be some minor variations to some of them depending on geographical location.
A complete set of blueprints for an entire construction project includes but is not limited to the following types:
Architectural – indicates the master view and details of floor plans
- Civil – shows topographic views of all exterior surroundings
- Landscaping – shows landscaping views and irrigation. This is sometimes included in the civil drawings.
- Structural – indicates dimensions and sizing of structural design with details for steel, joists, concrete, footings, shafts, beams etc.
- Mechanical – indicates locations, sizes and specs for HVAC ducts, piping and other equipment.
- Plumbing – indicates locations, sizes and specs for all plumbing fixtures, piping and equipment.
- Electrical – indicates locations, circuits and specs for all electrical equipment and fixtures.