As a client embarking on a construction project, understanding the complexities of structural engineering drawings is essential for ensuring the success and safety of your project.

By understanding structural engineering drawings, clients can actively engage in the design and construction process, make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and ultimately achieve their vision for the project while ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and industry best practices. These drawings also serve as the blueprint for your project, providing detailed instructions for construction teams to follow.

Here’s what you need to know about what to expect from your structural engineering drawings.


Structural plans are the backbone of your project, illustrating the layout and design of load-bearing elements such as columns, beams, walls, and foundations. These plans detail the dimensions, materials, and specifications required to support the structure safely and efficiently.

Floor plans provide a comprehensive view of each floor level, showcasing the arrangement of structural elements including walls, columns, and openings for doors and windows. These plans help ensure that the building layout meets the functional requirements of the spaces within your project.

It is essential that the structural proposals are fully co-ordinated with the architectural drawings and that column locations and structural zones (for example the allowable depth of beam that can be accommodated within floor zones) have been identified and adhered to. Early engagement of the Structural Engineer will facilitate the early co-ordination of the design and help streamline this process.


Foundation plans outline the type, size, and location of the foundation structure necessary to distribute the structural loads to the ground. This includes footings, piers, slabs, and other support structures critical for the stability and longevity of your building.

The plans will identify the anticipated ground conditions and the depth and type of foundation required. Any recommendations from the site investigation will be highlighted to assist with costing and the identification of site-specific hazards. 

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Roof plans detail the structural layout of the roof system, identifying the proposed structure and the layout and span direction of any trusses, ridge beams, SIPs panels and associated supporting structure. The roof plan will identify any additional trimming/framing required for architectural features such as skylights and dormers.

Design specification requirements for specialist truss design and cladding fixings as well as loading assumptions for PV panels etc will also be identified.


Elevation drawings may be provided to help identify locations of specific structural elements such as balustrades and glazing acting as a barrier and feature glazed gables.


Elevation drawings may be provided to help identify locations of specific structural elements such as balustrades and glazing acting as a barrier and feature glazed gables.



Sections provide cutaway views of the structure, revealing internal details such as wall assemblies, floor systems, and roof construction. These drawings offer insights into the building’s internal structure and help identify potential challenges or opportunities for improvement.

Section drawings may be provided to help identify detail locations and communicate structural levels adopted from the architectural drawings. Section drawings help co-ordinate structural and architectural requirements.



Detail drawings offer close-up views and enlarged illustrations of specific structural connections, joints, or assemblies. These drawings provide precise instructions for construction teams, ensuring that critical elements are executed correctly and safely.


Specifications outline the materials, construction methods, and quality standards to be followed throughout the project. They ensure that the building meets regulatory requirements and industry best practices while meeting your expectations for quality and performance.


Understanding structural engineering drawings is vital for clients across various aspects of their construction project. It enables them to envision the final outcome, ensuring alignment with their expectations and requirements while facilitating informed decision-making throughout the process.

With this knowledge, clients can assess construction quality, communicate effectively with stakeholders, mitigate risks, and ensure compliance with regulations. Ultimately, a grasp of these drawings empowers clients to be involved in shaping their projects.

Engineers experienced with self-build will be used to assisting clients with interpretation of structural drawings and some will even set out their drawings and details to maximise clarity with the self-builder in mind.

– David Gallagher, AC Structures Technical Director



Any proposed changes to the structural and/or architectural drawings should be notified to your structural engineer in advance. Time should be afforded to allow your structural engineer the opportunity to evaluate the impact of any proposed changes. In Scotland, changes to the drawings after Warrant/SER Certification may invalidate the SER Certificate and require an amendment to the SER Certificate to incorporate the changes.

Do you have any question regarding your project?

Contact us, and we will help you move on with your Self Build dream!

Structural engineering drawings are a vital communication tool between you, your design team, and construction professionals. By understanding the components and significance of these drawings, you can confidently navigate the construction process.