Architectural Drawings 101 | Landmark Lofts

Architectural Drawings 101

Trying to understand a whole suite of architectural drawings can be a daunting task, especially when they form the basis of how your own loft conversion or extension will be built. When taking on such a large investment it is essential that you know exactly what the end result will be. Here’s our crash course in how to read elevations, plans, and sections.


Elevations are perhaps the easiest architectural drawing to understand as they are essentially a flat image of the side (façade) of a building. They are used to show the exterior view of a project and how it will affect the surroundings, which is particularly important to planning officers.


Imagine taking a horizontal slice through your home and the looking directly down at it. This is what a plan view is. Usually taken at 1.0m above floor level, walls that go through that slice (or plane) are given thicker lines and often shaded or hatched to show that they have been cut. Non-structural elements such as doors and windows are given thinner lines, and anything below the plane is even thinner. Anything above it is typically not shown on the plan. In cases where these elements are important, such as where there is a change in ceiling height, dashed lines can be used.


If you do the same as you did with a plan but instead make a vertical slice through the building, you are now looking at a section. Sections provide you with the heights of interior elements and often give the best impression of the quality of an interior space as well as information about foundations and details.

No single element in isolation will give you all the information you need to know about your upcoming project. If lined up as shown below, however, you can build a whole picture of the scheme. The arrows in this drawing indicate where sections/slices have been cut and the way they face.

Here is an example of a plan, section, and elevation from one of our recent loft conversion projects. See if you can pick out the key elements in the drawings and find them in our case study photos.

Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.

Click here to learn more about these regulators and why they're so important for you.

Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors Chartered Institude of Builders Roya lInstitude of British Architects loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz

Stay connected for expert advice, trends and updates straight to your inbox.