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Understanding Elevations in House Plans

Elevations are an essential aspect of house plans and a critical component in the design and construction of a building. It’s crucial to understand how to read elevations, as they provide an overall picture of the building’s appearance, detailing the height, thickness, and materials of the walls, windows, and doors. In this article, we will walk you through the basics of elevations and how to read them effectively.

What are Elevations in House Plans?

Elevations refer to the drawings of the exterior sides of a building. They provide a two-dimensional representation of the structure’s height, width, and depth, and showcase the building’s architectural features, such as windows, doors, balconies, and rooflines. Elevations help architects, builders, and contractors to visualize the building’s design and assess its overall appearance.

Types of Elevations

There are four primary types of elevations in house plans, including front, rear, left side, and right side elevations. The front elevation typically showcases the main entrance and is considered the most important of the four elevations. The rear elevation depicts the back of the building, while the left and right side elevations showcase the sides of the building.

How to Read Elevations

To effectively read elevations, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the different symbols and lines used on the drawings. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the different elements of elevations:

  1. Identify the scale of the drawing. The scale indicates the proportion between the actual size of the building and the size of the drawing.
  2. Look for the outline of the building, which is typically represented by a thick line.
  3. Observe the height and thickness of the walls, represented by thin lines.
  4. Identify the windows and doors, represented by rectangular shapes.
  5. Look for symbols that represent specific elements, such as rooflines, balconies, and chimneys.

Importance of Accurate Elevations

Accurate elevations are crucial to the success of any building project. They provide a clear understanding of the building’s design, including the height, width, and depth of the walls, windows, and doors. This information is essential for construction, as it helps to ensure that the building is built to the correct specifications. Accurate elevations also play a vital role in obtaining building permits, as they provide the necessary information for inspectors to assess the building’s compliance with local building codes and regulations.


Elevations are an important component of house plans and play a crucial role in the design and construction of a building. Understanding how to read elevations is essential for architects, builders, and contractors to visualize the building’s design and assess its overall appearance. By familiarizing yourself with the symbols and lines used on elevations, you can effectively read and interpret these drawings, ensuring the success of your building project.

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