Schematic Design

Schematic design is the first stage of designing a home or commercial space planning. In this stage, a drafter communicates with the client to define the project objectives and prerequisites. At this stage, the architect begins with detailed drawings which represent the key concepts designs of the construction. Based on the client’s requirements, an HVAC system design is generated and a construction contract is signed. The primary architectural service is schematic design before anything else can take place.

Generating Plans

In addition to drawing the site plan and building elevation components, engineers and architects also use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to complete the spatial programming process. Site plans are usually complicated drawings containing many different views. On the other hand, floor plans are the basic structural design blueprint used for the purpose of constructing a home. Together, site plan and building elevations provide the building blueprints which architectural engineers use to develop the designs, vs the design developments.

Building Constraints

In the process of building a home, many constraints exist. For instance, energy consumption and heating requirements must be considered. Energy efficiency is highly dependent upon the site’s climate. Thus, engineers must evaluate the existing heating and cooling conditions in the area and incorporate these values into the drawings floor plans. Similarly, ventilation and water usage must be evaluated to ensure adequate indoor air quality and safety.


Schematic design development also includes the preparation of the site plan – the basic diagrammatic illustration – by considering factors on the schematic checklist like utilities, buildings, landscaping and parking issues. Site Planner – a program developed by the National Association of Home Builders in cooperation with the American Society of Home Builders – is a popular CAD software package used for developing building blueprints. This program enables designers and engineers to rapidly and accurately evaluate different aspects of a site. It also helps them to create detailed descriptions of individual features – like the size, type, ventilation, driveway and electrical connections. It makes these features function as they are. Site Planner is an essential tool for site development engineers, architects, contractors and other experts involved in site development.

The building floor plan follows the same logical steps as the schematic floor plan deliverables. Site Planner determines the position and orientation of every feature in the building floor plan. It determines the location of corners, edges and doors and windows according to the floor plan. Site Planner performs the same functions as any other CAD software like AutoCAD and MathCAD.

Floor Profiles

Floor profiles are usually derived from a set of standard floor plans. The elevation data for the floor profiles is extracted by applying mathematical techniques such as elevations, depths and elevations to the existing conditions (as foundation) and using standard floor plan models. These elevation data are then converted into elevations on the computer plane by the use of a variety of CAD software including AutoCAD, Rhino, InDesign, and PowerCAD. The resulting profile sheets then need to be manually converted to elevations on a floor plan machine during production.

Elevation readings are converted into a scale that is useful for creating new floor plans. On the other hand, it is necessary to clearly distinguish new work from existing work in the same floor plan. To do this, it is necessary to add new floor dimensions that are in the range of the existing dimensions. The new dimension can be any one of the existing floor dimensions up to a maximum of 100mm. The existing floor dimensions can only be exceeded to the extent of 100mm if required to make the new floor plan easy to read and understand.


All dimensions must be uniformly dimensioned throughout the plan. Otherwise, the plan will become incorrect when all the dimensions are uniformly dimensioned. For example, a two inch square plan will become inaccurate when scaled to fit floor plans that are three feet wide and four feet tall. All such measurements must be uniformly dimensioned and alterations must be made in order to ensure that the plan fits together correctly. A CAD drawing program is used extensively in manufacturing industry as well as architects’ offices to generate accurate dimensional data for use in designing plans.