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Creating Basic Floor Plans from an Architectural Drawing in AutoCAD

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Picture of Creating Basic Floor Plans from an Architectural Drawing in AutoCAD
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These instructions will help you create clear and accurate floor plans from complicated construction documents. In today’s world the simpler and more concise a drawing or map is, the better and faster a person can use it for its intended purpose. These instructions can help you achieve this given you have a basic understanding of Autodesk Software/vector based computer aided drafting and, specifically, the commands and procedures within AutoCAD.

If unfamiliar with AutoCAD software please refer to  FlowJet Series parts 1 to 6  found on the Instructables website. 

Creating understandable floor plans from an architectural drawing will help you complete a Utah State University standard working single floor plan of a of approximately 10,000 square feet in 1.5 to 3.5 hours depending on your AutoCAD proficiency. The floor plans created may be used to calculate space and direction data for any and all who rely on them. These plans may even be able to provide hours of enjoyment when printed on paper that can be folded into a paper airplane!
 
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Step 1: Preparation

Ensure that the following things are at your disposal:
    AutoCAD software installed
    Architectural CAD file of building you wish to clean up/convert
    Existing standardized floor plan CAD file

Step 2: Open architectural construction drawing

Picture of Open architectural construction drawing
Open CAD file of floor to be standardized. Note how busy the drawing is with all of the included construction details. This process will show you how to cut out the excess that isn't needed in a basic floor plan both efficiently and effectively.

Step 3: Using the FREEZE command

Picture of Using the FREEZE command
Freeze the layers that are not necessary. This cleans up most unwanted aspects of a floor plan and readies it for transfer. The necessary layers will usually include only the walls, windows, doors, stairs, and room information tag layers.

Step 4: Create a copy

Picture of Create a copy
Select and copy all components of drawing to be moved into an existing floor plan file.This should be done one floor of a building at a time to ensure thoroughness in the transfer.

Step 5: Readying a template

Open existing standardized floor plan CAD file. It is best to choose a building that is similar in size so that scaling factors are uniform. This existing plan will be referred to as the template plan in future steps.

Step 6: Pasting into template

Picture of Pasting into template
Paste previously copied floor plan into template plan drawing. This will simplify the process of matching layers and uniformity of all the floor plan drawings.

Step 7: Keeping record/backup

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Do a “Save As” to the file and do not replace the existing file. This is one of the most important steps. It will prevent accidental deletions and other problems that could occur. Save the drawing frequently throughout all of the following steps.

Step 8: Standardization

Picture of Standardization
Match the attributes associated with the walls and doors layers from the template floor plan to the new plan. This creates uniformity and will avoid confusion from one plan to another. Make sure all blocks have been exploded using the explode command and change them to match as well.

Step 9: Trim/delete the excess

Picture of Trim/delete the excess
Remove any unwanted columns, text, headers, lines, and arcs that are confusing. The floor plan must be as basic as possible. If there are random lines and circle or text this may confuse the layout of a building for some. Just imagine driving down a highway where the billboards are mixed in with the street lights and signs. That's an information overload! Too much detail can be a bad thing so use discretion and get rid of what's not needed.

Step 10: Square footage and room bounds

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Create polygon outlines of each usable space inside the building using the POLYLINE tool. These polygons can be used to take measurement for square footage calculations or to just separate spaces for different departmental uses.

Step 11: Room tags

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Copy the room tags from the template plan to each space outlined with a polygon in the previous step. For hallway, elevator, stairways, and shafts, use the specialized layer TEXT2. All other tags are the standard room tags shown in graphic.

Step 12: Editing the tags

Picture of Editing the tags
Change the room number, square footage number, and usage of each room to previously chosen specifications. These numbers and usage information can at most times be found on the original architectural tags while the square footage is calculated and shown when a room polygon is selected.

Step 13: Final clean up

Delete any remaining unnecessary items from the drawing.This could include Architectural room tags and miscellaneous lines or arcs that have been missed. Do not forget to delete the original template floor plan. Make sure all layers are active to get a full view of the drawing.

Step 14: The purge

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Purge the drawing using the PURGE command. This ensures that the file size is optimized by removing excess layers/blocks and making it easier to work with in the future.

Step 15: Adjustments

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Move floor plan into center of existing title block. This is a good time to change the attributes of the title block to match the building and floor designation. Make sure the compass lines up with correct cardinal directions and that the date is filled out.

Step 16: Fancy!

Picture of Fancy!
Finalize the drawing using an artistic utilitarian perspective.

Check out how it looks in your layout tab and make adjustments as necessary for scaling purposes. If you feel that the drawing needs more or less, visit previous steps and have at it! Floor plans are fluid and your building will eventually have modifications or changes. Your meticulous efforts will be rewarded when you revisit the plan to input these changes. Now, if you’d like, you can print your drawing out and make an airplane out of it!

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