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Taking a Blueprint Reading Course is the first step in developing an essential skill for any construction professional. Construction blueprints are 2-dimensional design drawings created by architects that indicate to builders the size of planned structures.
They also indicate placement of features, details for its construction, and what materials are to be used.
Blueprints provide builders with critical information on foundations, structural components, plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems and in some cases landscaping.
Furthermore, they indicate necessary information to estimate: Cost of materials, labor and time frame to project completion.
Generally, a developer hires a designer or architect to create the construction blueprint which is delivered to a General Contractor.
The General Contractor's job it is to see the project to completion within a specified budget and time frame.
This blueprint reading course will give you a snapshot of the various types of blueprints used across the different trades.
For example, someone installing pre-fabricated equipment like a filing cabinet or desk may look at blueprints to make sure they aren’t obstructing a light switch or raised flooring system.
Likewise, a General Contractor may inspect a blueprint to calculate materials and labor needed for a home build.
It is critical that a general contractor possesses at the very least basic blueprint reading skills. For this reason, the General Contractor license exam will also require blueprint reading skills.
Equally important, for a licensed contractor hoping to win bids and get hired for more lucrative jobs, blueprint reading becomes a necessity. There are many books and programs available to help you learn this critical skill.
The most effective method would be to take an in-school blueprint reading course. Quickly identifying electrical and foundation plans, exterior elevations, wall elevations and interior plans will make your life easier.
Furthermore, it will create a sense of ease in your potential clients that they are dealing with a professional.
Electrical plans indicate various aspects of an electrical system including sockets, outlets, wiring, and in some cases heating ventilation and air conditioning.
Understanding blueprints and correctly identifying areas to safely access and install or repair wiring are crucial skills for any electrical contractor.
Plot plans indicate an entire construction site and its immediate area including the position of roads, utility runs, surrounding buildings, elements surrounding the job site, and landscape.
They show a bird’s eye view of the proposed construction area giving contractors perspective and critical information prior to or during a build.
Isometric drawings essentially create perspective for builders to understand better how various parts will fit together once completed.
They may show multiple sides or a three-dimensional view of a structure and often include various dimensions as part of the blueprint.
Isometric perspective is an invaluable tool for engineers and is a critical aspect of an architect’s skill set.
Elevations are two-dimensional drawings of structures and indicate what a construction project will look like once finished from a flattened perspective.
Elevation prints typically consist of front, side, and rear elevations. In some blueprints they may be written as north, south, east, or west.
Sometimes referred to as sketches. Concepts drawings are simple freehand ways of illustrating ideas for designs.
They are not intended to be accurate necessarily, but more to communicate design concepts and principles quickly and easily.
CAD stands for Computer Aided Design and refers to various types of computer and design software that are used to create and alter construction blueprints.
The software creates 2D and 3D designs which ideally reduce production costs and errors.
There are various specialized CAD software systems available that can produce an array of precision drawings as well as technical illustrations.
Math skills are critical skills for construction professionals.
A typical blueprint reading course will require you to have a foundational knowledge of various math concepts.
There are also books available that will teach you the basics and valuable math skills in the construction world. Fundamental skills you will need to know include:
You will want to be familiar with all of these fundamental concepts.
Being able calculate roof framing, estimating paint, identifying essential measurements you must know, and calculating area are critical.
With some diligence and focus you can quickly learn all of this.
Technical drawing is a discipline that refers to composing technical drawings which communicate how something may function or how it should be constructed.
Sometimes these types of professionals are referred to as a draftsperson or drafter.
Aspects of the drawings may vary depending on the area of construction, engineering or architecture.
Generally, technical drawings all follow a codified international standard known as ISO 128.
There are several abbreviations and symbols that are critical to you fully understanding the design.
Books and software systems can help you learn quickly.
Most blueprint reading books and software teach you:
The books below are all excellent resources to begin your journey of learning how to read blueprints.
A thorough understanding of blueprint reading is often a critical aspect to obtaining a contractor license.
For a more in-depth look into the licensing process you can check out our articles that break it all down.
Continuing education is vital and a construction professional never stops learning.
In summary, people pay you based on the skills you bring to the table. A blueprint reading course much like a certification or license are critical to moving up in your industry.
Your goal on every job should be to instill in your clients a sense of confidence in you. That confidence must begin inside of you.
Those that take the time to invest in themselves and their career almost always end up on top.
While this is a very basic blueprint reading course, designed to give you a brief introduction into the world of construction blue prints.
Below you will find a list of some of the most comprehensive options available. Choose the blueprint reading course that best fits your skill level.
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