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  • Writer's pictureAEC Moreno Corp

The difference between site plan vs floor plan

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Flor plan design
Drawing a floor plan or site plan

Most of the people think that site plan is the same as the floor plan. However, they are two different things and it is extremely important to have a clear understanding of the differences that exist in between the two. Having this knowledge would become useful when you are purchasing a new property or venturing into property investments.

Both site plans and floor plans are orthographic projection drawings viewed from above ground looking down. They are essentially complimentary plans which show different details of a proposed or existing building and its surroundings.

Floor Plans

Floor Plan
Example of a floor plan

A floor plan represents a horizontal section cut through a building at a certain elevation above grade, usually about 4 feet. It is an orthographic projection, that is, viewed straight up from the ground. The top portion of the building is removed and only the remaining portion of the orthographic projection is shown.

Typically, floor plans show the configuration of walls and columns, the shapes and dimensions of spaces, the locations of doors and windows, and the connections between spaces and the inside and outside of the building. Beyond the plane off the cut, other horizontal surface details are visible such as counters, tabletops, cabinets, etc.

Any horizontal surface that is attached to the building structure is shown on a floor plan. This includes items that are attached to the walls or to the floor.

Site Plan

Site plan
Example of a site plan

A site plan describes the location and orientation of a building on a plot of land and in relation to its context. While the site plan references the building structure, the main emphasis is on its surroundings. This is represented in a higher level of detail of the land around the building.

Site plans include the legally recorded boundaries of a site as well as the physical topography within a site. Natural site features, such as trees, landscaping, and watercourses are included. Likewise, existing or proposed site construction elements such as walks, courts, and roadways are included.

Site plans may also include architectural structures in the immediate setting that impact the proposed building. In addition, legal constraints imposed by zoning requirements, site utilities, entry points, paths and other significant environmental features are included in the site plan drawing.

Where the two differ is in the focus of the plan. Site plans are meant to detail the areas of a plot of land beyond the boundaries of a building. On the other hand, a floor plan details the elements of a building up to the outer edge of the structure.

When combined together, a floor plan and a site plan can articulate the connection between the interior and exterior of a structure. While they are distinctly different in scope, the two drawings compliment one another and present a more complete picture of a building in relation to its surroundings.

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