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EXTERIOR ELEVATIONS   The next item in the set is the exterior elevations.  Every exterior wall is shown on the elevations and generally is drawn at the same scale as the floor plans (⅛” = 1′-0″ is common). Besides showing the overall picture of the exterior of the building, the […]



The next
item in the set is the exterior
Every exterior wall
is shown on the elevations and generally is drawn at the same scale as the floor
plans (
= 1′-0″ is
common). Besides showing the overall picture of the exterior of the building,
the elevations are mainly used to key specific areas
to larger-scale details.


elevations show the materials drawn to scale, indicating doors, window
patterns, exterior grade, and mechanical penthouses, to name a few.  The building elevations are a bit like the
view seen from several hundred yards-an overall picture of the building rather
than specific details.  The materials
seen in the elevation can be delineated if it makes
the building read better.  Brick can be shown by drawing the horizontal brick joints.  Concrete can be drawn
by dotting the wall, wood by showing the joints, and windows by showing the
mullions.  This treatment should not be
overdone. The intent is to inform, not to confuse, the contractor.  The elevations should not resemble a
rendering for design development. In most cases, only a portion of the wall is delineated to show the material. The rest of the wall is left blank.  Making
a note of each material and running an arrow to its location on the elevation
is a good practice. 


generally are not given on the elevations. These are given on the floor plan

larger-scale wall sections. The one exception is the elevation of every floor
and roof deck. If the building has an established grid system, the grid spacing
is shown and numbered on the elevation.  Elevations are used to show proportions but
also to indicate areas through which wall sections been cut.


difficulties commonly arise in drawing elevations – labeling the elevation
direction showing door swings. Elevations are titled by
labeling the compass side of the building view. The north elevation is on the
north end of the building.  The confusion
is that the viewer is looking south to see the north elevation.


A door
shown in elevation is generally delineated to show the
side on which the hinges are placed. 
This is done by drawing a dotted line from the
top and bottom corner of the door on one side to the center of the door on the
opposite side. The side of the door that has the hinges is the center-point
where the two dotted lines intersect.


the elevations (after the sheet is laid out) by
drawing the grids on the back of the sheet in blue.  Since the floor plan was
before the elevations were started, a short cut would be to run a
print of the plan, locate it under the sheet, and project all of the corners,
doors, and windows up into vertical lines in the elevation.  If the pan was drawn
accurately, this system eliminates scaling the elevations.


next step is to scale the horizontal heights, such as the ground elevation,
floor heights, and roof lines.  It is generally wise to lay out the major
horizontal and vertical lines lightly at first and then
darken them after the length has been established.


The next
step is to draw the remainder of the materials that are seen in the elevation,
including doors, windows, control joints, mechanical pent- houses, lights, and
stairs, to name a few.


building elevations are a two-dimensional view of the actual picture that could be seen by standing back and looking at the building,
with one exception – the areas below grade are visible.  Spaces that are below the ground level and
outside the foundation wall, such as a stair to a basement door or a window
well for basement light, are

dotted.  Some firms have adopted the practice
of dotting a portion of the foundation wall and footings to indicate their
presence. The actual dimensioning of the footings occurs on the structural


The final step
in detailing the elevations is to key notes to larger details, specifying
materials and giving floor elevations. 
Wall sections are indicated by drawing a dotted
line through the wall with an arrow pointing to the direction in which the
section is cut, with the detail and sheet number inside the arrow.  A blow-up of a particular part of the
elevation is indicated by ddrawing
a dotted box around the area and keying it o the larger-scale detail number and
sheet number.


details are shown by noting the area with the sheet
and detail number where it may be found. 
All materials should be noted with an arrow
pointing to the location.  If the
material occurs many times along the elevation, the arrow could contain several
arrow heads to denote repetition, as follows:



height of each floor and roof should be drawn to the
side of the elevation.  This
specification consists of a dashed line from the floor or roof
with a
¼” circle that has opposite
quadrants darkened.  A not above the
dashed line calls out the place the elevation is taken, while the dimension
below the line gives the feet and inches above the benchmark.


An important
point in dimensioning the elevations is that the dimension should be to the
highest structural material that has a known thickness.  This is not necessarily the top of the floor
or roof.  If a concrete floor deck is to
have a pad and carpet on top of it, the elevation dimension is to the top of
deck, not including the pad and the carpet.  A common roof treatment is 1 ½” metal deck.  1 ½” rigid fiberglass insulation,
over the deck, and pitch and gravel on top of the insulation. The elevation is then given to the top of the metal deck.




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