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How to Make Your Own Blueprints for Free

    • 1). Research the drawing requirements for your proposed structure. Visit your municipality's building permit office to find the requirements or navigate to the permit office's website on the Internet. Almost all buildings must be designed by an architect, however, the permit office will provide you a list of necessary information to obtain a building permit. Most residential or small scale architectural drawings require building, owner, drawing and room names, as well as dimensions, areas, materials, door and window placement, building massing, site topography, site features, setback lines and boundary lines.

    • 2). Measure and note your building site boundaries, dimensions and features, using a measuring tape, paper and pencil. Determine where people and vehicles will enter the site.

      To draft the site plan and building drawings, use traditional drafting tools or a free CAD program. There are a few free CAD programs, such as Google SketchUp, Sweet Home 3D and ProgeCAD, and each program has adequate web support to help you learn the software. Nevertheless, all building permit offices allow hand drafted drawings.

    • 3). Draft the site plan. To draft by hand, tape the drawing sheet on a clean, flat surface with a straight, hard edge to accommodate the T-square. Draw the site plan to scale measuring drawing dimensions with the T-square, adjustable triangle and an architectural or engineering scale. The site plan must fit completely on a sheet of paper, so choose an appropriate scale. The ends of the architectural or engineering scale provide the name of the drawing scale, such as "1/16" representing the 1/16 inch equals 1 foot scale. In this example, every inch on the drawing represents 16 feet in reality.

    • 4). Draft the required drawings, including plans, sections and elevations. Plans are horizontal cuts through a building to show spatial layout. Sections are vertical cuts through a building to show structure. Elevations are vertical cuts in front of each of the faces of a building to show details and placement of elements on the building facades.

      Use the same drawing scale for each of the plans, sections and elevations, except for the site plan. The plans, sections and elevations will probably be a larger scale than the site plan, such as 1/8 inch equals 1 foot or 1/4 inch equals 1 foot.

    • 5). Annotate the drawings with the required information, such as names, dimensions and materials. Each piece of information only needs to be given once in your set of drawings. For example, the dimension of a first floor window should be given only on the plan or the elevation to avoid contradictory information.

    • 6). Double-check all of the required information is provided in your drawings, photocopy the correct number of drawing sets necessary for permit, as given in the requirements by the permit office, and submit the drawings to your building permit department. Usually, there are fees and documents to sign when filing your drawings with the permit department. If your drawings are correct, accurate and approved by your building permit department, you can begin construction.

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