Interior Design Explained: Floorplans and the Construction Documentation Phase


This post is part of a series breaking down my design process and what it's like to work on a project together. 

Be sure to catch up with all the posts;

Once we have solidified the initial design, we will move into the Construction Document and Administration Phase.

How Does it Work? 

Upon client approval, I can begin working on technical aspects of the project. I create a detailed set of documents that include floorplans, elevations, and schedules. Similar to how renderings help clients see my vision in the design presentation phase, these documents ensure that all contractors, the clients, and I are all on the same page during the install phase. Creating various plans and elevations may seem redundant to a homeowner- but this is a huge cost-saver and a step not to be overlooked. A furniture plan alone allows the clients to see how their furniture will fit in their space before they bring it home. The results can be surprising. Many clients find that they have been "over-ambitious" with the amount of furniture they can bring into a space. Having a furniture plan to look at helps them make smart decisions before buying big-ticket items. 

The documents needed are dependent on the size of the project and what needs to be done. Below are a few of the documents that I create during a design project. Floorplans and construction documents are used to aid clients in their decision making process. These should be viewed as working documents and are by no means an end-all to how the space will look. That is dependent on the space itself and the abilities of the contractors that the client decides to work with.

  • The Construction Document Set
    • Furniture Plans
      • Furniture Plans are floorplans with the proposed furniture and decor for a design placed in the space. I often do two versions of this plan, one with dimensions, notes, and symbols. The second version is for my clients- it is rendered and easier to visualize what things will look like.
    • Reflected Ceiling Plans/Basic Lighting Plans
      • Reflected Ceiling Plans (RCPs) show what is happening on the ceiling in the space, including structural elements like ceiling height changes and fixtures such as lighting, smoke detectors and sprinklers, millwork, etc. 
      • A good Lighting Plan ensures that each space has optimal lighting that works with, and not against, the furniture or activities that happen in the space. It also ensures that traffic patterns have been thought out and that light switches will be placed accordingly. 
    • Basic Electrical Plans
      • Electrical Plans show where outlets, telephone jacks, light switches, and any other electric wiring is located in the home. This plan is helpful because it can identify outlets and switches that could be better utilized if moved by an electrician. 
    • Elevations
      • Elevations are 2D, single wall plans that help further clarify design intent. These drawings are often used to show the height of furniture and fixtures and visualize specific details like art and built-ins.
    • Details/Sections
      • Details are exactly what they sound like. They are small elements of the room blown-up to a larger scale to show design intent. A fireplace with an intricate tile pattern is a good example of something that would be shown as a detail.
      • Sections are the opposite of details. They are shown as if you took a knife and sliced through a house and pulled it apart to reveal the inner-workings, much like cutting through a sandwich. This is good to show the complexity of the space, such a ceiling changes. 
    • Schedules
      • Schedules are detailed lists of Furniture, Finishes and Equipment (FF&E) and where they are to be located/installed. Think flooring, paint, appliances, and what rooms and walls they are supposed to be located in/on. 
  • Specifications
    • I create a binder of all furniture, fixtures, materials, and swatches to reference to. Each page is a specification that breaks down all of the details about that item. Take a custom drapery panel for example. That specification will have the manufacturer, quantity, cost, dimensions, color, it's location in the home and any other notes specific to that product, as well as a fabric swatch for reference. There will also be notes about any performance and safety requirements. Textiles, for example, must pass abrasion resistance testing and have certain flammability and durability requirements. Having a specification binder cuts down on mistakes when purchasing and installing. 


What Happens Next?

I will have my clients sign off on items they approve of as we go throughout this phase. Once we are nearing the end of the construction document phase and everything is solidified, I can begin ordering furniture for my clients. For a large designs, I like to do one big install. More on this next week.


What about E-design?

Once I have received all the supplemental sketches and measurements that I need from my e-design client, I can begin working on a construction document set to go along with the design renderings. I work through the same steps as I do for local clients to create my construction documents and specification binder (except this is online, of course.) I send all of the construction documents to your personal design hub and we begin working towards approving specifications to move to the next phase.  I will be covering this topic more in-depth in a few weeks! Stay tuned (you can subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page if you would like to be notified.)

Ready to Start Your Project?

Peace + Love,