Basic Architectural Abbreviations for Drawings

Are you confused by all the blueprint abbreviations that you’re seeing? Clear up any confusion by learning the different basic architectural abbreviations for drawings. Not only will you find abbreviations for "excavate" and the "property line," but you'll explore the different floor plan abbreviations like "RM" and "WIC." 

Pointing to architects drawing blueprintPointing to architects drawing blueprint

Building and Construction Drawing Abbreviations

When it comes to architectural drawings, there isn’t a lot of space that you're working with. This means architects and engineers need to maximize the space the best way they can. Therefore, you’ll see several abbreviations and acronyms on your blueprints and paperwork. What do all those letters mean? Find out a few basic construction drawing abbreviations here. 

  • AFF - Above finished floor

  • AFG - Above finished grade

  • BOF - Bottom of footing

  • BOW - Bottom of wall

  • BP or B/P - Blueprint

  • CAD - Computer-aided drafting

  • DWG - Drawing

  • Exc - Excavate

  • FAO - Finish all over

  • FFL - Finished floor level

  • FL - Floor level

  • FRPF - Fireproof

  • GC - General contractor

  • IE - Invert elevation

  • HV - High voltage

  • IAW - In accordance with

  • LDD - Limited dimension drawing

  • Jst - Joist

  • MFG - Manufacturing

  • NIC - Not in contract

  • PL - Property line 

  • REBAR - Reinforcing bar

  • REQD - Required

  • Reinf - Reinforced

  • San - Sanitary

  • TOB - Top of beam

  • TOC - Top of curb or top of concrete

  • TOF - Top of footing

  • TOJ - Top of joist

  • TOM - Top of masonry

  • TOW - Top of wall

  • VA - Voltage

  • WL - Water level

Floor Plan Abbreviations 

Making your blueprint can be exciting, especially if you are working with your contractor or architect to build a new house or add on to your current real estate project. But, there are a lot more pieces and parts to a blueprint. Just so you know what the "Ext" and "FD" are, you should check out the common floor plan abbreviations including: 

  • A/C - Air conditioner

  • BSMT - Basement

  • CL - Closet

  • CLG - Ceiling

  • CSINK - Countersink

  • CTYD - Courtyard

  • DS - Downspout

  • EF - Exhaust fan

  • Ext - Exterior

  • FACP - Fire alarm control panel

  • FCO - Floor cleanout

  • FD - Floor drain

  • HDCP - Handicapped

  • HVAC - Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

  • HW - Hot water

  • Int - Interior

  • J-Box - Junction box

  • LH - Left hand

  • Lt - Light

  • Ltg - Lighting

  • MH - Manhole

  • Mas - Masonry

  • OPNG - Opening or rough opening

  • RD - Roof drain

  • RDL - Roof drain leader

  • RH - Right hand

  • RM - Room

  • SC - Sharp corners

  • SD - Smoke detector

  • SPK - Sprinkler

  • T&G- Tongue and groove

  • TELE - Telephone

  • TLT - Toilet

  • Wdw - Window

  • WIC - Walk-in closet

  • Wtr. Htr. - Water heater

Materials Abbreviations for Drawings

Blueprints are nothing if they don’t tell you what everything will be made of. From the materials that will be used for the inside of the building to the different materials and elements that you will find on the outside, everything will be outlined clearly in the architectural abbreviations on the blueprint. Stay on top of common materials abbreviations. Check them out below. 

  • AWG - American wire gauge

  • ALUM - Aluminum

  • BOM - Bill of material

  • BV - Butterfly valve

  • CI - Cast iron

  • CMU - Concrete masonry unit

  • CPT - Carpet

  • CRES - Corrosion-resistant steel

  • DP - Damp-proofing; distribution panel

  • Fin - Finish

  • FTG - Fitting

  • Galv.- Galvanized

  • G.T. - Glazed tile

  • Gyp. - Gypsum

  • HB - Hose bib

  • HDPE - High-density polyethylene

  • HRS - Hot rolled steel

  • Insul. - Insulation

  • LM - List of materials

  • LVL - Laminated veneer lumber

  • Mtl - Material

  • PCS - Pieces

  • PL - Plaster

  • Plywd - Plywood

  • Ptd - Painted

  • PVC - Polyvinyl chloride

  • RC - Reinforced concrete

  • Sht - Sheet

  • Sht'g - Sheathing

  • SS - Stainless steel

  • Stl - Steel

  • Wd - Wood

  • WI - Wrought iron

  • WS - Weatherstripping or water stop

Measurements & Technical Abbreviations

Blueprints and building plans that are drawn by architects and engineers are technical drawings. This means that everything from the bathroom to the courtyard needs to be drawn to scale and considered carefully. Measurements and equations are a big part of this.

So that you won’t be in the dark when you look at your architectural plans, find out some of the basic measurement and technical abbreviations you might see. 

  • BOT - Bottom

  • CC - Center to center

  • CFM - Cubic feet per minute

  • CFS - Cubic feet per second

  • CL - Centerline

  • Cont - Continuous

  • CU. FT. - Cubic feet

  • CU. YD. - Cubic yard

  • Dia - Diameter

  • Dim - Dimension

  • DN - Down

  • Ea - Each

  • ED - Edge distance

  • EQ - Equal

  • EW - Each way

  • FS - Far side

  • GPM - Gallons per minute

  • ID - Inner diameter

  • In - Inch

  • Inv - Invert

  • Jct - Junction

  • kW - Kilowatt

  • LFT - Linear feet

  • LL - Live load

  • MAX - Maximum

  • MBW - Measurement between wires

  • Min - Minimum

  • MOW - Measurement over wires

  • NTS - Not to scale

  • OAL - Overall length

  • OC - On center

  • OD - Outside diameter

  • PSF - Pounds per square foot

  • PSI - Pounds per square inch

  • QTY - Quantity

  • R - Radius

  • Specs - Specifications

  • SQ. FT. -  Square feet

  • SQ. IN.: Square inches

  • Std - standard

  • SY - Square yard

  • T&B - Top and bottom

  • TO - Top of

  • W/O - Without

  • Wt - Weight

Professional Organization & Standards Abbreviations

You can’t forget about the professional organizations that relate to architectural drawings. Homes and buildings must meet certain standards, guidelines and specifications. Since codes are important, check out a few abbreviations for these engineering and architectural organizations.

  • ACI -  American Concrete Institute

  • ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992

  • AIA - American Institute of Architects or the American Insurance Association

  • AISC - American Institute of Steel Construction

  • AISI - American and Steel Institute

  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute

  • ASCE - American Society of Civil Engineers

  • ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers

  • ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials

  • IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

  • ISO - International Organization for Standards

  • NEC - National Electrical Code

Basic Architectural Abbreviations To Know

Whether you’re a budding architect or just looking to build your own house and want to be up-to-date on the lingo, understanding all the different architectural drawing abbreviations can be important. Now that you’ve mastered the architectural arts, you might want to give electrical abbreviations a try, especially when you talk with the electrician. 

Post a comment